Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Kindle 4 - So why would you want one and what can it do for you?
Amazon Kindle 4
Member Name: samandtherainbow
Amazon Kindle 4
Advantages: The world of reading in a neat hand held device
Disadvantages: small menu font
This review is based on what can the Kindle do - as in why would I buy it; it's the review I wanted to read before I purchased my Kindle. I won't talk about the technology of the Kindle, no information on any giga-hertz-abites and stuff, I won't talk about dimensions (other than to comment on the neatness of it), and I won't be talking about what it's all made of, so no jargon on plastique-steelie-graphitus either. No computer jargon. No whizz whizz techie-clever convoluted piece. This is a 'will I use it', 'will it be worth what I'm paying' review.
So let's go.
I love books, love them. I love libraries, bookshops, second hand books, and I love the feel of books, the turn of the page, the smell of books. The Kindle does not take any of this away from me, it doesn't diminish the wonder of books, but, for me, rather, it opens the world of books. It is another arena for reading. I love reading, and have read avidly since a child. Sadly my advancing age has meant a decline in my eyesight. I only have to wear glasses to read but dislike doing so. It seems a fuss to get out the glasses, find the page on a moving train, but a fuss I considered worthwhile most of the time. However I also do a lot of close work during work time and by the end of the day my eyes are already tired and I found more and more that reading with glasses became a strain before I had even perused a couple of pages. So, I looked at the Kindle.
The Kindle has an option to enlarge font, making it totally unnecessary for me to wear glasses, and for me, this has brought back reading as part of my everyday life, and that alone is worth the £89 price tag. I am reading on the train, I read whilst the water boils in the kettle, I read on the treadmill, I read in bed, I read waiting for the bus. You have the option to view the page in portrait or landscape, which can also help with viewing.
What if you have perfect vision? Same rule applies - adjust the font to suit, or leave it as it is.
The one drawback, the main negative point here though, is that only the font for the actual book being read can be adjusted. The menu, book titles in your list and descriptions are all in the original (small) font, and cannot be changed. I wrote to Kindle and asked if there was a way to alter this. They thanked me for my contact, and followed this with a very polite and friendly 'no'. Ah well.
I am dazzled at the book choice; so far I have found that there is a great selection at affordable prices, and also a great selection available free. There is a very neat feature where you can download a sample of the book, to try it out, enabling you to be able to read, for example, the first three chapters of a book before you decide to buy. At the end of the sample you can either opt to buy the book, or if you decide the book is not for you, you simply exit the screen and go on your next book search. This has encouraged me to try (and buy) books that I may not have done so, and it also helped me to decide not to buy a book I had originally been interested in.
In addition, if you buy a book in error (more easily done than you might imagine with poor eyesight!), there is a facility to return it and receive a refund. I suggest the return is done promptly, and not after you've read 16 chapters!
When I first started to use Kindle, it recognised my Amazon account, linked me to it, and a one click payment facility was actioned. I like this facility; it speeds up purchasing, and makes shopping a quick and efficient process. With Amazon you can create a wish list of books you'd like to put on hold for later consideration. I use this when I'm on a 'browse' day, so I throw lots of books into my wish list, and later review them, and sample some of them.
One of my pet hates in magazines is the use of colour pages with coloured writing on top, so you have a great recipe, or amazing fact, and instead of the standard page you find it printed on a green section, written in red. I truly must start a Hugh-F-W style campaign against this as this leaves me (and I'm sure many others) totally unable to read this section, with or without my glasses. I had hoped to buy magazines from Kindle to overcome this problem. However, there are many magazines available, and some do indeed look interesting, but I was naïve to think that my regular, favourite magazines would be in Kindle format. They're not. Well, not yet. Many of the magazines I found were American, and I do intend to look at a couple (you can try them on a 14 day free trial), but I have yet to be tempted to the point of sampling any.
You can purchase subscriptions to Blogs. Now this may suit many people, and if I ever have to travel more than I do now I would seriously do this, but for the present I browse blogs online, and I tend to read my favourites at lunchtime on my pc. The good things about the blogs on Kindle are that you are provided with a (huge) list of blogs you may not yet have stumbled across, some most excellent ones. On looking at the Blog section I have noted down the names, read the description provided by Amazon and if tempted, have then accessed the blog via my PC. I'm not certain if this was the intention of Kindle/Amazon but it works for me! And, as I say, if I am in a situation where I would be away from my PC for an extended period of time, or I do take that trip up to Edinburgh, then I would happily buy a subscription to a blog.
Well, not so much the price of the Kindle, as that is largely advertised. More the prices of the books. So far the most expensive book I bought was £10.99, but on the whole I spend an average of £2 per book. Several have been 99p and I have also downloaded a few free books.
Non technical technical stuff
The Kindle is light (very), it is neat, small enough to carry in my bag, easily held in one hand on a crowded train and pretty enough in graphite grey. It has a screen, non reflective so you can read in bright light, and it has simple buttons. Go Home, Go back, Menu, Turn the page, and Access keyboard. It has a central function button - helps with selections, up down a list etc. It has built in Wi-Fi, an excellent feature meaning I can access my newly purchased books on the go.
It has bookmarks, and Go To features, you have booklists and search features (search by title, search by author). It is a little hand held library.
The battery life is excellent, the Kindle goes into sleep mode when ignored for a while helping to conserve energy, and can be simply turned off when not in use.
One little complaint - why grey only? If they'd made this in pink I'd have paid more for it.
So, yes, but where would I use it?
Other than mentioned above? Well, remember sitting in that café with a book balanced between a salt pot and the ketchup? Trying to turn the pages without getting grease on them? Well, this is a Kindle moment. Sit, eat, read, simple. On treadmills, on camping, standing on the underground. Those seemingly endless waits outside various schools and clubs? Read your Kindle. Put it in your bag, stand in the queue for your groceries, read a page or two. Store it in a pocket, read whilst waiting for that meeting to start. And to quieten the 'are we there yet' cries - a Kindle. I have been returned to the world of reading in an accessible, modern, efficient manner, and I love it.
The Kindle is an ever present bookstore carried with you. It is, in my opinion, worth every penny I paid for it. I use it more than I thought I would. I am buying a pink leather cover to protect it, and if Amazon have any imagination they'll start releasing the Kindle in colours too.
Love reading? Buy one.
Summary: Best purchase I made in 2011, all the books you could need at the touch of a button (or two)
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