This review is intended to answer all your questions about the Kindle that you may need answers for to help you consider purchasing the Kindle.
There are two current types of Kindle ereader: the £69 basic Kindle (this one) and the All New Kindle Paperwhite (the "All New" denotes that this is the 2nd generation Paperwhite). I now own both the £69 basic Kindle and the All New Kindle Paperwhite. Please read my review on the Paperwhite for further comparisons between the two models.
If you would like a touch screen device that you can read in the dark, flip around the book a bit and read footnote or character heavy books much more easily, you may wish to consider the Paperwhite. If you would like a budget device and don't need these features, consider this Kindle.
Personally, I find it worth forking out an extra £40 for all the extra features on the Paperwhite.
The Kindle has about 2 gigabytes of storage and can hold about 1,400 eBooks. The main formats it can read are the Kindle formats (AZW3, AZW and MOBI), PDF, TXT, DOC and DOCX. It also has an "experimental" web browser, but does not support audio.
INTRODUCTION TO E-INK:
It features an E-Ink display, which is unlike any other, such as the most common (LCD), which is used in tablets, mobile phones and televisions, etc. An E-Ink pixel is a tiny capsule that carries black and white particles suspended in a fluid. The particles are moved around by charges. Natural light then reflects off the particles on the surface, making the pixel visible. So, if the white particles are moved to the top of the capsule, it will appear as white.
E-Ink only uses up battery power when changing the contents of the display. It does not give out light, so although it looks great in sunlight, it is not visible in the dark.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. If my Kindle breaks, will I lose my books?
A. No, they are backed up on your Amazon account.
Q. Is Wi-Fi necessary?
A. No! EBooks can be transferred via a USB port on a computer.
Q. Will it save my place in a book?
A. Yes, it saves your place in every book, even after it is deleted and downloaded again!
Q. Can page numbers be shown?
A. If page numbers are available for the book, they will appear when you press the menu button.
Q. Can the text size be changed?
A. Yes, there are 8 different font sizes.
Q. Can it read the common format ePub?
A. No. However, the free open-source software Calibre is good for converting ebooks, although it will not convert DRM (digital rights management) protected books.
Q. Are there many free classics available?
A. Yes! Over 40,000 titles are available free from manybooks.net and gutenberg.org! These are in the public domain, so they were mostly published before 1923 (copyright laws changed in that year).
Q. How long does the battery last?
A. Amazon states 14 hours (1 month at half an hour's usage every day) with Wifi turned off. I find that it is at least that, if not longer.
I will now give you the pros and cons of the device.
- The E-Ink screen is great to read in bright sunlight and causes no eye strain! The screen also has a matt finish so it does not create annoying reflections as other screens do.
- The inbuilt Oxford Dictionary of English allows you to move 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.
- It only takes about 1-2 seconds to turn on from full power off and comes back on in the same place you left it.
- Permanent bookmarks can 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.
- 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 not visible in the dark. It also looks quite grey when not in reasonably bright light. The Paperwhite, with its frontlight, is visible in the dark as well as in sunlight, and looks white in all conditions.
- E-Ink is monochrome (it can show shades of grey only). However, this doesn't bother me, because book covers still look fine in black and white. BE AWARE that if you go for the Kindle Fire for its colour backlit display, it will probably give you eyestrain and is also very difficult to read in sunlight. However, some people are immune to eyestrain.
- Your eBooks are nearly impossible to have on one device from different accounts. It is impossible to buy from two accounts at once for one device. BUY ALL EBOOKS FROM ONE ACCOUNT.
- It cannot read ePub format, and cannot be used with libraries in the UK as far as I know. In the USA, many libraries are now supporting Kindle books.
- The experimental web browser is slow to navigate.
- Typing is very slow because an on-screen keyboard comes up and you navigate it with the arrow keys.
- There is noticeable `ghosting' when set to refresh every 6 pages, especially on the 5th and 6th pages.
- Occasionally it may start doing a very fast flash between every page (even when set to refresh every 6 pages), quite unlike the smooth transition of refreshing. This also causes ghosting and less sharp text. I recently discovered that this occurs when the screen warms up! This means that reading in the sunlight can be annoying after 10 minutes or so.
A FEW HANDY TIPS:
- Up to 6 devices can be registered to one account.
- You can email eBooks and documents to the Kindle by sending to an address allocated to you by Amazon.
- 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.
I'm more than happy to answer any more questions!
To conclude, the Kindle is great, but could be improved slightly. However, it is certainly worth buying.