Without a doubt, the Amazon Kindle wireless reading device is the most popular ebook reader around. But what is it that sets it apart from any other electronic reading device? And what makes it so good that it’s remained Amazon’s best-selling product with the most 5 star reviews for the last two years?
The Amazon Kindle 3 is available in two models: the Kindle WiFi and the Kindle 3G + WiFi. Priced well, it not only undercuts its closest competitors but provides a lot more bang for your buck.
You can also get the Kindle DX, a larger version of the Kindle 3G + WiFi, which is designed for reading magazines, newspapers, charts, tables and maps.
So, why is it so popular?
Material can be purchased and downloaded wirelessly from the kindle device using standard WiFi or Amazon’s 3G Whispernet network. This means that access to a computer is not required, as is commonly the case with most other ebook readers. In addition, there are no monthly charges or subscription fees to access Whispernet.
Unlike LCD screens, the high contrast E-ink screen has Pearl technology which offers the reader the clearest text and sharpest images. The 6 inch screen (or 9.7 inch on the DX)is easy to read in all conditions, including bright sunlight, without any glare. Users report the reading experience to be surprisingly similar to reading a real book.
The kindle weighs only 8.7 ounces and is one third of an inch thick, making it lighter than a paperback and thinner than a magazine. It’s designed to allow the user to read comfortably for hours, if need be. It can also be carried easily in a pocket or handbag, without creating any unsightly bulges.
The Kindle DX is bigger, but ideal for readings newspapers and texbooks. By tilting the device, the orientation quickly changes from portrait to landscape so that the whole page can be seen without scrolling.
The Kindle has a new Li-Polymer 1750mAh battery which gives you up to 1 month of reading time. Of course this can vary, depending on usage and whether or not you use the WiFi or 3G feature. However, a battery indicator gives you plenty of notice to charge the kindle reader up again.
Battery life on the DX model is slightly less and, again varies with usage and WiFi/3G connectivity.
In total, it takes about an hour to fully charge the device. The kindle comes with a charger, whereas other reading devices (such as the Sony PRS series) are supplied with a USB cable.
The Kindle Store
Ebooks can only be purchased from the The Kindle Store, not from stores such as Waterstones, WHSmith, etc.
On the plus side, The Kindle Store hosts the biggest range of books online and offers extremely competitive pricing. They usually price match other bookstores and are commonly 10-25% cheaper.
The best thing is that books can be downloaded straight to your kindle device within 60 seconds. Many other reading devices require you to purchase the ebook using a computer and then download it onto the reading device. With the Kindle, you can be reading your new book within minutes.
A feature that is specific to the Kindle is Text-to-Speach, which reads any English language content out to you in audio format.
They have also introduced a web browser, so that you can access the internet from WiFi spots. Granted, it’s a bit fiddly. But it’s not a bad idea and I’m sure they’ll look to develop it further.
The Kindle comes with Whispersync technology – allowing kindle books to be read on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android device, and BlackBerry. It syncs your place across devices, so you can easily pick up where you left off.
The phenomenal Kindle sales figures are evidence of this ebook reader’s popularity. Amongst its many features, the 3G connectivity is a huge plus-point that allows people to buy books anytime, anywhere. It’s simple to use and extremely convenient.
Added to the fact that it’s competitively priced – at $139 (that’s £111) for the WiFi version, $189 (£152) for the 3G version and $379 for the DX – the Amazon Kindle is a great choice.
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