Third generation of Amazon’s e-book readers is both thinner and cheaper than their predecessors.
Apple’s Ipad can handle many different tasks and position themselves at the intersection of a full-fledged computer and a smartphone. The Amazon Kindle has no such ambitions – for better or worse. Kindle is built to compete with books and newspapers in paper, but is not an option when it comes to the Web, email, apps or video.
The Kindle uses a screen called electronic ink. It is a technology that has very different properties than the TFT or OLED screens. This is evident already when you pick up the device out of the carton that the screen is special – it is in fact not empty but displays information about how to connect the power cord to charge the battery. The electronic ink only consumes energy when the screen changed, so even when the Kindle is off, you’ll see a static image.
Unfortunately, the screen is black and white, but the sharpness is quite good – 167 pixels per inch. By comparison, a typical computer screen about 100 pixels per inch, and an Ipad has 132. Kindle does good in competition – Samsung Galaxy Pad is pretty much the only device that can match both in terms of screen size and number of pixels per inch.
Overall, the Kindle is pretty close to the paper when it comes to the reading experience. The background is light gray, so the contrast is not as high as between ink and white paper, but it is only in extremely bad lighting as the difference has no meaning. The screen on the Kindle does not have its own light source, so it needs to be fixed otherwise. A little inconvenient when you want to read at night, but in return are Kindles screen extremely well outdoors. Flare is suppressed effectively and the screen has a perfect readability even in the Sun. Amazon also has case with built-in light, but they are quite expensive – around £ 500.
Easy to get started
It’s easy to get started and fill the Kindle with the content. On delivery the unit is attached to the client’s account on Amazon, so it is possible to buy books at the touch of a button without having to enter a credit card number or other information. Practical, but at the same time, important to bear in mind if you lend your device. The home screen has a least unadorned appearance with text links to books and other files in the device. Via the menu button you will find the link “Shop in Kindle Store”.
If there is no familiar wireless network access, you get the opportunity to sign in, but once it’s done loading the bookstore quickly. Kindle is also available in a version with built-in 3 g modem. It costs about $450 more than wlan version which we test here, but then have the 3 g version has a built-in SIM card that works in a large number of countries. Some European countries, however, are missing on the list — for example, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Cyprus.
When buying a book included “Free international delivery”. This means that the data transfer included-whether to use 3 g or wlan. Each Kindle has its own email address, but any mail program in the normal sense does not exist. The email address is an easy way to send content to the device and there is support for the main file formats, such as pdf, doc, docx, txt. The message itself may not see on their Kindle, but the attachments are stored in the device and can be read in the same way as the books you buy.
Amazon will charge
If you use the 3 g version and is connected via the mobile network takes Amazon charge for data transfer when you email files – just over $1 per megabyte. No big money may seem, but the rule that each file size is rounded up to whole megabytes makes even small files will cost at least a dime to send.
The Kindle also has a Web browser, but it does not work and only exists for a reason – to be able to log on some wireless networks. In addition to email feature is the ability to copy files to the Kindle via usb. The memory pops up as a normal storage device, so there is no need for drivers.
It is also possible to store audio books and music in memory and the Kindle has a standard 3.5-millimeterskontakt for headphones, but the player is very simple and a standard cell is better in every way when it comes to playing back sound. The Kindle has a speech synthesizer that can read texts, but compared to a real audiobook, it is incredibly tiresome to listen to the computer voice.
Below the screen there is a qwerty keyboard. I think the keyboard is mainly used for entering search phrases, but there is also the possibility to make notes related to a specific section in a book. The solution for inputting numbers and other characters is very tedious. “Sym” button opens a menu where you have to push their way to the correct characters using the four-way controller. Kindle provides a counterpart to the world’s highlighter.
By moving the cursor to a Word, press the Center button and then move the cursor to a stopping point has created a selection. Unfortunately, there is the gray markings in the Kindle isn’t nearly as clear as continuous pen neon colors. At the bottom of the screen there is a status bar that normally shows the position of the Viewer, but it also pops up tips depending on which buttons to press on — for example, the device points out that one can post a highlighted section on social networks by pressing alt + enter.
All annotations and markups will be synced to your account on Amazon, so they can be accessed from your computer. Buttons that change the page when reading sits on the edge of the plate. There is an identical set-up on each side, so it is just as easy to keep the Kindle with the right with the left hand. The larger button scroll forwards and the smaller button. To switch the page takes about a tenth of a second and the screen goes completely black before the new content pops up. Flash is a little annoying at first, but you get used to it quickly.
Bookstore in the Kindle has a great set-up. All content is divided into three categories–books, magazines and newspapers. There is also a top list of the best selling works and a news page. At the bottom of the book trade’s home page also shows recommendations based on what you purchased in the past.
The most English titles
The range is entirely dominated by English titles, but there are also books and a handful of different newspapers in German, French and Spanish. To subscribe to a magazine in the eBook reader seems like a brilliant idea, but unfortunately, most newspapers reduced to text content and that Kindle reader becomes therefore let on virtually all images, tables and other graphics. Buying a newspaper – I tested The Times – that single copies cost 10-12 USD, so the price seems high, considering that you are missing out on a large part of the content. To navigate in a newspaper works well.
Scroll keys works as usual, but it is also possible to skip to the next item by pressing right on the four-way controller. Most newspapers also has a clear division into departments such as editorial, news and sport – and you can skim through articles in the preamble of the shape, select the figure by the number of items in the list of departments. Not completely intuitive, but very useful when we found it. Another useful feature is the built-in dictionary. Encounter an unfamiliar English words need to just move the cursor to the difficult word for an explanation.
To the right of the space bar is a button with settings for readability. Here you can adjust the text size, font, line spacing and margins. However, not all settings are available on all types of content. PDF files have a fixed layout and Kindle cannot change margins or line lengths, so it is difficult to find a location that make the text readable while a whole range of fit on the width. Having to scroll both horizontally and vertically when reading is not very practical.
Auto zoom is missing
I miss an option to automatically zoom off the margins – it has made it much easier to read PDFs. The fixed locations with 200 or 100 page width, alternatively 300% zoom makes it either becomes wide white margins and tiny text or long lines of the screen. Content from Amazon’s bookstore or pure text files works without problems – this adapted lines for text size and you can use the screen to the maximum.
Much has happened since the first generation of Kindle which was released in 2007. The thickness has been cut in half and the price is down in a third. Would you be able to buy books on Swedish’s Kindle still no alternative – it will not work with copy protection (drm) as the Swedish online booksellers using, but the price is low and the hardware is really well suited for reading novels and other content is almost exclusively made up of text. The Kindle would need better zoom functions to manage content with tables, images, and graphics in a sensible way.