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
3G or not 3G, that is - the keyboard?
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: calypte
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: keyboard is handier than I expected, and the 3G isn't totally useless
Disadvantages: it's a really hefty mark-up for the extra memory/battery life and that keyboard!
The newer Kindle 4 is slightly smaller and lighter (170g against 247g: neither exactly heavy!) and cheaper: £89 compared to £149. However, it also has only half the battery life and memory (2Gb rather than 4G), and neither 3G internet connectivity nor physical keyboard. The choice is yours!
While not exactly essential I've appreciated the handiness of the keyboard (the non-3G keyboard version is no longer available, alas). Wi-fi passwords were easier with the qwerty-keyboard (my fingers are small enough for the wee buttons!), only becoming irritating when forced to the on-screen (the only interface on the K4) symbol selector. It's made the pre-loaded dictionary much easier to use, too, and I have scribbled a few reminder notes.
The older version has a few other features not carried through like storing/playing mp3s and a dubious text-to-speech. More important is the reading experience: while there are few differences (eg slightly quicker page refreshes) nothing's changed too drastically.
Against my own prejudices, my Kindle is growing on me: it's so much easier to hold than a thick book, and I get just as caught up in what I'm reading - I notice pressing the button just as little as turning a physical page. The ability to change font sizes is hugely valuable. And for just reading (rather than battery-hungry online use) one full charge (via USB cable, or optional wall socket adaptor) will outlast a holiday - the best feature for the extra dosh, I think!
However, all is not joy. Maybe I'll change my views (and save shelf space!) but right now I still find it entirely objectionable to have to pay the same or even more for a 'virtual' book over the physical copy. I can't (won't!) take my kindle into the bath, somewhere I love to read. I don't like the fiddly sliding on/off button much; I can't flick: more than one page turn at a time is s-l-o-w. And I'm disappointed - although not surprised! - that the free 3G is really just for the Amazon store and archive. With wi-fi the on-the-go access to email and internet is handy, but this is not a smartphone replacement!
Still, it has been useful: I've loaded up all my work/study PDFs, although this isn't a well-displayed format unless you have one page per screen and good eyesight! I'd recommend the freeware program 'Calibre' (for your computer) for converting formats, to then transfer to your device either via email (and wi-fi) or USB connection.
There are also myriad free books available online, causing my reading material to diversify somewhat: from random non-fiction texts of varying quality to revisiting or discovering classics (check out Project Gutenberg, online). That 4Gb will hold *thousands* of books, and that's before the free cloud backup for my 'archived' texts (ie any I've downloaded from Amazon) - which I can get at anytime, anywhere thanks to the not-entirely-useless 3G!
So while I still love real books more, more ways to read is a good thing too!
Summary: you won't lose out on much by skipping the keyboard!
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