Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsMay become good with software updates but not functional for work use case as is
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on December 9, 2022
I am returning after giving it a few days - I really wanted to love this. I suspect that they can make this a great device with better software but too big of a gamble to wait and see without any transparency on upcoming features they hope to add, if any.
The device itself feels very good, well made, nice size, the fabric case is excellent, lightweight, snappy, and allows for two ways of propping the device up. The pen feels good, and it seems to do what it's supposed to do for the most part. The warm lighting is also nice. Main beefs for trying to use this as a work tool:
1) The is no way to organize notes. Being able to do any of the following would have made it functional: reorganize pages, index or search, being able to add pages from different templates, being able to copy/paste/move sections or text, text conversion, being able to add titles or subsections, being able to jump between notebooks more easily or to pin, being able to create notebook templates from a PDF... as it is you can only create a notebook with a given page format throughout, delete it, or put it in a folder.
2) There is no calendar, task list, or any helpful organizing tool. Only notebooks with various calendar formats, from my perspective, if that's what I wanted I would buy a paper notebook. Being electronic, i'd think would have provided some more flexibility such as mix-match, sort, search, group, keyword, index, titles, email a page...
3) Transferring files for markup - if you put a PDF directly on the device for some reason I can't fathom it is not possible to mark it up. In order to mark up one must send it via "Send to Kindle" service. Perhaps there is some indication somewhere of what security is used there and/or what Amazon's data collection policy with respect to that service is but I could not find it, and so for instance would not be able to send confidential client files to the device in order to work on them. Ultimately this makes it a brick as far as my main use case is concerned, and seems strange given that the ability to mark up a PDF exists on the device.
4) To send files, again there is no obvious way to do this without again passing through Amazon's service, you can only email a download link from the Kindle email address. Not particularly professional, not particularly comforting from a data security perspective.
5) Speaking of data collection - I noticed that it is possible to opt out of allowing Amazon to use data collected for the purpose of sending targeted ads, however it is not possible to opt out of data collection generally (beyond whatever is ostensibly necessary for the functioning of the device such as remembering last page read etc.). I gather from this that they are free to use any data to sell to third parties or create dystopian tools to sell to governments à la [see Washington Post article 2018-05-22 "amazon-is-selling-facial-recognition-to-law-enforcement-for-a-fistful-of-dollars"] which I would have loved to opt out of.
6) Marking up Word files: (again only possible if send via "Send to Kindle?") does not allow any editing of the Word file itself, does not allow any mark up on the Word file, does not allow for "comments" in the native Word document. Again, only sticky notes are allowed. And the only way to view those sticky notes off the device is a summary page with all of the sticky notes, and no indication to where in the document they relate. Basically useless as far as I can tell. The workaround seems to be to send a Word document via the email with the subject "Convert" in which case it will appear on the device as a mark-up capable PDF. No ability to use or edit collaborative documents via Onedrive or other.
7) I have not tried other E-INK devices so I can't say if this is better or worse that others, but it definitely does not feel like paper. It is a slightly roughened screen, but not pen or pencil on paper. And I can't see any measurable pressure sensitivity. That said, it works well for what it does and is nicer than writing on an iPad or on a Samsung Note. It is not possible for anything to come out looking like what they show on the ads. I also can't say whether the 300 dpi vs 227 dpi makes a measurable difference, but I can't say that I was blown away with the crispness either.
8) As an e-reader, which was not my main drive to buy this, but seems to be the main purpose of the device: It is nice, easy to read, nicely backlit and adjustable, a good size, and feels lightweight at first. But holding it in one hand it will put a lot of strain on the hand after a while and gets tiresome, and since the only way to turn pages is by tapping or swiping on the side, I can't see any way out of one handed holding. And, as advertised, you can not really do much with the pen in the e-reader ("in order to keep it uncluttered") - only sticky notes, which are not organizable or searchable, seem unwieldy and useless to me. And you can highlight in the book, but not with the pen... only by long pressing with a finger. It seems strange to me to include pen functionality on an e-reader device but to refuse to allow that pen functionality within the e-reader itself?? And to allow highlighting by a klunky press and hold and resize with a finger, but not with the pen?? If I were to get an e-reader again, I would buy a smaller more lightweight one for less than half the price.
9) The web browser is completely not functional at all. Not that I can see any reason a web browser would be necessary. But there is also no ability to add any apps so whatever comes with the device seems to be all that can be done. So no Word, Excel, Onenote, Outlook, calendar, task list...
Just overall most of what I would expect to be basic on a device like this is not present. Maybe it will be in 6 months.. but not now. Note taking and organization are just way too limited and the inability to transfer documents in a normal secure way and do useful mark up are deal breakers. I might have kept it even just as a book reader but given the pen doesn't add anything to the reading, I would opt for a smaller, cheaper, lighter Kindle in that case.