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  • EEVblog #108 – Amazon Kindle 3 3G/WiFi Review

    Posted on September 2nd, 2010 EEVblog 37 comments
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    • chris

      Thanks for this in depth review Dave.
      It’s a pretty neat device!

      Too bad you didn’t try to read some datasheets .
      You said on The AmpHour that they don’t fit well on the screen and it’s a pity because I would certainly appreciate that kind of gizmo beside me when I work on my projects.

      Could you elaborate on this specific subject ?

    • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

      Ok, I’ll have to do another video about it’s PDF datasheet capability.

      Next video though is the TEARDOWN!

      • Steve

        Yeah, pdf reading capabilities — especially, does it allow zooming?

        I purchased a Nook for $US99 in the US in June and it’s a great little reader, and has the capability to have a 16GB mini SD card inserted. Also the inbuilt memory is also a mini SD card.

        Whilst the Nook reads PDFs, it can’t really zoom them and datasheets can be totally unreadable. It tries to allow you to change the font size, but that can break formatting. (It also doesn’t support rotation like the K3)

        There are some people hacking the Nook firmware and I hope that they (or B&N) will come out with zooming features in a firmware update.

        Being able to carry around all my data in something like an ebook would be *really* useful.

    • http://kindle3gwirelessreview.com/video.html shelly-kindle3gwifi

      The buttons have been redesigned and putting the previous and next buttons to both sides is convenient for both left- and right-handed readers The Kindle 3G is absolutely worth it.It

    • djsb

      Is the art of electronics pdf available in the kindle store?

    • Chris

      I have the same usb problem with my cheap mp3/video player

      It doesn’t play while connected as a usb mass storage device, but if you eject it on windows xp it will play while charging. ejecting on my windows 7 pc doesn’t work. I don’t think windows 7 turns the data lines off on the usb port when you eject something. I’d consider that a bug in windows 7

    • Alex

      There is another common (though less known) format for books.
      Does it read .djvu instead of .pdf?

    • Anthony

      My guess on the holes on the one side would be for snap ins for a add-on cover flap.

      • Newton

        That is correct. They are for a a certain cover model.

    • robert

      Nice review. I’m thinking about getting one myself and save shelf space. Less stuff to pack and worry about when the next relocation is due.

      Does amazon automatically push updates to the devices (mp3 player)? And what about remote deletion of ‘inappropriate’ content?

    • DavidDLC

      I didn’t like this unit at all, thanks for the review, I will not buy a unit like this, at least for the moment, I will wait to see if there is something better coming.

    • ac

      DavidDLC care to elaborate?

      I find (purely by this video review) that the “issues” with the device seem to be related to the features that aren’t really relevant to the book reading.

      I believe this is why they haven’t really decided to properly expose the web browser,mp3 player etc because they are features that wouldn’t work well enough while maintaining the other advantages.

      I think they’d get more praise if they had hid the web browser,mp3 player etc and make them only available through “hacking”. This means everyone wins because of the awareness “oh the device can do THAT TOO! cool” and the extra step that makes the user aware that these features are not the primary use of the device and it wasn’t designed for them.

      Now if they later somehow can make the display a touch screen without losing readability and battery life, and put faster update speed etc, then at that point I would consider exposing the browser on the front page. Though from security perspective I wouldn’t put in browser at all since I suspect this device is very hackable. There’s potential to pwn the device, download pay books then transmit those pay books off the device to the internet. My rule of thumb is: if the browser isn’t written either in fully managed code/run in virtual machine or weren’t mathematically proven to be unexploitable then it’s certainly full of holes to be exploited.

      • Frank

        I’m with DavidDLC. With the flood of tablet devices about hit market, single purpose ebook readers will become obsolete. Adding the mp3 player and web browser shows that Amazon know that they need to make the device more functional, but e-ink just can’t cut it when it comes to fast scrolling or animation/video.

    • ac

      Particular issues I would have like more information on from the review:

      With real book, you can quickly flip through the pages say to find certain image/diagram or alternatively go direct to certain page number. I suspect this may not match to real book experience here.

      However above issues would be compensated by a word search of the whole book. I wish the video had either shown the speed search through Art of Electronics or mentioned that this isn’t possible.

      PDF’s with detailed diagrams (datasheets) – how good is this with those? You can enlarge text but can you zoom in/out and how quickly does that work?

    • DavidDLC

      @ac, well the mp3 player functionality really really sucks just to mention one, but main reason is as Frank mentioned: There are more and more devices coming to the market (like tablets) that most probably will make a limited functionality device like the ebook reader obsolete, Yahoo posted a list of devices that will be soon obsolete, and the ebook reader was one of them.

      • Ted

        I think Yahoo is off-base here. Dedicated ebook readers aren’t going to disappear because of the compromises that a device makes by having an e-ink display.

        e-ink is just much more readable and more battery friendly than any of the other display technologies that are around – LCD, AMOLED, whatever. At the same time, e-ink has a much slower response time and can’t display color (or even all that many black levels). e-ink isn’t appropriate for a general-use tablet like the ipad, and probably won’t be for a really long time. And LCD and OLED can’t match e-ink for readability.

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          Correct. As always, it horses for courses. E-Ink is the best technology for ebook readers by a country mil, LCD can’t touch it, and vice-versa. News is colour E-ink hits production this year.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Ebook readers won’t be obsolete any time soon. Show me a tablet that costs $139, gets 1 months battery life and has readability like the E-ink display.
        Sure, tablets will get better, and Ebook readers will get more powerful, and the two will begin to merge more. But at the end of the day you can’t have one super powerful device that is the best at all things.

    • http://dp-engineering.net dave-o

      One nit to pick: Lab126 is owned by Amazon.

      From the lab126 website:
      “Lab126, part of the Amazon.com, Inc. group of companies.

      As an equal opportunity employer, the Amazon group of companies is committed to a diverse workforce and is also committed to a barrier-free employment process. In order to ensure reasonable accommodations for individuals protected by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, individuals that require accommodation in the job application process for a posted position may contact us at 866-437-9078 for assistance.

      The Amazon group of companies participates in E-Verify. E-Verify is a web-based system that allows an employer to determine an employee

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yes, so it seams.
        Doesn’t make them any less cool.
        Check out how many people they are hiring at present, plenty of engineering jobs.

        • http://dp-engineering.net dave-o

          Indeed. If I didn’t live half a country away with a wife, mortgage, baby and dog I’d be out there in a heartbeat. They remind me of a company I used to work for…innovative, smart, driven, and awesome. I wish more engineering groups produced things like the clever folks at Lab126.

          Now, to collect the change in the couch and save my pennies for one of these EEVBlog-approved Kindle 3s…..

    • http://kindle3gwirelessreview.com/ glenn-kindle3gwifi

      Can’t seem to make a decision about these things. There are a bunch of good e-readers out there. How good can you really see in the dark? I read sometimes read when my wife is sleeping. Not sure how many are backlit. Thanks for showing us these issues.

    • Victor P

      Does anyone have the KDK? I really need the KDK as I want to develop programs my self.

    • Brian

      I’ve been researching ebook readers for my 92 year old father-in-law who has macular degeneration, he’s legally blind. He hasn’t got any vision in the centre of the visual field but he can read large text by scanning with his peripheral vision. Does anyone her have any knowledge and/or experience about the use of the kindle with that problem? If you do, would you please post that information here so I can follow it up. I would order a Kindle on spec but I don’t live in the U.S.A where it would have to be returned which would be a big hassle. TIA for any help provided.

    • therian

      Is there any e-ink device that can open scanned pdf (old or/and technical books) books or djvu ?

    • Anne V.

      Thanks for the review – very cool :-)

      I can see where an eReader might not be the best choice for reading technical documents, but for leisure reading, you can’t beat it, IMO. As for some of the dings you gave it – personally, I could care less about having a web browser or MP3 player on my eReader. Truly. I don’t use either feature and probably won’t – but then I also have easy access to a PC, to be fair. Anyway, as long as people read books just for entertainment, I don’t see eReaders becoming obsolete. I would NOT want to read for long periods of time on a notebook or iPad. A Kindle is just like a book only better from my experience. I definitely don’t have that sense when I’m reading on a computer.

      PS: The slots on the side are for Amazon’s hinged covers. They sell a lighted and unlighted version. The lighted version actually runs off the Kindle battery and slides out from the case.

    • Arun

      It was a absolute breath taking review. Hats off to you.. You should be onboard kindle team

    • Clara

      Great review – I’m loving my Kindle 3 too! Where did you get the Harry Potter ebook? I don’t see them on Amazon and would LOVE to have them!! :)

    • Andy Jenkinson

      Do you know the difference between an mp3 audiobook file and an mp3 music file? No? Neither does the Kindle! So if you want more control over your music, put the songs in the audiobook directory instead of the mp3 directory. Not perfect, but pretty useful. Concatenate the files into an “album” and you can play the album or skip to particular tracks.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yeah, good tip. The MP3 player in the Kindle is retarded, so at least this give a few more options.

      • Stuart

        Good tip regarding putting mp3s into the audible folder but what do you mean by “concatenate the files into an album”?

    • Buster Diode

      To address some of your gripes:

      The reason the WebKit browser, MP3 player & Test-to-speech are in the experimental menu is because these pieces of software require a ridiculous amount of engineering to work well on a device designed to display written text.

      For example, the E-Ink display is not designed for fast screen updates, smooth scrolling, color graphics, or animation — Things that all modern web sites take advantage of.

      The MP3 player is a by-product of the device’s capability as an audiobook player. It is not designed to replace your iPod. Why would you even want to do such a thing? Its not exactly the right form-factor for such a product. People may want to listen to music while reading a book, they aren’t going to want to scroll through menus to pick out their songs. The E-ink display isn’t designed for that, and most people would just use their iPod while reading their book, not fumble around menus.

      The text-to-speech is listed in the display menu as well as the experimental menu. The reason for this is they only have very basic text-to-speech options. People might think this is an audiobook alternative but this is not true. In fact, many e-book publishers don’t allow the speech option when reading their books because of conflicts with their companion audiobooks.

      People are buying the Kindle to read books. Amazon saw the potential to throw in a few extra things for people to try out, and you jump down their throat for not making those “hacks” front-and-center. You are not taking into consideration who the target audience is.

      Based on feedback that Amazon receives, these “experimental” features may receive firmware treatments that make them more robust, full-featured utilities. I don’t see how knocking them for saying, “hey, check some stuff out that we’re working on” is warranted. I guess they should have just left that stuff out.

    • Richard Borchardt

      Hi Dave,

      Quick question regarding the Kindle. You said you got the one with 3G and indeed you showed it going online? Does it work here in Oz?

      If it comes from the US, how does the 3G work here without signing-up to an ISP? Or, does purchasing that model include 3G access here and for how long?

      It certainly would be convenient for quick web access on the run, but I’m slightly puzzled on that one….

      Regards
      Richard

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yes, the 3G works in Oz, completely free. There is a special “international” version that works outside (and inside) the US. It seems no one has any idea for how long. I guess Amazon simply reserve the right to stop or limit the service if bandwidth gets out of control.
        Dave.

    • Ross

      I know this is an old post, and the chances you will read this is slim. But just wanted to say. In Windows 7 to eject the kindle so it still charges and is usable you have to do it in a an odd way. As you showed, the task bar eject does not work, neither does the eject from the devices & printer explorer window. However, if you go to “computer” select the kindle drive, then r-click and select eject… bingo it ejects, still charges and is usable as a reader.. Some oddity in how windows 7 handles ejecting devices, drives…

    • http://wardyprojects.blogspot.com Adam Ward

      Got a kindle for my birthday today, pretty cool stuff.

      Does anyone know where The Art of Electronics can be purchased from, for the kindle?

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