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Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle 2011 Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 24, 2011


The Kindle (not to be confused with the original kindle, kindle 2 or kindle 3G), is this year’s latest Kindle and is Amazon’s attempt to make ebook readers as accessible as possible.

With a price tag of just £89, it is the cheapest ebook reader Amazon have ever produced, but how does it compare to the rest of the Kindle family, and other ebook readers out there this season? Lets find out shall we…

What is new with the Kindle 2011?

The first thing you will notice with the new Kindle is that Amazon have kept the crisp 6-inch 167ppi display, but have made the device smaller and lighter by removing the usual keyboard. Instead you get access to 4 buttons and a five way pad.

This change alone makes the new Kindle 18% smaller and 30% lighter than the Kindle 3G.  Weighing in at just 130g, it feels really light but also incredibly solid as you would expect from Amazon.

In terms of design Amazon have produced one of the nicest ebook readers around, it looks polished and minimalistic.

This Kindle does not include a 3G connection, instead you can buy books from the Amazon ebook store and browse the web using the WIFI connection, or transfer books from your pc or mac. Both are really easy to do, and unless you are somewhere where there is no WIFI, this should not really be an issue.

In terms of memory you get 2GB instead of 4GB with the Kindle 3G, which is more than enough considering you can store over 1400 books

The reading experience on the Kindle 2011

Apart from the visual changes, this new Kindle works in the same way as the Kindle 3G.
It’s lightweight, packs easily in your things, and feels just right when reading for extended periods of time.

The navigation works well, the keyboard-less design is actually quite usable as long as you don’t do many searches or use the internet browser much.

You get access to Amazon’s huge ebook store, where you can buy books with one click and can load up a vast range of different ebook/content types including: Kindle (AZW), PRC/MOBI (non DRM), PDF, PDF (non DRM), HTML, DOC, TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), JPEG, GIF and PNG.

This price,  flexibility, and the instant access to one of the largest ebook stores in the world makes this ebook reader heads and shoulders above the other ebook readers in the market.

Is this the Kindle for you?

In the UK Amazon has 2 main Kindles:

The 2011 Kindle –  At £89 is the entry level Kindle, featuring the same screen and functionality as the other Kindles, but does not have a keyboard or 3G connection.

The Kindle Keyboard 3G  – At £149 is the top of the range Kindle, featuring a keyboard, and free worldwide 3G connection as well as WIFI so you can buy books and surf the web anywhere for free without needing a computer or WIFI connection.

Therefore whatever your budget or requirements there is a Kindle for you.

The Verdict

The 2011 Kindle is an amazing device which makes reading as accessible as ever. The device is light, compact, and the excellent screen makes reading for long periods a pleasure.

If you are looking for a budget device with a premium design and functionality look no further than the Kindle. Click here to find out more about the Kindle 2011

But if your budget can stretch to £149, we would highly recommend the Kindle keyboard 3G. As a frequent traveller the free 3G connection is fantastic, and lets you buy ebooks anywhere you are, even abroad. Plus you can use the kindle to browse the internet for free to check your emails when abroad saving you £££ on roaming charges. Click here to find out more about the Kindle 3G.

Where to buy your Kindle?

The best place to buy your Kindle is from the Amazon UK website here or the Amazon USA website here.
You will be able to get free delivery and are covered by their excellent warranty.

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Amazon Kindle Touch

by Ebook Doctor on September 28, 2011


The Amazon Kindle Touch is Amazon’s new flagship ebook reader which was announced today (28/06/11) and which is due to launch on November 21st.

So how does it compare to last year’s Kindle 3?

Firstly, the Kindle Touch features a a keyboard-less design, and an IR based multi touch screen. This means you can now touch the screen to navigate, and use gestures to flick through pages. This is the same technology used in other ebook readers such as the latest Nook or Kobo readers, but based on Amazon’s tried and tested UI.

The Kindle touch uses the same Pearl E-Ink display featuring a 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, and 16-level grayscale. So there are no compromises with the new multi touch technology (some other devices such as the early Sony ebook readers had contact based touch screens which meant that the screen needed an extra layer of plastic which reduced the visibility of text. This is not the case with the Kindle Touch).

The buttons have unfortunately disappeared, but the device make it up with a smart UI, and responsive touch screen interface.

The battery life is similar to the previous Kindle, featuring around 2 months of usage without 3G.

Size wise, this ebook reader has a 11% smaller body, with the same 6″ screen size, and is 8% lighter, at only 7.5 ounces.

The only downside to the Kindle touch is the lack of keyboard, and 3G connection.

The Verdict?

If you have a Kindle 3, this might be an actual downgrade as you will only gain a touchscreen and a slightly smaller form factor but lose out on the 3G connection. I would recommend opting for the Kindle 3G Keyboard if your budget can afford it, but if you are looking for a more affordable ebook reader the Kindle Touch is a fantastic buy.

Where To Get Your Kindle Touch?

The Kindle touch will be launched on November 21st, so I would recommend trying to pre-order your device, as the previous Kindle sold out when it was launched last year.

For US users, you can pre-order your device at the US amazon site here.

For UK users, we don’t have a pre-order page yet and will update this page when we do!

*Update* It looks like the UK will not be seeing the Kindle Touch this year! Instead we recommend sticking with the Kindle 3G which is our number 1 rated ebook reader.

 

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Kindle Fire – Amazon’s New Tablet

by Ebook Doctor on September 28, 2011


The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s new tablet, taking advantage of what they have learned from the Kindle, in order to deliver a portable device which lets users consume even more media on the move.

So firstly what is the Kindle Fire?

The Kindle Fire houses a 7 Inch IPS colour display, protected by Gorilla Glass (a scratchproof re-inforced material).  Amazon have opted for a highly customised version of Google Android, coupled with a dual core processor and 8 GB of flash storage.

What can you do with a Kindle Fire?

The Kindle Fire features everything you would expect from a tablet, but with much deeper integration with Amazon’s own services for a one click experience.
For example, they have integrated their magazine subscription service where you can choose from hundreds of titles, such as Bon Appetit, Elle, and Oprah. Special editions of titles like Vanity Fair, Wired, and GQ come with built-in video, audio and other interactive features.

You also get access to Amazon’s growing catalog of 100,000 movies to stream or purchase directly through your Amazon Fire tablet (requires an amazon prime subscription) as well as over 17 million mp3 tracks available to buy from their music store.

Plus you can browse the web, access email and have access to 1000’s of apps through the Amazon android app store.

How does this compare to an ebook reader?

When it comes to reading books, nothing beats a dedicated e-ink ebook reader. Tablets such as the Kindle Fire are great for consuming multimedia, and for short tasks, but reading an actual book for anything longer than 30 minutes from a colour tablet is painful.

E-Ink ebook readers on the other hand provide an experience which is as close to ink on paper as possible, and makes for a lot less eye straining when reading for extended periods.

How does the Kindle Fire compare to the Apple Ipad?

The apple Ipad with it’s 9.7″ screen is a fantastic device, but starting at over $450 / £399 it is a premium product that not many can afford.

The Amazon Fire is a 7″ tablet, which retails at only $199, which makes it not only highly affordable, but a no brainer if you have not bought a tablet yet, but want to be able to entertain yourself on trips or at home.

The Verdict?

If you are looking for an ebook reader, then we recommend going for an Amazon Kindle which is currently the leader when it comes to ebook readers. Their devices are affordable, light, and have great compatibility across many different formats. Plus with a Kindle ebook reader you won’t get sore eyes after reading for extended periods of time.

If you are looking for a budget tablet to watch movies, tv shows, check email, browse the web, and haven’t bought an Apple Ipad yet, then the Kindle Fire could provide good value.

BUT…

If you are looking for the best tablet out there, I would say that there is only one king in town, and that is the Apple Ipad 2.
Yes it’s more expensive, but with the largest app store in the world, some of the most powerful hardware, and a sleek Apple-eske design, you just can’t fault it. I recommend checking it out on Amazon for the best prices on tablets here.

When and Where Can you Buy The Kindle Fire?

The Kindle Fire was announced today (28/09/11) and is due to be released on the 15th of November in the USA only.
If you are from the US you can pre-order your device here.

For UK users, It looks like Amazon won’t be shipping here at least until next year. I would therefore recommend the Ipad 2 which you can get right now.

 

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Amazon Kindle 3 Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 26, 2010


Amazon-Kindle-3

The Amazon Kindle 3 was launched in September 2010 after a media frenzy following the unveiling of the ebook reader many months before.

The big question is, does the Amazon Kindle have what it takes to be the ebook reader of choice this year?

Overview

The Amazon Kindle 3 is available in two flavours:

Kindle WiFi: £109/$139

Kindle 3G: £149/$189

And these can only be bought direct from www.amazon.co.ukwww.amazon.com

These price points are really attractive, and seriously undercuts the competition making the Kindle 3G and Wifi not only more affordable than its closest competitors, but it adds features such as free 3G connectivity available around the world.

Connectivity

The WIFI and 3G connectivity enables you to buy and download ebooks straight from your kindle, using a simple one click purchase process. The engineers at Amazon have really worked hard to make this a no brainer, and it means you don’t actually need to own a computer to use the Amazon Kindle. (at the time of writing only the Bebook neo has access to a bookstore from the ebook reader itself)

I found this to be really useful whilst waiting for my flight from Bangkok for example, where I had just finished a novel, and the airport book store was charging 200% more than list price for some English paperbacks!

Screen Quality

In terms of technology, the Kindle 3 uses the latest Pearl high contrast E-Ink screen, which provides 16 shades of grey for a really comfortable reading experience (this is comparable to the screens used in the Sony PRS 350 and PRS650).

The 6 inch screen is crisp and clear, and is readable in most conditions including bright sunlight. This is one of the problems with the previous Sony PRS600 and the Apple Ipad, whereby their screens make it difficult to read in direct sunlight.

Another advantage of the new Pearl E-Ink screen is that text read from it will look as sharp as reading printed copy. A big gripe I have with reading books on my Apple Ipad for example, is that I get eye strain from reading from the backlit reflective screen. Thankfully this isn’t the case with my Kindle, which lets me read for hours, just like reading a real book.

Design

In terms of aesthetics the Kindle 3 is really attractive, featuring a nice matte graphite exterior, a super thin design, and an elegant design. In my opinion the previous Kindle readers had too much of a retro look to them, and this latest reader is just perfect.

The Kindle 3 and the Sony PRS350/PRS 650 are my favourites in terms of product design, the Sony ebook readers get a slight edge because of their metal alloy frame which makes them feel really solid. But the Amazon Kindle also looks great, and always gets compliments on the tube or train.

Because it’s so light you can hold it for hours without getting tired, and keep it in your coat pocket without having any unsightly bulges!

Battery Life

The Kindle has a new Li-Polymer 1750mAh battery which gives you up to 1 month of reading time if you turn off the 3G/Wifi settings (10 days with 3G wireless on, 3 weeks with Wifi). In my tests I found that I can get around 2-3 weeks of “normal” usage with 3G on before having to charge it up.

Charging takes an hour or so, and you get a proper charger included with your Kindle (Other ebook readers like the Sony PRS series only provide a usb cable for charging).

Ebook Compatibility & The Kindle Store

In a way this is the Amazon Kindle’s Achiles heel, as the Kindle only supports Kindle (Azw) and non DRM Mobi/Pdf files natively. You can also send .txt, audible,  .doc, html,and image files through your amazon email which loads them onto your device too.

What this means is that you will be restricted to buying ebooks from the Kindle store only (you won’t be able to use Waterstones, WHSmith, Diesel Ebooks, Kobo etc).

But on the flip side, you get access to one of the biggest ebook stores in the world, with some of the most competitive prices around.

I regularly check prices of ebooks across the main ebook stores and Amazon usually matches other prices or is 10-25% cheaper. Plus you can buy books straight from the device and be reading within minutes.

If you own an Iphone, or Ipad you can also install the Amazon Kindle reader app, and get access to all your purchased books too for free.

Features Unique To Kindle 3

The Amazon Kindle differentiates itself from the crowd mainly because of its free 3G connectivity, which enables you to buy books whilst travelling.

You also get text to speech built in, which makes your books sound like a cross between Stephen Hawking and an actual American lady/ or man. This is great for accessibility, especially until the library of audiobooks expands to cover all books available.

Amazon are also experimenting with new features, and you get access to a beta web browser too, which you can use to browse the web for free. In theory it’s a great idea, in practice it’s a slow and awkward process. But you can’t really complain with free web access can you?

Pricing

The Amazon Kindle 3 is priced at £109/$139 for the Wifi version, and £149/$189 for the 3G version.

In comparison, the closest competitors in terms of features are the Sony PRS 650 available for £199/$229 and the BeBook Neo available for £229/$350.

The Kindle 3 is therefore great value, as you’re not only getting more features, but its around £50/ $40 cheaper than the competition.

We recommend getting the 3G version as it makes getting new ebooks really easy and convenient, especially for non technical users.

The Technical Bits

You can read about the technical specifications and compare the Kindle 3 to the leading ebook readers using our 6″ ebook reader comparison table here.

The Verdict

Amazon have a real winner on their hands this year with the Kindle 3 ebook readers. Not only are they priced very competitively, but they make purchasing and reading books easy, and convenient.

The 3G connectivity and direct access to one of the largest ebook, newspaper and magazine stores in the world means you are literally a few button presses away from nearly any book, wherever you are.

This range of ebook readers are ideal for non techie types too, as getting to grips with the device literally takes minutes and doesn’t require any computer. Just buy from amazon and the device will come pre-registered with your Amazon ID, ready for you to charge up and use.

Where To Buy

The only place to buy your Kindle is direct at Amazon.
For UK orders go to www.amazon.co.uk
For US/World orders go to www.amazon.com

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Amazon Kindle Refresh Line And Drops Prices

by Ebook Doctor on July 29, 2010


new-kindle

Amazon today released details of its new line of Amazon Kindle devices which are now available to pre-order (dispatch of the new ebook readers will start on the 27th August in the UK & US).

Jeff Bezos wrote a personal message on the amazon homepage detailing the news:

Two new Amazon Kindles are coming (A Wifi only and Wifi & 3G version), which will replace the Kindle 2. The new devices are smaller, lighter, and now much more affordable which should help drive the demand in ebooks.

The new Kindles feature the following:

-Improved screen (50 per cent superior contrast to any other e-reader, faster page turns, and sharper fonts)
-21% smaller, and the new Kindles weigh only 247g)
-New webkit based web browser
-Now available in graphite colour!

kindle-comparison

Also the great news is that a UK centric Amazon ebook store is coming on the 27th August, as you now have to purchase from the US website at the moment.

I’m not too sure how Amazon can make this work financially, but its great news for book readers – As ebook readers are now much more accessible, and perfect for everyday use – Much better than Ipads and colour tablets when it comes to reading books, and now much cheaper.

The Kindle Wifi will retail at £109 ($139) , and the Wifi + 3G Kindle will retail at £149 ($189), and you can click here to pre-order yours for dispatch as soon as it comes out. Pre Order Your New UK Amazon Kindleor Pre Order your New USA Amazon Kindle.

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Amazon Kindle 2 International Version UK Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 5, 2009


amazon kindle 2

The Amazon Kindle 2 is finally available in Europe and the UK, and we thought it would be good to review the product and offering to see how it compares to the leading ebook readers available in the U.K.

The Amazon Kindle 2 is a large improvement from the first generation device released by Amazon, and looks both stylish and usable. The navigation buttons are intuitive, featuring a 5 way rocker switch and various buttons laid around the screen for page flips.

The screen uses the popular Vizplex E-ink display, featuring 16 shades of gray for a clear and crisp letters and graphics. Many ebook readers are limited to 4 or 8 shades, and the 16 levels does give an advantage to the Kindle when it comes to handling graphics, font smoothing and images.

The screen refreshes are fast, and similar to the Sony and Bebook devices – This makes for a pleasurable reading experience without having to wait too long for the next page.

The Kindle 2 comes with 2 GB of internal storage onboard which should be enough for most user’s needs – But it does not come with an SD card slot for additional storage. This will be an important factor to consider when purchasing your ebook reader, as this means once you have filled this up, you will need to delete books…Plus means you can’t load ebooks from the SD card directly.

kindle2-compare-crayon

The device itself is gorgeous, and the ebook reader size is nothing short of amazing considering the features: With a 0.36 inch thick design, this is one of the thinnest ebook readers around.

Software wise, the Amazon Kindle features a well built and intuitive user interface thats been improved since the Kindle 1. Functionality wise, you can save notes, search, access the built in dictionary and it all feels pretty well thought out.

The new feature the Kindle brings to the table is the text to speach function, which means your Kindle can your books to you literally. This is an interesting feature, you get to pick from either a male or female voice, and you can change the reading speed to suit your taste. The Kindle uses the latest generation text to speech engine, which provides a more natural experience than the built in feature your your mac or PC, but lets just say that the audio book industry is not about to go out of business! The reading is robotic, and if you are like me will revert back to audio books or reading after 30 mins.

Another unique feature is the Whispernet 3G connection which comes built into the Kindle, which enables you to access Amazon’s walled garden internet network worldwide (in 100 countries) at no extra cost. This is a bold move by Amazon, and a world first at this scale.
Through Whispernet you get access to Wikipedia,the Amazon ebook store, read the first chapter of any book (try before you buy) and access to paid subscription news feeds. You don’t get access to email or the actual internet in the but considering this comes free and its available worldwide makes it an attractive offer.

You can therefore buy books wirelessly during your travels, research Wikipedia as you are reading, and keep on top of your favourite news at a low cost per feed – Its just like reading the morning paper, without the bulk or wasted paper.

The Amazon is not without its weaknesses though. This is apparent when you take into consideration the compatible ebook formats supported by the Kindle: Kindle (AZW and TOPAZ), PRC, Limited MOBI (non DRM), TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3;

UPDATE: The Kindle now supports PDF format ebooks.

Yes you read this right, there is no PDF support or DRM mobi / epub formats, which means you will need to buy your books from the Amazon ebook store only.

Alternative ebook readers such as the Sony Touch or the BeBook both enable you to load up pretty much any ebook or document format which make them very versatile.

Another think to bear in mind is that at the time of writing, you have to buy your ebooks from the US Amazon Ebook store in US$ – This is not always practical, but can lead to lower ebook prices compared to UK ebooks.

Also the Kindle does not come with expandable memory, this is not a major issue as 2GB is a lot of books, but its nice to know you have room to grow with such a device.

In all this is a great device, its slim, it looks fantastic, and its a breeze to use. If you are keen on reading your own pdf’s or epub / mobi ebooks or god forbid download ebooks from your favourite pirate site then the Kindle might not be for you (Check out the BeBook One or Sony Touch).

For everyone else, the Amazon Kindle is a great device, you get instant access to a wide range of ebooks downloadable without the need for a PC. Plus you can keep in touch with the built in feed reader to read the news as it gets released from participating websites (for a monthly fee per feed).

The Amazon Kindle is available from the Amazon store for $259 / £158 – A bargain considering the quality of the device and the wireless access. Go to Amazon.com for more information.

Also check out our comparison table to see how it compares to other 6 inch ebook readers.

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Is this the Amazon Kindle 2 ebook reader?

by Ebook Doctor on October 6, 2008


Our friends over the Atlantic over at BGR have uncovered what appears to be Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook reader. Although we are suspicious, the picture does look authentic, and if this is true this could be the follow up to their very popular ebook reader.

Unfortunately for us in the UK, Amazon has yet to release any Kindles over to Britain or anywhere else than the US so far.

Looking at the photos of the new Amazon Kindle 2 e-book we are impressed,  although the unit hasn’t gone down in size it looks much cleaner and neater than the current model. This is very much in line to its close competitors including the awesome Sony Ebook readers.

The unit now has a joystick, and the following buttons: Home, Next Page, Menu, a joystick, and Undo. On the left side, there’s Previous, Page, and Next Page.

It looks like the buttons are much smaller to prevent any accidental page turning which was an issue with the original Kindle device. The joystick takes the place of the scroll wheel and it “takes a little getting used to.”

The keyboard of the new Amazon Kindle device has been redesigned and we are impressed by its good layout, but lettering on the keys could be better.

Looks like they no longer have their own charger. The Kindle 2 is able to be charged with a miniUSB cable which sounds like good news for the travellers in us!

The display is roughly the exact same as the original Kindle even though at first glance it might appear a bit smaller due to the new shape.

More details to come!

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