Vote Now For Your Favorite Smart Phone OS


Advertisements

Kindle Review (3rd Generation)


Today I bit the bullet and brought a Kindle (mainly because family members have been raving about them so I had to see what the fuss was about).

So I brought the 3rd generation one (the WiFi & 3G version) So here’s a few thoughts on it.

First Impressions

Having never had an e-reader before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and my first impression of one was the Sony version after seeing it in a shop it wasn’t that great.

When I first opened the device I thought there was one of those printed acetate covers on it to protect it but turns out the device was in sleep mode and that was the actual screen. I’ve read about e-ink before but was impressed by what I saw.  I knew people said it looked like printed paper but I didn’t realise how right they were.

What was also good about the device was the form factor, about the size of a normal paperback book, except thinner and its also very light.  I bought one of the black Amazon covers for it as well (as I always drop new things), so it kinda looks like a Moleskin.

So first impressions were good, it’s thin, light and e-ink looked good.  I can certainly imagine travelling to work with it (and have done so).

Content – Reading a book/magazine

To be honest I’ve not spent a lot of time reading books on my Kindle yet, it’s been mainly newspapers so far.  It’s really handy having the latest edition downloaded directly to your device.
And once you get used to navigating around articles it’s pretty good and I can imagine not buying another physical newspaper – although not the Metro’s not on it.

Reading books though is good, not really any negative comments, it’s like reading a book which is what I was looking for. Funny though how the main selling point of this device only really gets a couple of sentences, but that’s because it does exactly as you expect (I think).

SHOP @ KINDLE

Shopping and buying works well, getting content delivered as soon as you buy is good.  What is handy are the trial options, I’ve signed up to quite a few already and found the ones I really want.  It would be really annoying to sign up for something only to find out it’s not as good as the reviews.  However one comment, an option to un-subscribe would be good from the device.

PRICING

Prior to launch I did see some comments about high pricing, to be honest I’ve not seen that as a problem and have generally found I’d make a good saving on physical versions (esp if you get places to price match)

Browser

I appreciate this is experimental but I think this probably has a lot interest for people.  My experiences so far is that the Kindle is like a big mobile phone.  The webkit browser however is not up to being your primary browser.  However if you head over to mobile versions of sites they generally work pretty well, and that includes most of the Google tools you use.  While I do have a bunch of links already bookmarked, I don’t expect to be using the browser much apart from reading the news or a quick look at twitter.

Battery Life

I won’t be getting the rumoured one month out of this charge, but that’s because of my usage profile so far.  I’ve been using WiFi a lot and been downloading blogs and other content, all of which will be taking it’s toll.  I noticed a particular hit on earlier when I was getting regular updates. So I’m not sure I’ll even get to a week before recharging but I don’t see this as an issue as this is not how I’ll normally be using the device.
To ensure battery life lasts as long as possible I’ll probably only turn on wireless once a day to downloaded the latest newspaper and won’t be downloading any more blogs.  So I expect a couple of weeks battery life is realistic.

General Use

All I’m going to say is have two Kindle email addresses is handy, one you use that costs for delivery (20p/MB) while the other email address uses a WiFi connection to deliver content.  If you need something quick on your device, pay the 20p, otherwise wait until you’re in a WiFi area (let’s face it there’s plenty out there the claud, BT open zones ect)

Things Could be better…

While using the device over the past few hours and I’ve had a few thoughts on how things could be improved…

Save text documents – While it’s handy to make notes on magazines, books etc as you go along I’d like a bit more.  When I get a thought/idea on something it would be handy to create a simple text file that I could refer to later.  The problem would then be that people would want more and more from it until it’s a bloated document editor e.g. Word! And then you’d need to find a way of getting it off the device then, apart from connecting to a computer – maybe it could be available on the MyKindle settings page in Amazon.

Make it easier to get your Clippings or Notes off the device, don’t want to have to connect my computer very time to do this.  A range of the content is already managed through the My Kindle page, so it would be good (again) if these were made available on your MyKindle Settings page in Amazon

Desktop application to convert to Kindle format. While it’s good to be able to email documents to your device, and get them converted to Kindle format as they go, I think having an Amazon Desktop app that allows you to do this would be good.

Schedule Wifi/GPRS/3G – While battery life hasn’t shown itself to be a problem so far, it would be handy to be able to schedule when WiFi/3G/GPRS was on.  At the moment you can turn it off when you like, but it would be handy if it could turn itself on and download content and then turn itself off again.

Summary

So for the price I think it’s a good piece of technology – although it tries not to be techie.  I actually expect to be reading more because of it.  If you’re thinking of getting this for reading books/magazines/newspapers then I’d recommend it.  Don’t buy it for reading blogs or the web though, it’s no iPad but neither is the price! There’s loads of features that I’ve not mentioned, but I’m not trying to go through the whole user manual here.  You can email documents to get them converted and restrict senders so you don’t get spam (I’m sure this will prove useful) and a bunch of other stuff, but you’ll learn that other stuff when you get yours

Click here to buy:
Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, 6″ E Ink Display

Blackberry Playbook Review


The BlackBerry PlayBook is the tablet from RIM. The Canadian company are most famous for their BlackBerry mobiles. The PlayBook is seems mainly intended as a business tablet and it could very well serve as a general purpose tablet too.

So I recently borrowed a friends playbook to write this review on it. So enjoy.

Appearance
The PlayBook comes with a impressive 7-inch touch sensitive display (although smaller than the Apple Ipad). It looks like a thin black slab with rounded edges and has 4 small buttons (power, play/pause, volume up and volume down) on the top and a camera each on the front and rear. A touch sensitive frame surrounds the touch screen display (which let’s you power it up on the lock screen). The headset jack is located on the top and speakers are located on right and left side of the front. The PlayBook’s back has BlackBerry logo and a soft rubbery feel that feels really good to touch (and useful as it acts as a non slip cover)

Setup
Press the small power button on the top and the PlayBook springs to life in about 40-50 seconds (fairly quick compared to their phones). I have heard many people complaining about the power button being too small, but I haven’t had any difficulty using it and all it needed was a soft push. You will need to connect to Wi-Fi to proceed through the initial setup. The touch gesture required to proceed through the setup was a bit confusing in the beginning. The PlayBook’s screen display’s two swipe gestures, one from top to mid-way and the other from bottom to mid-way, but the gesture required to proceed through the set-up is none of them. You will need a small swipe from right to left at the bottom of the screen to proceed through the setup. After connecting to Wi-Fi, the latest updates are downloaded and the PlayBook restarts and you are all set to go and have a play.

Hardware
Processor
The processor on the BlackBerry PlayBook is a dual-core 1 GHz  NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. The processor is super fast and very responsive. The apps open in an instant and switching between multiple apps is a breeze (even better than a Ipad I found)

Display
The display is a 7-inch WSVGA capacitive touchscreen with 1024×600 screen resolution. The display is crisp and the clarity is very good. HD videos and images are a pleasure to look at on the PlayBook (It even has a mini HD cable output). The PlayBook also offers great viewing angles under bright light.

Cameras
The PlayBook has a 5 MP camera on the rear and a 3 MP camera on the front. The cameras are capable of recording 1080p HD videos. The image and video quality of the rear camera is quite good. The front camera is OK for chat sessions, but do not use it for recording self videos as the video quality is not up to the mark.

Connectivity
The PlayBook connects to your internet network through Wi-Fi 802.1 a/b/g/n. Unfortunately, the PlayBook lacks 3G connectivity (but you can use blackberry bridge to get round this). This tablet can connect to other mobile devices through Bluetooth. There is also a Micro-USB port on the bottom through which you can charge your PlayBook and also connect to your desktop. The PlayBook also has a HDMI port on the bottom through which you can mirror HD videos directly on your large HD television (I love this as I travel a lot and can watch films in the hotal room)

Battery
Well, I haven’t continuously used the PlayBook and drained it out to give the exact battery life, but I can say that the battery life is quite good. I have used it for browsing, games, videos and music and it survived for two days based on not so heavy usage.

Software
Operating System
The Operating System on the PlayBook is BlackBerry Tablet OS. The OS has a fresh look and is very easy to use. The OS is very refined and I couldn’t really find any glitches. The home screen looks good and you can access all your apps right on your home screen. There’s a notification bar on the top left hand corner.

Apps
The PlayBook comes pre-loaded with Video Chat, YouTube, Kobo Books, Bing Maps, NFS Undercover, Tetris, Adobe Reader, Word To Go, Sheet To Go, Slideshow To Go, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter apps. There are a limited number of apps available in the App World and the numbers will increase over time. Good news is that RIM has already announced that it will bring Android app compatibility to the PlayBook this February in a update.

Browser
The browser on the BlackBerry PlayBook is fast and the webpages load fast. Adobe Flash 10.1 is enabled and flash heavy sites also load well.

Keyboard
When the tablet is held horizontally, the keys are well spaced and is very convenient to use. Alphabets are displayed by default and the numbers and symbols can be accessed by pressing 123 sym button on the keyboard. The keyboard is not as good when held vertically and you will need some precision to hit the right keys.

Gestures
Gestures play a very important part in the PlayBook. The PlayBook has various touch gestures for various functions. An upward swipe from the center at bottom returns you to the home screen and a downward swipe from the center at top displays the additional options for the app. Swipe across the screen and you switch apps. Make an upward diagonal swipe from the left-hand bottom corner and the keyboard is displayed. A downward diagonal swipe from the left-hand top corner shows you the notification bar.

BlackBerry Bridge
With BlackBerry Bridge you can connect to your BlackBerry mobile and access your contents on the tablet screen. Such as the messager and email.