My wife bought me a surprise birthday present of an Amazon Kindle. When it was wrapped up I thought she had bought me a bar of chocolate as the kindle is unbelievable sleek, small and svelte. On unwrapping the present I tried not to look disappointed as I have an Apple Ipad and had the kindle book application installed in it already, so while looking happy on the outside, inside I was worried this could be a redundant piece of tech. But a few days on and I am hooked. They are brilliant! My wife as usual knows best.
1. Size does matter
The Kindle is tiny, light weight and very thin. This means its a lot easier to carry around – it fits inside my jacket pocket. You can easily carry the kindle with you where ever you go and its instant on – so its great to snatch a quick read where ever you are. The Ipad is brilliant but its a lot heavier and bulkier so not as portable.
The e-ink is very impressive. I thought the read out would look like a large digital watch display but actually it is extremely readable and easy on the eye. If you need to read a lot in the dark – ie in bed while your spouse / partner is sleeping then the kindle is not for you and you should get an Ipad. But if you want to read for long periods of time the Kindle is very very good. You can increase the font size, change the orientation of the device and move backwards and forwards through books with the dedicated buttons. You can easily hold the device and click through pages with one hand. You can easily read the kindle in broad daylight – so I would consider taking the Kindle to the beach to read. You can email your kindle – which has its own unique email address. This means you can send yourself a pdf file to read which is really useful. The only problem is that you can’t resize the print and keep the wordflow on the screen – so you end up just zooming in one piece of the screen. I have not tried word documents yet will let you know how things go with that.
3. Note taking
There’s a nice sized keyboard on the bottom of the device which is perfect for making marginal notes on the book you are reading. You do find yourself trying to touch the screen rather than use the cursor to locate the place you want to be.
All your books can be synced across other devices you have installed the kindle app on. I can put it on my Ipad, my Ipod and my Mac laptop so whichever device you read the book on – if you bookmark it – when you open the book on another device it remembers where you are and even takes your notes across for you. Which is brilliant for referencing later.
5. Social media
You can tweet a quote or post a quotation from the book you are reading – I have the wifi version I am not sure if you can tweet using the 3G which is normally used for downloading book to your device. The 3G version has no monthly contract fees so I would be surprised if they would let you tweet and browse the web over the 3G network for free.
6. Battery life
People are reporting 10 days of real world use for the battery ie with the wifi switched on. I have read hundreds of pages over the last week without charging my device once. When not in use there is a cool screen saver function that pops up random literary figures on the screen. Amazon claim 1 month of use with the wifi off. (The ipad can manage 8 hours of real world use).
Should you buy a kindle instead of an Ipad?
The Ipad is a very different device and is far more versatile and for me is almost a laptop replacement. The kindle gives you a dedicated ebook reader and it does an excellent job of this. It is a worthwhile investment even if you have an Ipad already. At £109 for the wifi version and £149 for the 3G version (with no monthly fees) and global 3G coverage. They are very good value.