By Eric Yang
on 2.28.08

amazon.kindle.gear.patrol.review.jpgFirst of all, we should talk about what the Amazon Kindle does. The premise is simple. It’s a wireless device that uses a technology called electronic-paper’ that allows you to have thousands of books at your disposal ready to read on the high-resolution screen that looks and ‘reads’ like real paper. We’ll get to the ‘reads’ part in a moment.

The Kindle uses the Sprint high speed EVDO wireless network giving you unlimited and free access to the Kindle store practically anywhere. There were even times when we were receiving signals where other Sprint phones weren’t. Electronic versions of books will deliver to your Kindle at moments notice and the top newspapers have joined, including: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post as well as periodicals like TIME magazine and Forbes. Time will only tell who else joins the Kindle foray. Better yet, and this is where we particularly find interest – top blogs (over 300) like BoingBoing, TechCrunch and The Onion will deliver their updated content to the Kindle throughout the day as well as unfettered access to Wikipedia. For this writer, that would be enough to qualify purchasing the Kindle… IF it were say, $200 less. A practical and business savvy move for Sprint would be to subsidize costs of the Kindle for current Sprint subscribers, but we’ll leave Sprint’s less-than-wise business practices for another day.

amazon.kindle.gear.patrol.review.2.jpgThe Kindle device itself isn’t too bad of a product for being first generation. We can only imagine what tweaks and upgrades the engineers are conjuring up now. Hopefully, comfort-in-hand-, improve intuitiveness of controls and e-mail are some of them. The battery life, under our usage averaged about two days with the wireless turned on all the time. With it off, we got almost 5 days in. Good, but not fantastic. Now about that electronic paper screen. Well, it looks bloody fantastic. Sharper so than even the Sony E-reader. The display is crisp and we found little fatigue reading it over time. Arguably though it’s hard to see why anything would be an improvement after looking at a monitor for a good part of the day.

amazon.kindle.gear.patrol.review.3.jpgOur time with the Kindle has provided us the ability to read a few of our favorite blogs*, newspapers and several guilty pleasure novels (Michael Crichton’s Prey is under appreciated, no matter how trite you may have thought it was). It does exactly what it touts and honestly it does it well. Only time will tell how this device will fare in the long run. There’s an incredible tangibility with books that I think this generation may have a hard time letting go, but as they (we) age, the prospect of carrying backbreaking books on a commute, vacation or even around the home may outweigh the proposition. Oh, and did we mention free wireless access to Wikipedia?

*notably missing are: Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Acquire, The Truth About Cars and… Gear Patrol

Don’t take our word for it? Fine. We won’t argue. Go read Michael Specter’s article on Men’s Vogue. It’s insightful and far more eloquent than ours.

Cost: $399 @ Amazon

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