Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Couldn't be without it
Amazon Kindle 4
Member Name: fudgey05
Amazon Kindle 4
Advantages: Very light, easy to use, saves carrying lots of books at one time.
Disadvantages: Has to be charged via a USB port.
The Kindle was a longed for Christmas present after months of dropping hints, then finally asking for one! I don't always have the time to read, but travel a fair amount with work and through visiting friends and I am such a fast reader that I often have to take two or three books with me.
The particular Kindle version I have is referred to as the 'Kindle 4' or just the 'Kindle.' There are many other Kindle versions: the Kindle keyboard and Kindle Touch (which I believe wasn't available when this gift was bought for me)
The main features of the Kindle are as follows:
-This particular Kindle does not have a keyboard and is instead operated through few buttons.
-It has a 6" E-Ink screen (just as the other models)
-1 month battery life (as opposed to 2months with the other models)
-Stores 1,400 books (Kindle Touch stores 3,000 and Kindle Keyboard stores 3,500)
--Price and Availabilty--
The Kindle Wi-Fi version (which I own) costs £89. It does not have to be connected to Wi-Fi to read books, but you have to be to download them. This has not caused a problem for me as I have just downloaded the books I want to read in advance so they are already there.
If you want to download books on the move, you would need the 3G version which costs £109. Since this was a present I felt a bit cheeky asking for the most expensive version, so I opted for the cheaper.
My Kindle was purchased from Amazon and had a free delivery option. However, I believe it can also be purchased from Tesco.
--Setting the Kindle up--
This was a pretty painless process as I already had an Amazon account, if you don't have one the first step is to set one up. I then just turned the Kindle on and followed the on-screen instructions which asked you to select the language and then set up the Wi-Fi.
The most difficult part of this was figuring out what button to press on the Kindle to select, and as there is no keyboard you have to browse through the on screen keyboard using the buttons. You then register the Kindle to your account and your finished.
--Operating the Kindle--
Once you get the hang of all the buttons this is really easy (there is a user guide in the box).
The on/off button is at the bottom of the Kindle next to the USB port. You click it once to activate the standby and hold it down to actually turn it off completely. This is not difficult by any means, but I often forget to hold it down for long enough! It is also quite fiddly and I imagine it would be quite tricky for those who have problems with their hands.
I won't go through every single button as this would be pretty boring! However, there are two buttons on either side of the Kindle to turn the pages. This is pretty handy as it means you can hold the Kindle with either hand and turn the 'pages' with your thumbs. This is really handy for travelling on the tube when your often standing and holding onto a pole for dear life!
The buttons on the front of the Kindle allow you to select different options etc.
If you are connected to a Wi-Fi this can be done through the Kindle, through your laptop/computer or even through your I-Phone. Because your account is synced the book is downloaded instantly. It is a really quick process and takes less than 60 seconds.
I like the fact that you can download a preview of a book to check if it is something you are interested in before purchasing.
There are lots of free books which you can download, mostly classics such as Treasure Island. The price of the other books varies greatly, but is generally cheaper than the hardbackback option. There are often offers on different authors so it is definately worth checking the Amazon website for latest deals. I have managed to get a couple of good books for 99p!
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you can access the internet through the Kindle (something that I didn't even think about!). It is pretty slow due to the buttons, but it is still a good feature.
There is an option to highlight memorable quotes in books, which are then 'saved' to a virtual scrapbook. I really like this option, and I have built up a short collection of lovely quotes already!
The battery life is really good, especially if you turn the WI-Fi off, and it has only needed to be charged once since Christmas.
I was a little worried that reading on a screen would 'draw' my eyes, but it is really comfortable to use (apart from the note below about lighting!).
I also have the Kindle app on my I-Phone, so if I am ever without my Kindle I am able to carry on reading my book on my I-Phone. You just have to go onto your Kindle account and move the book to your I-Phone device. Because the account is synced, you automatically start reading where you ended on another device.
The Kindle has to be charged through a USB cable which you attach to your laptop/computer. If you are disorganised like myself I only realised the Kindle had to be charged an hour before travelling on a long train journey and I had to frantically locate and load the laptop before charging. I haven't timed exactly how long it takes to charge the Kindle fully, but I think it takes an hour or two so not a long time at all. I'm not sure if it is possible to purchase a 'plug' charger but this would be useful.
The reason the battery life is so long is because there is no backlight. This is generally not a problem, but I have purchased a seperate light and case for long journeys where there is poor lighting. You can buy these from the Amazon website but I got mine for a few pounds from Ebay. It may not be as good quality but it has been fine so far.
My friendship group is generally split about the Kindle; some think that it takes away the pleasure of browsing in a bookshop and the feel of an actual book.
I, however, don't find this too much of a problem and so far I have genuinely enjoyed using the Kindle. It is really easy to use and I am also able to carry one small item as opposed to a number of bulky books in my already bulging handback.
This is a lovely present for yourself or another person who is a book lover. While I could possibly live without it, I have found that it has made my journeys much more pleasurable! For this reason I have given this five stars!
Summary: A lovely present for book readers
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