Amazon Kindle 4 review

Shortly before Christmas, I sold my Cybook Opus – which I loved, if you recall my review – and purchased an Amazon Kindle. I have been enjoying it for the past few days, so here is my review for it, especially with regard to how it compares to the Opus.

If, after reading this post, you decide to purchase a Kindle, please do so using the links at the bottom; that way, you support this blog’s costs and expenses.

I cannot provide side-by-side comparisons because I sold the Opus before receiving the Kindle, but I used it for the last year and a half, so I am very familiar with its merits and its shortcomings.

The first thing I noticed is the screen. In addition to being slightly bigger, six inches versus the Opus’s five, the e-ink technology is – not surprisingly – better. The Kindle supports 16 shades of grey rather than the Opus’s 4, and the background looks brighter and the text darker. It is worth pointing out that while the Kindle’s screen is bigger, it is theoretically less sharp because the resolution is the same (800 x 600 pixels). In practice, however, the Kindle still appears better due to the improved technology, dubbed “e-ink pearl.” Amazon shows it off to great effect by employing detailed (and no doubt optimized) pictures as screensavers when the reader is not in use.

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Where do you find e-books?

So you have bought a nice e-ink based e-book reader, and you need to quench your thirst for books. How do you get them? Free e-books are, well, free and without encryption; paid e-books, on the other hand, can be either encrypted or unencrypted.

For the sake of simplicity, I will assume that your reader is able to read ePub and PDF files and supports the Adobe Digital Editions DRM for both formats. Most readers can however be reprogrammed to support Mobi files, however, but I personally suggest to stick with ePub.

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Electronic ink: is it that good?

E-ink is the technology behind e-book readers such as the Opus. Some call it e-paper, but it’s essentially the same thing: a (relatively) revolutionary approach at computer-controlled displays. E-ink screens differ greatly from CRT or LCD screens, in several ways:

  1. They are not backlit, therefore you need ambient light to see what’s on them
  2. They do not require power to keep the image up
  3. Their refresh rate is abysmal
  4. They do not yet come in color, and they’re quite lame at showing gray too

So, you may wonder, why even consider buying something like this? That’s very simple: the things I mentioned above are the points of strength of these devices, not their weaknesses: it’s all about what you use these screens for. I am going to briefly go through those perveiced problems.

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Bookeen Cybook Opus review

As you may know by now (if not, see the previous post), I am the proud owner of a Bookeen Cybook Opus. My video may or may have not made sense, so here I am, giving more details about the device. If you are satisfied with a very short review: here it is: this thing rocks. If you need to know more, just read on.

If you haven’t watched the video, don’t bother doing so: anything I said in it will be covered here.

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Bookeen Cybook Opus video review

Last week I got an e-ink based e-book reader, specifically a Cybook Opus by Bookeen. I made a basic video review for those who have no idea what an e-book reader is about and why it blows away any other device, when it comes to reading books.

Head to the video page on Youtube and enjoy. If you can stand my accent, that is.