Saturday, November 7, 2009

CNet review and some corrections

Here's a new CNet review that is more thorough than most today (after so many e-readers hit the market and very few have been actually really trying them out for functioning before reviewing them). The downsides are explored in this review, and buyers should be aware of them.

I'm linking readers to the review but pointing out a few erroneous statements (which are somewhat common to Kindle reviews) for those wondering about the pros and cons of the the Kindle International 6" reader. Still, the review is much more accurate than most I've read.

According to CNet, the font darkness or screen contrast is now better than it was with the Kindle 2.
Although they say, rightly, that the free websurfing is slower than we'd want but it's doable, they don't understand why Barnes and Noble is not giving this web-surfing capability with the Nook reader. (It's costly.)

Correction 1
On page 2, CNet says that *.txt and *.jpg files can't be natively viewed on the Kindle and that this is problematical.  The Kindle does natively view .txt files, and jpg files are read with a 'pictures' folder function though the latter's not that easy to use.

Correction 2
They also say that you'll "need to email" these and other formats for conversion at a cost of 10 cents per file. No, you can email them to be converted and sent to your computer for free and then move the converted files to the Kindle yourself with the USB cable. No cost.
  There IS a charge for mailing them direct to the Kindle and that is now 15 cents per file (per megabyte of file). They are right that the Kindle 2 does not natively read PDF files but converts them, which is allright for novels, but not particularly accurate with multi-column text and complex pages with illustration and labels. On the other hand no 6" reader will show these well and anyone needing PDF reading capability should go with the coming Plastic Logic's larger model or iRex's due in December, though they'll be more expensive. They allow annotations on PDFs, which is important for academics and business users.
  Update - I should have mentioned that the Kindle DX does a good job of reading PDFs and enlarges them when you rotate the unit.  It currently does not allow editing of PDFs but we can convert copies to flowing-text "mobi" or "prc" files for that while using the original PDFs for reading, on the DX, the layout as presented.

Correction 3
CNet writes that "The Kindle is natively compatible with only Amazon's own .azw file format" - what you get from the Amazon Kindle store. This is decidedly not true.  It reads, natively, 'mobi' and 'prc' files which you can get and download for free from places like, ( and as I have said often, this also includes 30,000 well-formatted free "mobi" books from Project Gutenberg.

Correction 4
They also say that you "can't read the huge library of free Google books, but you can, with a simple 3-minute conversion.

Correction 5
CNet's review claims that Kindle's Whispersync does not allow two people to read a book at the same time. This is misleading at best. Whispersync is for people who want to read on one device and continue reading on a second device.
  Those sharing a Kindle account can just turn off Whispersync and then up to 6 people sharing that account can read a given book at the same time for the cost of one book.

Despite the above, the review has very good information, otherwise.

(Am still on vacation but reading every now and then.) Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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