I bought it. I went and bought the Kindle Touch. And I don’t feel guilty.
After much deliberation, and with the help of many a friend who had already gone to the dark side, I was able to purchase the Kindle Touch from Argos (€129.00), the cheapest price on offer for a customer in Dublin (although PC World has since updated their website).
Being a Kindle virgin, for want of a better word, I have no prejudice against Amazon’s latest edition; I merely presumed it would try and imitate actual books whilst acting like a typical tablet computer or touch-screen mobile.
Contrary to the complaints of some Kindle Touch users, the absence of a printed manual was no obstacle to me: I found the on-screen instructions easy enough to follow. You simply depress the small rectangular button along the bottom right of the Kindle for a couple of seconds then let the gadget load.
And connecting your Kindle to the internet is pretty straight-forward. If you have Wi-Fi at home, click the Menu button and select “Turn Wi-Fi On”, entering the password you set for connecting to your personal network (you can find this password again by rummaging through your drawer of printed manuals or right-clicking on the signal bar on your computer screen). Once the Wi-fi is done, you can start exploring the Kindle Store for something to fill your archives!
Since my e-book piracy knowledge is zero, a majority of my free e-books came from the Kindle Store. By searching for “free books for kindle”, over 30,000 entries will greet your thrifty eyes, and should you be a cheapskate as dedicated as me, you will probably download 4 out of 6 entries on every page, which is probably the reason why the Kindle continues to crash around the 500-800 mark.
Now, this minor can be quite annoying when you just want to freeload to your heart’s content. After hours of swishing my fingers up and down, I finally reach entry 1,012 – only to have the search results freeze, a moment that forces you to start the whole process again with no means of cutting straight to entry 1,012. A forum on the Amazon website seems to suggest this issue is a long-standing problem and the best thing to do is switch the Kindle off then switch it back on again.
Not really what I expected… Apart from the Kindle Store crashing, I thought the touch-screen keyboard and the screen’s responsiveness to physical contact would be on a level much higher. The characters appear so slowly on-screen when typing anything from your password to a search term.
Having said that, I am impressed with the e-ink and matte finish of the screen, where fingerprints, no matter how numerous, may accumulate as unpleasantly as they wish without obstructing enjoyment of the Kindle itself. Ghosting seldom happens, the Kindle is slim and light, and if it reawakens after rudely crashing, I might just purchase a Kindle cover to ensure it remains pristine on every journey to work.
But we’ll see. It is driving me bonkers.