Coffeehouse Thread

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This is why I don't go to electronics stores

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  • Sven Groot

    The beard trimmer on my old shaver broke, so today I went to Bic Camera (a huge chain of electronics stores in Japan) to buy a new shaver.

    And I walked out with a new shaver... and a Kindle Paperwhite 3G.

    I already owned a Kindle Keyboard 3G (back when I got that one it wasn't called Kindle Keyboard because it was the only model available). But the shiny high-resolution, high-contrast, front-lit e-Ink screen of the Paperwhite convinced me to upgrade (that and the fact that my old Kindle is becoming increasingly temperamental; once every while it refuses to turn on and it takes about 5-10 minutes before I can coax it into doing a hard reset). I'd actually already considered getting one online but Amazon.com won't ship it, and I couldn't find if the one sold at Amazon.co.jp could have English UI (turns out it can), and in any case they had a late-January shipping estimate. I didn't even know these things were sold in brick and mortar stores, but there you go.

    I just got home and played with it for a bit, and it's brilliant. The screen really is much sharper than the old one (and that one was already really, really good), and the contrast is great too. It's much easier to use with the touch screen, and it feels much snappier (plus it has a nicer UI which shows book covers rather than just a list of titles). It's smaller too without the keyboard at the bottom, and feels nicer than the very plastic feel of the Kindle Keyboard.

    Then there's the light. It looked nice and bright in the light in the store, but I just turned my lights off in my apartment, and it's a thing of beauty. It's perfectly readable, completely evenly lit, and much nicer looking than a backlit LCD. This is going to be brilliant for reading on airplanes (where those damn seat lights are never angled quite right), while waiting at bus stops at night, or in bed (though I don't do that very often). I'll have to wait and see how the light affects battery life though.

    On a side note, I did look at the tablets and they had a grand total of one Windows 8 and one Windows RT tablet. They were not advertised at all, they just sat at the end of a row of Android tablets (I didn't visit the software section (that's on another floor), so I don't know how much Windows 8 advertising there was in general; I remember there was quite a bit for Windows 7 so I imagine it's the same now).

    The RT tablet was locked with a password so I couldn't play with it (I guess someone who played with it earlier had logged it out, either by accident or to be a dick). The Windows 8 tablet (a Fujitsu I think, don't remember the model) looked very nice though. It had an Intel Atom CPU, but the UI was really smooth and nice, both in the Metro bit and on the desktop. Screen was really nice too. No sign of an attachable keyboard though, which is the one feature that makes Surface attractive to me (otherwise I have no idea what I'd do with a tablet outside watching movies on airplanes, and I don't fly often enough to make that worth the expense).

    There was some old dude being shown the RT device by store staff just as I left. I don't know if he asked for it or if the staff guy came up with it (I'm guessing it was the latter since the way the customer was talking I don't think he'd ever heard the words "Windows" or "Android" before, he just wanted a tablet to browse the web). He didn't buy it though because it was too expensive (he was looking for something around ¥40,000, which really puts him on the low end of the tablet market considering the prices I saw in their line-up).

  • cbae

    , Sven Groot wrote

    The beard trimmer on my old shaver broke, so today I went to Bic Camera (a huge chain of electronics stores in Japan) to buy a new shaver.

    *snip*

    Bic? Shaver?

    Generic Forum Image

     

  • Ion Todirel

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    Bic? Shaver?

    Generic Forum Image

     

    I think Sven is using an electric shaver, the store name is Bic Camera

  • Sven Groot

    , Ion Todirel wrote

    *snip*I think Sven is using an electric shaver, the store name is Bic Camera

    Correct. This is the store: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bic_Camera

  • Sven Groot

    I just got a YouTube ad (one which I'd never seen before) for the exact shaver I bought yesterday. The only place I searched online beforehand (to check if the model I wanted was still being sold) was Amazon, not Google.

    It's probably coincidence, but still freaky.

  • ryanb

    That's no coincidence.  Amazon search products show up in other ads all over the place.  I've seen that many, many times.  (They are far from the only ones doing it too.)  It's more than a little creepy.

  • Blue Ink

    @ryanb: that's a mix of Amazon's aggressive marketing (they are borderline spammers with email) and Google's quasi-monopoly in online advertising.

    It's fun to retaliate if you can do without Google's services, though... Devil

  • GoddersUK

    Sven Groot (or anyone else that has one), can I ask your opinion on the Kindle Paperwhite? I'm considering getting one but am a bit wary because I've heard it's not possible to turn the light off. Does this pose an issue - either in terms of battery life or in well lit situations where the light is redundant? Thanks Smiley

  • Sven Groot

    , GoddersUK wrote

    Sven Groot (or anyone else that has one), can I ask your opinion on the Kindle Paperwhite? I'm considering getting one but am a bit wary because I've heard it's not possible to turn the light off. Does this pose an issue - either in terms of battery life or in well lit situations where the light is redundant? Thanks Smiley

    I still adore mine. It's very, very good. Yes, there are some minor issues (one that was reported on was that the light is not perfectly even around the corners, but honestly it's pretty amazing as it is already and it hasn't bothered me). It also lacks audio playback (so no MP3, audio-books, or text-to-speech), which the previous Kindle did have but I never used that anyway. And of course, you still can't open ePub files (though you can manually copy mobi format files, so you're not necessarily completely locked to Amazon's store).

    As far as turning the light off, I think turning the brightness to its lowest setting actually turns it off (I can't tell the difference between the lowest brightness setting and just turning the Kindle off entirely, anyway). But it looks better with the light on, even in bright environments, because it improves the contrast. I haven't had any problems with battery life so far, and I'm charging it about once a week which is what I did with the old Kindle too. Mind you, I keep 3G on most of the time which I think drains battery quicker than the light anyway.

    My only caveat so far is that by default, the Paperwhite is set not to refresh the screen on every page turn (instead it only does it every five pages or so). It makes turning pages faster and less jarring (no flash effect), but it leaves artifacts that are visible and annoying to me. Fortunately you can set it to clear the screen every page just like the old Kindle did (and turning pages is still much faster than my previous 3rd generation Kindle, even with that setting). I would also recommend checking out the other fonts; it still defaults to Caecilia (which was the only font on the old Kindle), but with the higher resolution display I found I like Palatino more.

    Even after a few weeks I still get the urge to just get out the Paperwhite and look at the screen even though I don't want to read anything, just because it's so pretty.

    One new feature I really like is that you can show how many minutes you have left in the current chapter (based on your current reading speed), which is very useful if you want to know if you should finish the chapter or just call it a night right now. Smiley It seems to be able to do that even on books that didn't have the chapter breaks indicated on the progress bar on the old Kindle,

    I'm seriously incredibly happy with this thing, and would definitely recommend it.

    I would note that it turns out I got an incredibly good deal on it, as the 3G model only costs ¥12900 in Japan (about $150), compared to $179 in the US and £169.00 (about $270) in the UK. So I paid about the same for the Kindle Paperwhite 3G plus a leather cover (which, besides looking really fancy, also turns the Kindle on/off when you open/close the cover) as what the basic device costs in the US.

  • GoddersUK

    .@Sven Groot: Thanks, that's good to hear. I think mostly I'll be using it for reading PDFs of papers and the like, so it sounds fine for that (currently I have a mini rainforest on my desk because I refuse to read them on an LCD monitor... Tongue Out).

  • Sven Groot

    , GoddersUK wrote

    .@Sven Groot: Thanks, that's good to hear. I think mostly I'll be using it for reading PDFs of papers and the like, so it sounds fine for that (currently I have a mini rainforest on my desk because I refuse to read them on an LCD monitor... Tongue Out).

    Actually, reading PDFs is just about the one thing I don't like to do on the Kindle. The Kindle's screen is way too small to show an entire A4 page, and scrolling through the page is awkward (though at least less so on the newer Kindles with a touch screen). You really need something in a format that allows reflowing the text for smaller screens.

  • Proton2

    , Sven Groot wrote

    *snip*

    Actually, reading PDFs is just about the one thing I don't like to do on the Kindle. The Kindle's screen is way too small to show an entire A4 page, and scrolling through the page is awkward (though at least less so on the newer Kindles with a touch screen). You really need something in a format that allows reflowing the text for smaller screens.

    The Kindle DX looks like it would be good for reading PDFs that can't reflow the text. No longer made though.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-DX-Wireless-Reader-3G-Global/dp/B002GYWHSQ

  • Sven Groot

    Some people in my lab had a DX and it seemed to work much better for PDFs (though still a bit small if you want to show the whole page). Too bad they don't make a variant of the Paperwhite with the size of the DX. I suspect the market for the DX was too small.

  • GoddersUK

    OK, thanks for the heads up. I briefly had a play with some PDFs on a "normal" Kindle and it seemed OK if you set it to landscape mode, since that forces the PDF to display bigger (I'm also used to reading small 2-pages per sheet printouts). I might see if I can spend a but more time with it to see what I think of it.

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