I decided yesterday to get a Kindle ebook reader, in part to limit the amount of time I spend looking at computer displays.
The screen is beautiful. More so than the retina display of the iPhone. But in a different way. It doesn’t look like a computer screen (because it’s not) — but it doesn’t look like a printed page either. Perhaps the closest thing is a high quality magazine print, but in monochrome. Text display is incredibly crisp. And unlike a computer display, there are no visible pixels. I knew this in theory before using the device, but there is something about actually seeing it. Even images look impressive on the Kindle — albeit limited to 16 shades of grey, ranging from an off-white through to pure black. The screen doesn’t display bright white. This is something that I hadn’t really thought about before; I don’t think it’s a problem, as makes the screen less tiring on the eyes.
There is still a noticeable flicker when switching between pages. Much improved on older e-ink screens, and probably something I will quickly become accustomed to. But it is slightly more jarring than the continuous scroll available on modern computer screens. Perhaps I should instead be thinking more along the lines of physically turning a page on a dead-tree publication — which it has to be said, is also disruptive when reading, but not something to complain about.
Unlike a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, the Kindle is very much a device designed for reading. It can sort of browse the web, and apparently has a built in mp3 player, but really it is a device designed for reading (primarily text based) content.
As I have said before, I don’t think there is enough difference between a laptop and an iPhone to justify owning an iPad. The Kindle however has a differentiating feature, in the non-backlit screen. Something that none of these other devices have (although there are other e-ink/ebook readers that do). Hopefully this will allow me to read in the evenings without disrupting my sleep — as bright laptop screens are prone to doing.