Can the Kindle Spark E-Paper?
In reviewing the Amazon Kindle, it is necessary to split the review into two parts: analysis of the device and of the e-paper it uses.
I have read three novels (the “John Carter of Mars” series), two magazines and one newspaper on the Kindle. Here are my reactions to the three experiences:
• The e-book experience is excellent and enjoyable.
• The e-newspaper experience is fair, but the visuals, photos and charts are nonexistent, and that colored my reading and expectations.
• The e-magazine is a complete flop. All that was delivered was straight text in a flat format. What distinguishes a magazine from other formats, among other attributes, is the design element. The Kindle magazine experience is entirely devoid of style and design. This was either an oversight by Amazon or just plain, uninformed laziness. I must assume they received appropriate XML files from the magazine publishers, which should have contained all the elements of proper magazine page construction. Just a little more effort on someone’s part and the magazine reading experience could have been better. Now is the time for publishers to start strategizing how they will reconstitute their franchise and their files into a pleasant e-paper experience.
The e-paper in this device exceeded my expectations. E-paper, like real paper, does not have under-panel, background lighting—it has no light emission at all. Instead, it works on ambient light or reflective light, just like real paper. The refresh rate, or the time it takes to change pages, is perhaps even shorter than the time it takes to turn a traditional page. The type is crisp and wonderfully variable. The substrate background is acceptable, but could be brighter and whiter, more in line with the Sony Reader.
The bottom line is that the Kindle’s e-paper experience is a resounding success and will only continue to improve.