Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Kindle - almost better than real paper!
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: fiery-salamander
Amazon Kindle 3
Date: 16/06/11, updated on 19/06/11 (23 review reads)
Advantages: Great battery life, comfortable screen, intuitive navigation and huge selection of books available
Disadvantages: Need a light to read in the dark due to non-backlit screen
I never thought I would find a digital replacement that I enjoyed reading as much as a real book, but since giving the Amazon Kindle a go I have definitely been converted!
I received my Kindle for my birthday and I must have spent about half an hour just poking at the screen - it really is something special. You don't need to install any software to get it going - it comes ready to use straight out of the box. The screen uses electronic ink technology, and I was surprised at how comfortable it was to read on. Unlike conventional LCD screens, the Kindle screen is not backlit, meaning it doesn't emit any light of it's own, so you will need to be near an external light source to read in the dark. However there are a lot of advantages to this "electronic paper" display as opposed to LCD - LCD screens (as used by many other e-book reading devices) can cause eye strain when used for long periods of time, and they also require more battery power. Amazon advertises that the Kindle 3 battery can last up to 2 months on one charge. This is based on 30 minutes of reading a day, so we can assume this translates to roughly 30 hours of battery life. Of course, this battery life will be significantly shorter if have wireless activated, and even shorter if you have 3G enabled on your device, but in the weeks that I have been using my Kindle (for several hours every day) I have been very impressed by the battery life when compared to most new electronic products. When you do need to charge your device, you can do this using the included USB cable, which also comes with a wall plug adapter so you can charge it from a regular wall socket.
The layout of the Kindle can seem a little odd when you first start using it, but it really is very simple and easy to get the hang of. It has a keyboard for typing, as well as various function buttons to access the different menus, and a directional pad for controlling the 'mouse' or the selection tool. On each side there are page forward buttons and page back buttons, meaning it is comfortable to turn pages whether you are left- or right-handed. The device also comes pre-loaded with an e-book guide on how to use your Kindle, which lets you get used to reading on it while teaching you about all the other functions as well. One of my favourite things about the Kindle 3 is how light and slim it is - it can store roughly 3500 books (most ebooks are about 1mb) while weighing only 247g (this is for the 3G version, the wireless only Kindle is slightly lighter). If you consider how strict baggage restrictions for airplanes are these days you'll see that the Kindle is a worthwhile investment for all your holiday reading, as you can have a huge selection of books right in your hand luggage.
Ebooks for the Kindle are purchased through the Amazon website, and you can do this either on your home computer or directly from your Kindle, simply by pressing the 'Menu' button and selecting to shop at the Kindle store. There is a HUGE selection of books available to download, including many classics which are available for free. I find the Kindle bookstore easier and quicker to navigate on a normal computer as opposed to on my Kindle, but the ability to look up and download books on the go is definitely useful. Books download directly to the device very quickly - it only takes about a minute to download a 300-page book, and if you download the books to your home computer, you can transfer them over to your device using the included USB cable and one of Amazon's Kindle apps for PC and MAC.
To download books directly to the Kindle you need to be connected to the internet. I received the model which includes 3G and I would highly recommend this one over the WiFi only - for a small extra cost of about £40, you get free 3G FOR LIFE on your device. This not only means that you can browse the Amazon store and download books when you are away from home without having to look for a wireless hotspot, but you can also browse the internet using Kindle 3's built-in browser (under 'Experimental' in the Kindle menu). The browser is capable of displaying text and images (albeit in grayscale), and I have successfully used it to look up Google, Wikipedia and send emails. The browser has not yet been perfected and can occasionally crash, but for a simple browser and free 3G connection anywhere in the world, I think this is a great feature.
As for the experience of actually reading on the Kindle, I have been able to read for many hours without any kind of eye strain or related problems. The screen is comfortable to use, and unlike LCD screens you can read easily in bright sunlight. The matte texture of the screen means you don't get any annoying glare from lights or reflections from a smooth screen. The Kindle is so slim and light that it is easy to hold while reading without any kind of wrist or arm fatigue, unlike when reading very heavy books. You can also slip it into your bag to read on the train, bus, coffee shop or waiting room. The Kindle will automatically save where you are in each separate book, and take you right back to that page when you next select that book, meaning you can read multiple books at a time and never lose your place in any of them. One of the best features in my opinion is that the device comes with 2 built-in English dictionaries. By selecting a word on the page you are reading, you can immediately get a definition without having to leave the page, which is really useful when you are out and about and don't have easy access to a dictionary.
All in all, a great product, I LOVE my Kindle and I would highly recommend it to all book-lovers. You won't be disappointed.
Summary: Brilliant device, I highly recommend it to all book-lovers.
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