Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Amazon Kindle 4
Member Name: Meggysmum
Amazon Kindle 4
Advantages: Easy to carry, can store loads of titles
Disadvantages: No book sharing
Eighteen months ago I bought my husband a Kindle. He loves gadgets and had wanted one for a long time so it was an easy decision to make. When I first saw it I was not particularly impressed with its dull grey appearance and my interest was not piqued. When we went on holiday in the summer I ended up packing half a dozen paperbacks into my case whilst he just slipped his Kindle into his hand luggage. All of a sudden this lightweight little reader seemed more appealing and over the course of the holiday I had to agree that it was certainly a handy gadget for a holiday.
At Christmas I decided to add the new, slightly smaller Kindle to my Christmas list. I was 100% certain I would receive it as my husband always shops off my Amazon wish list and loves his tech gadgets. I think the price was about £89 then.
On Christmas morning I was very pleased to unwrap my new toy. I had not actually seen one of the newer Kindles so I was surprised how much smaller it was at about 16 x11cm and also extremely thin. It was very light too although the screen seemed a similar size to the larger one.
My husband had already synced the Kindle to my account so that I could start using it straight away. I have no idea how this is done but he assured me it is very straightforward.
This Kindle only comes with a USB charging cable. I don't particularly like this idea as it would mean having the cable dangling out of the front of my computer whilst the Kindle is on the desk. This charger is useful when we are away as the wire is compact and we always have a laptop with us. Luckily we also have an AC/DC charger that came with my husband's Kindle so I use that to charge mine as I keep it in the bedroom and since I mainly read in bed it is easier for me to remember to plug it in when it gets low.
Turning the Kindle on is straightforward, there is a small button on the bottom edge that is depressed quickly and a green light flashes on. This button is quite small and I imagine an older person or someone with problems with dexterity may find it a little more difficult to manage.
When turning the Kindle on it automatically goes to the last page you were reading. If you haven't started a new book you are loaded into the Homepage. You can also access the Homepage by pressing the small button with a picture of a house on it on the front of the device. This page shows how much battery life is left, the power of the Wi-Fi connection and your lists of books. You can arrange your books into Collections. This is simple to do. You press the Menu key on the front and then using the directional key you simply scroll down until you hit Create New Collection, you then access the keyboard via the Keyboard key to give it a title then you can move your books around. I don't have many collections at the moment but I tend to but all of my finished books into a Read Collection so my front page has less items on it. I am not sure how many titles you can store at a time but I think it is hundreds, the rest are held in your Amazon online Kindle account.
The Homepage also gives you the Kindle Users Guide and a Dictionary.
You can search the Amazon kindle Store through the Kindle itself to find books to buy. It is then a very simple process to buy the book via a one-click purchase. If anything it is a bit too easy to buy a book by accident so there is a button which allows you to cancel an order immediately if you have selected to buy by accident which is useful. I find it easier to search titles on my main computer as the keyboard is activated by the directional button so typing is very slow and it is much quicker from the full website. Once you have selected a book and purchased the Kindle version it is downloaded straightaway. If your Kindle is turned off it loads as soon as it is switched on and the book is ready to read within seconds. There are always lots of free book available, especially Classics and also there are often promotions when the books can be less than a pound each. Another useful feature is the ability to download samples to read to decide whether you want to buy the book. I love the speed of downloading and it is particularly brilliant if you are reading a series of books and finish one and want to start reading the next one straight away, no trudging to the shops, it is there in seconds so you can carry on where you left of.
To read the book you simply scroll to the title and then press the central square button to select and take you to the first page. You then move through the pages using the large switches on either side of the Kindle, these go forwards and backwards and are suitable for people both right and left-handed. There is a line at the bottom which tells you how far through a book you are in percentage terms.
The only problem with the percentage line is that you don't actually know how much of the story you may have left. I was recently reading a brilliant book and thought I had lots left when it ended abruptly. The rest of the download consisted of Book club questions, an interview with the author and a very long preview of their next book. Obviously you get this in printed books too but at least you can see that part so can anticipate where your story will end.
I have trouble reading lots of print on a computer screen as I suffer from lots of floaters in my eyes and I find it a strain and that was one of the things that put me off e-readers. However I now realise that Kindles are not backlit and use electronic ink which actually makes them comfortable to read as there is no glare. The screen has a matte finish. This combination means that it is even possible to read the Kindle well in bright sunlight. However it also means that you will need a light to read in darkness as there is no light from the Kindle.
The print is very clear to read but it is possible to increase the font size if you have difficulty with smaller print. This is particularly useful when the old reading glasses have gone astray.
Another useful feature is the ability to check on the meaning of a word. If you are puzzled by something then you simple scroll to the word and a brief description appears at the bottom of the page. You can also look for a fuller definition, highlight the word or a phrase or add a note. These features can be particularly useful when doing research and I also find them handy when reading a book for my book club, it enables me to highlight something that I may want to talk about later.
The keys at the front also have one showing a back arrow so it is easy to go back when using the menus; this is particularly useful for me if I seem to have managed to call up a page that I have never seen before or that I do not want.
This Kindle is very slim and light to hold. This is fine but I do find that it can make my hand ache after a while so I prefer to keep it in a cover as it makes it more comfortable to hold. The cover also protects the screen which seems quite tough but I still think it is safer to keep it protected.
I thought that I would mainly use my Kindle on holiday where I could save the weight of carrying lots of books with me to ensure I always have something I fancy reading. Surprisingly I have ended up reading on this a lot of the time. My dad has been very ill recently and I have spent a lot of time in hospital, sitting around waiting to see people or waiting for him to come back from tests. I have kept my Kindle in my bag and it is brilliant to always have some distracting reading material to hand. It is so small that it fits easily into all of my handbags so I often carry it with me. I have also made sure there are a few books on there that appeal to my teenage children so I always have something to offer them to read when we suddenly get delayed somewhere unexpected.
I expected the power to be a problem; I imagined the battery would permanently need recharging. I have now been reading this regularly for 3 months and I have just charged it for the third time. Considering I have probably read this almost every day, sometimes for a couple of hours, I have been very impressed with the battery life.
The main disadvantage of the Kindle is the lack of ability to share books. I have a couple of people who I regularly swap reading material with. It is a disappointment when I have finished reading a brilliant book not to be able to pass it to a friend to enjoy so that we will be able to discuss it. One of my friends also has a Kindle so we have decided that we will just have to swap devices for a couple of weeks to view each other's titles.
I have been quite amazed that I have become a Kindle convert. I find it comfortable and easy to read. It is simple to use and its small size makes it very convenient for all occasions. I have re-acquainted myself with lots of classic books as well as new titles. The battery life is fantastic and besides the fact that I can't share my books I cannot really think of anything else negative about it and I am glad I decided to give it a try. I can't see me ever giving up real books as I love them too but I am happy to inhabit both the traditional and e-reading world.
Summary: A brilliant e-reader
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