This image at the left shows how much smaller the new Kindle 3G/WiFi and Kindle WiFi-Only are when seen next to the Kindle 2 International model.

I saw this image from Amazon when reading Wilson Rothman’s excellent summary for MSNBC of the new Kindle features, putting it all into perspective.  It was refreshing after reading another report, one representing the Kindle as a giant reptile that won’t die although the unnamed writer really wants it to be buried.

That’s the headline by Melissa J. Perenson at Washington Post’s posting of the PC World report today.

‘ As soon as I took the Kindle in hand, I knew that this Kindle marked new territory…

For the first time, I could comfortably hold a Kindle e-reader in one hand. At 8.7 ounces, the Kindle is not the lightest such device on the market…But it is lighter than Barnes & Noble’s Nook (11.6 ounces for Nook Wi-Fi, 12.1 ounces for Nook Wi-Fi + 3G)… The unit felt very balanced in-hand, and the buttons felt like they were in convenient, ergonomic places.

…in my experience, the darker border enhances readability, as would be expected given the visual perception a dark border provides. But the display is dramatically better in its own regard…
… the difference felt more dramatic when holding the device (an act also made easier by the rubberized backing). ‘

She mentions the smaller bezels, a redsign that helps the 6-inch screen now dominate although there’s still enough room round the edges to comfortably hold the unit.
She also feels the buttons have been redesigned “to great effect” and that placing the Prev/Next buttons on both sides makes it convenient for both left- and right-handed readers.

I’m surprised that the slimmer buttons for page-turning are now depressed AWAY from the screen, which she prefers, and she doesn’t seem to have experienced the old inadvertent page turns, calling it “a vastly superior experience.”

She finds the keyboard buttons easier to type on than the Kindle 2’s.

The reorganization of the navigation buttons was easy for her to adapt to, “and certainly better than the comparatively stiff joystick” though further time with this when she gets her shipping unit will give her a better idea, she says.

The navigation is “noticeably faster” as she was able to “breezily scroll through menu items with practically no lag” (I look forward to THAT) — and she mentions the Kobo is “interminably slow” so that must be really bad.)

She didn’t realize the Kindle 2 line-spacing could be changed by pressing the alt-shift and number keys to decrease or increase the spacing between lines (it’s not well-documented) and appreciates the explicit line spacing options given with the text-key [“Aa”] as well as the 3 typeface choices (something I never cared about but I do hate the special fonts some publishers use along with too much line spacing in some “Topaz” editions — am thinking of books on the “LOST” tv series).

The Webkit-based Web browser “provides a better experience than before.”
I should hope!  And that is still a cautious statement.

The improved battery performance is, Amazon told her, achieved through software.  It’s quite an improvement in the numbers given, but I’d like to know how much battery life is used by the the night-light in the special Amazon cover.

She sums it up with

‘ In my limited hands-on time with the new Kindle, this gadget made an unusually quick, and positive, impression.  While I need to spend more time with it to vet my initial impressions, the new Kindle’s solid build quality, improved design, integrated store, and cross-platform transportability (books are usable on any Kindle reader app, including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and PC) all add up to a winner poised to top the pack. ‘

Photos of the new Kindle by Pocket-Lint, article by Stuart Miles


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