Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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A library that fits in my handbag!
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: MonsoonBaby
Amazon Kindle 3
Date: 07/02/11, updated on 07/02/11 (55 review reads)
Advantages: Compact, lightweight, many features, the text is crisp and clear, 3,500 book capacity!
Disadvantages: The web browser crashes & the pages are small on it, MP3 player a bit disappointing.
**This review is also on Ciao, under "MonsoonBaby88"**
I have always been a bookworm, and over years of collecting, have built up a substantial book collection. However, I have recently downsized into a small one bedroom flat, and so sadly my collection would not fit in its entirety. Yes, it was a shame, and I pondered about the possibility of making the room for them all, when suddenly, I found myself the owner of an Amazon Kindle for Christmas.
The Kindle allows you to store roughly around 3,500 books in it's large memory. This means that if you were to fill it completely, you are carrying around a large library in your bag. Sounds impossible, but it really isn't! The Kindle is a lightweight, flat device that I have completely fallen in love with from the beginning. I admit that I was a little sceptical at first-I do like the feel of a book, and being able to turn the pages, but I quickly forgot this when I realised how useful using a Kindle could be.
There are many features available on this version of the Kindle. First off, this is of course an e-book reader. The Kindle has a large screen which is not back lighted. There is a slight problem with glare at times if you are reading it directly under a lamp, but for the most part, I have not experienced trouble with this. However, if it does seem to be a bit of a pain for you, there are USB book lights that you can purchase which do not produce this glare, so I'd suggest doing a bit of internet research for those. The text looks just like the text you would find in a book, with the screen appearing to have the same look as a paper page. I found this to be the most appealing part of the Kindle, as I was worried that the whole book-reading experience would be tainted a little if I felt like I was reading it from a computer screen. There are forward and back page turners to the left and right of the screen, so that you can turn the pages with whatever hand you have free. The pages slightly flash when they are turned-something that, if I am being honest, took me a little while to get used to. Of course, when you are reading a paperback, you do not see the whole page flash when you turn it over, so it set me back a little. However, once you get stuck into a book, you soon realise that you are paying no attention to the very brief flashing every time a page has been turned. This is the main thing to remember- it is brief, and unless you are not really involved in your book, you will probably not even notice it.
Underneath the screen you will find a QWERTY keyboard, along with a navigational d-pad, which you will use instead of a mouse or your fingers (this is not a touch screen device). This allows you to search for books, type up text when using the internet, and select options on the screen.
So the front of the Kindle has been discussed, but what about inside of it? Well, there are plenty of features to mention here, which I was very surprised by when I first loaded up my Kindle. I had not read up enough about the Kindle before I received one, so I figured it was just a basic e-book reader, but a much slimmer version than the previous ones I have encountered. However, this is not the case. If you have a Wi-Fi internet connection, you can press the "Menu" button on your Kindle and connect to the Kindle store via the Amazon website, and browse thousands of e-books. From here you can link your Amazon account if you have already got one to your Kindle, or if you are a newcomer to the website, register for an account via your Kindle. Therefore, if you find a book that tickles your fancy, all you have to do is click on "Buy" on the books page, and within seconds, the book has downloaded, and is waiting for you on your home page. For those of you who are concious about e-books being a tad expensive at times, fear not. Amazon has hundreds of free e-books to download onto your Kindle, you just have to have a bit of a browse to find some. The top 100 free best-sellers list which you can find via the front page of the Kindle store will start you off with a nice decent amount of free reading material.
You can choose to organise your books however you please on your Kindle. By clicking the "Menu" button, you can select "Create New Collection." This will allow you to move your books into your own personally named collections. I decided to divide mine up into genres, as I felt this was the easiest way to keep track of what books I have, and also helps if you are in the mood to read a particular type of book. You can change the name of these collections and add or remove books in them as often as you please. When you start to get into the thousands mark, it can be quite hard to find particular books, so thankfully the Kindle has a search option, where you will be able to type a keyword, title or author into the search bar to find a book.
You may also find on the "Menu" section that there is a section that says "Experimental." As the Kindle is fairly new, this is a section that is dedicated to new features which are still in the experimenting stage. Here you will find a web browser, where you can visit some pre-programmed bookmarks, such as Wikipedia, Twitter, the Internet Movie Database and Facebook. The pages are quite small and zoomed out, so if you wish to read anything, you will have to keep scrolling with the d-pad and pressing the enter button to zoom in. I also found that the web browser crashes from time to time. I found this all a little time consuming, and in all honesty, still prefer to browse the internet via my laptop rather than my Kindle. You can also share quotations or passages from books via Facebook and Twitter if you so wish. Also in this section is an MP3 player. I uploaded an audiobook onto this, but I deleted it soon after trying it out. Sadly there is only the ability to pause and play on this feature, so it will not remember where you left off if you wish to finish for now and come back to it later. The sound is very crisp and clear, with the ability to change the volume to your desired level though, so I hope that this feature is improved upon over time. The Kindle can play Audiobooks, but they have to be in the Audible format (a website run by Amazon themselves), and these can be rather expensive, so I am leaving these for now. The last feature in this section is the "Text-to-Speech" option. You can use this in the text menu when you are reading, and this allows the Kindle to start reading to you. You can stop this option at any time by holding down the "Shift" key and pressing the "SYM" key.
The Kindle also comes loaded up with The New Oxford American Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of English, as well as a useful and informative Kindle User's Guide, which I am sure most of you who are planning to purchase a Kindle will glance at in the beginning. It helped me to discover the little features buried in the Kindle that I probably would never have tried out before, such as the Experimental section. You can also save your favourite quotations from books, which can be especially helpful if you are writing an essay and require some quotations to back up your arguments, and if you accidentally delete a book, fear not, it is easy enough to get them back again via your Amazon account, or the "Archived Items" section in your home page. Another positive aspect to note is that the battery life is excellent. I always turn my Kindle onto power-saver mode as I know I will be using it again soon anyway, and I find when I do this, hardly any battery has been used up. I get a substantial amount of battery performance out of a single charge, and find that I do not have to charge my Kindle again for up to two weeks or so at a time, which I've never had before with any of my electronic rechargeable devices.
Overall, Amazon's Kindle is an amazing little e-reader. It allows you to store 3,500 books which you can carry around on this small device all in one go. The Kindle is very thin, incredibly light and of a compact size, so this makes carrying it around with you in your bag very easy indeed. I find that ever since Christmas my Kindle has followed me around everywhere, and I never notice the weight of it in my bag. I strongly suggest buying a leather Kindle cover, as it is rather fragile, and the screen is not covered. Even a scratch on the screen could ruin the reading experience once you have become aware of it, so a cover of some sort is essential. The Amazon Kindle covers are around £60, which is very pricey, but I would suggest hunting around on the internet, as some companies sell them much cheaper than that. Whilst I have always been a bookworm, I hardly ever have the time to sit down and read a book, but the Kindle has made me renew my passion for reading. I take it on the move, read it on public transport, in my lunch breaks, and more. It really is a portable device that I feel a bit lost without if I forget to put it in my bag!
So if you are a bookworm, I strongly suggest investing in a Kindle. OK, so it may not be the same as digging out your favourite dog-eared book and turning over it's paper pages, but it comes pretty damn close to the real thing. The text is displayed in such a way that you end up believing you are reading an actual book. The Kindle caters for anyone's eyesight, as the text size can be changed, and text-to-speech can be turned on if you, or someone else who plans to use this, is unable to read the text displayed for whatever reason. There are plenty of features which take this beyond a normal e-book reader, such as the ability to go browsing the web on it, browsing the Kindle store for new books, and listening to Audiobooks purchased via audible.com. The Kindle is a great device that I will surely continue to use for a long time to come yet, especially due to the sheer volume of books I have to try and get through. So, if you fancy carrying around a library in your bag any time soon, I'd go with the Kindle!
Summary: An excellent alternative to lugging around a book, the Kindle is light, compact and enjoyable.
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