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Amazon Kindle3 Wifi Version
Introduction I have always been a big reader, since being quite young I have enjoyed a good book starting out with the classic kids books from Roald Dahl and the likes. And as I got older my taste for books grew, in my house I've a bookshelf busting with books both read and unread and complained most days about it as I had no room for new books (of course my husband told me to get rid of the read books...but not a chance!). Then the Amazon Kindle was released and advertised all over Amazon. I must say I had my reservations, I couldn't imagine reading a book on a machine! What about the texture of the paper, the feel of the book? And I am a big "un-truster" of technology, I was worried if I bought hundreds of books, and my Kindle suddenly died on me, that I would have lost all of them. But then I was thinking of the good side, how easy it would be to read my books wherever I wanted, no worry about taking 10 books on holiday with me taking up all the room in my suitcase, those heavy hardbacks which I found difficult to pick up and read wouldn't be a problem anymore. But I didn't have the money to go out and buy one anyway so I stuck with my normal paper books.
Until Christmas day when I opened a present from my mum and saw my very own Kindle! By this point I actively wanted the Kindle, I had realised how much easier it would be for me to read all the books I wanted...and so much cheaper...and E book is around £5 cheaper (if not more in some cases) than the paper versions of the books...and no trawling through Waterstones trying to find a book just search online! I was made up with my present and quickly finished the book I was reading so I coulc start to play!
So what IS a Kindle? The Kindle is an E Book reader made by Amazon. It is thought to be the best E Book reader you can buy at the moment. There are no fancy frills to the Kindle, it doesn't do handstands nor does it claim to. It comes in two versions, WiFi or WiFi and 3G (the 3G is not like you may expect where you have to pay a monthly cost...it gives you FREE access to the 3G internet to download books instantly perfect for people who read mostly when travelling as it means you don't have to be connected to a WiFi internet connection to be able to buy a book), I have the WiFi version which is perfect for me as I have WiFi at home, and buy all my books at home before taking my Kindle away with me!
The Kindle is small, the size of the average sized book but only as thick as a pencil. It has a large screen and a small keypad at the bottom. As I say it is a simple E Book reader! No frills, no messing around. It has internet connection, but it isn't for using the internet (though you can browse the net on it, but page updating is very slow as it isn't what it is there for!) it doesn't store your pictuturs, though it can be used as a data storage point (for moving things from one place to another) and you can use it as a music player if you like to listen to your music as you read.
Availability & Price Originally the Kindle was only available from Amazon.com and .co.uk, but I have recently seen them in my local Tecso extra shop- though nowhere else! And I am finding it very difficult to find any actual reference to where these little cuties are sold other than Amazon. I would personally buy through Amazon as once you have bought it, it is instantly connected to your Amazon account making it easy to buy books without having to go through any lengthy registration process, just click and your E Book is sent to your machine within a minute (so long as your connected to the net!).
The Kindle is priced at £111, which may seen like a lot of money for something to read books on...but considering a new book is priced between £10 and £20 it is only the price of 5-10 brand new books, and the money you save buying E books rather than paper books is immense. Even if you usually buy your books second hand for a few pound, you will find these books are super cheap on the Kindle...at least no more than the average second hand book...and they aren't banged and battered with pages falling out...!!!
Using the Kindle The Kindle is possibly one of the easiest to use things I have ever come across!
The Kindle never turns off...this may make it sound like your battery will die in a matter of days...but I haven't charged my Kindle since I got it and did its initial full charge...so that's 3 months of reading on it every night for at least 2 hours and it hasn't run out of charge, in fact, it still has 3 quarters of its charge left. The battery life is incredible, and that's because it has no fangles and dangles messing it around. It doesn't update every 10 minutes, it doesn't do anything unless you are using it to download your books! Its fantastic! So back to what I was saying! It never turns off, it simply goes to sleep, and you have a screensaver (you cannot set this yourself) which is of famous authors or characters from famous books. To wake the Kindle you simply press and hold a small button on the botttom of the Kindle and its on. Easy.
Reading a book couldn't be simpler, once you have bought your book, it appears in your home screen, you just highlight it using the 4 way keypad, and press a button and the book opens, you read as much as you like, then you can leave the Kindle and it will go to sleep on its own, and when you turn it back on, it will be where you left it, so no hunting for the page you were at, even if you need to come out of the book and go back to the home screen for something, it holds onto where you had read up to so you can simply go back to the book and be where you left it, this is brilliant as it means no worrying about losing your page. If you DO have to go back to another page, you can even go to "furthest page read", and so long as its your first time reading the book it will take you back to your last read page.
Buying your E books is just as easy as reading them, you can either do this online from a computer or on your Kindle itself so long as you have the internet. From a computer you simply log onto Amazon, go to the Kindle E book store and search for a book...and buy it as you would buy anything else from Amazon, it is delivered free via something called Whispernet- basically wirelessly through the net, and so long as your Kindle is connected to Wifi or 3G the book will be downloaded within a minute- whether you have it with you or not! To buy them from the Kindle is even easier. Simply go to Kindle store from the Menu, and search for a book (you can search for books recommended to you from your other E Books already stored on your Kindle, or you can search for a specific book or author or even just a specific genre), you then click on the book, where you can read about it, read a synopsis of the book, and then see a price- this may be a point to add there are hundreds of FREE E books on Amazon which are well worth a read, you then simply click BUY, and it will debit from either your connected bank account or your online Amazon credit (you can buy gift cards or of course use your DooYoo points to get an Amazon credit!!)...the E book again is then sent direct to you! Don't worry if you accidentally click Buy (there is no confirmation screen so it is very easily done especially the first few times you use the Kindle to buy your books!), there is a simple button which says "bought this book by mistake, click here to cancel" and it simply takes the book back and credits your account.
You can make notes on books easily (very handy if you are using the Kindle for research purposes) and these are stored in a file on your home screen. Very good if you are reading a book for a class and need to make notes on certain parts of it, it means they are all there in one place easy to grab and read without searching through a book load of notes!
Carrying the Kindle is easy too, its so light and compact it is easy to throw in your bag or even in your pocket. I do suggest getting a case for it to stop scratches to the screen though!
You may be thinking like me about reading the Kindle in the sun, I have tried taking my laptop out into the garden and sitting in the sun with it, and it doesn't work, the sun glares off the screen and I can't see what I am doing. I was worried this would be the same with the Kindle, but it has a very clever anti glare screen, I didn't believe it would work until last week when the sun was shining so much that I decided to go and sit in the sun and have a read, and low and behold even with the sun directly on the screen, it was just like reading a book in the sun!
Also, another thing which worried me was getting a headache from reading off a screen, as you may know if you sit in front of a computer all day for work purposes, you tend to get headaches from the screen...this was something which worried me about the Kindle, but the screen has something called e Ink or something along those lines- which means that the screen is literally like the page of a book, no light, no glare nothing, so you wouldn't get a headache simply from the screen like you can do with laptops and computers. I have not suffered once with a headache from using my Kindle!
As well as books you can also get electronic versions of newspapers and magazines which I personally have no interest in, so have no personal experience with these on my Kindle, but I have been told that it is brilliant being able to read your newspaper on the Kindle instead of the huge newspapers which can be hard to read on the bus or train and get ripped or messed up far too easily!
If you wish, you can have your books read to you (this isn't available on all of the E Books, so check before buying each book!), I haven't used this yet as I prefer to read the book myself but it is a good idea if you are maybe deaf, or find it difficult reading, or maybe when reading foreign books.
You can also enlarge the text if you find it difficult to read the small writing of the Kindle (which is the same size as a paper book), I find this handy sometimes if my eyes are getting sore from reading, making the writing bigger helps a lot with eye strain from reading too much too late into the night!!!
Disadvantages of the Kindle
Strangely the E Book reader doesn't give you a page number but a percentage of the book read, it took me a couple of weeks to get used to that, I wanted to know how many pages of the book I had to read. It means you have no real idea of how long the book is, or so I thought...on the home screen there is a line under the book title with dots, these dots indicate how long the book is, its strange getting used to, but once you do get used to it, its fine and not an issue! And you soon realise how much better a percentage is than page numbers!!!
When you are travelling on an airplane, you will be told to turn your Kindle off on take off and landing, even though the Kindle is of no threat to the aircraft as it is not electronic in the way that a computer is, there is no transmittance of any sort from the Kindle unless you are using it to browse the net which you wouldn't be on a plane anyway as there would be no signal- this just wouldn't be understood or listened to by the people on board, and so it does mean that for half an hour from getting on the plane and half an hour before you land (or so depending on where you are going to and from!) you wouldn't be able to use your Kindle whereas a book you would have no problem with!
It is breakable! Of course it is, its electronic, it isn't paper like a normal book, so it isn't immortal. It will break on you if you drop it on the floor or in water (though it is supposed to be splash proof...handy for round the pool!), and as I touched upon earlier the screen could be easily scratched if you don't have a case for it and carry it around in your bag. Now this is like saying a disadvantage of a mobile phone is that it is breakable if you drop it or put it in water...or a laptop is breakable...or anything electrical is breakable!!! But when comparing an E Book reader to a paper book...a paper book isn't broken if dropped...and even if it is broken, in most cases if ripped it is replaceable with a few pound! But so long as you're careful with your Kindle and treat it like a machine and not a book, then you'll get on like a house on fire!
There is no colour screen- this isn't so much an issue for reading plain texted books like I read, but as the Kindle also has kids books, magazines etc on there, then for some this may be an issue for you. Now there is a Kindle 4 coming to Amazon at some point in the next 2 years...this is going to be an updated version of the Kindle 3 (the newest Kindle, and the one I am reviewing right now!) and there is speculation that is may be colour screen, touch screen etc. But it hasn't even been designed yet, so don't hold your breath for the release of this new Kindle...and remember, touch screen, colour screen, backlights etc...all mean battery life is compromised. I would rather have a plain grey black and white screen and 3 months battery life than a weeks battery life just to have a bit of colour.
Worth the money?
In a word definitely!
Would I recommend the Kindle? It depends on the person. I wouldn't recommend the Kindle for anybody who doesn't read very much as it is a lot of money to spend on an E Book reader to read one book every 6 months. But if you are a big reader and like me have hundreds of book lying around with nowhere to go, then yes the Kindle is amazing. You can buy your books in a click of a mouse and don't have to wait for them to be delivered. Ok you don't have the feel of the book in your fingers, but all of the advantages of the Kindle really do outweigh that point, and you can have a real book every now and then to keep your feel for the paper!!!! (I still have 20 books on my shelf unread which I am reading in between reading my Kindle books!).
If you want something which does more than just read books, if you want something to play games on, use the internet on etc, then the Kindle really isn't for you, it is first and foremost an E book reader. There is nothing else to it. If you want the Kindle but don't like the idea of no internet, games, apps etc, then you can get a Kindle app for the Ipad- the new tablet from Apple which is basically the Kindle e book reader in App form- the Ipad prices start from around £420- so much more expensive than the Kindle, but they do have more things on them like the Internet and games, so if this is more your thing- then the Ipad is more for you. If you want a simple E Book reader which has amazing battery life, and is reliable and easy to use, then the Kindle is something you want in your life. It has become one of my most prized possessions since I got it!
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