Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... is incredible, so the battery life is a definite advantage. Buying books of Amazon was pretty simple, so long as you can connect your ... more
I may be in love....
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: mdhughes03
Amazon Kindle 3
Date: 22/02/11, updated on 23/02/11 (107 review reads)
Advantages: Everything about it!
Disadvantages: Only black and white screen, still might be too pricey for some.
Reason for buying
Let me say first off that I am not a gadget freak. I do like to own cool things but am not one for jumping straight on the bandwagon, would never queue at the Apple store for their latest offering or anything like that. If I buy a gadget, it's because I think it's very practical, an old product has died some horrible techno-death or I REALLY want the product and have been waiting for it to come down in price! An e-reader definitely fell into this last catgegory. I started to consider the merits of an e-reader when thinking about an upcoming road trip to America. Space saving, handy, easy to put to one side and pick up again, very portable. But ooooh, spending hard earned money on it? I needed convincing.
Let the research begin
Here's what I found out on my forays into review-ville.
1. Kindle is the cheapest e-reader out there for the quality and quantity of its features. Good start!
2. Prices are around £110 for the wifi version and £150 for the wifi+3G version-much cheaper than I anticipated
3. Kindle has a top-notch display (more about that later)
4. Lots of books are available for free (love the word free)
5. It looks very funky and sleek.
Ok, now the nitty gritty.
How do you use it?
Ok well it's pretty simple (thankfully). The machine has an on button, press it and you are taken straight to your home page which lists all the documents and books you have loaded onto your Kindle (think of it as a document folder in your PC/Laptop). Once you are connected wirelessly to the internet by registering your kindle's serial number with Amazon, books can be sent to your Kindle within 60 seconds by buying them on the website-no leads! However if for some reason wireless isn't available then you can connect using a USB cable. This is also useful if you want to transfer documents to your kindle to view later-you can put your Word and PDF docs on the kindle to travel with.
There is no touch screen facility-instead there's a Qwerty keyboard with Menu, back and arrow cursor buttons. This makes navigation simple if a little low tech (think of it like using the menu on a dvd player and you'll get the idea) You can select the book you want to read by using these cursor buttons and once you click into it, you will be taken straight to the start of chapter one, or to the place you last left the book if it is one you've already started-no more losing your page!
The Kindle comes complete with a simplistic web-browser which is useful for Wikipedia and dictionary sites but isn't really built for other browsing. However if you wish to use the internet connection anywhere you go, it's worth plumping for this 3G version as access is free and there is a wide network you can use-no waiting until you can find a free wifi hotspot. Personally, I'm not too fussed-I'm not likely to be so desperate for a new book that I need to download at the shopping centre, so wifi downloads at home would suffice for me. If you turn the wifi off the battery will last A MONTH! There is a charge lead which is mains or USB for when the juice eventually drains though.
There is the option to download an App which allows you to read kindle books on your phone, iPad or computer. You can sync these so that, after reading your book on the Kindle the previous night you can pick up at the same page on your phone the next day-I love this idea as I'm quite absent minded and could well forget to take one or the other with me!
What books can you get?
Most new books are being published on amazon in e-books form if they are expected to be big sellers (at least that's what I deduce from the selection available) Prices at the moment are the same, if not higher, than hardbacks. I think this is fair enough from the publisher's point of view and it doesn't affect my purchasing habits-Price is what my decision will always come down to, regardless of format.
There are lots of books available for free-mainly out of print, and therefore out of copyright, books. There are Hundreds of classics available-within the first 5 minutes of connecting to Amazon I had Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol and A Midsummer Night's Dream loaded onto my Kindle. Other free books tend to be from new authors hoping to gain an audience.
I have not tried this but my internet research tells me that you can download an ebook in any format and convert it to Kindle format with a free program called Calibre. This might widen the range you can buy. It certainly expands what you can borrow. Unfortunately only a handful of libraries in the UK let you borrow ebooks (By borrow they mean the book is deleted from your e-reader at the end of the borrowing period) None of the libraries are anywhere near me so for the moment I cannot borrow any books, but I cannot wait to do this-perfect for someone busy who might not be able to plan when to get to the library to avoid late fees.
WOW!! The Kindle is not like a laptop as you may think. The screen is not backlit so you avoid that annoying "Oops where's my picture gone" effect that happens when viewing your laptop from the wrong angle. Instead the screen is built deliberately to behave like paper: each time you turn a page the words settle as if they have just been inked. I don't pretend to understand the technology involved but the result is stunning, hold it at any angle and it still looks like a flat, non-shiny page in front of you. Incredible. This means no glare from the sun stopping you from reading on holiday.
The display for the pages is 6 inches which is a comfortable reading area for me, but the text can be adjusted and there is the option to have a Stephen Hawking-esque voice (male or female) read the text to you if needed. My friend commented that this would be useful if completing needlework or other delicate work but still wanting to be entertained. Beats having My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on in the background, that's for sure!
Best of all, this product is SO neat. It is the perfect size for holding, with your thumbs resting at the page turn buttons on the sides of the unit (on both the left and right, no discrimination here). It is very slim and as light as a paperback.This makes it so easy to carry around in a bag and if you are indecisive, saves the space of carrying three separate paperbooks!
The unit is available directly from Amazon, through John Lewis, PC world or Currys (better options are the in-store ones as you can try before you buy)
I will be taking this with me on my trip but have already found it very useful as I like to move position often when I read and have always found reading while lying down something I could not get comfortable with. This unit means that you only need one hand free to hold it, making positioning easier. (If only those chaps on The Apprentice had though of that instead of their failed bookstand-for-the-beach effort!
Summary: Go and play with one, I bet you can't resist!
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