Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Reading has never been this addictive.
Amazon Kindle Touch
Member Name: rockinrach08
Amazon Kindle Touch
Date: 14/08/12, updated on 16/08/13 (80 review reads)
Advantages: battery life, good quality product, free books, carry around 3,000 books, e-ink display
Disadvantages: price perhaps, but worth the price
E-readers are simple devices that allow you to buy, read and store books along with some other features such as the text-to-speech function of the Kindle. The Kindle Touch is just one in the range of e-readers that Amazon produce. The cheapest Kindle at £89 is just called 'Kindle' which features buttons instead of touchscreen. The most expensive of the range is the Kindle Keyboard 3G at £149 which as the name suggests has a keyboard at the bottom. In-between these two is the Kindle Touch (£109) and Kindle Touch 3G (£169) the only difference between the two being that the second has free 3G for downloading books. If you have a wi-fi connection at home this isn't a necessity in my opinion. Which is why I went for the Kindle Touch without 3G.
** Kindle Touch Features **
The Kindle Touch as the name suggests has a touchscreen. I know many people who may not be tech-savvy may shy away from touchscreen devices but there is nothing difficult about this one. It makes it easier to get what you want. The screen is very responsive and the areas to touch for what you need are a good size so there is no need to worry about your fingers being too big. And with a few simple touches you can access other features such as changing the size of the lettering and spacing. This is an excellent feature for those with vision problems or just to increase the comfort of your reading experience: something you definitely can't do with a paper book. A few touches can also allow you to search the on board dictionary while reading, make notes about a book, search the Amazon store or wikipedia. While reading you also have the addition of the percentage of how far along the book you are at the bottom; it makes up slightly for the lack of feeling how far you are through a book by how much of the book is in each hand.
One worry I had before buying a Kindle was reading on the screen. I know when it comes to prolonged reading on the computer screen it starts to hurt my eyes, make the writing go funny and I also have a tendency to skip over parts, none of which you want while reading your book. However, the Kindle uses what is called e-ink display on its 6" screen. This technology intends to imitate real paper so you don't have to deal with the same problems as reading on a LCD or LED screen. A downside to this technology is however that it is not backlit so if you are in a dark or low-lit area you will need extra light to read. But, to make up for this unlike LCD and LED screens you can read this screen in bright sunlight with ease.
The Wi-fi means that you can connect easily to the internet to download books from the Amazon store, of which the Kindle touch can hold about 3,000 of, compared to the 1,400 of the normal Kindle. Of either model, I think we can agree that there is ample amount of storage. Downloading books is easy and you can have your book on your kindle in under a minute. The battery holds approximately 30hrs of battery life which is definitely better than every other piece of technology that I own. So there is plenty of time for reading your books between charges. To charge up the Kindle, you can connect it via the provided USB cable or use the USB cable to connect to an adapter to charge via the mains which you can buy separately. Which I would recommend so that you can charge your Kindle wherever you go. You can still read your Kindle while it is charging so there is no reading time lost.
But if you are tired of reading there is a text-to-speech function. However, I have not tried this yet so can't comment on it but I do think it is a good function. And don't worry, there is a headphone jack so if you are in public you don't have to create a story-time for everyone.
Supported file formats: .MOBI, .AZW3, .AZW, .AZW1, .TXT, .PRC, .PDF, .AA, .AAX and .MP3
** Using the Kindle Touch - My Experience**
I have found the Kindle very easy to use and have found my way around quite quickly. To help you, Amazon have installed the instruction manual on the Kindle so you can learn how to use it while using it. To download books you simply go onto the store and search for what you want, pay (unless its one of the free books - of which there are old and new) and in a few seconds the book will be available to read on the screen. Also, books and other supported file types can be transferred over via USB. Just connect, and click and drag the file to the correct folder.
To read just tap on the book from the home menu (which you can access via the button the front) and the book will open at the first page or the last page you read up to. To flick through the pages you can tap the screen (on the right to go forward or left to go back) or you can swipe the screen. You can also go forward and back to different chapters by swiping up and down. By touching the top of the screen you bring up the menu which allows you to perform different tasks such as changing the lettering, a search function, move to a different part of the book and more.
The kindle will remember where you were in the book, or if you want you can press the top right corner to make a bookmark. You can also easily find words in the dictionary or make notes by holding your finger on the word.
In the home menu, you can also set up what are called 'Collections'. This can save space by keeping all books in a particular series or by a particular author (or however you wish to group your books) in one space. I have just started using this feature but I do like it.
The touch screen is very receptive and have had no issues there. I heard before I bought the Kindle touch that there was a problem with 'ghosting' where when you have turned the page you can still see some of the words from the previous page. I was advised to turn on 'screen refresh' which refreshes the screen every time you turn the page which eliminates this. Otherwise, I can't comment on the 'ghosting' issue.
Overall, I have found the Kindle easy to use and in the month and a half so far that I have had to use it (and read 7 books so far) there have been no issues.
** Kindle or Book **
There are arguments either way in the e-reader vs. book debate.
E-readers are great in that you can carry thousands of books in something that weighs less than one paperback. Finish a book while away from home? Easily start your next one without having to carry an extra book with you. This is great if you read away from home a lot. Not in the mood to read romance? Start a crime story instead. You can also download books that are out of copyright for free, meaning you can get classic books without spending a penny. Amazon also acts as cloud storage so all your books are backed up by Amazon so whether you break your Kindle or somehow delete a file you can get them back.
Studies have also shown that people tend to read more on an e-reader than they do a paper book. While its hard to assess the accuracy of this and whether it is just down to novelty I can relate. Since I got my Kindle I have been reading so much more. Maybe it will wear off but at least for now, I am reading more and I love it. My Kindle has definitely been worth the price for that alone. Nothing like regaining the feeling of sinking into a good book. I had heard about people saying this but I was skeptical. But perhaps there is something in it. Or perhaps we are just too dependent on technology that we can't do things unless they involve some piece of tech; however simple it is.
Another great plus for the e-reader is re-sizing the text and altering the spacing. Something you definitely can't do with a normal book. This is great for those with vision problems or just like a different sized font to read. It also saves trees; each paper book requires a couple of trees to be chopped down.
Some people state that a downside of e-readers is that reading on a screen can strain their eyes. However, devices that use the e-ink technology I have found that this is not an issue at all. I can read for hours without eye strain or even feeling like I am reading something on a screen. It may not be exactly like paper but it is closer than I ever thought it could be.
There is the cost issue. You are looking to spend around £100 for an e-reader especially one with the e-ink display which is recommended. On top of that, you still need to buy the books (apart from those that are free). This means that it may not be suitable for everyone. The price of e-books compared to normal books varies. Some are cheaper on Kindle and some are actually cheaper in paper form. And also e-books are still subject to VAT unlike paper books.
And of course, we can't forget the classic argument of the battery: you don't need to charge a book. You just open it up and its there. The oldest book I own is from the 19th century and it has never needed to be recharge. On top of that though, it isn't in the same condition it was when it was first bought. E-readers do have a good sized battery, especially if it is a dedicated e-reader and not a tablet. All you have to do is check occasionally to assess whether you will need to charge up. Going to be away from a power source for a while? Charge it up beforehand.
There are little things that don't really matter that I'd miss about paper books. The feeling of holding a physical book and the feeling of getting towards the end. Seeing your books on a bookshelf and spending hours browsing though bookstores (in particular second hand bookshops for me). But, just because you have an e-reader it doesn't mean that you can't do these things. Maybe you won't spend so much time reading paper books but it doesn't mean that you are instantly banned from reading/ buying paper books. It doesn't stop you browsing bookstores.
In some cases, it is better to have a paper book. For example, text books for college/ uni/ school and books with a lot of pictures. While the Kindle can display pictures they are not great quality and in black and white. So, a Kindle isn't always the best option.
** Kindle or other E-reader **
So, once you have decided that you want an e-reader which do you go for? It all depends what you are looking for. The Kindle is well supported and the Amazon store has a large variety of books to download. You know what you are getting and know that the Kindle is produced by a good company.
The main things that I would consider would be the e-ink technology, battery life and price.
The leading models just now appear to be the Kindle and Kobo. Looking at the Kobo touch there is not much difference between this and the Kindle. Same size screen, the Kobo has slightly smaller memory but still holds 1,000 books which is more than enough, same e-ink display, wi-fi and a better battery life at a more friendly price of just £79.99. I have never used the Kobo so I cannot comment on its functionality but it is a strong contender of the Kindle. I am not sure what the Kobo store is like though, which initially put me off buying the Kobo in place of the Kindle.
There is also the Sony e-reader which is a bit more expensive at £129.99 for a non-touch screen. It also does not appear to have the e-ink display. It does have a good battery life though which is as much as I can seem to compliment it on. It would not be high on my list of potential e-readers.
Ultimately, it is down to personal choice.
** Price and availability **
As I mentioned, the Kindle Touch will set you back £109.99 and the Kindle Touch 3G about £169.99. Prices do not vary much from store to store and even on eBay there is very little difference in prices. The Kindle can be bought from many electronic stores besides Amazon (I bought mine in-store from Argos).
** Conclusion **
I absolutely love my Kindle. I can spend hours at a time reading it and I am having fun finding new books to add to it. I have owned it over a year now and I still love it. The e-ink display is a brilliant addition that I could not do without. You find that the screen is so much easier to read and does quite closely resemble reading from paper. It does mean there is no backlight but the screen is easier to read in sunlight which is a huge plus. I don't read in the dark that often either. The page turns are quite fast, and the touch screen is responsive. It has definitely boosted my reading; I can't remember the last time I read so much. I have definitely caught the reading bug again. I have found no faults with the Kindle so far.
One last tip if you do decide to buy a Kindle (or other e-reader for that matter) is to buy a case. When you are carrying it around, you don't want to get the screen scratched. You definitely want to keep it protected. There are some very nice cases available from a variety of places. Don't skimp on this.
Summary: A great piece of new technology that I hope continues to grow.
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