Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seriously? PopEye Muscles?

You know I've taken an interest in the new Kindle Fire. Okay, okay, so I love it. But I recognize it's not the perfect device for everyone. I'm taking an interest, in fact, to the opposition as well. And you know there has to be some. Some people hate everything Amazon. Some hate everything not iPad or Apple. Heck, there are even some people still living who hate e-books and are still predicting their imminent demise. I heard one just the other day. A used book seller.

Anyway, I came across a Kindle Fire review the other day .I would have just read and dismissed it but by the time I finished reading, I was shaking with laughter. Read this:
"The Fire is a heavy object. It's unpleasant to hold for extended periods of time. Unless you have forearm muscles like Popeye, you can't comfortably sit and read an engaging novel all evening." 
Popeye, huh? Seriously? All I have to do is read a few hours a day and I'll get muscles in my arms? My PT will love that. Okay, let's drag out the old postal scale and do comparisons. It's not all that accurate but it ought to be close enough. This isn't even government work.
Kindle 3Gen, bare                           9 oz.
Kindle 3Gen w/neoprene sleeve    14 oz.
Kindle 3Gen w/lighted leather case 19 oz.
Kindle Fire, bare                           15 oz
Kindle Fire w/padded nylon case   20 oz
Kindle Fire w/ hardshell case         19 oz.
Apple iPad, bare (info from Apple's tech specs)  1.33 pounds (21.3 oz)
[Addendum 12-12-11: Trade paperback book, 320 pages   15 oz.] 
So Fire is not quite double the weight of 3Gen. About what I'd guessed. But almost all users I know both read and carry their e-readers and tablets in some kind of case or sleeve. My Fire in a nylon case is 1 oz. heavier than my hubby's 3Gen in its fancy leather case. And it's lighter than the iPad, bare (duh! the iPad is bigger!) Now, this guy is trying to tell this asthmatic over-the-hill flabby-muscled gal that the Fire is too heavy for him? That's after I read three books in two days? C'mon! Where are the muscles you promised??? My PT wants muscles!
"The lack of physical buttons for turning the page also impedes on the reading experience for fiction. On the older Kindles, it's easy to keep a finger on the button when all you use it for is to turn the page. In contrast, tapping an area of the screen disrupts reading enjoyment, is slightly error-prone, and leaves smudges on the screen."
Lack of buttons?  Isn't that the point of touch screens? Honestly, I didn't think I'd like a touch screen, and fingerprints? Yuck. But I started getting finger cramp with the old 3Gen. And for me the light tap on the screen, or eve a dramatic, flashy swipe of the finger across the screen is just plain easier. Fingerprints? Not any worse than my laptop screen, and better than my phone.
"The Fire screen also has more glare than the traditional Kindle."
Glare? Sorry, guy. I'm the world's best arbiter of glary screens. If you had my eye problems, you'd understand- I'm missing major parts of my eyes. One of them is almost bionic. I've returned laptops to the store in less than a day because the glare bothered me so much. This is not a glary screen. Think it's too bright? Dim it. It's very adjustable. Even better, use the sepia screen color. It's not depressing like gray is. It's soothing.

So is Fire better or worse than 3Gen? Depends on what you want! Entirely! Want long battery life? Low contrast screen? super light weight? Get the new Kindle Touch. Don't like touch screen? Get the old style with keys. Want bright colors? Flipping through covers at a touch? Fire is better. Need a bigger screen, computer competence? That's where you get into iPad.

The big thing is, these guys are looking for iPads at Fire cost. No, guys. Not gonna happen! Fire is not an iPad. REPEAT AFTER ME: FIRE IS NOT AN iPAD. You want an iPad? Suck it up and plunk down the big bucks because there is no substitute. But if one just wants to read books, why would he buy an iPad? (For that matter, if one wants to write books on the fly, the iPad is probably also not the best choice. Even jazzed up with a keyboard. But that's not its central purpose.)

What they just can't get is that not everybody wants an iPad. Fire is built to be an e-book reader. It's for media consumption. Videos, magazines, music (needs decent headphones), etc. The 3.9 -4 million buyers in November and December are buying it for media consumption, not its computer abilities.

What most of us are buying when we choose a reading/playing device is access to content. I'm not particularly interested in the content and stuff that attracts many people to iPads. And iPad, while perfect for what some people want, is too big to make a good reader to me, but too small to be the computer I want. Or more accurately, not built to be the computer I want. I could write books on one, but I can write more and faster on my little 3 pound MSI Wind. I can do digital art with Photoshop on it. I probably could on iPad, but ya know, sometimes learning a different way can be a pain. What's interesting to me is that suddenly I'm finding a whole lot of people looking at things the way I do, and I thought I was in a really tiny minority. Who would've thought, five years ago, that instead of books vanishing because people had become so jaded with video, millions of readers would re-discover the unique experience of reading a book?

But even though Fire should not be put in the same class as iPad, it looks like it's created problems for Apple. Word is, Apple is going to lower the price of iPad2 because it's lost so much market share to Kindle Fire. In less than a month, Fire has grabbed 13.9% of the tablet market, when it really shouldn't even be in that category, quickly passing second-place Samsung Galaxy, which at its best had 6.9%.

As far as those Popeye muscles go, well, I carried a large messenger bag with both mini Wind and Kindle, plus all those carry-on things from Portland through San Francisco to Maui in October. Didn't think a thing about it. Muscles? Nope, after a whole week in Hawaii, no bigger muscles. I just squeezed my arms again, just in case. Don't think it's gonna happen.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your article! Your points are so very valid, and with such a humorous bent, I grinned the entire time I was reading. Thanks for the info, and the entertainment! Viola


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