Review: First Week Using a Kindle

Like many, I debated for awhile about buying a Kindle since I had never used an e-reader before. Would I miss the feel of a book? Would it ruin the experience? All the usual stuff. Ultimately, I bit the bullet and bought one. Would I buy again? Absolutely.

I bought the Amazon Paperwhite (10th Gen), which is one step up from the basic Kindle. The design seemed slightly more premium, which seemed like an important detail if I was actually going to use it for hours to read.

I was an avid reader growing up, but once college started, I was overwhelmed with text and took a six year hiatus. In the last two years, I’ve slowly gotten back into reading…and by that I mean I bought 26 books and read about 4. There were two main barriers to reading. If I wanted to read before bed, I had to have the light on. And when I did read, it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. The Kindle knocked those barriers down.

Side note, Max Joseph’s film BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content is an engaging look at bookstores nowadays. I’ve watched it three times, and I’ll watch it again.

👍 Favorite Paperwhite Features

  • One of my favorite features so far is the percent complete and the bottom right hand corner. I initially thought this would be very distracting… However, it has gamified the experience of reading to some extent. It moves quickly and flipping through a few pages will see a change in the percent sign. This is encouraging because spending a few minutes reading in bed can get you 5% more through the book. So I really like this feedback feature.
  • The backlight. You don’t need a reading light when you’re in bed with the lights off…or anywhere else.
  • The text on the screen looks very paper-like, and I don’t feel like I’m missing much of anything by not reading a paper copy. In fact, I would say I often enjoy the crisp, consistent page experience on the Kindle more than print pages. On the Kindle, you can change font and font size.

Some Random Observations

  1. The Paperwhite screen does attract fingerprints, but they aren’t bad unless you have direct light shining on it. I didn’t even notice them until light happened to shine at the right angle. Very easy to avoid.
  2. Direct light does produce a glare and makes reading close to unbearable. Even diffused light from a floor lamp is pretty annoying.
  3. I can see how the basic Kindle (10th Gen) would be problematic for highlighting things with the indented screen. if you go close to the edge with your finger to highlight something you’d end up running into the bezel.
  4. The touch screen can be a little annoying to interact with. The delay is something to get used to. Highlighting is nice, but not perfect given the interactions with the touch screen. I think it’s something that will go away over time once I get used to the device and the touch screen.
  5. Typing a note is easy. Word suggestion is reasonably good.
  6. Watching reviews online, the page turn/refresh behavior of switching contrast from white to black to white background seemed unnecessary and distracting. It don’t notice it while I’m using my Kindle now, though I don’t know whether it serves some purpose.
  7. It’s not possible to highlight footnotes.