Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... to your kindle if the WI-FI is turned on. There are also tons of free books on the Amazon Kindle website and loads of cheap ones and you c... more
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Amazon Kindle 4
Member Name: Drewster_Rooster
Amazon Kindle 4
Advantages: Lightweight, Easy to Set up and Use, Brilliant Technology, Quick Downloads
Disadvantages: It's not the same as a proper book
After a good year or more of procrastinating about whether or not I should get a Kindle the matter was resolved back in May when I received one as a birthday present. Mine is the Kindle 4, Amazon's latest incarnation of their now world-famous E Book reader and is the wi-fi model rather than the 'touch' or 3G. At £89.00 this is the cheapest of the variations on offer and having had a good month or so's use out of mine and having put it through its paces I felt it was time to share my thoughts and opinions on it. Do I regret not getting one when they first came out rather than dithering? Let's see...
The Kindle 4 - My thoughts
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the concept of an E Book reader they've been around for a few years now and the Kindle was the first one that I became aware of when Amazon launched their earliest model. The idea behind the technology was truly an innovative one, why buy physical hardback or paperback books when you can read them electronically on a hand held device, think of the all the space you'd save by not having piles of books hanging around your home and how much easier would it be just to pick up your E-reader and download a book when you fancied reading a chapter or two of the latest release from your favourite author. In principle I could see the benefits of having a Kindle, I have tonnes of books knocking around my home and I'm the type of person who only ever reads a book once, life's too short I think to read something for a second time especially when there are new books and authors to discover and when I'm in the right mindset I can sit for hours reading a book, devouring its contents. This has over the years seen me amass a collection of books that take up space, become dusty and sadly will never be picked up or read again by me and whilst I was brought up in a home that taught me to respect books and treat them with care I figured that I'd lose that anticipation I always get when I open a book for the first time and tentatively start a new story by one of my many favourite authors. This became the stumbling block in my head when deciding whether or not to buy a Kindle in the first place, it would undoubtedly save me some space, I never re-read books so they end up gathering dust but I like the look and feel of a 'proper' book so I was torn. The decision was taken out of my hands finally though when I received one as a birthday present but I do have to admit that I'm still not convinced that it's the best thing ever...
So, the Kindle itself is a rectangular device that weighs around 170 grams. The frame and back are made from a metallic material and the screen has a 6" display. It has a matte appearance, quite understated but definitely well made with rounded edges and feels instinctively 'right' when held in both hands.. There are a series of rectangular, flush to the frame buttons which run down either outer edge which allows you to turn the pages of the EBook you are reading once it has been downloaded and on the front of the Kindle are 4 circular buttons and a square, directional button which you can use to scroll around the home page of the device once it has been switched on. A USB cable is provided which acts as a charger when plugged into a home PC or laptop and a small rectangular button on the bottom of the frame is the on/off switch. When not in use and turned off the Kindle displays a random screen-saver but springs to life once it has been switched on and displays black lettering on a light grey background. It displays what amazon describes as E-ink which allows you to read in direct sunlight without glare but has no integrated light so you either need to buy one or have a light source nearby should you want to read in the dark or in bed at night time.
It weighs very little when held in both hands which is definitely a positive aspect of owning a Kindle and the page-turn buttons are responsive once you get used to them although can be a little fiddly if you are quite heavy handed or have large fingers. I find the Kindle comfortable to hold, it's easily held in one hand and as there are buttons on either side of the device it doesn't matter if you are right or left handed as you can control the page turns from either side. Mine as mentioned is the wi-fi only Kindle without the built in 3G so have mine synched to my ISP's wireless router and setting it up took literally minutes with the Kindle locating my router as soon as it was switched on and only needing me to input my password to hook it up. Downloading books from amazon takes seconds thanks to their ultra-fast Whispernet technology and since owning mine I've downloaded a dozen or more 400+ page books that took perhaps 10 seconds to appear on the device. Books can either be bought directly from amazon and then sent to the Kindle or you can browse their online store on the device itself and as you have to register your Kindle to your amazon account when you first switch it on it remembers who you are and what account you have. I can honestly appreciate the technology behind the Kindle and do think that amazon have made it as simple as possible to use as it is very straight forward and is most definitely user-friendly , I doubt that anyone would have problems in setting one up or downloading a book as it walks you through the process and it really is simplicity itself.
Admittedly mine is the most 'basic' of the Kindles available but to be fair I didn't want one with a keyboard, it's rarely taken out of my home so I don't need to have a 3G connection and if I was taking it away with me on holiday then I'd be organised and have the books I wanted to read already downloaded onto it so there was little point in me getting one of the more expensive models when this one is absolutely fine for what I want to use it for. As a E Book reader I have very few complaints with the Kindle, it's a lot easier to hold than a full size hardback or paperback book, it's a lot lighter than any book I've ever held in the past and I do like the idea that I can download and start reading a book within seconds rather than having to wait for a paperback or hardback to come through the post or having to go out and buy one from a shop. I can see how beneficial it would be to a commuter who perhaps reads on the train every morning and night time as they travel to and from work, for a bed time reader it's far more comfortable to pick up and hold the Kindle than it is a book and the fact that it can go a good few weeks in-between charges makes it an incredibly useful and handy item to own for anyone who enjoys reading as a pastime.
However, despite all of the positive things I can say about the Kindle and how beneficial I can see it being to other people I do have to admit that it's not something that I love and I feel quite ambivalent towards mine truth be told. Simply put, it's not a book and for me the Kindle can't replicate the feeling I get when I hold and open a brand new release of, say, Stephen King or Harlan Coben for the first time and the anticipation I get when I start to immerse myself in to a new story, I miss the smell of the ink on the paper and how a book feels in my hands and whilst this may seem a ridiculous statement to make the Kindle to me just feels artificial and is a poor substitute for the real thing. It may just be me being old fashioned about these things and perhaps I should just embrace the technology and move on with the times but I do think that whilst physical copies of books are still being made then I would favour them over downloads, the releases by my favourite authors at the very least.
That said I do think there is a place for the Kindle for me at home and I will continue using mine to discover new authors and books that take my fancy but I can't see it ever completely taking the place of a 'proper' book for me, not at the moment anyway and whilst this has been a gratefully received gift it has confirmed my instincts that it wouldn't be the same as the real thing so at least I know that the niggling doubts I had about it were probably right. As for whether I'd recommend the Kindle to other people I would say that as a gadget it's brilliant, it's very well made, very easy to use and available at a great price at under £90.00 - if you read on the go or have problems holding a 'proper' book for a long period of time and are an avid reader then I'd say buy one as it could revolutionise how you read and could potentially be the best thing you've ever owned. For me it's nice to have one but it hasn't changed my life and should it stop working any time soon I can't say I'd particularly miss it as it's not the same as settling down with a brand new, unopened book wondering where a story is going to take you.
As a consumer review rating I have to give the Kindle 4 five stars, I can't fault the actual device itself and I can see how to many it would be a wonderful product to own, my own personal opinion of it won't be the same as the vast majority of other people and Kindle-converts and perhaps I'm just being a sentimental fool but given the choice I'd choose a proper book over the Kindle any day of the week, but that's just me...
Thanks for reading my review.
Summary: Not a Kindle convert myself but I can understand its appeal...
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