Size: I like this thing a lot. It’s smaller than my iPad, which needs to either be in a bag or under my arm the whole time I have it out of the house. Because if I’ve taken my iPad for reading purposes to a restaurant, there’s just no way in hell I’m going to leave it unattended if I need to go get another plate from the salad bar. Yes, I have a particular jacket that has a pocket big enough for the iPad, but you know, I don’t wear that jacket all the time. The Kindle is smaller enough than the iPad that I can stick it in regular-size pockets in other coats, and into the thigh cargo pockets of the shorts I like to wear in hot weather.
Readability: Turns out I like e-ink displays like the Kindle’s. The type looks good, though because of the variability of the ebooks I’ve put on the device (some books converted from Calibre, rather than gotten from the Kindle store), sometimes I have problems getting exactly the type size and format I’d like. I think I actually prefer reading books on my iPad a bit more from the readability and font standpoint. It’s better to use the Kindle outdoors, versus the iPad. The Kindle’s matte screen is great. And the naysayers who moaned that the screen would get all mucked up with fingerprints turned out to be wrong. I notice fingerprints on the glossy iPad screen way more than on the Kindle. On either device, a quick wipe is all it takes anyway. At the beginning, I had a bit of trouble with the Kindle because I’d tap the screen and it would advance two pages, and I’d have to go back one. I just needed to learn a bit different, and lighter, tap behavior.
Responsiveness: The iPad is faster, no doubt about it. The Kindle takes a second to change pages when I tap it. But I got used to that pretty quickly. It hasn’t turned out to be a big deal except when I want to do anything other than read on the Kindle, like browse the Kindle Store, or change settings, or the like. Then I get impatient with the slow screen redraws. But that’s generally offset by the next category. I’ll typically buy books on the Kindle Store on the Amazon Web site (rather than on the device), and send them to the Kindle or other devices running a Kindle app. I understand that the Kindle Touch Software Update Version 5.0.3 helps with speed issues, but it just came out yesterday, and I haven’t updated yet. Update: OK, so I installed the software update, and yes, it improves the Kindle’s responsiveness quite a bit. For example, the Kindle Store is now usable, rather than feeling painfully slow. I expect this update alone will end up selling more books for Amazon.
Battery life: No contest here; the Kindle is good for at least a month between recharges. The iPad is good for about a day. I’ve put the Kindle down for a week or so, and the battery indicator has barely moved.
Other stuff: The Kindle Owners Lending Library for Amazon Prime members is a gateway drug like you can’t believe. I used it to borrow (for free) the first two books of The Hunger Games in November and December. I said I had the $99 version of the Kindle Touch, which is the version that displays ads. They don’t intrude on the reading experience, and I’ve taken advantage of two of the ads, including one that offered a good deal (50% off) on a Marware case for the device (I decided I wanted this case because I wanted to protect the screen, and it has a hand strap that improves one-handed reading).
So there you have it. Though I already had two other handy devices I could use to read ebooks (my iPhone 4 and iPad 1), the Kindle Touch has proven its worth to me. I’m happy I got it.