The ability to convert print books into digital form, and then download them onto portable, hand held devices, has been around for many years. However, it is only recently that the idea has started to gain traction with public at large. What changed was that the largest online retailer of books, Amazon.com, got into the game with the Kindle. While the Amazon Kindle is the most popular e-reader, the question is whether or not it’s the best.
Here is a list of some available features on the Kindle to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
1. Size. The newest version of the Amazon Kindle weighs a scant 8.7 ounces. That’s less than a typical book. It is 7.5 inches high, 4.8 inches wide and about 1/3 of an inch deep. It’s light, small and fits well in the hand.
2. Display. The Kindle’s viewing screen is 6 inches (measured diagonally). Glare isn’t a problem with the newest version, either. Amazon uses what they call E-Ink which makes for a more familiar reading experience. The contrast is good and reading isn’t as tiring as it is on other e-readers. This is largely due to having a 16 level gray scale, as opposed to the 8 level found in mos of the Kindle’s competitors.
3. Wireless. All current versions of the Kindle include Wi-Fi access. However, if you upgrade to the Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi, you won’t have to pay anything for the wireless connection. There is no need to pay extra fees for wireless downloads. Using a 3G network means fast downloads; normally less than a minute, depending on coverage. The Kindle 3G also gives you coverage in 100 different countries around the globe. It will cost $50 more, but will be a good value over the life of your Kindle.
4. Titles. Amazon keeps adding to the number of titles available for download to its device. It wasn’t all that long ago that they boasted having over 200,000 titles, but now that number has grown to over 670,000 available book titles. Oh, and that doesn’t include the 1,800,000 titles in the public domain that you can choose from. Plus, they offer magazines and blogs as well.
5. Storage. The newest version of the Amazon Kindle has more than doubled over the previous incarnation. It used to hold about 1,500 titles, but that has now ballooned to 3,500. It really is like carrying around a library in your pocket!
6. Battery life. When the wireless is turned off, battery life is about one month. When have the wireless on, the battery life ranges from ten days for the Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi to three days for the regular model. Again, this is a marked improvement over previous models.
These are only a few of the features available on the Amazon Kindle. As of this writing the regular Kindle is $139 and the Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi is $189. It’s always smart to compare different brands and models before buying, but it’s hard to imagine that there would be much real competition for such a well thought out product.