Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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I like my kindle more than I thought I would...
Amazon Kindle 4
Member Name: InchyInchy
Amazon Kindle 4
Date: 07/04/12, updated on 07/04/12 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to read on, and comfortable to hold
Disadvantages: It does have a limited battery life and you do need to remember to charge it.
Before I begin this review I'd like to start by saying that I love books and despite all the benefits of having a Kindle (and there are many) I won't ever stop buying or loving real books.
The benefits of a kindle over a real book:
The Kindle weighs next to nothing. I really love how light the kindle 4 is, it weighs practically nothing, well that may be an exaggeration, but weighing in at less than 170 grams it really is lighter than more or less every book I have ever read. I have started to buy some of the bigger books I wanted to read in kindle format for this reason. I'm a big fan of Stephen King, but his books can be tomes and it would be so much more comfortable to read and carry around a kindle version. When I read Under the Dome by Stephen King my arm got a serious work out propping up that book on a daily basis and I knew people like my mum that suffers from a frozen shoulder would never be able to comfortably read something nearly 1000 pages long and in hardback. But with the kindle books of any length are no longer a thought to drag around or read on the bus.
The design of the kindle 4 has been given a lot of thought and the buttons are exactly where they should be for comfort. It's really easy to use and to turn the pages. The advantages a kindle does have over a real book is that it is immensely easier to drink a cup of tea and turn the page. More or less all the time I hold my kindle with only one hand and I find it perfectly comfortable and can do this for hours if I am absorbed in a good story.
Why real books will always be better:
The main con for me with the kindle is the battery life. Although the battery life is very good and Amazon say it can run for up to a month without charging. Personally, I have never even came close to a month without charging, but then I do read a lot and I do like looking at the shop when I am bored, thus using the wireless connection which I am sure drains the battery a lot faster than if you are only reading. I would still say that I get a few weeks between charges, it just all depends on use. But, nevertheless the battery still runs out and it's happened to me twice now that I've left it too long and been extremely irritated not to be able to continue on with the book I'm currently reading. Yes of course there are ways around this and I should or could charge it more often, but for me this will always be a downside as a physical book doesn't need to be charged, just picked up.
Also, although the kindle is good to read on, there is just something about a feel of a real book that can't be replicated. I also begrudge paying the same price for a kindle book or in some case's more for a kindle version. I also pass a lot of books back and forth between a few friends as we have similar tastes and when I read something on the kindle I can't do that.
All the other stuff?
The e-ink is amazing and the text really does resemble a book much more than it does a computer screen, I also love the ability to customise so many of your reading preferences, for example, the font size, which direction (vertical or horizontal) to read and the ability to highlight or add notes to the text you are reading. Although adding text or looking at what other people have highlighted the most is one option I turn off, I'm just not interested and I have never had to use the dictionary. But I am sure all those features will be useful to someone, I just want the kindle for plain old reading reasons.
There are also small features that I love. I really like the ability to make collections and put all the books I own in specially titled collection folders. I like lists and organisation and this aspect of the kindle suits me perfectly. There are a lot of ways available to show the books you own on the kindle, by previously read, by author, by title, by collections - it is all about finding something that suits you.
I don't like the fact that you can't tell what page number you are on when reading a book. It's a small point I know, but the kindle uses a percentage system. So, for example I am 10 percent the way through Under the dome, rather than 100 pages. However, if you press the menu button while reading the book it will show you what page you are on but it's just not very convenient.
However, something that I do like is that some books have small dots that indicate chapters and I love when I find one formatted like that. It gives me a sense of how much I have to read until I am can put the book down, I prefer to stop at the end of a chapter when possible, which is always easy to see when reading a real book and not always with the kindle.
Which Kindle should you choose (bearing in mind I am biased because I picked and love the kindle 4):
Keyboard or no keyboard?
I wanted the lightest possible option and there is a huge difference (almost double the weight) between the Kindle 3g with keyboard (274g) and kindle 4 (170g) (I haven't seen the touch or know anyone with it so I can't comment on it). Although having a keyboard may speed up typing searches into the kindle store the kindle 4 provides an adequate enough substitute with an onscreen keyboard and scrolling options using the centre button. It is a little clumsy but personally the lighter weight and cheaper price tag suited my purposes far more.
Should you go for the 3g option or wireless?
Amazon always advertises the kindle as - You can buy a book and be reading it in under a minute. This isn't really a huge point for me, I usually have my next book already selected before I finish the current one or at least I have a pretty good idea at what I'm going to read. Personally, I didn't think I would need the 3g option and it does add a lot extra onto the end bill, I haven't missed it. I am not the type of person that reads one book and then needs to go searching for another, I always have at least 10 books ready and waiting on my kindle to choose from next. Therefore, I don't really need the ability to order a book anywhere I can. I just top up my library at home if I want to. But I do prefer to order books using my laptop, I find it a much easier way to browse and all around an easier option to purchase, especially considering how easy Amazon make it to buy books.
Another one of my favourite kindle features (and I promise to wrap this review up before it turns into a small novel!) is the ability to download free samples of books you are interested in. It is really easy to download as many samples as you want an in my experience they have all been quite a generous portion of the book, more often than not it only encourages me to download the whole book as I want to see what happens next in the story.
To sum, the kindle is an expensive option (£89 for the kindle 4, £149 for the kindle keyboard 3g) but I like mine more than I thought I would and I certainly think it is worth the money, especially if you want something really light weight.
I have tried to cover all the main points of the kindle that appeal to me and that I use on a regular basis. It will never be the same as a real book but the kindle has certainly proven to be a good e-reader and one that I love.
Five out of five stars.
Summary: Five out of five stars
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