Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 3: The Final Verdict
May 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm
By Joanna Cabot
Yesterday, I highlighted some Kindle-only features I particularly liked. Today, I will talk about some quirks which were less appealing, and then give my final verdict. Will I be keeping the Kindle Paperwhite, or will I continue trucking along with my Kobo Glo?
Firstly, let’s talk about one feature I do miss from the Kobo—Pocket integration. The Kobo did this very well. You could save articles from sites like Longform, straight from the on-board web browser! And you had full control over what to do with them when you were done—delete from both the device and the server, archive, save to favourites and so on.
The Kindle does not have a similar feature. It does have bookmarklets for Chrome and Firefox which let you save any web page and send it straight to the Kindle (and I found a website called Sendtoreader which does the same thing, for any Safari users out there!) But the management features aren’t there. The Kindle treats these as it treats any personal document and saves it on the cloud. When you are finished reading the article, you have to go back to the Manage Your Kindle section on the website and delete them out of there manually. It’s a small annoyance, but an annoyance just the same.
To me though, that is trumped by some of the very cool stuff the Kindle does do. Their iOS app is leagues above the slow, pokey Kobo one. I have never forgiven Kobo for making you go to the website to do something as basic as download a past purchase. That is just unforgivable to me that the device can’t stand on its own and be used without a computer. Yes, the Kindle does make you go to the website for a handful of management features (such as the care and wrangling of personal documents). But those are more ‘power user’ features. Most users really do buy most of their books from the Kindle store. They may infrequently use the mail-to feature, but not often enough that they will ever run out of cloud space. They just read, delete and never think about it again. And that is as it should be.
My only real gripe with Amazon, from the ‘business decision’ standpoint, is their reluctance to embrace the ePub format. I do resent a little that I had to double my library size overnight just to accommodate Amazon’s stubborn insistence on using a different format. I have not decided yet whether I will simply abandon iBooks and abandon ePub entirely, or whether I will keep my ePub library as is and simply convert as needed. But it is annoying, no doubt about it!
So what will I do? What should YOU do? Well, there are two scenarios here. Either you want to do fancy things, in which case it’s Kindle or bust, or you just want to straight-up read, in which case either one will do. If you care a lot of about typography and making it all look pretty, the Kobo really does offer prettier books. But you sometimes have to fiddle to get them that way, and if you don’t know how to sideload using Calibre, getting back content you’ve taken off is really hard. If a consistent experience is important to you, and you’re good with buying most of your books from Amazon, the Kindle is your best bet.
Neither device is perfect and both have their minor annoyances for me. If I could have the Kindle, but with the Kobo’s font controls, I’d be set. As is, though, I think I will settle for the Kindle. I will miss the Kobo’s prettier fonts, and the Kindle’s format of choice creates some hassle for me. And the lack of proper justification is really annoying to me—but I am starting to get used to it, I guess, and I do think Amazon can improve it if they want to.
What I need is smooth and seamless cross-device synccing—that was priority number 1, and the Kindle excels at it. And some of those bonus features are pretty handy. It’s not a perfect device—yet—but it has a better foundation to build on and a smoother overall experience. So…team Kindle, I guess. Sorry, Kobo!