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This Kindle is a fantastic product! It allows you to download and store hundreds of books on one device which you can carry around with you. The device is lightweight and easy to pack away in your back and carry around with you. I misr really impressed with how easy it was to initially set up and how easy it was to download books for this device.
The battery is reasonable and charges quickly. I was worried about viewing the screen in sunlight because I find it impossible to use my laptop outside when it is sunny. However there is very little glare and it can be easily used outside.
One of the reasons I wanted a kindle was so that I could easily take multiple books away on holiday with me without taking up space and adding weight to my suitcase. The kindle does this. It is also cheaper to download books electronically than it it is to get a paper copy, not to mention it is a lot more green. Think about all the paper used to make books which Re used once and then thrown away. One thing about the kindle is that it is obviously electronic so reading in the bath or at the poolside has to be done with care.
The kindle 3 keyboard is easy to use and books can be searched for easily and there is a wide selection of books instantly available to you. You don't need to edit for them to come in the post. They are just one click away.
I can't remember how long I've had a kindle, but I just know that I absolutely can't do without it! I must have had one since this model first came out and I use it all the time...on the way from uni to home, on the beach, on plane journeys etc... The vast number of books that it can hold at one time (more than 2000) means that you are never short of books.
You can also have a vast number of books on the amazon library and you can swap books between the kindle and amazon using WiFi, which allows books to be bought and read at any one time. This device works amazingly well in sunlight, there is little reflection from the screen, so it is easy to read in the sunlight and thus allows for great reading material on the beach on holiday.
It is lightweight and small so fits perfectly in a handbag, which also make it easy to carry and thus can be carried all the time, making it a very useful device to have. The easy to use keyboard allows for you to search through books and for books, as well as allowing you to create a password, which means that you can secure your device.
The buttons each side of the kindle mean that you can move between pages of the book easily and hassle free, although can sometimes be accidentally pressed which means that you have to return to the page you were previously on.
I won my Kindle in a writing competition, but I honestly would pay the money to have one.
The Kindle is about the same size and shape as a book, but much thinner and lighter to hold. I normally find technology difficult to use, but the Kindle had an easy set-up which I believe anyone could operate.
The screen (not a touch screen) has a different technology which is great when you are reading in bright sunlight, as the screen is easy to see, however I found I had to buy a small reading light when reading at night in the dark, as the screen has no brightness to it. I love reading on my Kindle because it's just like reading a book, but lighter to hold. I have had my Kindle for almost 2 years and I only have to charge it roughly once every two months, which is incredible, so the battery life is a definite advantage.
Buying books of Amazon was pretty simple, so long as you can connect your Kindle to wi-fi. There are millions of books on the Kindle store, and the Kindle edition of each book is often cheaper than a normal paperback. The Kindle is also great for travel, as you can carry around hundreds of books with almost no extra weight.
The only major problem I found with my Kindle is that it is easily breakable. I once dropped my Kindle off of my bed onto a soft carpet, only to find that the screen had cracked underneath, and I couldn't use it. Amazon were very quick to send me a replacement for free, which was great, however it is rather inconvenient, so if you buy a Kindle, I would very strongly recommend you buy a case as well.
I am an avid reader, when I am not using my electronic products! Now the two can be amalgamated! I look forward to reviewing some books in the future. For me, the price of the Amazon kindle, combined with the eBook price and the space saving element of not needing room for physical books.
DESIGN AND FEATURES
This model of the Kindle is 190mm x 122 x 10mm in size and weighs just under 250g. If I choose to, I can hold in comfortably in one hand, and this is probably the case for most people. There is a QWERTY Keyboard under the screen for typing notes, or searching for books. Although this is a nice feature to have, it is a bit fiddly, as the buttons are very close together and there is a slight delay after pressing the button before the character appears on the screen. Another disappointment is that there are no dedicated keys for numbers and to access them you have to first press the SYM key, comparable to the shift key on the computer.
Another design feature I like is the fact that there are page forward and page back buttons on both the left and right sides of the unit. This means you can hold it in both hands and not have to stretch over the screen to press them. It's a simple addition but a worthwhile one nevertheless.
I love the screen on the Kindle and it makes reading very easy. In the past few weeks, I have tried reading on iBooks on my iPad, but I find it hurts your eyes because it's bright, and is also hard to use in the sun.
On the Kindle, you get a screen which replicates a page perfectly, and is not backlit which means it is easy to read on the beach on holiday, something I have found useful.
The Kindle has an integrated store where you can buy your books, after linking it with your Amazon account, you can navigate through and pick a book and have it downloaded in just a few seconds. Alternatively, via Whispernet, you can purchase the book on the Amazon website, and it will wirelessly download, provided you have network access. I've tried both ways and it works brilliantly! I have the WiFi model, but you can purchase a 3G Model as well, allowing pay as you go internet access.
MEMORY AND BATTERY LIFE
The device holds over 3000 books I believe, and it is important to mention at this stage that there are also lots of free books available online, particularly classics. The battery life is second to none, and I think last year I only had to charge it about 15 times in the whole year - it can easily last a month!
This is a super device, although it lacks an interface found on tablet PCs, it is far better, in my opinion than other eReaders, and the screen really makes it for me! It is super for people who travel a lot, who do not want to cart heavy hardbacks around. The range of books is great, and you can request books to be added if not available.
OK I confess I am a gadget junkie and got the Kindle pretty soon after it was released in the UK.
To set up and go, it couldn't be easier and it linked very quickly with my Amazon account. I also have the same account linked to my phone and laptop so can pretty much read anywhere.
The battery life is excellent and I confidently go on holiday without bringing the charger cable safe in the knowledge it will last a week easily. The connector for the charger was also the same as my previous phone (HTC) which also helped.
Downloading a book can be done either directly from the device itself using the easy to navigate menu screen or from an amazon account. If I'm looking for a specific book then I will do it direct from the Kindle but if just looking for a book I tend to go to the computer as I find browsing easier there. If like me you like to read a bit of a book first before you but then you can download samples and try before you buy. Any books you have purchased will automatically download the next time you go online with your Kindle (for me that means switch it on at home)
The books on the Kindle all appear on one list and so I've set up a directory for those I've downloaded and not read yet. Again a very straightforward menu allows books to be added and removed from this directory with a simple click of a button. I'm not one for reading instruction manuals and there are probably lots of other ways to tidy it up which you may wish to do as I find the main list of all the books you've ever bought quite annoying.
Reading a book is easy with buttons to allow you to move forward or back a page and a really obvious button to change the text size. A godsend if like me you are trying to use the varifocals in bed. You can also bookmark particular places in the book and even share what you've read on facebook at the end. I don't do either of these but my friends do and find it very easy.
So it's great for a fiction book and as a maths teacher I love that percentage completed is a regular discussion point at my book group now.
Where I find it particularly unhelpful is in non fiction books where you may want to jump around pages a fair bit. I recently tried to follow Stephen Fry's book on poetry on it and ended up having to buy the paper copy instead. It was just too difficult to keep track of where I was as I kept jumping back to other parts.
Overall an excellent device but more suited to fiction rather than non fiction books.
When eBook readers first came out, I was sceptical to say the least and refused to buy one because "it would never be the same as holding an actual book". True. It is better!!
To say that I'm a bookaholic is an understatement as my house would not need supporting walls if I just piled up my 1000+ books against them. Even this did not make me want to buy an eBook reader though. It was only when I went travelling, I decided I had to buy one or carry a separate suitcase just for my bedtime material.
What can I say, the best thing I ever bought! Especially if you enjoy books that have 1300+ pages, such as War and Peace or Lord of the Rings the way I do. Being able to use only 1 hand to hold the Kindle up and to turn pages is fantastic. No more propping the book up with more books because it is too heavy to lift.
I have to say, I still buy some books as books, such as cookery, craft and any other ones with pictures, but nothing beats a Kindle for chick lit and rom coms.
It is also helping with saving space and is actually saving me money. Many of the classics are actually free and most other books are also only a few quid!!
Kindle only takes minutes to set up and with the 3G and 1 click shopping set up, you really can download books wherever in the world you are. Great for backpackers!
Initially I was sceptical about the need for an book reader, but after receiving one for my birthday, I had to give it a go!
The kindle is ridiculously easy to set up and was connected to my home wifi within minutes of coming out of the box. After this, I went straight to the amazon kindle shop to start downloading books! This is also an amazingly easy and straight forward process, especially if you have to one-click payment set up.
Find a book you like and select it buy it, then voila, ten seconds later, it appears on the kindle ready to read! The device also syncs well with your other Android devices such as phone, PC or tablet meaning you can pick a book up where ever you left off on any device.
I particularly like the ease of reading with the kindle, the e-ink is very realistic and I find it hurts my eyes less than even a normal book. I am able to read before bed with the kindle in one had and a cup of tea in the other, a perfect combination!
I have also found that amazon customer service is incredible, when my first kindle screen broke, it was replaced within days at no cost to me and with no quibbles, even though I suspect my heavy handiness may have had something to do with the fault!
The weight of the device is no more than a paperback and it is so slim you can slip it in your bag very easily. I would however recommend a case as there is a likelihood screen damage if it is left unprotected.
I would not be without my kindle now and can't imagine ever going back to 'normal' books!
I bought the Kindle a little under a year ago because I happen to read a lot of books. To be honest I wasn't expecting much, as I hadn't heard much about it. However, I fell in love with it straight away.
The Kindle is fairly lightweight and fairly small so you can hold it in your hands for a long time. The buttons are big enough for you to be able to type without making mistakes. An amazing feature of this Kindle is that it can play music, either through headphones or through its inbuilt speaker. The only issue with this is that your music files must be in an mp3 format, however music files can be converted fairly easily. The speaker inside the Kindle reaches quite a high volume and the sound does not get distorted like it can on some speakers.
Another feature of the Kindle is that you can visit the Amazon Kindle store where you can purchase books. There are many free books, although in my opinion there are not many good free books. Another down side to the Kindle Store is sometimes when you go to buy a book on the Kindle, it is in fact cheaper to buy a print version. However, usually it is somewhat cheaper to buy a Kindle version. You can buy books pretty quickly when you have your account set up and what amazes me is how quickly these books appear on your Kindle. When you have your wifi connection switched on, the book you ordered downloads itself and it takes literally a few seconds. Books can also be purchased through the Kindle itself.
Overall, I think the Kindle is fabulous. It offers everything you would expect and more from an e-reader. I have not had any problems whatsoever with the functionality of the Kindle. I believe that it is a must have for people that like to read a lot.
Originally, I was very sceptical when Amazon announced their Kindle and was reluctant to buy one for several months due to the high price compared to a normal paperback book. I eventually gave into the temptation upon advice from friends and family and got myself one last year and I can definitely say it has been one of my best purchases!
Firstly, I found it very easy to set up which is always a bonus as you don't want to be messing around for hours before you can actually use your new gadget! You simply have to register using an Amazon username and password and set it up with a debit card in order to start purchasing books. The rest of the navigation on the Kindle is also really simple and easy to follow, although it should be noted that there is a comprehensive user guide included too if needed.
I love reading, particularly on my daily train commute to work and on holidays and this has made it so much easier. The Kindle is probably around the same size as a normal book but the difference is how thin and lightweight it is. It weighs less than 250g so is less of a strain on the hand and wrist so much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time than a normal paperback would be. Being thin too means it is easy to carry around with you wherever you go barely noticing it at all! I have found this particularly useful when going on holiday as before I would take 4/5 books away with me which not only took us space but also too much of the stingy weight allowance airlines give you!
One of my reservations with the Kindle was that it wouldn't look or feel the same as reading a standard book. Obviously, it isn't exactly the same but the makers have simulated it very well in terms of the screen looking like proper pages in an actual book and in fact, turning the pages is even easier than with a conventional book, with a single tap of the button on the side of the screen doing the job. Also, you will never lose your page with a Kindle (which I forever found myself doing with a normal book) as it keeps the page you were last on no matter how many books you are reading at once! Another point to mention is that it is not just books that you can access on the Kindle but also magazines and newspapers too which I think is a good feature.
Other features the Kindle provides is the ability to load music onto the device which is also useful for on holiday as it means you only need to carry one thing around that allows you to read but also listen to music. You can also bookmark/leave notes on pages as well as highlight words for their meanings which both have been useful for me while I have been reading books for my studies. Also, when I was buying my Kindle, there was emphasis on the fact that it had 3G as well as Wi-Fi access. After having this feature, I don't really see the point as I have a Wi-fi connection at home so have never needed the 3G as I don't see why you would need to buy a book so urgently that it couldn't wait! But I suppose if you don't have wi-fi at home then it would be useful, I just saw it as unnecessary feature adding expense.
As I said earlier though, my main reason for not wanting a Kindle originally was the price (£149) which I thought was a lot when I was just comparing it to a £15 book. But I can honestly say I now think the opposite and think that the Kindles are well worth their money. They can store up to 3,500 different titles and you can get decent ones from as little as £1 or even some are free so it will definitely pay for itself in no time.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Kindle to anybody who enjoys reading. It makes life so much easier and I couldn't live without mine now!
I must admit that upon receiving this as a present I was a little skeptical in regards to how pragmatically applicable it would be within my life, but I can gladly say that it has consistently proven that my skepticism was totally illogical. It now finds use everyday whether it be in helping me race through my recommended reading lists - for my seemingly never ending assignments - or for my relaxation and enjoyment. It has completely renewed, or rekindled if I want to sound punny, my love for reading.
The 6" e-ink display is absolutely fantastic and displays text like ink would look on real paper, this essentially means that the end-user experience is one of great quality because the experience feels wholly natural. Contrasting it to using the Kindle app on my Galaxy Nexus, which I have previously reviewed on here ;), it seems the only way in which to read as it is a real representation of what reading is like, devoid of the eyestrain unlike reading from a normal screen.
The storage only further ensures its practicality especially for such instances as holiday, or university work, as you have access to your book in one friendly package. I'm yet to run out of storage, and can't see myself doing so in the near future.
The 3G is great ensuring you will never be left wanting access to the store to treat yourself to a new read! Arguably this is the key to the friendly, and consistently engaging, experience as the Kindle Store is jam-packed with top reads which you can purchase and read semi-instantly! I consistently find myself purchasing new books even knowing I haven't completed my backlog because it's such an engaging and enjoyable experience. It's especially great because the Kindle features a keyboard which makes the experience user friendly.
The battery is fantastic and I, with pretty much daily use, only have to charge it once every couple of weeks.
Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone, even those who are skeptical because you'll probably be delighted like myself!
It took me a long time to hop on to the Kindle bandwagon. I slowly watched all my friends getting them, all the while muttering to myself that I'd miss the feel of a real paperback, the smell of new ink on new book... Yes, I'm a bit of a weird bookworm. But before long I realised I just don't have the space for any more books, in fact I'd stopped buying them for the lack of room to store them. Finally, I relented about bought the KIndle 3, WiFi only version. I'm glad I invested before they got rid of the keyboard!
The Kindle is a grey, flat rectangle shaped device, at first glance, not unlike a tablet. It weighs roughly 241 grams and measures in at around 190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm (Many thanks to Amazon UK for the measurements). So it's a very light unit indeed. I happen to be a disabled person who has difficulties lifting and holding even a paperback book, and to me the Kindle feels much lighter and easier to manage. Obviously there's no need to struggle to turn a page either. I realise most people wouldn't have this problem, but worth mentioning that it's ideal for anyone with dexterity problems. To be honest, it's even ideal for those who like to read in bed and hate having to move from a comfy position to turn the page!
It also boasts a six inch display screen with E ink pearl technology. At first this sounds like meaningless marketing mumbo-jumbo but one glance at the screen and you'll see just what they're getting at. Unlike tablets, iPhones and other devices, the screen isn't a glaring white with black text. It looks exactly like a book. There's seemingly no backlight whatsoever, just parchment-ish background with black ink typing. A lot of people complain that trying to read e-books on a tablet gives them headaches and eye strain, Amazon have designed the Kindle so this isn't an issue whatsoever. It even works perfectly in sunlight.
To the left and right of the screen there are page turning buttons, back and forwards (on both sides). I had concerns this would feel unnatural and distract me mid-read - after all, you can't really recreate the action of turning a page. Before long though I got into the swing of things and was pressing the forwards button without even being aware of it, so I'd say this would come naturally to most people after a while of using the Kindle.
Under the screen you'll find a full keyboard along with directional button, for searching for books in your library and to make use of the built in web browser. The on/off switch, volume keys, USB charging port and charging light are located on the bottom of the unit.
According to Amazon, this edition of the Kindle can hold around 3,500 books. I've yet to fill mine up (give me time!) but it's impressive to know I can keep adding to my library without fear of having to delete a novel or two to make room.
Another impressive feature is the battery life. Mine's held a charge for a couple of months now, which is incredible! I assume it might be something to do with the E ink style screen rather than having a bright back lit display, but either way it's great to not have to dig a charger out every time you want to settle down with a good read.
The boot up time of the Kindle is super speedy, which is great. If you leave it in hibernation style mode rather than turning it off completely, it'll treat you to a cover of a famous book as a screen-saver. Quite a quirky feature, but a nice one all the same.
Once it's started up, you'll be met by your book library. You can organise these into different sections, choosing to file your books by genre etc exactly as you might organise your bookshelf at home. This appealed to this slightly compulsive tidying streak in me and I had a whale of a time neatening up my Kindle library. If you're remotely weird like me, you'll probably enjoy this too but if not, it's still a handy option.
A quick press of the menu button shows you a few more options besides just reading your books. I'll explain them one by one, in the hope it helps someone..
Firstly, the option to turn your wireless on/off. Pretty self explanatory, really. You'll need the Wi-fi to connect to the online library to download more books, or to browse the web but if you're just reading books you already own, switching it off will prolong battery life.
Next up is 'Shop in kindle store'. Give that a press and you'll be taken to Amazon's Kindle book shop. Despite being in black and white, it does look quite neat and simple. Perfectly easy to navigate, even if you aren't that used to Amazon's website. Here you can browse books, newspapers and magazines to buy or search for what you're specifically after with the keyboard. Despite its small size, the keyboard is well spaced and easy to type on. You can also download free samples to be sent to your library, so you can try before you buy, something Waterstones probably frown upon!
Next on in the menu is the 'View Archived Items' key. Again, self explanatory - for if you want to archive items!
After that you'll find search, so you can type in the book from your collection you're looking for without having to trawl through all your sections looking for it. You can also use this button to search google, wikipedia, the kindle store and the inbuilt dictionary supplied with your Kindle.
The 'create new collection' button comes next. This is to add another section to your library, to keep things neat and ordered.
Then there's 'Sync and check for items' and 'View downloading items' To synch new books you've downloaded directly from Amazon on your PC, and to check on the progress of anything you're downloading straight onto the Kindle.
Under that there's the settings area. In here you'll find your Device name, Registration information, your serial number and the Wi-fi set up area. Setting up Wi-fi is a piece of pie, all you have to do is let it scan for your network and type in the password if you have one. I had absolutely no problem at all with this, and it's quite speedy too.
The last area of the menu is something entitled 'Experimental'. Here's all the fun extras of the Kindle 3. In here you'll find the inbuilt web browser, the mp3 player and the text to speech option. There no denying the fact that browsing the internet on a black and white device with no mouse/trackpad isn't the easiest thing in the world, but it's a nice bonus to be included anyway. For the briefest of surfing if you're out and about, it's perfectly fine. I loaded some music onto the mp3 player and was surprised to find the sound quality was good too, another lovely little extra. Admittedly though, i was most impressed with the text to speech add-on. This means your Kindle will read to you, making it perfect for those who have sight problems. It's great to see technology including accessibility options such as this, so kudos to Amazon for that.
All in all, I love my Kindle. The only negative I can find is that a little piece of me feels frustrated at the price of the e- books - I can't resist a bargain if I see paperbacks on offer still, which defeats the object a little bit. Otherwise this is a slim, cute unit that holds 3,500 books in one place for you to carry around with ease - what's not to love?
I've long been against the idea of giving up my beloved 'real' books in favour of an e-book reader, but there's something about the prospect of 9½ hours on a plane that make the library-in-your-pocket idea near irresistible! There are other e-readers, but with its easy on the eye e-ink screen (no glare, no backlighting, so not like reading a computer screen!) that choice was simple. No, the real question became which version to go for: third or fourth generation, keyboard or not?
The newer Kindle 4 is slightly smaller and lighter (170g against 247g: neither exactly heavy!) and cheaper: £89 compared to £149. However, it also has only half the battery life and memory (2Gb rather than 4G), and neither 3G internet connectivity nor physical keyboard. The choice is yours!
While not exactly essential I've appreciated the handiness of the keyboard (the non-3G keyboard version is no longer available, alas). Wi-fi passwords were easier with the qwerty-keyboard (my fingers are small enough for the wee buttons!), only becoming irritating when forced to the on-screen (the only interface on the K4) symbol selector. It's made the pre-loaded dictionary much easier to use, too, and I have scribbled a few reminder notes.
The older version has a few other features not carried through like storing/playing mp3s and a dubious text-to-speech. More important is the reading experience: while there are few differences (eg slightly quicker page refreshes) nothing's changed too drastically.
Against my own prejudices, my Kindle is growing on me: it's so much easier to hold than a thick book, and I get just as caught up in what I'm reading - I notice pressing the button just as little as turning a physical page. The ability to change font sizes is hugely valuable. And for just reading (rather than battery-hungry online use) one full charge (via USB cable, or optional wall socket adaptor) will outlast a holiday - the best feature for the extra dosh, I think!
However, all is not joy. Maybe I'll change my views (and save shelf space!) but right now I still find it entirely objectionable to have to pay the same or even more for a 'virtual' book over the physical copy. I can't (won't!) take my kindle into the bath, somewhere I love to read. I don't like the fiddly sliding on/off button much; I can't flick: more than one page turn at a time is s-l-o-w. And I'm disappointed - although not surprised! - that the free 3G is really just for the Amazon store and archive. With wi-fi the on-the-go access to email and internet is handy, but this is not a smartphone replacement!
Still, it has been useful: I've loaded up all my work/study PDFs, although this isn't a well-displayed format unless you have one page per screen and good eyesight! I'd recommend the freeware program 'Calibre' (for your computer) for converting formats, to then transfer to your device either via email (and wi-fi) or USB connection.
There are also myriad free books available online, causing my reading material to diversify somewhat: from random non-fiction texts of varying quality to revisiting or discovering classics (check out Project Gutenberg, online). That 4Gb will hold *thousands* of books, and that's before the free cloud backup for my 'archived' texts (ie any I've downloaded from Amazon) - which I can get at anytime, anywhere thanks to the not-entirely-useless 3G!
So while I still love real books more, more ways to read is a good thing too!
My kindle is one of the best purchases that I have ever made. I love reading books and I have to admit I was a more than a little apprehensive about leaving the paper book behind. But it has been a decision that I have not regretted. When you take the kindle out of the box you need to sync it with an Amazon account which you can do either via your kindle or on your pc. To purchase books for the kindle you can either buy them via your Amazon account or via your kindle of the Amazon web site It is really easy to do and books down load to your kindle straight away which is great if you run out of reading material late at night. I believe you can also buy books of other web sites but this isn't something I have done. The best thing about the kindle is that you can download books which are out of copy right for free which will mean that my kindle will eventually pay for itself.
The kindle is really lightweight and is easy to carry in your bag with out weighing you down. The text is easy to read and you can turn the page (back or forward) by a touch of a button. It automatically opens the book on the last page that you stopped reading and even turns its self of after a while if you forget which saves on battery life.
Another feature of the kindle is the internet browser which allows you to search the internet although it is not the best browser in the world it is good if you need to check something when your out and about such as train times.
Reading is an essential part of life in order to escape day-to-day ennui as you can find yourself lost in exotic worlds having exciting adventures you only wish were possible. But unless you are a member of one of the now dwindling public libraries, or are part of a book swapping club you will find it an expensive business buying lots of tree killing books, not to mention the drain on your storage capacity in your home. The solution? An eBook reader which holds all your books in electronic form. As good a place as any to purchase one of these is from one of the biggest online book outlets Amazon with their "Kindle" eBook reader. There used to be three but now seem to be only two versions of the Kindle available, the oldest versions being the Kindle with a Keyboard and WiFi access only (obsolete and the one I have), the same, but more expensive, with extra 3G access (though I cannot see the point in paying this extra expense unless you don't have WiFi access at home as I've never been out and about and had an emergency requirement for a book), and finally the new version with only WiFi access and a virtual instead of physical keyboard.
The size of this Kindle is the same approximate height and width as an ordinary paperback (190 mm x 123 mm) but its depth is only 8.5 mm so even if you're insane and decide to embark upon reading all 1,296 pages of War and Peace it's still only going to be 8.5 mm and not an arm aching 51 mm. This device is also nice and lightweight at 241 grams and I have used this device for hours on end with none of the same discomfort you often get with trying to hold a paperback book steady. The screen size is much smaller than an actual paperback with a 6" diagonal E Ink Pearl electronic display that does resemble paper surprisingly well. On both sides of the screen are two buttons (for if you are left or right handed) to "flip pages" back and forth which is even easier than turning over real life pages in an actual book, especially if you have sticky pages, with just the tap of a button. Below the screen is a closely spaced QWERTY keyboard with a Menu, Text Formatter, Home and Back button as well as a 5 button cursor to allow easy navigation in all directions. On the base of the device is the volume control, a headphone socket, the charger socket and on/off slider.
When you first get your device you already have some stored content including English and American dictionaries, a welcome message from Amazon with heartfelt gratitude for your purchase, a quick guide about the logistics of "Transferring your Kindle Content" and a rather large user guide. I'm very anti-user guides, I much prefer exploring and learning for myself, but inevitably there may will be things you cannot work out for yourself and this guide would come in very handy for those moments with a table of contents with direct links at the beginning and the ability to search for words revealing every instance of that word to hopefully pop up with what you need.
The first things you need to do are register your device and set up your Wi-Fi so you can begin buying and downloading your books, magazines, newspapers etc. which is really easy by simply hitting Home/Menu/Settings and then you click on Register and type in your Amazon username and password. Then you can join a Wi-Fi network by viewing the available networks, clicking connect on the correct one and typing in the password. The device should then remember that network when it locates it again in the future. So once you are connected you can start buying your content. You have the choice of searching and buying through the Kindle store online and having your book(s) downloaded automatically as soon as the Kindle finds a connection, or actually searching via your Kindle through the Kindle Store located on the menu either by typing in the exact book you want, or searching through genres and getting the book practically instantaneously. In order to buy directly from your Kindle you need a credit/debit card set up even if you want to pay through vouchers as the Kindle buys directly through your online account.
Other settings include activating a Voice Guide to make menus and selections spoken aloud to you, setting a password for your Kindle, setting the time, managing your social networking Twitter or Facebook accounts to accept excerpts, notes and highlights straight from your Kindle, and to display highlighted passages within your books based upon other readers' activities.
You can find the books (which for ease of use covers all other types of downloadable content which include newspaper and magazine subscriptions/one off purchases) you just downloaded on your home page which by default shows the books in order of most recently downloaded/used. You can adjust the order you look at the books by author's surname or book title, or if you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume you have purchased (up to 4GB of space which equates to 3,500 books) you can create "collections" to put books you want to group together into and order by those, and then also by the book title or surname within these collections. You can also archive books you don't want anymore, which simply removes them into an archive folder which you can retrieve later free of charge if you change your mind.
To read the book highlight it and press the enter button and away you go. Navigating is an absolute doddle, you simply press the buttons at the side of the screen to flip back and forth or you can choose the "Go to..." option which allows you to go directly to the cover, a Table of Contents, the beginning, the end or a specific page number/location or you can "Sync to Furthest Page Read" if you've gone back to previously read pages and wish to get back to where you were. If you leave the book, once you return it will be just where you left it regardless of how many you are reading simultaneously, so you don't have to worry about remembering page numbers or finding some object in your bag to act as a bookmark. I've never used any of these following functions, but I can see how many would be useful for something like essay writing:
1. Go to the Amazon description page with plot summary and reviews etc.
2. Set bookmarks if you want to mark a certain page.
3. Add a note or mark which you can view later.
4. Search the book for certain words or phrases which will return part of the paragraph and location of every instance of them.
5. If you don't know the meaning of any word you can move the cursor over to it and the dictionary entry pops up at the top.
6. Pressing the Aa button allows you to adjust the way your book is displayed by altering text size, the typeface, the line spacing, number of words per line and the screen rotation making it horizontal or vertical both ways round so you can customise to your preferences. Turning on the Text-to-Speech function gives a male or female voice at a speed of your choice reading out the words. Unfortunately they sound horribly robotic and computerised and certainly don't have the panache of someone like, say Stephen Fry so I would recommend buying audio books if you want to hear books read out (can be purchased from the Amazon website audible.com using the AudibleManager software and transferred via USB onto the Kindle where they should appear on your home page).
The other function which I think is totally unrelated but also great is the ability to load MP3 files to the music folder on your Kindle (accessed by connecting your Kindle via USB and pasting the files into the correct music folder) and this allows you by simply pressing alt+space to get your music playing and likewise to stop it. Pressing F skips to the next track, so it is incredibly easy to use, and the sound quality is excellent with the maximum volume at a decent level of decibels without being eardrum explosive. So if you like reading to music this is a great addition.
===My experience with the Kindle===
I read mostly to kill the boredom on my daily commute to and from work and my previous issues with this were when I was trying to read a paperback whilst desperately holding on to any available handrail/wall/plastic window/unsuspecting passenger due to a lack of seating I would have that moment of indecision as to whether to try to turn the page with just the one hand which makes you look a sandwich short of a picnic or letting go of the only hand allowing you to keep your balance and hoping that in the time it takes you to turn the page and get it back to safety you haven't embarrassed yourself by falling into a heavily pregnant lady. Plus, holding the book for almost an hour does start to make your arm a bit achy. I find both problems are solved with the Kindle as you only need the one hand to hold it and to flip the page plus it is so light I remain ache free. Amazon's claim that the screen is glare free is also totally true, when on those rare days that the sun shines blindingly there is no difficulty whatsoever in reading the text as long as your retinas are still functional.
Many daily journeys require many books, and given that you can get decent books for under £1 compared to paying maybe £6.99-£7.99 for a decent paperback the savings are immense and I can see this Kindle paying for itself in no time at all. I now have stopped killing the trees and my shelves have sighed in relief at no more additions for the last 7 months. I was convinced that I would miss reading from physical books, that there was something special about having a wad of paper in your hands, but I actually find it so much easier to read on the Kindle, perhaps with less cramped text and less distance for your eyes to travel on each page, so much so that I am easily reading double the number of books than I used to (so it's a good thing for the bank account that they are so much cheaper). The delivery of the books is so quick as well, from purchase they appear on my Kindle in no more than 10 seconds which is so much better than waiting 3-5 days for delivery. I've also never had any problem with connectivity to complete the download or to search for books to buy either at home or work, although it wasn't great at picking up my work's connection at first and took a few minutes before it appeared on the list.
I find the battery life absolutely superb on the Kindle. It does take a little while to fully charge, usually over 2 hours if it was practically dead, but I normally need to charge up only once a month and even though the claim was every 2 months, I still think this is great considering it gets used practically daily. Despite prolonged use the Kindle also never gets hot like say a laptop which I think is also a major positive as it's not fun to burn yourself. My Kindle has also remained glitch free in all the 7 months I've owned it so I also cannot fault its consistency. Basically, the Kindle has revolutionised my reading habits making it (ignoring the initial purchase itself) a much cheaper way to buy books, quicker to obtain the books in mere seconds, solving the issue of an ever increasing number of paperbacks to store somewhere, and making it so much easier to organise them. I cannot recommend it highly enough for bookworms.
===Differences to the new Kindle===
I managed to talk my sister into getting a Kindle and she went for the most recent version and I thought it would be worth pointing out the differences so you can decide which version is best:
1. The new Kindle is smaller and more streamlined at 77g lighter and thus significantly cheaper at £89 compared to £149 so if cost is an issue this is the better choice. However, as a result of this streamlining the storage space and battery life is halved to 2GB and 1,400 books compared to 3,500 (though you'll be doing well to read 3,500 books in your life) and up to 1 month compared to 2 months.
2. There is also no physical keyboard but a virtual one instead which is a bit of a kafuffle to use as you need to move the cursor around on the QWERTY keyboard which is time consuming, but you don't really need to use it that often and my sister says it is bearable (but I prefer an actual keyboard).
3. The loss of 3G is an obvious issue if you don't have Wi-Fi, but is a non-issue if you do and don't care about buying books on the go.
4. The loss of all sound functionality so the ability to play MP3s, text-to-sound or to listen to audiobooks could be a factor to consider.
5. There are more languages available: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese(Brazilian).
I think the obvious choice is to go for the latest version of the Kindle if you simply want to read books, but I personally still prefer the benefits to the older version, and think Amazon are cheeky buggers for taking away the third, cheaper option of having the keyboard but no 3G and forcing you to pay more if you do want this extra functionality.
When I first bought my Kindle I wasn't a massive book reader. I had always liked reading but I never really found the time. So as you can imagine, the prospect of shelling out £100+ for a 'book reader' - the very idea I had previously mocked in the past - was not one I took lightly. I decided to go for it thinking that it might reignite my passion for reading again and replace some of the brainless pastimes that have burrowed their way into my life (Thank you very much BBC iPlayer) with something a little more intellectual. I suppose you could say it was a desperate attempt to better myself.
I won't bore you with too many features of the kindle since Amazon does a fairly thorough job of this on its website. My aim is to review my experience of the kindle and compare it to reading a conventional paper book.
Upon receiving my kindle I was immediately besotted. The first thing that struck me was the style. The kindle is thinner than a biro and is the screen is unlike any other screen I have ever seen. The 6" E-ink Pearl display (to use the technical mumbo-jumbo) is designed to read like paper. I didn't believe this before I saw it but it really does look like you're reading from a page. And you know that annoying glare you get on your mobile phone screen when there's so much as a flicker of light in the room - well, none of that here! You can happily use your kindle in the sun and no longer have to be assume the persona of a vampire whenever you want to whip out your gadget in the daylight. Admittedly this was never an issue with an actual book but now you don't have to avoid public scrutiny and judgement about the book you're reading by staying indoors. So feel free to read Piers Morgan's autobiography in public without alienating yourself from society and attracting unwelcome sideward glances of disgust from your fellow commuters.
I did think that I might miss the experience of reading a book. After all it's something that has become second nature to me over the years. One thing I won't miss though is turning the page. A trivial act you might say, but one that requires two hands with most paperbacks unless you are trained in the Jedi arts. Being able to turn the page back or forth using just one hand makes reading much easier and allows you to sit in more comfortable positions whilst doing so. There are back/forth buttons on both sides of the kindle so the choice of hand is left up to you. Another great feature of the kindle is the ability to read a book with no hands at all! You can simply place the kindle on an armrest or on your lap and read whilst using your hands to accomplish other tasks. No more struggling to hold open a paperback with one hand whilst trying to eat your dinner with the other. No more having to reach for a bookmark or crease over the corner of a page whenever you need to break off. No more...well you get the idea.
The advantages over reading a conventional book don't stop at the free-handedness either. How many books allow you to change the size of the text, the text style itself or even the number of words per line? Unless you know something I don't then the answer is none at all. As a result you can customise your reading experience if desired which can only be a good thing! Great news if you find some of the small print books difficult to read. You may even find yourself reading faster by tinkering with the number of words per line.
The choice of books you can upload to your kindle is vast. A lot of kindle edition books are cheaper than their paperback counterparts and you can start reading a few seconds after purchasing due to Wi-Fi delivery system. Being from Yorkshire, I am a great fan of the free classic books available on amazon. I don't think I've actually paid for a book in a few months now. So I'm already raking back some of the upfront expense from my kindle purchase. You can organise your books into folders and search your collection for specific books or search the books themselves if you want to find a quote for example. I haven't used this feature much but it's nice to know I have it if I do need to. One feature I do use a lot is the built in dictionary. Using the so-called 5 way controller on the kindle (which in my opinion is a four way controller and a select button) you can simply move along the page to a word you don't understand and then a little box appears on the screen with a definition. This is especially useful for the classic books I am currently reading and I would like to think that this has helped my vocabulary grow. This is simply something I would never bother to do with a conventional book. You'd have to bookmark your page, put the book down, find your dictionary or log on to Google then go and sit back down and commence your reading. By which time you've either forgotten what was going on in the story or no longer care.
There are some obvious drawbacks to the kindle when compared to a standard book. Firstly, you have to keep your kindle charged if you don't want to reach a gripping part of the plot only to be interrupted by a low battery warning. However, the battery life itself is very good and I find it will last for over a month with about an hour's reading a day. Another downside is that you will become very protective of your kindle and soon adopt a close resemblance to Dobby the house elf. This is because the kindle feels very fragile. Being as thin as it is, it doesn't feel like it will stand up to much rough treatment. Instead of throwing it down on the sofa like you would perhaps a mobile phone or a set of keys, you'll be placing it down gently like a sleeping baby. Investing in a good case for your kindle is an absolute must (I found a good quality pouch for under a tenner so you don't have to break the bank). If you're careless enough to scratch or damage the screen in any way you will not only have a scratch on one page...you will have that very same scratch on every page you read from that moment forth!
In summary, providing you take good care of your kindle (and you're likely to do so at the price) the advantages over a paper book far outweigh the drawbacks in my view. Reading no longer feels like a chore and the opportunities for reading increase with the versatility of the kindle. I have fallen in love with reading again and read much more often than I would if I had to resort back to paperbacks. It is a costly purchase but the savings you may make on the books themselves and the convenience the kindle provides ensure that it is a purchase worth making even if you don't currently read a lot of books. You soon will ;)