Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Taking My Book For A Stroll
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: Andy.mack
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: An easy and efficient way to read more
Disadvantages: New release books are a little pricey
My Reading Habits
The Kindle suits my reading habits far better than the e-reader. I've always been quite impulsive when it comes to buying books, so having to go onto Waterstone's website just to buy a couple of books didn't really work for me. By the time I'd logged in and started looking round I was bored, whereas the 3G aspect of the Kindle appealed to me far more, but I'll explain a bit more about this shortly. The reason though I finally took the plunge on the Kindle was simply because I wanted to be able to buy new books whilst lying by a pool in Mallorca, not pre-prepare what I thought I might fancy reading once the first couple of books were finished.
So What Is A Kindle
Well in short it's the amazon version of an E-reader. It's a device that, in this one's case, hold 3,500 books on its hard drive at any one time. The beauty of these kinds of devices is down to the weight and the memory. Gone are the days where I need to take 5 or 6 books on holiday, instead I simply take my Kindle, which is a lot handier and much lighter.
I bought the 3G and Wi-fi version which is approx. 190 x 130 x 8.5mm including the keyboard and it weighs only 247 grams, which means that it takes up much less space than the equivalent in books. The kindle itself is dark grey with a lighter grey screen where the black text appears. The version I've bought also comes with a physical keyboard, unlike the cheaper Kindle with a on screen keyboard controlled using the directional arrows. I have to admit to preferring the keyboard version as it makes browsing quicker and easier.
3G and Wi-fi
So what's so good about the Wi-fi and 3g over and above the original version which has just the Wi-fi connection? Well the Wi-fi allows you to connect and download the books over the internet rather than having to connect your e-reader to a computer. This though requires you to have access to a Wi-fi connection, which isn't always possible. Now whilst I paid £118.99 for the 3G version I think it was worth it, as it downloads and accesses the amazon store through the mobile phone 3G network, making it far more accessible.
This particularly helped whilst we were in Mallorca as there was no Wi-fi to connect to, yet once I'd decided that I wanted a new book and found something that grabbed my interest, it was downloaded onto my kindle within 60 seconds. This is what really sold me on the Kindle over my old e-reader and now that I have this ability it would be very hard to go back.
Downloading & Amazon
Once you've bought your kindle an account for downloading books is then set up automatically, linked to a payment card so you don't need to enter payment details every time you want to buy something. This is very useful as it saves a lot of time in purchasing new content, however it could also lead to spending far more than you'd like, so you really must get the balance of using this feature right.
The amazon e-book store is increasing its content all the time and there are more and more authors becoming available. My biggest issue with the e-store though is the price of some of the books. Now bearing in mind they aren't printing big heavy hardbacks or paperbacks you would expect the prices to be a bit cheaper and whilst that is true of older books, the new releases are still coming out somewhere close to full price.
One of the things I really like about the Kindle store is the ability to download samples of books to get a feel for whether or not you're actually going to like them or not. This means you can sample new authors without buying their work, which really has helped me to avoid buying as many duds like I used to in Sainsbury's. The store also has a large selection of free books from up and coming authors and whilst these can be a bit of a mixed bag, there are some real gems in amongst the dross.
Ease of Use
The Kindle is incredibly easy to use straight from the box. Once you charge it for the first time the battery will stay charged for around 2 months, dependant on how much you use It and whether you have the 3G connection permanently on or choose to turn it off when you're not using the Kindle. The screen constantly has an image and text on it to ensure that the screen is protected. Once you switch the Kindle on it has a very simple screen with the books listed down the middle. From here you can use the menu to access the amazon store or if you prefer you can also go on facebook and twitter from the Kindle.
Once you've started to download books there are a number of ways these can be stored on the Kindle as it gives you the freedom to create your own filing strategy. So whether you like to store your books by genre, author or any other method the kindle's easy to use menu system lets you put them into a format that suits you.
My biggest concern with e-readers in general has always been the quality of the screen, but I've got no complaints about the kindle. The text appears really clearly on the screen with a decent font size and the screen itself is really well contrasted. The black lettering is incredibly clear on the screen and it makes the Kindle a joy to use. One of the Kindle's main advertising points when it came out originally was the antiglare screen so you could, for instance, read it on the beach. I was actually really surprised by just how good this is. Whilst in Mallorca the sun was shining on the screen for large portions of the day and not once did I have an issue with the reflection or glare.
One of the biggest issues I had with the Sony e-reader was the speed of turning pages. Once you'd pressed the button to move onto the next page it took a while to change, but the Kindle is quite slick and fast. The response from pressing the next page button to the page appearing must be around a second or two, which certainly helps by not interupting the flow of your reading.
So It's Good?
Despite being quite sceptical of the Kindle before I bought one, I have to admit that yes it is. The Kindle and its associated features make it a million times better than my old Sony e-reader. Where my e-reader spent months gathering dust in various drawers around the house the Kindle seems to go everywhere with me. I've found that not only do I keep it by my bedside but it also comes to work with me so I can read at lunchtime, something I never used to do.
I think the Kindle is far easier to use than the equivalents out there and it will have the same effect on the e-book market that the IPod has had on the downloadable music market. The thing about the kindle is that it doesn't try too hard to be something too swish. It is there to help the avid reader have easier access to books and that's exactly what it does. It may have additional gadgets such as the 3G function but this just helps to enhance the quality of the device. The Kindle currently retails at £149 for this version and I personally believe it's worth every penny. The price of books may be a little higher than I'd like but the convenience of the Kindle far outweighs what is a fairly minor issue.
If you're looking for something to make your reading a little less of a hassle and far more convenient on the move then I would recommend you invest in a Kindle. At £149 for this version or £89 for the non 3G version they are worth the money for the space they save and the convenience alone, before you take any of the above into consideration. It's far better than my old Sony e-reader and I will certainly be sticking to the Kindle in the future.
Summary: An excellent e reader that's easy to use and
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