Since picking up a Kindle when they first went on sale I have tried so hard to use it for my only ebook reading solution.  I love ebooks and have read them almost exclusively for years so I have been so wanting to make the Kindle […]

KindleSince picking up a Kindle when they first went on sale I have tried so hard to use it for my only ebook reading solution.  I love ebooks and have read them almost exclusively for years so I have been so wanting to make the Kindle my ebook reading solution.  There is no question that it couldn’t be easier to buy content on the Kindle with the WhisperNet that Amazon has integrated right into the device but that’s not enough for me.  I have used it long enough that I’ve even gotten used to the horrible button design that makes accidentally turning pages far too easy to do.  Once I trained myself how to hold it that hasn’t been a major issue for me.  The problem I have reading ebooks on the Kindle is not really even the Kindle’s fault.  It has more to do with the eInk technology that it uses that makes it difficult to use.

Kindle_vs_advantageTrying to use it for so long has led me to realize that the places in my house where I normally read ebooks are just too darkly lit.  The relatively low contrast ratio of the eInk technology combined with the lack of a backlight means you need to be in a well-lit area to read ebooks on the Kindle or other eInk devices.  The few places where I sit comfortably to read are not well-lit areas and the Kindle just doesn’t work for that reason alone.  I have tried so hard to make it work but I don’t want to change my reading routine just so I can use the Kindle so I have given up.  I know that the eInk technology is cool but the contrast ratio of the Kindle is far worse than a real paper book for example.  The page is not white enough and the ink is not dark enough to make it work for me given the lighting I have to work with.  I can read regular books fine in this lighting but the Kindle makes me constantly strain to do the same and I just don’t want to continue trying.  A backlit solution like the HTC Advantage has both the ability to read ebooks in poor (or absent) lighting and also a very high contrast ratio with the page being totally white and the ink very black.  So I have shelved the Kindle for now until some advancement in the future makes it more practical for me.

  1. Doug Carmichael Sunday, January 20, 2008

    One advantage of the Kindle over say the Samsung q1 is being able to walk and read. I’ve got a pretty good county road, and the ability to get out, get exercise, occasionally look around, and read, is meaning more ereading AND more walking.

  2. I use my N810 to read, and used a Dell Axim before that. I was thinking about a Kindle, so — thank you. This was one of my concerns with it as well.

    It’s great to hear that someone else does the Walk-And-Read bit, Doug. :D I do this with the N810 some days and paperback books (I still like them more) all the time and always thought I was weird! It’s not just good exercise, the walking also helps me think while reading.

  3. It looked like that might be a concern.

    As for the walk readers, I haven’t done that in years, but I did an awful lot of homework on the way to class having seen a friend do it between work and classes. Works if you’re studying literature (as we were); not sure about sciences or math.

  4. turn_self_off Sunday, January 20, 2008

    i wonder if that irex iliad has the same contrast issue…

  5. A reminder: the Kindle uses FIRST GENERATION eInk. The rev 2 Sony Reader — PRS-505 — uses 2nd-gen VizPlex eInk which has a higher contrast.

  6. I thought the Kindle was using 2nd gen e-Ink?

  7. Funny, I find I am reading more than ever before on the Sony Reader 505 that I have. I also have Mobipocket on my devices, but find it is very nice to hold the slim Sony Reader on the train and read to my heart’s desire. I get too swept up in checking email and RSS feeds on my devices and like having a separate dedicated ebook reader like the Sony.

  8. No, the Kindle is DEFINITELY using the older FIRST-GEN eInk. It is NOT using the Sony’s VizPlex 2nd-gen eInk. This has been confirmed over and over.

    I’ve seen the original PRS-500 and 505 next to one another at SonyStyle. The difference between 1st & 2nd-gen eInk is dramatic. No, it’s still not paper white, but it is more reflective and brighter — dramatically and noticeably so.

  9. I was pleasently surprised to find that uBook (www.gowerpoint.com) turns my WiBrain into a great ebook reader. It supports screen rotation (and the mouse works properly!). I use it in portrait mode.

  10. I still keep coming back to the question of why? (As in: Why a tech device that does only one thing?)

    Isn’t the rage to have a converged device? Isn’t that why the iPhone is such a hit?

    (shaking my head in wonder)



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