Amazon Kindle 4: Review
¹ With Special Offers: ads, instead of wallpapers, are displayed when the Kindle is powered off. Small horizontal ads are also displayed on the home screen.
I got a Kindle 4 from Sarie for Christmas, and people have been asking about it, so I figured I should write about it now. My model’s a Kindle 4 with Special Offers¹ which is the most basic. Though I don’t have any experience with other models of the Kindle, I do think that you get enough bang for your buck for this one, at $79. She got it from Amazon.com, but I know you can buy from online resellers and other retailers.
Since December, I’ve read and started on several books, some of which I have in print:
1. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village, Lemony Snicket
2. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Story of a Girl, Sara Zarr
4. The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
5. Real Live Boyfriends, E. Lockhart
6. Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
7. The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson
8. Dramarama, E. Lockhart
9. Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card
10. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
11. Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan
12. The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
² The e-ink display is way better for reading than an LCD screen. Because it’s not harshly backlit, you rarely get eyestrain. The type’s aliased, too, so it mimics the way text appears on actual paper.
I like reading real books and just bringing my Kindle when I’m on the go. It’s easy to read and it’s light. Aside from the wonderful (!) e-ink display², it’s also less distracting to read than if I had a tablet like the iPad, because all I can ever really do on my Kindle is read. Because of the matte screen, the annoying screen glare occurs very rarely. The design is really sleek, too. You can read up more on the specs here.
Home Screen The home screen lists all of your books, but you can put titles in multiple collections for a more organized library. It’s a little tedious if you’re going to load it with tons of books all at once, though, so I suggest that you put books in collections as soon as you possibly can.
Bottom Navigation This is the 5-way controller. Up-down-left-right and enter in the center. From L-R: back, keyboard, 5-way controller, menu, home. This is how you get around. It’s hard to type notes (although, you can) because you have to maneuver through a non-QWERTY keyboard.
Text, screen specs “My Clippings” is where your highlights are stored, and each highlight is shown with metadata. You can also see a bar on top to show the title of the book and the battery life, although this bar disappears when you’re reading.
Writing this review, I realized how much other photos I neglected to take photos of. I should say the following, though:
- I don’t have the 3G model, but the browser is also not that user-friendly.
- It displays black-and-white images, so I imagine you can read manga or comics, if you it fits the 2GB hard drive.
- The battery life is great. I don’t need to keep charging it. I think I can maybe go through two or so books before I have to plug it in.
- The ads are unobtrusive when you are reading, so while I had a fixation of wanting to hack it so I can change the screen to wallpapers, I’ve learned how to live with it.
- There is a progress bar at the bottom of the screen, which shows the percentage that you’ve read of the book.
- It’s very easy to download from the Kindle store. Great selection, great download speed. Other great options are: the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and borrowing from U.S. public libraries.
- You can also load your existing ebooks, but make sure to convert them to the Kindle format, so that the text is nice and uniform, and will fit the screen. It can read PDFs, but you have to zoom and magnify if the document’s dimensions are bigger than the screen size.
I use Calibre as my ebook management.
- It’s hard to take notes on the Kindle 4, but that’s what my notebooks are for.
I don’t really have no opinion on other Kindle models, because I haven’t even ever touched or seen them for myself, but I’m really, really happy with mine. It does what it’s supposed to do as an e-reader and for some reason, I think it helped me read more, too, especially on the commute.
Here’s a list of the other Kindles, and their features.