Amazon Kindle Review

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Life before the Kindle

To me, a book is a precious and valuable source. The smell of the pages, the choice of paper and font face and size; it’s all important. Holding it in your hands and reading it during a commute, in bed and even on the toilet (we all do it)! Cracking the spine and watching it crease a little with every new chapter read and folding back a corner of the page. What is more beautiful than a book? A Kindle was apparently the answer.

Given my love of books I was initially extremely apprehensive about buying a Kindle. Why would I want the beauty of a book destroyed by technology and a screen to read it on? Why would I waste money when I could spend it on 10 – 20 cheap books?
To me the idea of a Kindle was a silly one. I agree with technology up to a point but replacing a perfectly adequate form of text and coding it onto data on a screen seemed beyond what I could fathom and was far too advanced.

Low and behold a year later and I find myself with a kindle beside me. Hypocrite or not, it was one of the best and most used gifts I may ever receive…

Claims

So what makes the Kindle such a big seller? Well developed in 2007 by Amazon it is simply an e-book reader used to read publications that are downloadable online using a WiFi connection. Some are free and some have to be paid for using an Amazon account to link up to. The claims and features are as follows:

  • Lighter than a paperback at 170grams
  • Reads with no glare and is essentially like paper
  • Customizable font/rotation
  • Holds up to 1400 books
  • 1 month battery life
  • A store of over 650 000 books online downloadable in under 60 seconds

And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy – consider that you can buy many free books online and there are offers that, exclusive to Kindle, mean you’re paying less for e-books than you would be for a real-life, hard copy.

Kindle Times

Kindles are easy to buy. Not only can they be purchased online but they can be bought at certain physical retailers such as PC World and Currys – all of which offer a guarantee that is definitely worth investing in just to cover your back.

Kindles are what you make them. £69 seems quite expensive for something to hold books on but realistically if you store enough books on there and hunt around for cheap deals and exclusives then you’re saving a lot of money that you wouldn’t get in a hard copy. A lot of the classics are free as well so it’s always good to look further than the first page.

Buying is easy as well – it’s linked straight up to your Amazon account so there’s no getting out a card in order to pay for a book and waiting for delivery: it’s instant! Being so lightweight means I can read in bed and not constantly have to lay with the book facing downwards with fear of a heavy object careering at my face.
The Kindle is ideal for students with not much storage space (my primary reason for buying this e-reader) as you can store hundreds of books in one little case. It saves on those that have to commute too. You can also upload your own documents. Been given a 200 page document to read? You can download that to your kindle and read it wherever you want it without the hassle of downloading off of a computer.

Of course there are issues with the Kindle – it’s not perfect and I can’t sing its praise in all areas. Its downsides are:

  • Wifi. It’s the only way to download books. No wifi.. no books.
  • You lose the traditional factor of books such as the scent, the feel of it in your hand and the fact that – as much as it tries to be like a book (you can’t read this version in the dark etc) it isn’t!
  • It’s connected to your Amazon account. I.e you click on ‘buy’ and you’re done meaning, if you go on a frenzy like me, you’re spending lots of money that doesn’t feel ‘real’ if you’re not handling it yourself
  • Screen smudges. Of course, we’re all guilty of having a cheeky snack in between reading. I’ve found that my screen is prone to picking up on grease marks and finger prints. Of course this can be combated by a cover but it would be nice that it would’ve been included in the product considering the price.

Considering those are the only negatives – despite the last being slightly pedantic of me – the Kindle is definitely well worth it.. but I’d say only if you’re a specific person. If you can adequately fit lots and lots of books into where you live, you don’t read a fair amount or you find better deals on books than you could on a Kindle then stick to old fashion ink and paper.

Other Kindles

Kindle Paperwhite/Paperwhite 3D

The features differing from the regular Kindle include:

  • A sharper resolution
  • New font faces and sizes
  • 1100 books (less than the average Kindle – perhaps pricier doesn’t equal better)
  • Letting you know when you’ll finish your chapter
  • An illuminated screen

So basically for a better looking screen and to be able to read in the dark you have to pay an extra £100 (give or take). In my mind it’s not worth that considering clip on torches can be purchased for a mere £5 in some retailers.

Kindle Fire/Kindle Fire HD

These extra features include:

  • An HD display should you choose this option
  • Speakers for surround sound as well as dual-band WiFi
  • Access to movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games
  • Web browsing
  • A choice of 16GB or 32GB
  • A front facing camera for Skype-to-Skype calls

So a glorified tablet in Kindle form. Considering the Kindle was essentially considered to be for reading this in my mind throws that idea out of the window and should be called a different name and branded in another way. Starting at £159.99 this is pretty acceptable for a tablet of its sort and the keypad does add a more integral centrepiece to the Kindle. However, this is not the use I’d want from it and severely relies on WiFi.

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