Review: Kindle Touch (Part 6)

WISHLIST

  1. Array of recently viewed items in the home screen (maybe of the last 5-10 books accessed). This would be a big help to any reader who is reading more than 1 book at the same time (yes, some of us need palate cleansers). Currently, when you are in the home screen of the KT, you need to scroll through to wherever your book is (read: category). Kind of tedious to find the book again and again. Yes, the KT allows the typical search function (can be accessed on the menu bar) but why do you have to do that when a handy shortlist is already available on the home screen much like in B&N’s Nook.
  2. Last page read should be bookmarked especially when you have returned to the home page. The basic Kindle has this feature up but I don’t know why they removed it in the KT. I miss being able to go back to the book at exactly the last sentence I’ve read. When you view options for a book (tap on the book title for at least 1.5 sec for the options menu to load), they should include “last page read”, too.
  3. Option to view books as list or as covers. I kind of envy (alright, super envy) Nook’s way of displaying their books – in a grid format with the book covers that look so enticing. Would love for the KT (or all of the kindle lines) to have this feature also.
  4. Physical buttons for page-turning. I can’t stress enough how much I miss this.
  5. Space/feature for notes-taking (those random stuff that have nothing to do with books being read) + the ability to “doodle” notes using a stylus or by hand (Sony e-reader PRS 600 has this one). Aah. This will be a welcome feature especially to compulsive note-takers like me. It would be even cooler to export outputs as jpegs. What I did to be able to add miscellaneous stuff is to create my own “blank sheet” with an ordered list of numbers and had it converted to mobi format using Calibre (that big hunk of genius). I have yet to perfect it as one sample has the first ten numbers even spaced in one line after the after; however, the next numbers are just right next to each other. Sample number two behaved in another way as all the numbers are lumped together with only a space separating them from each other. I have yet to fathom Calibre’s conversion behavior so that might take a while.
  6. Built-in light to be able to read in the dark or in low-light situations. Of course, there are plenty of external reading lights; some you can even just clip-on to your e-reader cover (I have a MightyBright Light myself). Amazon is also selling their own hard covers with patented swing-out light that draws power from the reading device that no batteries are needed. But that one’s way too expensive for me right now. So I think any Kindle aficionado who is looking to upgrade his device or a newbie to the ebook reading business would be happy to have a device that allows you to read in bright sunlight (without the glare) and be able to read at night using the device’s own capabilities (kindle night light, anyone?). B&N recently came out with the Nook with GlowLight technology and as per the reviews, the GlowLight is a handy dandy feature that will keep any avid reader glued to the page late into the night without bothering their bedmates.
  7. The activation of the social networking feature for those Kindle owners who are not in the US. When you come to the end of a book, you’d be asked to rate it and even share it to your friends. Essentially, it would be like “tweeting” to your followers how much you enjoyed/hated a particular book. However, it didn’t work when I tried it. A few google returns after, I found out that this feature is disabled by Amazon when the device is not registered in the US. What the…? Didn’t Amazon know that some of the most voracious readers in the world are abroad? And that people often read books based on the recommendations of their friends or colleagues? Hmm. Amazon really needs to put this stuff up as they want to generate as many book sales as possible.
  8. Real page numbers rather than “locations”. I cannot for the life of me explain how the locations work to anyone who asks. Frankly, because I don’t understand the concept myself. I just say that it’s Amazon’s algorithm in re-paging the book especially when the font sizes are being adjusted. Yeah, we understand that it would be kind of difficult for Amazon to do that but not entirely impossible. Really. Plus, it would just be cooler to get page numbers as they need no explanations.
  9. Kindle games be made available for those outside the US. I tried downloading some free games for the KT but it said that the software is not available for Asia and the Pacific. Why not? I want answers and possibly those games. After all, readers need to relax once in a while. Hehe

So there you have it, friends. My full review of the Kindle Touch and a bit of comparison there with the basic Kindle. Hope I was able to answer some of the questions you’ve always wanted to ask about electronic readers in the perspective of a consummate reader. Now the big question would be:

Will I buy a new kindle if the ones on my wishlist would be carried over?

Hmm. I honestly don’t know yet. As much as I want to upgrade and get everything I’ve wished for for an ereader. I doubt if it will be easy for me to get acclimated to a new device. Ziva (my KT, and yup, its name’s from that Ziva) has got me hooked because of the sentimental value she carries. And I’m big on being sentimental. Hehe So let’s see. Amazon just might surprise me. 😉


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Images © The Traveling Reader, 2012.

Review: Kindle Touch (Part 5)

We’ve come to part 5 of my kindle review and we’re going to talk about some challenges I’ve met since I was introduced to this baby. If you want to read about the first four (4) parts of this review, here are the links: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

ISSUES

Aah. You knew there would be some or even a couple such as:

  1. Charger Adapters Not Included – Kindles do not come with wall chargers. A bit of a putout, really, considering how useful it is to a traveling reader like me. I know that these can be bought separately; somehow I would have wanted that it was there in the first place.
  2. Trickle Charge Not Working – As per Amazon, Kindles can be charged through the USB and this is called “trickle charging”. A portion of current passes through the micro USB cable thereby charging your Kindle. However, this didn’t work for the Kindle Touch (KT). It worked out okay though with the Kindle. I don’t know if it’s because my KT is fairly new and it has yet to “settle”. Most forums advised to wait it out ‘til a few weeks hence and check again if it works or not. Others also say that loading books will likewise contribute to the draining of battery. Wanted to take their word for it, but I thought it would be better if I get an adapter. And since I didn’t want to shell out $14.99 for just a generic adapter that I can get locally, I decided to buy an imitation charger for ipods. Yeah, I’m a cheapskate. Haha. Surprise, surprise (or not really), it works. My sister even charged her ipod touch and her bf’s ipod shuffle using that one and it works just fine.

    UPDATE: After using the KT for over 2 months now, I’d say the trickle charge is working just fine. Though it might not charge your unit as much as you expected it too if you’re also loading a lot of books into the device while charging your unit at the same time.

  3. Battery Status Indicator – Now this is a part that confuses me even until now. When charging, the light indicator at the bottom will turn amber and green when the kindle is fully charged. So if it is already fully charged, you’d expect for the Battery Status Indicator (top right portion of the menu bar) to be at 100%. However, that’s not the case. The KT’s battery indicator is only at 96% or something; making me think that the KT is defective (though it really isn’t). Sigh. Methinks this could be remedied with a firmware upgrade.

    UPDATE: With the software update on _____, this problem has already been resolved with the battery icon showing a full charge when it is 100% fully charged.

  4. Ghosting – Ghosting is defined the “residue” of the e-ink whenever the page refreshes. By design, the Kindle only makes a “full refresh” every six pages, so in the interim, a bit of e-ink is “left behind” thereby causing slightly discernable letters from the previous pages viewed. This is not too much of an issue for me but it might be for others.
  5. KT has no physical buttons for reading. That, for me, is the biggest drawback since I was quite used to reading through the Kindle using the physical buttons. I would hold the Kindle with my left hand and that same hand would be able to go between pages. And I miss that. With the KT, you have to press the left side of the screen when you want to move to the previous page and the center area if you want to move forward. While that’s really not a problem, I find the physical side buttons much easier to use (or maybe it’s just me. Haha)

Perfect little gadget that Kindle Touch is, there are still plenty of rooms for improvement. Plenty of opportunities for Amazon and like-minded companies to improve on their designs and create the best products for us readers. That’s why tomorrow I’m going to let you take a peek at my wishlist for the next Kindle upgrade (some I have “gathered” from the best features of other e-readers).


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Images © The Traveling Reader, 2012.

Review: Kindle Touch (Part 4)

To continue with my series of reviews for the Kindle Touch (read about Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3), today, I’m going to share how I find the Kindle 2011 and the Kindle Touch similar and at the same time different.

KINDLE VS. KINDLE TOUCH

Since I mentioned that I was able to use a Kindle even before I got a KT, I think it’s only fair to give a brief comparison of the two.

Kindle 2011 vs. Kindle Touch

SIMILARITIES
CRITERIA KINDLE KINDLE TOUCH
1 E – Ink Technology E – Ink Pearl
2 Aesthetics Gray body with matte finish;

Screen is depressed about 1/8 of an inch from the surface with a dark-colored bezel surrounding it;

The prominent Kindle logo at the top and at the back of the device;

3 Refresh Rate Full refresh every 6 pages
4 Data Transfer Through the micro USB provided (or even a generic one works fine)
5 Battery Charging By connecting the USB (“trickle charging”) to your desktop or laptop or by using an adapter
6 Reading Experience Makes reading-on-the-go a delight like no other.

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Review: Kindle Touch (Part 3)

Today is the 3rd day of my Kindle Touch review. If on Day 1 we have unveiled the kindle from its package, and on Day 2 we have personalized it, today, I’m going to let you in on how this handy dandy reading device has changed my reading habits.

THE READING EXPERIENCE

Even before I received this great gift, I was no longer a virgin when it comes to using Kindle. Owing to a very kind and generous friend, I was able to test drive a Kindle – the $79 introductory device hereinafter dubbed by Amazon simply as the “Kindle” – for a few months. And it was truly an experience that cemented my growing love for ereaders. I used to snub my nose against electronic reading devices (ironic considering my degree in IT) because for me, nothing feels better than holding a real book and feasting on its literary goodness. But the Kindle changed all that. In the space of mere weeks, I started to prefer being engrossed in the stark beauty of black text against a white background. I toted the Kindle everywhere I go – at the mall, in the plaza, and even while lining up at the cashier. What was instrumental to my metanoia about the Kindle and other similar devices (I have yet to handle a Nook, Kobo or a Sony ereader though) are these 5 things (among others):

  1. Portability – Hands down, this is one of its top features. Imagine bringing along your library virtually everywhere you go. No more dull moments while waiting for a bus, or a train, or that plate of spaghetti you ordered minutes ago. Huzzah!
  2. Less eye strain – The person who invented E-Ink Technology must have been an avid reader, too, as he certainly revolutionized reading. E-ink does not glare even under bright sunlight (although the way you angle your device for your convenience will undoubtedly play a role). And that bit about E-Ink being “like a real paper”? It is super true. Even after reading for quite some time, my eyes never tire nor do I feel a need to rest my eyes unlike when reading in front of LCD or LED screens. I was diagnosed with a “lazy eye” on my left a couple of months back so the Kindle is really helping me to enjoy ebooks without the extra stress.
  3. Less bulk – Weighing at only 7.5 ounces, the Kindle Touch fits my requirement for “lightness”. I can hold it in one hand while my other hand is busy with something else. My favorite past time while waiting for my sister to go off from work is to eat snacks at the mall while reading with the KT (or the Kindle when I was still using it).
  4. “Anonymity” – This is a double-edged sword. Since ereaders are not that popular with the local crowd yet, the Kindle usually gets stared at by others especially when I’m in crowded places like the mall. While the device gets admired, you can’t help but feel a bit “intruded” as you’d rather read in peace. On the other hand, since not many people are familiar with such devices, you feel a bit assured that snatchers or hold uppers won’t take an interest in my Kindle…yet. Small window of hope I’m leveraging on obviously. Haha
  5. Less Space – Not having physical books could mean extra space. My mama was so pleased for me about my winning a Kindle and so happy for herself that there won’t be physical books lying around in my room or hiding in the closet. Less stuff to clean, I guess. 😀

And probably, one of the questions you’d want to ask me is if my having a Kindle has changed my sentiments about buying physical copies. The answer is “not really”. I still buy glue-and-paper books as much as I can (or as much as I can only afford) but only those that I can’t find electronic copies of. So that means the ones I buy now are older editions or out-of-print copies (usually middle grade novels of which I am such a super big fan. *wink*)
UPDATE: I still buy print books even until now. In fact, whenever I’m in the mall, I usually check out bookstores (hello, Booksale + NBS) and see what my meager budget can afford me. And unfortunately for my mom, my collection is outgrowing the space in our house. One would probably need a navigator just to go around my room. Hehe

Tomorrow, I’m going to do a side by side comparison between the Kindle (2011) and the Kindle Touch. Hope I’d be able to answer the questions about those two that have been niggling you. 🙂


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Images © The Traveling Reader, 2012.

Review: Kindle Touch (Part 2)

Hi! Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s Kindle Touch Review. And what I have in store for you is how to get started with your kindle touch as you open it from the box.

GETTING STARTED
Notice how the kindle’s screensaver illustrates the different parts of the kindle. Study it first before going any further.

Then, read the instruction card tucked inside the box flap (see pic). It tells the basic stuff you need to know as you acquaint yourself with your reading device. It’s short and sweet. No worries though as your kindle comes equipped with a more detailed guide. You’ll be able to read that once you’ve turned on your kindle.

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Review: Kindle Touch (Part 1)

Let me begin by saying another round of “thank you’s” to Molly Snow for this unexpected (but greatly welcomed) windfall. I hope my previous post conveyed my gratitude. 😀
This review has been divided into several parts which I’m going to be posting once a day so that’s 6 days of everything you wanted to know about having an ebook reader particularly a kindle touch. Now on to my review.

UNVEILING THE KINDLE




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