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
Too many books ruining your life and your bank balance?
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: Mildew82
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: Cheaper way to buy books, easy to download and organise, save on storage space, great battery life
Disadvantages: Cheaper, more streamlined version available, no 3G
The size of this Kindle is the same approximate height and width as an ordinary paperback (190 mm x 123 mm) but its depth is only 8.5 mm so even if you're insane and decide to embark upon reading all 1,296 pages of War and Peace it's still only going to be 8.5 mm and not an arm aching 51 mm. This device is also nice and lightweight at 241 grams and I have used this device for hours on end with none of the same discomfort you often get with trying to hold a paperback book steady. The screen size is much smaller than an actual paperback with a 6" diagonal E Ink Pearl electronic display that does resemble paper surprisingly well. On both sides of the screen are two buttons (for if you are left or right handed) to "flip pages" back and forth which is even easier than turning over real life pages in an actual book, especially if you have sticky pages, with just the tap of a button. Below the screen is a closely spaced QWERTY keyboard with a Menu, Text Formatter, Home and Back button as well as a 5 button cursor to allow easy navigation in all directions. On the base of the device is the volume control, a headphone socket, the charger socket and on/off slider.
When you first get your device you already have some stored content including English and American dictionaries, a welcome message from Amazon with heartfelt gratitude for your purchase, a quick guide about the logistics of "Transferring your Kindle Content" and a rather large user guide. I'm very anti-user guides, I much prefer exploring and learning for myself, but inevitably there may will be things you cannot work out for yourself and this guide would come in very handy for those moments with a table of contents with direct links at the beginning and the ability to search for words revealing every instance of that word to hopefully pop up with what you need.
The first things you need to do are register your device and set up your Wi-Fi so you can begin buying and downloading your books, magazines, newspapers etc. which is really easy by simply hitting Home/Menu/Settings and then you click on Register and type in your Amazon username and password. Then you can join a Wi-Fi network by viewing the available networks, clicking connect on the correct one and typing in the password. The device should then remember that network when it locates it again in the future. So once you are connected you can start buying your content. You have the choice of searching and buying through the Kindle store online and having your book(s) downloaded automatically as soon as the Kindle finds a connection, or actually searching via your Kindle through the Kindle Store located on the menu either by typing in the exact book you want, or searching through genres and getting the book practically instantaneously. In order to buy directly from your Kindle you need a credit/debit card set up even if you want to pay through vouchers as the Kindle buys directly through your online account.
Other settings include activating a Voice Guide to make menus and selections spoken aloud to you, setting a password for your Kindle, setting the time, managing your social networking Twitter or Facebook accounts to accept excerpts, notes and highlights straight from your Kindle, and to display highlighted passages within your books based upon other readers' activities.
You can find the books (which for ease of use covers all other types of downloadable content which include newspaper and magazine subscriptions/one off purchases) you just downloaded on your home page which by default shows the books in order of most recently downloaded/used. You can adjust the order you look at the books by author's surname or book title, or if you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume you have purchased (up to 4GB of space which equates to 3,500 books) you can create "collections" to put books you want to group together into and order by those, and then also by the book title or surname within these collections. You can also archive books you don't want anymore, which simply removes them into an archive folder which you can retrieve later free of charge if you change your mind.
To read the book highlight it and press the enter button and away you go. Navigating is an absolute doddle, you simply press the buttons at the side of the screen to flip back and forth or you can choose the "Go to..." option which allows you to go directly to the cover, a Table of Contents, the beginning, the end or a specific page number/location or you can "Sync to Furthest Page Read" if you've gone back to previously read pages and wish to get back to where you were. If you leave the book, once you return it will be just where you left it regardless of how many you are reading simultaneously, so you don't have to worry about remembering page numbers or finding some object in your bag to act as a bookmark. I've never used any of these following functions, but I can see how many would be useful for something like essay writing:
1. Go to the Amazon description page with plot summary and reviews etc.
2. Set bookmarks if you want to mark a certain page.
3. Add a note or mark which you can view later.
4. Search the book for certain words or phrases which will return part of the paragraph and location of every instance of them.
5. If you don't know the meaning of any word you can move the cursor over to it and the dictionary entry pops up at the top.
6. Pressing the Aa button allows you to adjust the way your book is displayed by altering text size, the typeface, the line spacing, number of words per line and the screen rotation making it horizontal or vertical both ways round so you can customise to your preferences. Turning on the Text-to-Speech function gives a male or female voice at a speed of your choice reading out the words. Unfortunately they sound horribly robotic and computerised and certainly don't have the panache of someone like, say Stephen Fry so I would recommend buying audio books if you want to hear books read out (can be purchased from the Amazon website audible.com using the AudibleManager software and transferred via USB onto the Kindle where they should appear on your home page).
The other function which I think is totally unrelated but also great is the ability to load MP3 files to the music folder on your Kindle (accessed by connecting your Kindle via USB and pasting the files into the correct music folder) and this allows you by simply pressing alt+space to get your music playing and likewise to stop it. Pressing F skips to the next track, so it is incredibly easy to use, and the sound quality is excellent with the maximum volume at a decent level of decibels without being eardrum explosive. So if you like reading to music this is a great addition.
===My experience with the Kindle===
I read mostly to kill the boredom on my daily commute to and from work and my previous issues with this were when I was trying to read a paperback whilst desperately holding on to any available handrail/wall/plastic window/unsuspecting passenger due to a lack of seating I would have that moment of indecision as to whether to try to turn the page with just the one hand which makes you look a sandwich short of a picnic or letting go of the only hand allowing you to keep your balance and hoping that in the time it takes you to turn the page and get it back to safety you haven't embarrassed yourself by falling into a heavily pregnant lady. Plus, holding the book for almost an hour does start to make your arm a bit achy. I find both problems are solved with the Kindle as you only need the one hand to hold it and to flip the page plus it is so light I remain ache free. Amazon's claim that the screen is glare free is also totally true, when on those rare days that the sun shines blindingly there is no difficulty whatsoever in reading the text as long as your retinas are still functional.
Many daily journeys require many books, and given that you can get decent books for under £1 compared to paying maybe £6.99-£7.99 for a decent paperback the savings are immense and I can see this Kindle paying for itself in no time at all. I now have stopped killing the trees and my shelves have sighed in relief at no more additions for the last 7 months. I was convinced that I would miss reading from physical books, that there was something special about having a wad of paper in your hands, but I actually find it so much easier to read on the Kindle, perhaps with less cramped text and less distance for your eyes to travel on each page, so much so that I am easily reading double the number of books than I used to (so it's a good thing for the bank account that they are so much cheaper). The delivery of the books is so quick as well, from purchase they appear on my Kindle in no more than 10 seconds which is so much better than waiting 3-5 days for delivery. I've also never had any problem with connectivity to complete the download or to search for books to buy either at home or work, although it wasn't great at picking up my work's connection at first and took a few minutes before it appeared on the list.
I find the battery life absolutely superb on the Kindle. It does take a little while to fully charge, usually over 2 hours if it was practically dead, but I normally need to charge up only once a month and even though the claim was every 2 months, I still think this is great considering it gets used practically daily. Despite prolonged use the Kindle also never gets hot like say a laptop which I think is also a major positive as it's not fun to burn yourself. My Kindle has also remained glitch free in all the 7 months I've owned it so I also cannot fault its consistency. Basically, the Kindle has revolutionised my reading habits making it (ignoring the initial purchase itself) a much cheaper way to buy books, quicker to obtain the books in mere seconds, solving the issue of an ever increasing number of paperbacks to store somewhere, and making it so much easier to organise them. I cannot recommend it highly enough for bookworms.
===Differences to the new Kindle===
I managed to talk my sister into getting a Kindle and she went for the most recent version and I thought it would be worth pointing out the differences so you can decide which version is best:
1. The new Kindle is smaller and more streamlined at 77g lighter and thus significantly cheaper at £89 compared to £149 so if cost is an issue this is the better choice. However, as a result of this streamlining the storage space and battery life is halved to 2GB and 1,400 books compared to 3,500 (though you'll be doing well to read 3,500 books in your life) and up to 1 month compared to 2 months.
2. There is also no physical keyboard but a virtual one instead which is a bit of a kafuffle to use as you need to move the cursor around on the QWERTY keyboard which is time consuming, but you don't really need to use it that often and my sister says it is bearable (but I prefer an actual keyboard).
3. The loss of 3G is an obvious issue if you don't have Wi-Fi, but is a non-issue if you do and don't care about buying books on the go.
4. The loss of all sound functionality so the ability to play MP3s, text-to-sound or to listen to audiobooks could be a factor to consider.
5. There are more languages available: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese(Brazilian).
I think the obvious choice is to go for the latest version of the Kindle if you simply want to read books, but I personally still prefer the benefits to the older version, and think Amazon are cheeky buggers for taking away the third, cheaper option of having the keyboard but no 3G and forcing you to pay more if you do want this extra functionality.
Summary: The Kindle 3 eBook reader is the perfect way to store your books with cheap deals from Amazon
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