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Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's really pretty good, 27 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Because of poor to zero wi-fi access I bought the 3G/Wi-fi version, albeit refurbished. This has worked entirely well, though quite why you don't get a power charger with a refurbished model I don't know.

On the plus side, the size and slimness of the unit mean that it's a superbly elegant piece of technology. Battery life is very good - usually one can discount makers' claims, but this really does need very infrequent top-ups. Downloads and all the associated payments and record-keeping are accurate and rapid.

As for the reading, the ability to find a word or phrase, as one would in a Word text, is really good, and the text appearance is fine. The ability to change font size is clever too. The actual books come out as unexciting text, and however neat the Kindle versions of newspapers may be they are obviously not as tactile as the "real thing". This is not a criticism, as such - but it does need some getting used to!

Given that some books are a few quid cheaper than the paperback version there are some savings to be made to off-set the cost, but don't count on it every time. One very great benefit is of course when travelling - all the holiday reading in one thin volume.

Some people have said it is hard to understand. But there is an on-board manual, and as long as you spend an hour or so looking through that everything is explained very well.

For me the downsides fall into two categories. First, the things that attach to this medium of e-reading - the unexciting and relentless "turning" of identical pages, with no easy flicking from one page to another, anywhere in the book. Despite the "find" facility for individual words it isn't as easy to find your overall location in the text, and the progress bar on the screen seems to me to be not entirely reliable. However, these niggles are almost inevitable as a result of the medium, and I can live with them.

Other issues are more a question of design or implementation, and they take the edge off in various ways. The keyboard, for instance, is ingenious - almost too much so. But the basic problem is that is has buttons for 'keys': because they are real buttons, they are too close together to allow touch typing, while remaining so far apart that a one-finger operation has you dotting all over the place, covering large distances. They do need quite a press, too, and it seems to me that the virtual on-screen keyboards of smartphones are much, much neater.

To be able to make notes is great, but if you want to look up those notes (for example, to do a review) the actual footnote in the text appears as the very first thing on a new page. So if (as is natural) you made the note AFTER reading a passage, you then have to go back a page to check the context, and what you meant in the note. This happens every single time - a real drag.

The categorisation of books in the Kindle store is random at times. When looking up books on cricket (under Sport) I was offered a novel that seemed to be a crime thriller which just happened to have one of the characters playing cricket. Similarly anything involving cycles may end up in Sport, whether or not it is about cycling as a sport. The job is done by computers, obviously, and it seems a bit sloppy.

Not as sloppy as the proof-reading and re-setting for e-format, though. Some of the texts I have read are dreadful, and the most recent had over 100 errors of spelling or punctuation. Sometimes the alignment of pages is thrown askew, and an occasional line will have just one word for no apparent reason. This will annoy some people more than others, but considering the amount of investment in the whole thing this looks really amateurish.

In view of these weaknesses I had to choose between 3 and 4 stars. I made it 4, all the same, as it looks so beautiful and is such a clever idea. It will never replace books, as such, but it's a super back-up in the right conditions.
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T. Field
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