Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Kindle Your Passion for Books
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: tinkerbell18
Amazon Kindle 3
Date: 17/07/11, updated on 17/07/11 (108 review reads)
Advantages: Small, Battery Life, Capacity, Look, Weight, Ease of Use
Disadvantages: Problems with Screen
Well the Kindle itself. It is made by, you guessed it, Amazon, and is actually the third version of the Kindle. I've seen an older version on a train and it was about A4 size; not very portable at all. I'd say that the size of this Kindle is a small paperback, but much thinner. The Kindle is a form of E-reader, allowing you to download books from a very large selection and take them with you - which is very handy when you're a keen reader and like to take several books on holiday; means more room for essentials other than books, such as sun-tan lotion! There are other features on the Kindle other than the ability to download and read books, but I shall get to that later.
A question I have been asked a lot in work is what is the difference between the Wi-Fi and 3G Kindle. There is only one difference and the clue is in the name. To connect to the internet on the Wi-Fi model, you need to be near a wireless connection, so you have to rely on these to access and download books. The 3G version is, as best as I can describe, built-in internet provided by Amazon, meaning that you are able to access the internet pretty much whenever you want, rather than relying on Wi-Fi; I say pretty much as there are black holes where 3G does not work, such as my work, which is rather annoying when you are trying to demonstrate it working! I have the Wi-Fi version as I find I download multiple books at a time and therefore have plenty on there to choose from whilst I'm away. However, I have found that the people that tend to buy the 3G version do so when they live abroad and have bad Wi-Fi, or like getting their daily newspaper wherever they are in the world. If you just want the Kindle for books though, go for the Wi-Fi version and just make sure you stock up on books before you leave on holiday - the £41 you save can go towards books!
The Kindle is very slim and lightweight (6" reading area and weighs 247g), which means it is very easy to hold up in one hand without it getting too heavy. At first I thought that the keypad at the bottom would get in the way when holding the Kindle, but some grooves on the back help you to naturally find a comfortable position to hold the Kindle and not touch the keys. The screen is an E Ink display: to be honest, I don't know the technical side, but it means that the screen basically has a type of ink below the surface, and between that and the lack of backlight it makes the Kindle screen very like the page of a book (a lot of my housemates said this too). I love this because it means I can read on the Kindle for hours and hours without it bothering me, but when using computers and IPods and other backlit devices, I tend to get a headache.
So. Using the Kindle. On opening the box the screen has instructions already on it (not a sticker, it's how the display is set. Don't sit there working out how to peel it off like I did, just skip straight to plugging the charger in), and after a few moments from putting it on charge it kicks into life. It automatically goes to a Welcome message. There is also a Kindle user guide and two dictionaries (American and English I think). To be honest, I didn't really read the guide and just jumped right in, but I recommend you do so because I missed several features to start off with. The menu button on the Kindle is going to be your main control when not reading - it allows you to link to your amazon account via settings, turn wireless on and off and access the Kindle store, amongst other things. The home button allows you to return to the main screen from wherever you are (automatically saving your place in your book). To read the book, or flick through pages in your menu (these occur when you have lots of books on there), there are two buttons on either side of the Kindle. Two move the pages forward, two move them back. You definitely have to press these (and any other button) to get them to work, so you won't be turning the page at the lightest touch. Again they are in comfortable reach no matter how you are holding the Kindle.
There are so many features of the Kindle, and I can easily go on and on, so I'm going to try and pick out the main ones and be as concise as possible. Wish me luck!
Book Downloading - So this is the main feature of the Kindle. It's the only thing I bothered to learn when I got it. Once linked to an amazon account, you can buy books on the computer and send them straight to your Kindle, or you can send it to your computer to be transferred via usb pen (this is handy if you don't have Wi-Fi but didn't want to pay extra for the 3G version). You can also buy from the Kindle itself, on a simplified Kindle Book store, with categories, author lists and a search function. If your Wi-Fi is on, the book can download in up to 60 seconds; just remember to turn it on. Also remember, purchasing the book is done with the 1-click feature, so make sure you are paying with the card you want. Me & my sister share an account and I keep accidentally getting her to buy them instead. Another thing I quite like is that if you're Kindle gets full (at over 3,500 books), if you delete them off they are stored by Amazon, so you can re-download as many times as you want without paying again. If you share your account like I do, any books bought will show up in your archive and you are able to download them, again without incurring another charge. I definitely recommend sharing an account if you like similar books, as it is rather handy. Up to 6 devices (so Kindles, IPod, Ipads and Computers with the Kindle apps) can go onto one account. A bit annoying there is a limit, but it is worth doing.
Books - Amazon has over 700,000 books available on Kindle, and last year announced that Kindle book sales outstripped paper book sales. You can only get books from Amazon - the EBooks provided by WHSmith and Waterstones are for other E-readers. Some publishers have not gone over to electronic books, but there is a huge range of books. Prices range from free upwards, averaging between £4 and £6 (the ones I buy anyway), and are set by the publisher.
Newspapers - It is possible to subscribe to newspapers and magazines. Unfortunately I have not done so myself, but there is a large range, and I think their charges again range, but tend to be less than the paper costs usually. I think that the 3G version of the Kindle would be better for this feature, because it would be useful abroad if you wanted to keep up with local news, and Wi-Fi is a little limited.
PDF - Now this feature I have found extremely useful for university. By using the usb connection, you are able to transfer PDFs onto the Kindle. The only issue is that you have to zoom in a lot to be able to read them, and the Kindle is black and white so any images may not be quite right (although it is amazing at images). I found moving the magnifier around a little fiddly at first, but I got the hang of it. It did mean that I had lots of PDFs on my Kindle, rather than having to print them off so I don't have to use my computer. Other documents can be converted to PDF by Amazon, but can cost a couple of pounds.
Dictionary - Whilst reading, if you move the cursor to the beginning of a word, it automatically looks up the word, without leaving the book. Handy.
Others - So these are features I don't use much. You can highlight passages you like or are important and share them on social networks. It is also possible to look-up a passage, so if you were reading something and couldn't remember where it was, this can come in handy.
There are also speakers in the back of the Kindle, as well as a headphone port. This is because you can pop mp3 files and audio books onto the Kindle. There is also an experimental feature where some of the books can be read to you (not quite like an audio book but close). It's an American robotic voice (either male or female) and can mispronounce things sometimes. But I let it off for this as it is experimental. I've used it once or twice, and the pages of the book turn automatically, and after getting used to the voice, I found it quite nice to listen to.
A final experimental feature is a web browser. As mentioned before, the Kindle isn't colour so neither are the websites. It's a little slow and pages don't fit to the screen so a lot of moving about has to occur. I really wouldn't recommend the Kindle if you wanted it for web browsing also - at the minute I'd just stick to the Kindle for what it's designed for - reading.
So maybe an overload of information there. I did warn you I'm a little bit in love with my Kindle. It goes absolutely everywhere with me and I think I'm nearing 100 books on there (have barely read any though, I appear to have an addiction to buying them!). The battery life is absolutely incredible on the Kindle, especially when you remember to turn off the Wi-Fi/ 3G when you're not using it. It's so good that when my Kindle actually flashed up low battery two months after getting it I was momentarily confused! However, if you do get an Amazon cover with a light, the battery won't last as long as it powers the light (but I don't have this cover, I have a handmade one so I'm all good!). I love how easy the Kindle is to use, and how enjoyable it is to use. It won't completely replace books, as I have found I miss the smell of books, as I found out when stepping into Waterstones. However it is absolutely fantastic when you want to limit how many hard copies of books you buy, and when you want to take books away with you.
There are however a couple of glitches with the Kindle. Firstly, the screen. It has been known to freeze up - and this is such a common problem that Amazon have a policy that if this happens to you you are able to take the Kindle back to where you bought it and get a replacement (but only if it wasn't caused by you). I'd advise getting a cover for the screen, as the liquid display beneath the surface can crack if you put too much pressure on it. The Kindle is fairly robust, but definitely protect the screen if you are going to travel with it. The power switch has been known to get stiff, which isn't a major problem, just making the Kindle 'wake-up' slower, and has seemed to sort itself out after a few weeks.
By taking part in surveys and dooyoo, I was able to get my Kindle for about £60, which I think is fantastic. As much as I love it, I'm not sure I would pay full price for it, but that could just be the part of me that enjoys trying to save money where I can (it's only taken 3 years as a student!). The Kindle looks good, a simple grey colour, and is a perfect weight for long periods of reading. I have a kind of sticker cover on it (called a Gela- Skin), the brightness of which has made my Kindle stand out a little, but it looks rather good without it anyway. It is an absolutely fantastic device, especially for bookworms who are running out of bookshelf or even bookcase space, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an E-reader, or just looking to save space in their bag!
Whoops almost forgot! The Wi-Fi version of the Kindle is £111, whilst the 3G version is £152 (and this is all the excess you have to pay to use the 3G, no pay monthly stuff, as promised by Amazon). These prices are set by Amazon, and do not vary wherever the Kindles are sold (such as Tesco, CurrysPCWorld, WHSmith etc). The only variation is whether there are any offers on covers sold with the Kindle, so I advise shopping around if you want to get a cover at the same time.
Summary: A wonderful gadget for book lovers everywehre
|Ease of use:|
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