Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review of My New Kindle Touch

Me with my 2nd Generation Kindle

Me and my new Kindle Touch
My old tried and true 2nd Generation Kindle was getting a little wonky on me (wonky’s a technical term for the Kindle spontaneously restarting or freezing up in the middle of hot love scenes) so I asked Santa for a new Kindle Touch for Christmas, and lo, Santa’s Elf (the DH) delivered my new Kindle Touch in time for Christmas morning. Yay, DH! I thought I’d share my thoughts on my Touch, which is the 3G version without special offers.

·         The screen is awesome – I love the e-ink screen, and the text is a lot crisper than my 2nd Generation Kindle. As I get older this is MUCH appreciated, since we southern belles are vain and don’t like to wear our glasses in public. Lord help me when I have to wear glasses to apply my makeup. Of course, I might have already passed that point and everyone’s too kind to mention that my lipstick’s all over the place. You never know…

·         Size – the Touch is smaller and MUCH lighter than the 2nd Gen and even the 3rd Gen Kindles. I have tiny hands and puny arms, so heavy lifting is not for me! I love that the Touch is barely heavier than a Mass Market Paperback and about the same as a Trade Paperback with less bulk and no messy black smudges on the fingers. This would make a great gift for an older reader with arthritis.You can see from the pictures how much smaller the Touch is than the 2nd Generation Kindle.

·         Keyboard – the onscreen keyboard for the Touch is super easy to use. I like it more than the one on my HTC Inspire (that’s a smartphone for you Luddites like my Mother). I like not having the keyboard take up so much space on the Kindle, plus there’s no autocorrect, which means I don’t type “Dad’s” and discover later that it’s been switched to “fascist” without my realizing it (yes, that really happened on my phone).

Could Go Either Way
·         Collections – Collections are how you organize books on your Kindle, very similar to folders for Word documents. Despite a few hiccups on Christmas Day, no doubt due to high traffic on Amazon’s webpage, my collections from my 2nd Gen Kindle were instantly downloaded to my new Touch without any problems. Unfortunately, the collections are both a pro and a con, mainly because the concept behind collections is awkward to begin with. Moving books to various collections requires several steps and possibly  scrolling through your entire library, which is time consuming if you have a large library of, say, more than 1000 books like some people I know (*cough* ME *cough*). This is not the most user-friendly way of organizing your books, and I’m surprised that Amazon hasn’t improved it. However, it’s a method of organization that I’m already familiar with, thanks to my 2nd Generation Kindle, so that isn’t much of a problem. (I believe the Amazon Fire has a different method of organizing books, but so far that hasn’t trickled down to the e-ink readers yet.)

·         Special Offers – I got the Touch without special offers, but you can go to the Manage My Kindle page and subscribe to the special offers if you like. I did just that to see how it works, and I have to say I haven’t been super impressed with the offers thus far, but I like being able to turn the offers on or off as I like. The offers are limited to the screen saver when the Kindle is in sleep mode and to a small banner at the bottom of the screen when it’s turned on. They don’t appear at all when reading. The images for the screen savers are so far tasteful and not much different from the screen savers that appear when you’re not subscribed to the special offers. I’m kind of up in the air about this, since I already get deals from Groupon and Dealfind. How many deals does one person need?

·         The touch screen is a little slow in responding. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the screen on my smart phone, but it does seem a little slower. However, the pages do turn quicker without the lag that many people complained about with the older Kindles. I never really had a problem with this, but I know it did bother some readers.

·         The power button is located on the bottom of the Touch. I haven’t had any problems with accidentally turning off the Touch, but I do tend to rest the Kindle on my lap, so this seems like an awkward place for the power switch.

·         It doesn’t seem very intuitive. My father-in-law reads a LOT of heavy hardback books and could really benefit from a light ereader that allows him to enlarge the text. But he doesn’t use a computer, and I can only picture his confusion at using the Touch. It really isn’t all that obvious at first glance. Plus, I have several adult students in my Spanish classes, and they mentioned that they’d never purchased ANYTHING online before (the mind boggles), so I have to think they would have difficulty figuring out the Kindle’s features straight out of the box. I can’t imagine how they would navigate the Kindle store, which remains easier to use online than on the Touch.  

·         The Touch is not as easy to use one-handed as my 2nd Generation Kindle was. The DH is VERY spoiled – every night he gets a back rub while I read on my Kindle, which requires one-handed reading on my part. So far this has been a bit awkward, since I have to set the Touch on my lap to do anything other than turn the page. I’ve asked for a cover for the Touch for my birthday (only 2 days away – woot!), so I’m hoping this will make it easier to use one handed. I also wonder how well the Touch would work for left-handed users, since touching the screen on the left has you going back a page, while taping anywhere else on the screen moves you forward one page.

·         Having to re-download my more than 1,000 books in my Kindle library is a real pain in the butt. You can find instructions on ehow.com for transferring your books from one Kindle to another, and I highly suggest you do it that way, because re-downloading all your archived books one by one would take FOREVAH!

Final Thoughts
Overall, I love the new Kindle Touch! The lighter weight and crisper screen rock, and I like the simplicity of design. I can’t compare it to the Nook or Kobo, but I’m a big fan of e-ink readers versus tablets, and the Touch is definitely easier to read for any length of time than an iPad or Amazon Fire. Also, its smaller size is a big plus, as it’s easier to slip into your purse or a coat pocket. While I think that Amazon needs to find a way to make the Kindle more intuitive for new users, I would definitely recommend this to my reader friends, as I’ve been very pleased with both my Kindles.

1 comment:

  1. congrats on the new kindle touch. Santa brought me the Nook tablet, as I already have the first nook e-ink and wanted one to read at night with, and for those books requiring color.
    I love being able to carry my collection with me, and find the E-readers easier to handle then an actual book. Enjoy!