This review is intended to answer all your questions about the Kindle that you may need answers for to help you consider purchasing a Kindle.
The Kindle is, in my opinion, a marvellous product. I will give you the pros and cons in order to help you in making the final decision of whether or not to buy one.
The Kindle has about 2 gigabytes of storage and can hold about 1,400 eBooks. The things it can do are:
- Read the following formats: Kindle (AZW and AZW3) format, TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP through conversion.
- Browse the internet, and the Kindle Store.
It does not support audio.
If you press the keyboard button from anywhere on the device it gives you options to search your eBooks and documents, the book you are reading, the dictionary, Google and even Wikipedia.
It features an E-Ink display, which is totally unlike any other, such as the most common (LCD), which is always used in tablets and mobile phones, etc., and usually in televisions. E-Ink only uses battery life when changing the contents of the display. Therefore, it is phenomenal for e-reading, giving long battery life when displaying a page for a long time, and being marvellous in bright sunlight. There are no brightness settings because it relies on reflecting light.
The E-Ink screen is set by default to refresh every 6 pages. (When it refreshes it flows smoothly through black to the next page). Have a look on YouTube if you want to see what this looks like. It can be set to refresh every page turn. This setting is found on the third page of settings. I recommend refreshing every page turn because otherwise there can be `ghosting'. (This is when the screen displays part of a previous image).
It must be registered to a certain Amazon account. It is extremely easy to do this. You can do it from the settings page of the Kindle with Wi-Fi or online. However, if it is bought from Amazon, it should already be registered to the account it was bought from.
EBooks with maps usually have the maps at the beginning, like paper versions. You can place a permanent bookmark here or use the 'go to' option (see below) to find the beginning or table of contents (it is normally near these).
WI-FI IS NOT ESSENTIAL! EBooks can be transferred by USB from a computer.
- The E-Ink screen is great to read in bright sunlight and causes absolutely no eye strain! When on standby, it displays an image out of a selection of about 20. Don't worry, this uses absolutely no battery power!
- The screen also has a matt finish so it does not create multiple reflections as other screens do.
- The size of the text can be changed. When the text is larger, it reduces the amount of words on the page.
- The inbuilt Oxford Dictionary of English (there is also an American one) allows you to scroll the cursor to a word on the page and get a definition of three lines at the bottom or top, so as to not interrupt your reading. A full definition is also available at two clicks of a button.
- Over 40,000 titles are available FREE from Manybooks.net and Gutenberg.org! These must be in the public domain to be legal, so they are nearly all written before 1923. No catches, you can just download all the classics!
- It has about 15 hours of battery life with Wi-Fi turned off. This will be a bit less for faster readers because they are changing the contents of the display more often (see above). However, with Wi-Fi turned on, it can be reduced to more like 5 hours.
- All your eBooks are backed up on Amazon, so if your device breaks, you can download again for a new one.
- You can email eBooks and documents to the Kindle by sending to an address allocated to you by Amazon. (This is often the former part of your email address followed by @kindle.com).
- It only takes about 1-2 seconds to turn on and comes back on in the same place you left it.
- It automatically saves your page in every eBook you have, and if a bought one is deleted from the device and downloaded again, it still has your page!
- Permanent bookmarks can also be saved. You can also highlight passages, and it shows you passages that have been highlighted many times by others. (This can be turned off from settings).
- Foreign language to English dictionaries can be bought so you can quickly look up words in foreign books. I have one of these, and I recommend them.
- Up to 6 devices can be registered to one account.
- It has page turn buttons on each side so you can read one-handed.
- There is a 'go to' option from menu that can take you to the cover, the table of contents, the beginning or the end.
- E-Ink is monochrome (basically, it can show shades of grey only). However, this doesn't bother me in the slightest, because face it, how many books have differently coloured text? Book covers still look fine. DO NOT be tempted to go for the Kindle Fire for its colour display, because it uses LCD and therefore does not work in sunlight and also causes eye strain when reading for long periods.
- E-Ink does not work in the dark. Irritating, but just the sacrifice that must be made if you want a screen like a page. The Kindle Paperwhite works in the light and dark, but many complain of shadows on the lower edge.
- There are only two reasonably normal font sizes out of the eight provided, and I find one too small and the other too large. However, this is only a minor quibble.
- Your eBooks are difficult to have on one device from different accounts. BUY ALL EBOOKS FROM ONE ACCOUNT. It makes things a lot easier, believe me!
- It cannot read ePub format, and cannot be used with any libraries (or so I've heard).
- The experimental web browser is quite clunky and slow to navigate. But remember, the Kindle is not a tablet. It is designed for e-reading.
- Typing is very slow because an on-screen keyboard comes up and you navigate it with the arrow keys in the centre of the device. But if you want a small device, you can't have a keyboard, can you?
- There is noticeable `ghosting' when set to refresh every 6 pages, especially on the 5th and 6th pages (see above).
- Occasionally it may start doing a very fast flash between pages, quite unlike the smooth transition of refreshing. This tends to stop after a while, but is annoying. (Try restarting the device from pressing menu when on the settings page).
- Sometimes on large web pages it can freeze up. This is easily sorted out by doing a hard reset (hold the power button for 20 seconds).
- To turn Wi-Fi off, you must go to the home screen, press menu and then select settings. It is then listed as `Aeroplane Mode'. This is quite a long way to do it, and it should be accessible from the book.
- EBooks sometimes have no cover. This is probably about 10 percent of them. Sometimes a whole series will have no cover for any of them.
- EBooks have more spelling errors and other mistakes. The books released more recently I find are fine, but older ones can have quite a lot, say 1-2 per chapter in bad cases.
To conclude, the Kindle is great, but could be improved slightly. However, it is certainly worth buying.