A few weeks ago my old television died. I decided to finally take the plunge into the world of high definition television. I shopped around and found an HDTV that suited me perfectly.
But then it hit me. For the same amount of money, or less, I could have bought so much more. I paid good money for something that does only one thing -- display video -- when I could have spent a little less and had a machine that not only displays video but also plays DVDs and VHS tapes! What was I thinking?! Surely the machine that does it all is much better.
That's the mentality that pervades many who scoff at the Kindle's steep price tag and uni-tasking nature. Read an internet forum about the Kindle and without fail some naysayer will eventually bring up netbooks as a better alternative. After all, the Kindle only does one thing well: display e-books. Why wouldn't you prefer a netbook for the same money since it can do so many other things in addition to that?
The problem is, we avid readers don't want another device that does all those things. We want something designed specifically for reading books. Period. And while netbooks can certainly do the job, the quality of the screen, the battery life, and the ease of purchasing new reading material can't begin to compare to the Kindle.
"In the end, our Netbook was not a perfect substitute for the $359 Amazon Kindle 2. The Acer Aspire was heavier and harder to hold onto, and while the screen was bigger, unlike the Kindle's muted grey-on-grey, the bright glow of the LCD is tiring to the eyes after a while."
Ackerman still views netbooks as a suitable alternative, especially given the price of the Kindle, but as a pure e-book reader he admits that the Kindle wins.
Don't get me wrong. I like netbooks and would love to have one someday. But not for reading.
Multi-purpose devices are handy, but sometimes you want something that just does one thing -- and does it better than anything else.
Currently reading on my Kindle: Silas Marner by George Eliot.
Follow me on Twitter @phigginbotham.