Review: Amazon Kindle
The first thing we noticed when we got the new Kindle in our hands was how light it was – an important feature if users are going to spend hours holding the device for reading.
The last thing they’re going to want to hold for extended periods is a heavy product.
Without the keyboard the Kindle is also significantly smaller. It is just 16.6cm long, 11.4cm wide and just 87mm thick.
There is still a virtual keyboard which can be accessed on the screen and navigated with the five-way navigation key.
The keyboard is only something that is used occasionally. The full keyboard on the earlier model not only added to the size and weight of the product it also gets in the way when you try and hold the product in your hand.
No such problem with the new lighter and smaller Kindle.
It retains the features have come to love about the product including the e-ink screen, the amazing battery life and the ability to download books to the device in seconds.
The 6-inch e-ink screen is easy on the eyes because there is no backlight. It resembles paper and, like real paper, requires plenty of light.
This is advantageous when reading in bright sunlight because there is no reflection. All readers get is a clearer view at the paper-like screen.
If you want to read the Kindle in bed you’ll need a light. The absence of the back light also contributes to the extended battery life.
In fact, the device only uses power when the page is turned and the display changes.
Speaking of page turns, the faster processor makes those transitions even faster and more seamless. The small keys on each side of the device allow users to go turn to the next page or turn back to the previous page.
There are also a series of keys just below the screen – a back key, keyboard key, five way navigation key, menu key and a home key.
And like the previous Kindles, readers can choose the font size they want – so no more squinting at small printed type.
For older users who usually wear glasses to read – the ability to increase the font size means the glasses can be left on the shelf.
The device’s 2GB internal memory memory might not sound like much but it’s still room enough to store up to 1400 e-books.
The Amazon Kindle e-book store is right at your fingertips and, when the device is connected to wi-fi, it is easy to browse the store and download books in less than a minute.
Users can create an Amazon account, link a credit card and either buy from the device itself or send files to the Kindle from the Amazon website.
Any Kindle book you buy is stored in Amazon’s online server so they can be accessed on your actual Kindle or through a Kindle app on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
No matter which device you use to access the same book the Amazon service will remember the page you read to so when it is accessed from another device it will be ready to pick up again right at the page you read up to.
This latest model does not have 3G connectivity, it is wi-fi only so it can only connect to the store wherever wireless networks are available.
It would have been great to have 3G but that would have added to the cost. The older model with the keyboard is available in a 3G version priced at $219.
In the growing e-reader market the Amazon Kindle is the best choice and combines an excellent device and an excellent service.
Amazon’s latest sleeker Kindle is available at amazon.com and is priced at $US109 plus shipping.
Price: $US109 plus shipping
Four and half stars (out of five)