A Gift of Reading

The day before father’s day my wife presents me with a Kindle 2. Never before have I seen one, let alone touched a Kindle device for that matter. My only experience was from reading about the Kindle on Amazon.com. She knew that I wanted to return to my old reading affair but due to my career I end up selecting technical centric titles. With this new device I am able to take the ebooks that came (as an added bouns) with my print version books and upload them to my Kindle 2. In some cases the font size is pretty small but can be adjusted if the option is available.

Before the purchase was made she knew that I did some research and that I did weight out some of the differences between the Barnes and Nobel (Nook), Apples (iPad), Sony’s (ebook Reader), Amazon’s (Kindle 2) and the (Kindle DX). Of course each of the devices has their strengths and weaknesses so it boils down to native features and overall price. Well at least for me it does.

In the beginning I was set on a device that offered at least a 9″+ touch-screen (color and readable in direct sunlight), storage expansion via SD slot, USB support, long-lasting battery life and broadband wireless with WiFi support. However, after some consideration I decided that a compact factor would be more suitable for my actual needs. With this decision this immediately removed the iPad (though very cool) from the selection. Not to mention the price tag of the iPad did not sit well with me. Besides the iPad’s next generation(s) will most likely include a ton of added features; hopefully, at a more affordable price. Which will make it even more attractive but until then I must pass for now. This also removed the Kindle DX from the selection.

With those factored out I sought for wireless options which immediately terminated Sony’s Reader from the standing competition. From here it boiled down to services. Even though the Nook and Kindle stood toe-to-toe in terms of internal storage the Nook had the available of expansion and the added Wireless support. Which were a feature I felt I needed. After careful consideration I felt that I really did not need WiFi support (though extremely useful) or had the desire to sign-up for Wireless services especially from AT&T. I have never been a fan of AT&T; further more, based on the stories from some my friends and colleagues that are or were AT&T subscribers, the coverage was apparently an issue.

This left one candidate standing and that was the Kindle 2. Though it does not offer storage expansion nor WiFi support I am granted FREE 3G wireless service throughout the United States. Unfortunately my version is not equipped with Global coverage but all new versions of the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX come with standard Global service for FREE. This means I can pretty much purchase and download books from anywhere right from the convenience of my Kindle 2. This alleviates the need of a computer to transfer files, though it is a standard and readily available option.

I am very pleased with the Kindle 2 with its convenient compact size and the crisp-clear (E-Ink) display that is remarkably visible in direct sunlight. In darker settings a light will be required since the Kindle(s) are not equipped with back illumination (reduces stress on the eyes this way). The battery barely dropped a notch or two during my week away on business. This includes uses on the airplane, in the hotel for an hour or two per day and on some occasions during lunch (30 mins – 1 hr). Of course I kept the WiFi disabled since I did not need it.

Features B & N
Reader Touch
Kindle 2
Kindle DX
Internal Storage 2GB 16/32/64GB 512MB 2GB 4GB
Storage Expansion Micro-SD No SD
Memory Stick Pro
No No
Wireless 3G1 + WiFi 3G1 + WiFi No 3G (Free)
3G (Free)
Screen Size 6″ Grey Scale 9.7″ Color 6″ Grey 6″ Grey 9.7″ Grey
USB Support Micro-USB No Micro-USB Micro-USB Micro-USB
Battery Life 10 days2 10hrs3/9hrs4 2 wks 2 wks2 2 wks2
Touch Screen 3.5″ Menu only Yes Yes No No
Text to Speech No Yes5 No Yes6 Yes6
Price $149-$199 $499-$829 $199 $189 $489

Table – 1: eBook Reader Comparison

1 3G service by AT&T
2 With WiFi disabled
3 With WiFi usage
4 With 3G usage
5 Available in some applications
6 Available in most books


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