Amazon Kindle Keyboard Review
Has an excellent screen, killer battery life and makes buying eBooks ridiculously easy.
Amazon built the Kindle as a gateway into their online bookstore, and it servers that purpose well. We found in our tests that it performed extremely well, with a sharp, clear screen that looks great in any light and easy and quick access to a huge range of books to buy. But don't confuse the Kindle with an open device that can access a number of online stores: it is owned body and soul by Amazon, and there is no easy way to get content from other stores onto the device. It can load PDFs and books without copy protection, though, and Amazon provides free direct access to a huge range of out of copyright books through their online store. This means that you could buy a Kindle and stock it with classic books to read on vacation without paying a dime.
The eInk screen of the Kindle does an excellent job of displaying eBooks: the text is sharp and clear, and the screen looks great in any lighting from near darkness to direct tropical sun. And this puts it light years ahead of devices that use LCD screens, like the iPad and Barnes & Noble Nook Color, that look pale and unreadable in direct sunlight. If you are heading for the beach this summer, the Kindle is the eBook reader to pack.
solar charger and would never need to worry about finding a power socket halfway around Mt Kailash.
The Kindle is the device to beat as an eBook reader: it is small, sleek and has an excellent screen. It wears its stripes as an Amazon project rather loudly, though: the only online store that it can access is the Amazon one, and there is no way to get books purchased through other stores (such as Apples iBooks, Barnes & Noble or Kobo) onto the device. It can load non-copy protected books and PDF files, though, and Amazon provides a way to send PDF files direct to the device through email. Should you need to urgently review a work document while you are away from your laptop, this could prove to be a useful feature.
Audio & Video:
If there is one area where the Kindle really fails to deliver, it is this. It does not support playing back video, and the music playback is so poorly implemented as to be practically useless. The only thing that it might be good for is to use to listen to audio books, as it lacks the features (such as sorting, playlists, etc) that even the cheapest digital music device offer.
Email & Web Browsing:
Internet access is another area where the Kindle has only marginal performance: the experimental web browser that it offers has a reasonable feature set, but browsing web pages on the slowly updating eInk screen is a painful experience. It might be fine for checking the news headlines, but it isn't good enough to make the Kindle an Internet device that you could rely on.
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