Summary: With its free built-in wireless capabilities and PC-free operation, Amazon's Kindle holds a distinct advantage over Sony's Reader and is a promising evolution of the electronic book--but Amazon needs to bring down the pricing for both the device and the content to attract a wider audience.
Pros: Excellent high-contrast screen does a great job of simulating a printed page; large library of tens of thousands of e-books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs via Amazon's familiar online store; built-in free wireless "Whispernet" data network--no PC needed; built-in keyboard for notes; SD card expansion slot; compatible with Windows and Mac machines.
Cons: Design is ergonomic, but not very elegant; pricing for nearly all the content seems too high, especially considering the periodicals and blogs are available for free online; black-and-white screen is fine for books, but less impressive for periodicals and Web content; lacks a true Web browser; included cover is clumsy and poorly designed; additional file formats need to be e-mailed to Amazon for conversion; yet another dedicated device you'll need to lug around with you.
Summary: With multi-touch, the Amazon Kindle makes e-book reading an even more comfortable exercise. The slightly smaller footprint, because the keyboard has been removed, makes it comfortable to hold. If you are thinking of upgrading from a previous gen Kindle, the upgrade isn't enticing enough. If however, this is your first Kindle, or you are adding to the e-book reader armory, then this is the one to consider.
Excerpt: For the legions of fans still devoted to the e-ink reading experience — easier on the eyes, the batteries and the biceps — the big news to come out of Amazon’s recent high-profile product launch wasn’t its fancy new Android tablet with a backlit 7-inch screen. It was the line of new e-ink Kindles. Amazon’s new Kindles bring an updated hardware design to its family of popular black and white e-readers.
Pros: Hardware is lighter, snappier and all-around improved. Ads in the “special offers” versions only appear in the home screen and screensavers, never in the book. Great battery life — five days of use, even with the night light, and it isn’t yet half empty.
Cons: Typing is t-o-r-t-u-r-e. Power switch is now a button, not a slider, and easier to trigger when you don’t want to. Screen can get scuffed if you carry it everywhere, necessitating an accessory cover or sleeve.
Conclusion: The Amazon Kindle International delivers excellent promise for the future of eBook readers, but the service and pricing need to improve to make UK readers happy.
Pros: The Kindle is one of the best eBook readers in terms of functionality – the eInk screen has amazing clarity, the controls are simple and intuitive and its unique 3G download service means that you can have a new novel in your hands in less than a minute. There are neat touches such as Wikipedia or dictionary lookup, plus a text-to-speech function and even the ability to play music while you virtually leaf through your books.
Cons: The “International Edition” offers a disappointing service to anyone outside the USA. There’s still a two-point US plug, so you’ll have to shell out for an adapter and pay import fees on top of the $259 price tag. The Amazon store should be the heart of the Kindle experience, but the titles are expensive (in most cases dearer than their paper cousins at Amazon.co.uk, at around $13.99 for a bestseller) and a search for popular UK titles yielded disappointing gaps.
Excerpt: We’ve long appreciated the concept of the eBook, but we’ve been disappointed in its execution. The old Franklin readers ate batteries, had small screens, and included only a meager selection of books. Sony’s Reader has a better battery life, but the selection of first-run books leaves much to be desired. Amazon’s new Kindle solves many of these problems but introduces an even thornier one. Like the Sony Reader, the Kindle sports a 6-inch black-and-white E Ink screen.
Pros: Cheap books. Great screen and impressive battery life; when not using wireless.
Cons: Closed eBook format locks you into the Kindle forever. Expensive. Doesn't support PDF.