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
So Why Is It Called A Kindle?
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: arleek
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: Easy to use, great to read from
Disadvantages: No touch screen, reading position sometimes awkward
I'll just point out here that I own the Kindle Keyboard (Wi-Fi) version (the one with the small keyboard at the bottom), and I paid £111. I see the newest version is just £89 but does not have the keyboard; I have no idea how that works.
***Getting To Know My Kindle***
The Kindle came nicely packaged in a cardboard box, and within the box was the Kindle, a power adapter and a USB cable. Also included was a very brief instruction booklet, this was brief because a detailed instruction manual can be found actually saved onto the Kindle itself, but I suppose you need to know how to charge it up and turn it on before you can locate said manual!
I was quite surprised as to how small and lightweight the Kindle was, I certainly expected it to be a bit thicker and more substantial, it actually felt like it wasn't the real deal, but I can assure you it is. The actual size of the product is 190mm x 123mm x 8.5mm and weighs just 247 grams, I know this not because I have weighed and measured it myself, but because I just read it on the Amazon website, where you will be able to find all the technical information you need regarding the Kindle, so I will not needlessly fill this review with mindless information which can be found elsewhere.
The Kindle needed to be charged before I could begin using it, although it did say I could use it whilst charging, but this would increase the length of time it would take to charge fully. So I did the basics because I was too impatient to wait until it had charged up, and I just got to know how to use the device. If I remember correctly once you have ordered your Kindle you are automatically set up with a Kindle account on Amazon so it is really easy to order books, and they will be sent directly to your Kindle without you really having to set anything up (as long as you have the WiFi connected). This was pretty advantageous to me because I am not particularly good when it comes to syncing up electronic devices with other electronic devices, so to have it all ready to go was great. Although thinking back, I think I had to pair it up with our Wi-Fi connection at home, and I must have managed to do this unaided because I ordered a book more or less straight away, so it must have been quite simple to do.
When I first started using the Kindle I could not get used to it not being a touch screen, having used a touch screen on my mobile phone for a couple of years now, it felt a bit Jurassic going back to using buttons, but once I got over this it was a lot easier. To navigate around the Kindle you use the buttons located at the bottom, such as the cursor key, home and menu buttons - and while these are pretty small it is surprisingly easy to use, even with my sausage fingers. It can be a bit slow using the cursor keys to move the 'selected' thing around the page when you are attempting to change books, or search for a book on Amazon through your Kindle, but it does get easier. To be honest I do not use the qwerty keyboard very much because I do actually find it quite fiddly, especially if I am trying to browse the Amazon Kindle store, I much prefer to use my laptop.
***Buying Kindle Books***
I have bought a couple of books through my Kindle device, but I found this quite difficult because usually when I am on Amazon I just browse through the newest releases, or 'recommended for you' but on the Kindle it is quite difficult to just browse, and not having the use of a mouse or a full size keyboard makes things even more hard going. I find if I am going to buy a book using my Kindle, then I have to know exactly what I am looking for, otherwise I get frustrated.
Buying books through the Amazon website is much easier, and if you are signed into your account, you just need to click once and it is immediately downloaded onto your Kindle (as long as you have the Wi-Fi turned on). I have noticed though that not all books are available on Kindle, and sometimes this is annoying, hopefully this will change over the coming years.
What I also found surprising was that you can expect to pay at least £4 for most Kindle books, and if it's on the bestsellers list then you can expect to pay more than that. At first I was a bit miffed at this, but I wouldn't think twice about paying £4 for a hard copy of a book, so why should it bother me paying that for the Kindle version - the author has to get paid I suppose! I just assumed that because I would be reading it on my Kindle, I wouldn't be paying for the printing costs etc. But saying that, they do have an extensive list of free books, and many books also come down to 99p, but you have to keep your eye out for them. I have given up trying to find bargains, and now just pay whatever I need to pay if I want to read the book.
Reading my first book on the Kindle was a very pleasant experience, at first I couldn't get my mind around the fact that I was holding this small lightweight device and reading a novel from the small screen, which I suppose is actually the same size as one page from a standard paperback. But as I got used to it, and as I got submersed into the book, I slowly began to forget I was holding an electronic device and was just lost in the story (good job it was a good book!)
I was really pleased with how the screen looked; it is nothing like a computer screen, there are no flickers or glare. I have often found when I am reading something on the laptop I go cross eyed and find I lose my place, whereas the Kindle is exactly like reading from a book, if not better - the words are perfectly clear and you don't get that annoying thing like when reading a book where the page starts to curve upwards, or you have to roll the book to read the words that are disappearing into the central fold. On the Kindle the words are always flat on the screen, it really is quite remarkable.
What is also excellent about reading from the Kindle is that you can use it outside. I know we had a pretty rubbish summer, but I seem to recall a week in September (after the kids went back to school) when it was scorching and I spent rather a lot of time reading from my Kindle in the garden, and it was just amazing. I have once or twice attempted to use the laptop, and also my Nintendo DS outside, and failed miserably, but the sunlight does not affect the quality of the display on the Kindle at all - it is just like having a book, only better!
This is something I still haven't quite got used to, turning the pages. There are two buttons located on each side of the Kindle, and they are rather small, but big enough to be visible at all times, and easy enough to locate without taking your eyes off the screen. The two buttons on each side are identical - you have a smaller one for turning a page backwards and a larger one for turning the page forwards. And I suppose they have them on each side of the Kindle so it doesn't matter with which hand you are holding your device.
The one thing I am struggling with is finding a reading position that is comfortable enough so that I don't actually have to move my hand to turn the page, ideally I would like to just be able to click my thumb and the page turns, but the device is designed so that (for me trying to read one handed) this is impossible, so every time I finish a page I have to move my hand upwards slightly to press the button. I know this might sound a bit picky, especially since when you read a book you have to move your whole arm to turn a page, but sometimes when I am laid in bed I would prefer to not move at all when I am reading. This is just a minor point, and I am probably in the minority here, but I do struggle to get a comfy grip with just one hand, it is much better with two hands. But perhaps this again is because I am still making the transition from reading an open book to a Kindle, it may take a while to adjust.
The information you get on the Amazon website tells you that the battery will last for 2 months, but that is based on daily reading of half an hour per day - who only reads for that long?! Anyway, based on my reading, I have charged it up twice since I've owned it, so that would make the battery life for me, a bit less than 2 months, but not much so! But I will admit that I had a bit of Kindle 'down time' when my sister in law leant me all four Twilight books, so perhaps I didn't use my Kindle for a few weeks - that would have certainly increased the battery life. Anyway, I digress...the battery lasts an awfully long time; you can feel safe going away for a couple of weeks without your charger knowing that Kindle will not let you down. Turning the Wi-Fi off increases battery life time.
I love my Kindle, despite the few reservations I have about the device, I would definitely recommend it to others. Since I have had the Kindle I have been back to 'proper' books (The Twilight Saga) and to be honest, I can't say whether I prefer the read from a book or the Kindle, they both give me the same enjoyment - so this is actually a good thing for the Kindle because it means they have got it right, it is no better or worse than a book - the reading experience remains the same.
To summarise my thoughts I have devised a list of pros and cons:
Lightweight and small enough to fit into a handbag.
Easy to use.
Can use indoors or outdoors.
The screen is amazing quality.
Battery lasts a long time.
Instant transferral of books from Amazon onto your Kindle.
Saving the world's Rainforests one Kindle at a time.
I do not like browsing the Kindle store through my Kindle; it's too fiddly and sometimes difficult to just browse through the books.
I sometimes struggle to find a good reading position (but I also have that problem with normal books).
It's not a touch screen.
If you enjoy a book, you cannot pass it onto someone else to enjoy - it stays locked on your Kindle forever, but you can recommend it to them, or lend them your Kindle!
My conclusion is that if you are thinking about buying a Kindle, stop thinking about it and buy one, you won't regret it. And you can store 3,500 books on this one! I have about 9 on mine, and I doubt I'll ever get to 3,500, but the capacity is there should I ever need it. The good thing is that if you are a big reader and going away on a long holiday - you do not need to fill a suitcase with 20 books, all you need is your Kindle.
Obviously the Kindle I have just reviewed is out of date now; the newer, smaller version is what Amazon are currently selling. However, my version is widely available on Ebay for varying prices, and I have also seen it in Tesco! Buy one!
PS I would recommend buying a cover too because they attract dust.
Summary: Just do it
|Ease of use:|
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