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
The future of book reading? Let's see!
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: Z_E_U_S
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: More portable than carrying 3,500 books in your luggage!
Disadvantages: Some e-books more expensive than paper copies, limited to amazon.
I'll admit to being a bit of a bookworm. When I moved in with my partner, I had a bookshelf that covered a whole wall and it was stuffed full with books. Overflowing, in fact. So when I saw that Amazon had launched an e-book reader, I had to have it. I've now had my Kindle (3G version) for almost a year, so I think that my review should be quite a balanced one.
Firstly, searching the Amazon bookstore is a breeze with the keyboard - I think I'd struggle with the basic model that's just been brought out. Books can be bought at the touch of a button, but don't worry - if you get carried away and click 'download now' by accident, Amazon actually gives you the option to change your mind although this is presumably within a reasonable time period. I'm not sure they'd 'reverse' the purchase after more than a couple of hours.
So how do the specs measure up? Well, the Kindle Keyboard (as it's now marketed) has an advertised battery life of 2 months. Now this is based on a daily use of only half an hour. I have a one hour commute in the morning and another hour in the evening. I use my kindle for at least an hour a day. From memory my kindle was last charged at the end of September and it is on charge at the moment. So I've had a little over a month which is to be expected given that I'm using the kindle twice as much as expected. To optimise the battery life, ensure that you have switched the wireless off when you're not using it; otherwise your kindle will be searching for a signal and running down the battery.
As I've mentioned the wireless in my previous paragraph, I'll expand on that a little. The 3G version switches between 3G and wifi and yes, the 3G really is free. You really can sit on a beach and download books if that's what takes your fancy. When I was on honeymoon in Italy earlier this year, I refused to pay £8 for just an hour's internet access in the hotel lobby, but I wanted to get in touch with family at home. So I logged in to my facebook account via my kindle and sent a facebook message to my brother and sister. I then logged into my emails (again on the kindle) and emailed our respective parents. Yes, the web browsing is glitchy and it does have a tendency to crash occasionally when you're using it, but it can be done.
Before I received my Kindle I was 'concerned' that I might not like the e-ink. After all, I'd never read anything on an electrical device without a backlight - it might be weird. I needn't have worried. It really is like reading a book, with the exception of being able to change the font size or orientation of the text at the push of a button. There is even the option (if the downloaded book has this enabled) of having your book 'read' to you. I'll admit that this is also glitchy!
The 3G version comes with 4GB of space which is apparently up to 3,500 books. Now having had my kindle for a little under a year, I cannot comment on whether 3,500 is realistic or accurate - I currently have 72 full books and 94 samples. Personally I find the samples extremely useful as you can read the first one or two chapters of a book without having to pay for the whole thing - I suppose it's the technological equivalent of standing in a bookshop flicking through a book to see if it's your cup of tea!
I have read reviews of people being disappointed that the kindle don't ship with a USB cable - the power cable that mine came with can be disassembled to give you a separate USB cable, but this was not made clear in the user guide.
My partner has an android phone, so downloaded the kindle app for it. By syncing the android app to my amazon account, we can read the same books without having to pay for them twice. I can also 'restore' books that I've accidentally deleted from the device quite quickly and without having to re-purchase.
So am I ready to ditch paper for technology? I'd love to be able to say yes, but I can't just yet. Whilst my kindle goes everywhere with me and had introduced me to new authors, I am still buying paper books. This is because in supermarkets & bookshops there are often "buy three for £10" or three for two offers. Amazon does not yet offer this facility. Also, e-books have a minimum price which is set by the publisher. You can sometimes get the paperback copy cheaper. But as I say - I have 72 books on my kindle so it definitely isn't putting me off!
A little tip for you - this isn't publicised in the Amazon blurb - you can play minesweeper on your kindle. Simply press shift, alt and M on the keyboard!
Summary: Have realistic expectations and you won't be disappointed
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