Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kindle touch is on par with multi touch smart phones

From the reviews, I hesitated to buy the Kindle touch version, worrying that it will be too bad compared to the smart phones the family is used to.  The tiny guy likes to pinch every image on her colour picture book on the kindle phone app.  It turns out that it's the best feature is the touch, especially if you are used to smart phones like iphone.

If you have kids already reading phone book thick books, e-ink is a no brainer.  They don't need colour books.  You can hurt their eye sight least with e-ink, reading for hours at a time.

The screen resolution of 800x600 is quite adequate for reading.  The more important is the dpi.  With e-ink, kindles are better than tablets and the kindle fire, and not as dense as smart phones.  But you only need that density on 3 to 4 inch phones.  Indeed if I can do it again, I would not pay more for smart phones like qHD or the iPhone 4 or newer HD screens in smart phones.  Movies and websites look really beautiful on the tiny screens, but I think even if I ever watch a movie on it, I wouldn't mind as long as it plays.

So kindle and e-ink is best for reading, period.  And cheaper than the kindle fire.  If I want anything else, I have the netbook.  The latest kindle screen is slightly better than the last model, and noticeably better than the 1st generations - it was reported.

Page turning or transition on the kindle is said to be like ATM machines in the 90's.  That is, slow.  In reality you can see the transition, but not as if you need to wait.  And it is a lot faster than turning a paper book.  So for web browsing, you have to expect a little delay when you fetch a new page, not to wait for the download, but for the ink to settle.

There is one home button at the bottom, and one power button on the side bottom.  Contrary to some reviews, these buttons are not sensitive at all.  It's pretty hard to accidentally toggle these buttons as in phones.  You really don't need to use the power button often because the battery last for a month or two, and the device will go to sleep automatically.  The home button is huge, and I think there is redundancy in it to last longer.  So the kindle touch will outlast other devices, when it's not worthwhile to repair any malfunction buttons.

The touch screen is supposed to be resistive, meaning that you can use anything instead of your fingers.  In phones they have capacitive screens to avoid triggering the phone other than your fingers.  But resistive screen isn't a bad thing on the kindle at all.  You can use a soft tip to type, and it will not leave grease too.

The kindle screen is like matte as compared to glossy on phones.  So the kindle is more tolerable to grease.  But it is just superficial.  Wipe with any micro fibre cloth and it will be fine.

Basically the kindle is a mutli touch device very much like an Android 2.3 multi touch phone.  You can turn pages with wiping and change font sizes with pinching.  Same thing when using the browser.  Because the screen is so much bigger, it is easier on the kindle than on the phone.  You don't worry about too sensitive or not sensitive enough.

They have a context sensitive keyboard, which is standard on reading mode and change to web mode when browsing.  But somehow not when you are entering your username and passward, so you have a relative hard time entering your email address with the standard keyboard.

Of course the touch keyboard will be superior than any physical keyboard on devices of the same size and smaller.  You only need landscape mode on phones because of the keyboard size.  The kindle is wide enough not to need it.  And you read, you the natural mode is portrait.  Though, if you have challenged eye sight or movement abilities, you may need the landscape mode, or a bigger device.

Keyboard on phones have optional sound and vibration for feedback.  The kindle doesn't.  But the ink color transition on the keys is a pretty good visual feedback.

Browsing is not bad at all, other than that it's black and white, do not play flash video, and have to wait a little for the ink to settle.  But I can comfortably manage my emails, and browse the news for example.  There is also an article mode during browsing, probably for better reading of news and such.  It's neat that you will be left on the last page of your book, and also your web page always. (Not sure after completely power down.)

For the software you have the whole Amazon store.  The Amazon Prime deal isn't as good as it seems.  Other than the selection is probably not as many as Netflix, Amazon video don't work on Linux (used to at some point), and neither on the Wii.  So you need to have a wifi TV or a cheap wifi streaming box.

Amazon Prime is limited to one new book per month.  So for children readers it is obviously not enough.  But there are many free books.  The problem is that they don't have a precise catalogue by design.  So there's an industry of paid books and subscriptions, telling you how to find free books.  And you can have the free books perhaps as long as you have a kindle, not Amazon prime.

I picked the Kindle over the Nook because I'm sure the kindle books work on the phone, the computers, and I can download kindle books from the library.  I think the Nook will be similar but I don't see the word Nook on the library website.  I tried to install readers on Linux to read the other formats, but so far only the kindle web reader works without hassle. 

As a final word, the screen savers with commercials are beautifully done.  It reminds me of Casablanca the movie.  It's that good.

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