March 29, 2011

Kindle Features I Use, And Some I Don't

I really enjoy my Kindle, and use it even more than I thought I would.

But as with any new technology tool/gadget/toy, we use some of the features, and don't use others.

When I bought my Kindle last September, I wondered about some of the features, and how much I would actually use them.  So far, I've found these features particularly useful:
  • Font and font size changes - For my eyes, the default font size is too small, and I always prefer a sans-serif font.  And if I'm tired, I find a slightly larger font makes reading even easier.
  • Built-in Dictionary - With paper books, I would write down unfamiliar words, and sometimes (but often not enough) look them up later.  With a Kindle, this task is so easy to perform, I've found that I tend to look up a lot more words.  A very handy feature.
  • Notes - Particularly when reading a book for a review or for research, this is a terrific feature.  It saves a lot of time.
  • Personal Documents - I have lots of digital documents in a variety of formats.  It's easy to email them to my free Kindle email address and have them saved on my Kindle.  Amazon will even convert some of the formats for me automatically.
  • email address - I've found it easier to just email things to this free address and have them delivered wirelessly to my Kindle, rather than physically connecting my Kindle to my computer for downloading each time.
  • Categories - Like folders, Categories are a handy way to keep things organized on my Kindle.
  • Battery Life - It's terrific to be able to go weeks between recharges.
  • Calibre - This is a terrific tool to convert documents from one format to another when Amazon won't.  It's also a handy way to scrape content from a website and have it delivered to my Kindle.
  • Free books - Amazon offers free e-books almost every day.  Other sites offer free books as well.  Not all of them are worth reading, but they are all worth checking out.  And free is always a good thing!
  • Free games - Blackjack and some of the word games are handy to have.

So far, I've used these features some, but not as much as I might have imagined:
  • Text-to-Speech - I thought this would be a very useful feature, but I have only used it occasionally.  Perhaps I just haven't had a long enough car trip yet where an audible book would be handy.
  • Built-in Browser - I really thought this would be a critical feature, and one I would use all the time.  So far, I've used it, but not as much as I thought I would.  I expect to use it more on vacation - we'll see.
  • PDF Viewer - The built-in PDF viewer works just fine.  But often I find it easier to convert the PDF to native Kindle e-book format (which is something Amazon will do for free).  Sometimes, it's better to use PDF format, but not usually.

And I haven't really found much use for these features at all:
  • Music - If I want to listen to music, or audio podcasts, my iPod is the better device, at least so far.
  • Pictures - I haven't found a need for pictures on my Kindle.
  • Social networking features - I haven't tried them yet, and probably won't.
  • Lending - I haven't yet seen where I needed to borrow, or wanted to lend, an e-book.
  • Romance Novels - No thanks.

On the whole, I've used my Kindle itself far more than I thought I would, if not every feature.  I still read paper books, and web sites, but more and more I'm reading things on my Kindle.  It's been a nice purchase!

Do you have a Kindle?  Any features you use a lot?  A little?  Not at all?  Drop me a note...

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
Find me at

1 comment: