Bibliophile Ecstasy

Jul 28, 2011 (Updated Aug 1, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Excellent capacity, easily adjustable text size, no glare, long battery life

Cons:No ability to navigate to a page in library, slow search function

The Bottom Line: A very compact option for book lovers who want portability and the opportunity for real bargains and freebies.

To be honest. I am closer to a book addict than just a book lover. My dwelling has bookcases everywhere and there is a rolling bin under the bed to hold books that I have no room to shelve. Being something of a traditionalist, I resisted the idea of an e-reader in the beginning but the Kindle 3 convinced me and a dear friend gifted me with one last fall. As a result, I have added over 1200 more books to my collection and space is not a problem. Even better, I've only spent about $50 total for me books after taking advantage of the hundreds of thousands of free offerings.

The Kindle 3 weighs about the same as a standard paperback at about 8 ounces and is about the same size except that it is much thinner. It has an estimated capacity of about 3500 books and can also store MP3 music selection. Note that music eats a fair amount more memory than text. The speakers are mounted on the back of the Kindle which unfortunately muffles the sound if it is on a flat surface. However, it has a jack for headphones or earbuds and this is the best way to enjoy music or the texy-to-speech function.

The Kindle 3 also handles audio books well. Volume is adjustable but the maximum volume doesn't have much oomph. Again, headphones/earbuds eliminate that as a problem. Navigation in terxt-to-speech is simple but for the MP3 collection, you must click through the entire library to get back to the previous piece. That feature could use some work. For text-to speech you can select a male or female voice which is clearly not human but not hard to understand.

Content can be added to the Kindle 3 WiFi two different ways. If you have a wireless network available new items download quickly and directly. You can also add content using the USB cable which is also the charger. The cable has an adapter for charging directly from a wall outlet if that is preferred. Charging is fairly rapid and the battery lasts a very long time when charged. To maximize battery life, remember to turn the WiFi off when you aren't actually using it.
The KIndle 3 also has a web browser when connected to WiFi which can access the Kindle Store on Amazon as well as most other websites. Readability is difficult due to the compact screen but it is possible to zoom in for larger fonts. Configuring a new WiFi network is straightforward.

The Kindle comes with two dictionaries loaded and you can choose your preferred one easily. Getting a definiton couldn't be easier. All you need to do is position the cursor at the beginning of the word to define.

The other book loaded on a brand new device is the owner's manual which is very helpful. I strongly suggest that you take the time to read the whole manual ASAP.

You can highlight text, add notes, and even e-mail comments to others. You can synch your KIndle to any other device you have with the Kindle Reader App such as Kindle for PC or Mac, iPhone, iPod, Blackberry and so forth. Most books allow you to put it on several devices after purchase. Amazon purchases can also be loaned to other Kindle owners for up to two weeks.

None of the downsides are deal breakers. It would be great if there were a way to navigate directly to "page 88" rather than turning the pages to get there. There is a feature to search for a title but it is irritatingly slow. The Pearl e-ink has wonderful contrast and is readable in full sun. You will need a light to read in dim lighting or you can simply turn on text to speech and let the Kindle read to you.

While the Kindle 3 holds about 3500 books, you can actually own far more since once you purchase a book on Amazon, it is always available under your account in your library. You can remove books that you've read and don't care to keep but can reload them any time you want.

The Kindle is small enough to slip in most purses and will fit many pants pockets as well. Getting a cover is a good idea to prevent scratching the screen. Don't opt for the stick on protectors because they glare.

Kindle is, for now, strictly black and white. For text, this is no problem but obviously art books and magazine lose something. For color, Kindle lovers just need to be patient a bit longer.

An option now for both this model and the 3G is "with special offers" at a considerable discount. These only appear on the home page and do not interfere with any pages of books being read. Friends with these models have reported that some of the offers have been genuinely valuable so if your budget is tight, don't be afraid of these discounted models.

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