For Christmas I received an Amazon Kindle 4th generation from Kyle's dad, who as he lives in California, had one for a good while before they were available in the U.K.
So here are the ins and outs of the Kindle.
I was surprised at first by how small and light it is. I had only ever seen the Kindle with the keyboard on the bottom which is a fair bit longer and heavier. The 4th generation in only 8.7 mm thick and 166 mm long and weights under 6 ounces, which is a fair amount lighter than any averagely thick book.
The 4th generation Kindle is Wifi only, so during setting it up you need to have access to Wifi or you will not be able to set it up or buy books. During set up you make a unique Kindle email which when you buy a book on Amazon is emailed to this account and will appear on your main screen.
Buttons. Now these were the only thing that threw me a little when setting up. I have, as I like to call it, the iPhone stupids. A condition that effects the person by lack of understanding of buttons. I sat there for probably a good minute prodding at the screen thinking "well this is slow". It isn't. It has buttons. Once I had got over this the buttons are fairly self explanatory. The pop up keyboard is used by pushing the navigation buttons and then selecting with the middle.
E Ink Pearl is a feature of the Kindle and the Kindle alone. It makes the the text look like printed text you would find in a normal book. This has been designed to lessen eye strain. The text is really clear and it was probably something I was probably the most impressed with. I was expecting it to have a harsh glow, which it doesn't as it's not back lit, so if it's dark, you can't use it. I know that some people dislike that, and I have seen loads of clip on lights, but I really do enjoy this feature as it makes it feel more like a "real book".
Buying books. As I have mentioned above you buy them via Amazon and they send it to your Kindle address. But you can also shop via the Kindle store which is in built on to the Kindle, where you can browse Books as well as Magazine and Newspaper subscriptions. They also have a section for free books. I know, free! These are books that are over 100 years old, as content can only be copyrighted for 100 years and after that they become free to publish. This includes books such as Alice In Wonderland and The Complete Beatrix Potter. In fact there are over 1 million free books. But, at the same time I have found that the Kindle version can be almost as expensive as the paper version, this becomes particularly apparent with girly books such as Sophie Kinsella books.
Pictures. Another thing that surprised me about the Kindle was the quality of the pictures and photographs. Yes they are black and white, but they are really crisp and clear like the text. The above picture is from Karl Pilkington's An Idiot Abroad - The Travel Diaries (I loved the series and the book is even more hilarious) which has a lot of photographs and hand drawn pictures in and they look really good.
Other features include an up to 1 month battery life, adjustable text size, adjustable font, built in dictionary and Instant look up. The features are numerous and, I feel, unlike other bits of technology they seem to all be useful! No extra bells and whistles just for sake of it!
So I have had this about a month. Even after the initial "new toy" buzz wore off, I have still used it almost every day. I don't pretend to be a great reader, before the Kindle I would read maybe in region of around 1 book a month at very best. I now have around 4 books on the go at one time. I also found the great for journeys. When I travelled up to Manchester for Christmas I took it with me for the 3 and 1/2 journey each way. I threw it in my handbag and when I sat down I read a bit of one book, and then a bit of another, then back to the first. I read a good section of each book, but instead of loading a couple of heavy books in to my back when we drew in to the station, I just turned it off and snapped the case shut and put it in my bag. This would be an ideal piece of tech for some one that commutes. Overall I am really happy with it, which was a bonus as I never knew that I would want one!
So what do you think? Like the idea of an E Reader or are you books 4 lyfe?