After three weeks with the “Kindle”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/06/15/fathers-day-2008/, I’ve read six books. That’s a lot for me in three weeks. And I’ve probably read a seventh book considering all the samples of books I read (and decided not to buy). Overall, the Kindle is great. It creates a good reading experience and is light enough to hold for long periods of time, unlike a big hardcover book. It’s also very close to being the iPod of books. I have several books available to me, so if I decide I’d rather read another book, it’s there. So when you’re going to read, you just grab the Kindle, lay down on the hammock and then decide what you want to read.

I subscribed to several newspapers for the 14-day free trial, but I unsubscribed from all of them. They’re delivered by the time you wake up, which is nice. But they aren’t the full newspaper and most articles lack the photos or graphs that are mentioned in the article. And for the ones that are there, they’re in a 4-color grayscale, so they’re hard to see. And, the newspapers are expensive, especially considering they’re all free online (with included color photos and graphs too).

Here’s my annoyances:

  • The screen’s contrast is not as good as paper. The ink in a book is black on white or slightly yellow paper, but the Kindle is dark grey text on a light grey background. It’s still easy on the eyes for long periods of time but the lower contrast makes it harder to read in lower light. Plus, there is a slight glare on the screen so at times you do have to turn it to be able to read it, the way you would with a glossy magazine.

  • It’s not very durable. The left Next Page button is already broken because I carried it in the cargo pocket of a pair of shorts.

  • The page-turning buttons were poorly-designed. The left Next Page button is too small and the Prev Page button is too big. When holding it with my left hand, I have to either bend my thumb too far to hit the Next Page button or hold my pointer finger in front of it to make it easy to “turn” the page. The Next Page button is used 100x more than the Prev Page, why not optimize for that operation? They did do that on the right side – there is only a Next Page button there and it’s as big as the left’s Prev Page and Next Page buttons combined. But it’s angled back for some reason, so you have the disconcerting feeling of your finger sliding off of it as you press it. It makes me resist pressing it. What’s the point of that?! I assumed they wanted to make it easy to press it by reaching around the back of it, but that’s not possible.

  • The buttons are far too easy to press accidentally. When I lift it up I have to be very careful to not accidentally push a button, I find myself picking it up like I’m picking up a piece of pizza, being careful to only hold it in the right places and with enough support underneath. It’s almost impossible to pick it up with one hand without thinking about your plan of attack first.

  • The keyboard is unnecessarily large. There’s too much space between the keys and they’re positioned in a weird way. I assume they were trying to mimic the angled Blackberry keyboard which makes little sense. If they were going to do that, why not make it half the size like the Blackberry’s keyboard? Because the keyboard is so big, one (of the few) ways to hold the Kindle forces you to hold it with your thumb over the keys, which feels odd. Fortunately, pressing the keys does nothing while you’re reading, so you ignore the oddness.

  • There are Volume Up/Down buttons on the bottom that you find yourself pressing when it’s resting in your hand. That’s disconcerting too. Why not put those buttons on top since, unlike a real book, you can’t hold it on the top.

  • It’s really slow. You quickly learn to hit the Next Page button when you reach the second-to-last line of the page because by the time the page actually “turns”, you’ve finished the page.

  • The case is necessary. For the first week-and-a-half, I didn’t use the case at all. This caused me to break one button. But that’s good, because it forced me to put the case on it. The case makes it easier to hold because you can hold it on the back without hitting the Next Page button and you can hold it at the top. You end up holding the case rather than the device itself.