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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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When the Kindle Touch was announced, I ordered one on day one. The third-generation Kindle had a lot of things that irritated. One, it was too large in pretty much every dimension. Two, the side buttons sucked. Three, the lighted case, while necessary, sucked.

So I imagined the Kindle Touch would solve all of my problems. It supported one-handed, instead of two-handed, reading. It didn’t have stupid buttons. The cover had a light in the middle of the page, rather than the top right only. It’s way smaller and lighter.

As the whole Internet knows, Marco Arment has already pointed out how terrible the Touch is, especially with regards to the speed of the device. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, thus, but I want to at least get down my biggest gripes (some of which are consistent) about the thing:

  1. It misses page turn requests all the time. Sometimes I’ll hit/tap the page advance three or four times before it triggers. This is highly frustrating.
  2. You cannot try to brush dust/crap off the screen, because that will change chapters or something more drastic. You have to turn the device off, clean it, and then turn it back on. This is more irritating than you’d expect.
  3. You’re going to accidentally swipe, be it with your finger or by brushing the device with your clothes if you briefly turn the Kindle over or rub it against your shirt or whatever. Swipes do horrible things.
  4. It’s slow as shit. Marco’s right and more thorough on this point.
  5. The UI is unintuitive. Marco also explains this in detail.
  6. The lighted case is criminally stupid. It has sharp edges that will cut you in the dumbest place (like on the throw for the light). Far more seriously, the light isn’t covered like in the old lighted cover — if Kindle is tilted away from you more than 0 degrees, you get blinded by a super-bright point source. I taped an old membership card over it to provide a shield, but this is shoddy industrial design. Reading Steve Jobs on the device I was all the more insulted by how much of a hack job the whole damn thing is.

So, I wanted to argue that this device is better than, say, Marco suggests. It’s not, though. It has a lot of promise, but it’s ultimately a piece of shit. If you have a Kindle you like, don’t “upgrade.” If you don’t have a Kindle, get one. If you’re going to get a Kindle, get the Kindle 4 with its dumb buttons and be happy. Buy some sort of stupid clip-on light, though, as the official cover is crap.