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
Rekindle Your Love of Books
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: Tarapea
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: Slim, lightweight, accessibility options, glarefree screen
Disadvantages: E-books can be expensive
It took me a long time to hop on to the Kindle bandwagon. I slowly watched all my friends getting them, all the while muttering to myself that I'd miss the feel of a real paperback, the smell of new ink on new book... Yes, I'm a bit of a weird bookworm. But before long I realised I just don't have the space for any more books, in fact I'd stopped buying them for the lack of room to store them. Finally, I relented about bought the KIndle 3, WiFi only version. I'm glad I invested before they got rid of the keyboard!
The Kindle is a grey, flat rectangle shaped device, at first glance, not unlike a tablet. It weighs roughly 241 grams and measures in at around 190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm (Many thanks to Amazon UK for the measurements). So it's a very light unit indeed. I happen to be a disabled person who has difficulties lifting and holding even a paperback book, and to me the Kindle feels much lighter and easier to manage. Obviously there's no need to struggle to turn a page either. I realise most people wouldn't have this problem, but worth mentioning that it's ideal for anyone with dexterity problems. To be honest, it's even ideal for those who like to read in bed and hate having to move from a comfy position to turn the page!
It also boasts a six inch display screen with E ink pearl technology. At first this sounds like meaningless marketing mumbo-jumbo but one glance at the screen and you'll see just what they're getting at. Unlike tablets, iPhones and other devices, the screen isn't a glaring white with black text. It looks exactly like a book. There's seemingly no backlight whatsoever, just parchment-ish background with black ink typing. A lot of people complain that trying to read e-books on a tablet gives them headaches and eye strain, Amazon have designed the Kindle so this isn't an issue whatsoever. It even works perfectly in sunlight.
To the left and right of the screen there are page turning buttons, back and forwards (on both sides). I had concerns this would feel unnatural and distract me mid-read - after all, you can't really recreate the action of turning a page. Before long though I got into the swing of things and was pressing the forwards button without even being aware of it, so I'd say this would come naturally to most people after a while of using the Kindle.
Under the screen you'll find a full keyboard along with directional button, for searching for books in your library and to make use of the built in web browser. The on/off switch, volume keys, USB charging port and charging light are located on the bottom of the unit.
According to Amazon, this edition of the Kindle can hold around 3,500 books. I've yet to fill mine up (give me time!) but it's impressive to know I can keep adding to my library without fear of having to delete a novel or two to make room.
Another impressive feature is the battery life. Mine's held a charge for a couple of months now, which is incredible! I assume it might be something to do with the E ink style screen rather than having a bright back lit display, but either way it's great to not have to dig a charger out every time you want to settle down with a good read.
The boot up time of the Kindle is super speedy, which is great. If you leave it in hibernation style mode rather than turning it off completely, it'll treat you to a cover of a famous book as a screen-saver. Quite a quirky feature, but a nice one all the same.
Once it's started up, you'll be met by your book library. You can organise these into different sections, choosing to file your books by genre etc exactly as you might organise your bookshelf at home. This appealed to this slightly compulsive tidying streak in me and I had a whale of a time neatening up my Kindle library. If you're remotely weird like me, you'll probably enjoy this too but if not, it's still a handy option.
A quick press of the menu button shows you a few more options besides just reading your books. I'll explain them one by one, in the hope it helps someone..
Firstly, the option to turn your wireless on/off. Pretty self explanatory, really. You'll need the Wi-fi to connect to the online library to download more books, or to browse the web but if you're just reading books you already own, switching it off will prolong battery life.
Next up is 'Shop in kindle store'. Give that a press and you'll be taken to Amazon's Kindle book shop. Despite being in black and white, it does look quite neat and simple. Perfectly easy to navigate, even if you aren't that used to Amazon's website. Here you can browse books, newspapers and magazines to buy or search for what you're specifically after with the keyboard. Despite its small size, the keyboard is well spaced and easy to type on. You can also download free samples to be sent to your library, so you can try before you buy, something Waterstones probably frown upon!
Next on in the menu is the 'View Archived Items' key. Again, self explanatory - for if you want to archive items!
After that you'll find search, so you can type in the book from your collection you're looking for without having to trawl through all your sections looking for it. You can also use this button to search google, wikipedia, the kindle store and the inbuilt dictionary supplied with your Kindle.
The 'create new collection' button comes next. This is to add another section to your library, to keep things neat and ordered.
Then there's 'Sync and check for items' and 'View downloading items' To synch new books you've downloaded directly from Amazon on your PC, and to check on the progress of anything you're downloading straight onto the Kindle.
Under that there's the settings area. In here you'll find your Device name, Registration information, your serial number and the Wi-fi set up area. Setting up Wi-fi is a piece of pie, all you have to do is let it scan for your network and type in the password if you have one. I had absolutely no problem at all with this, and it's quite speedy too.
The last area of the menu is something entitled 'Experimental'. Here's all the fun extras of the Kindle 3. In here you'll find the inbuilt web browser, the mp3 player and the text to speech option. There no denying the fact that browsing the internet on a black and white device with no mouse/trackpad isn't the easiest thing in the world, but it's a nice bonus to be included anyway. For the briefest of surfing if you're out and about, it's perfectly fine. I loaded some music onto the mp3 player and was surprised to find the sound quality was good too, another lovely little extra. Admittedly though, i was most impressed with the text to speech add-on. This means your Kindle will read to you, making it perfect for those who have sight problems. It's great to see technology including accessibility options such as this, so kudos to Amazon for that.
All in all, I love my Kindle. The only negative I can find is that a little piece of me feels frustrated at the price of the e- books - I can't resist a bargain if I see paperbacks on offer still, which defeats the object a little bit. Otherwise this is a slim, cute unit that holds 3,500 books in one place for you to carry around with ease - what's not to love?
Summary: A 21st century alternative to rooms filled with books!
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