Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... now I just pop my kindle in my handbag. There are a huge variety of free books on Amazon - in my entire kindle - owning experience I've ... more
A library in your hand
Amazon Kindle Touch
Member Name: JJJJ
Amazon Kindle Touch
Date: 07/06/12, updated on 07/06/12 (136 review reads)
Advantages: Long battery life, easy to use and download books
Disadvantages: text-to-speech voice is too computerised, browser is a little fiddly
Design & Appearance
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I had wanted a Kindle for a long time - and whilst I think that the demise of 'real' books is sad, there's something about a device which can hold an entire library that appeals to me. In the hand, the Kindle Touch feels comfortable to hold and well made - the e-ink display is incredibly clear with a low level of reflectivity, and outdoor reading in sunny conditions is easier than you would perhaps expect. When you receive your Kindle it's recommended that you give it a full charge - simply plug it in to one of the USB ports on your computer (a USB cable is provided), and in a couple of hours the battery will be full. Regarding battery life, the Kindle Touch is very impressive - I find that I can get at least a month's worth of reading from each charge - and I read for around an hour every night.
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If you've got an Amazon account, downloading books to your Kindle is simplicity in itself - simply click on the shopping basket icon at the top of the Kindle's home screen, and you'll be taken to the Kindle Store. From here you can browse or search for books and subsequently purchase them with a single click. A great feature is the preview option which allows you to sample a couple of chapters before you make your purchase - in effect it's a system of 'try before you buy'. The books you've downloaded can be accessed at any time by pressing the only physical button on the front of the Kindle (below the screen), and they'll be displayed as a list on the home screen.
Navigation through the Kindle's menus is very intuitive - simply push the options you want in the same way you would if you were using a tablet device such as an iPad. Turning the pages of a book is similarly easy - either tap the screen to go forward, or (for those of you who want a more authentic reading experience) swipe your finger to the left to progress, or flick it to the right to move backward. iPhone-esque Pinch-to-zoom controls are also present - so if you want to increase or decrease the text size, you need only to perform a two-fingered squeezing motion on the display.
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In terms of extras, the Kindle Touch has a web browser and an Mp3 player - both of which are hidden away under an 'experimental' features header in the menu. To be honest, the browser is a tad slow to use and difficult to see on a monochrome screen - still, it's nice to have the option of web browsing from the device should you need it. When you want to enter text, a virtual keyboard pops up at the bottom of the screen - it's actually really effective, and the letters are spaced out so that those with larger fingers shouldn't struggle. Like the browser, the Mp3 player is basic - but the Kindle's stereo speakers sound better than expected for their size and there's also a headphone jack on the bottom of the device should you prefer to listen to your music alone. One function which many will find useful is the text-to-speech option, where a voice will read your book aloud for you - for me, the voice is too computerized and impersonal for my liking, although I imagine it's very handy for the visually impaired.
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Overall i've been incredibly impressed with the Kindle Touch - it's simple to use, feels well made, and has provided me with me a fresh enthusiasm for reading. The battery life ensures that I don't need to be constantly charging, and the clear screen means that I won't get eye-strain. The only real downside? I don't trust myself to read with it in the bath!
Summary: Excellent e-reader
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