It’s now been nearly two months since I was presented with a Kindle reading device for my birthday. Previously, I hadn’t been sceptical as such, but I wasn’t convinced they offered enough to do away with an ‘old-fashioned’ paperback. I thought they were cool for sure, but the initial £89 outlay seemed steep.
I was wrong. They’re worth every penny.
First off, they look really smart. They’re no iPad, granted, but the simplicity of the design ties in perfectly with the pastime. There’s nothing particularly snazzy about a paperback, so why overcomplicate the Kindle’s design? It hasn’t been and it works.
In line with its understated looks, the user experience is easier than burping after beer. With a combination of just five buttons, you can go online for new books, order them, flick between your other titles, move back and forth and generally navigate your way around its simple user-face.
On its sides there are then four more buttons – two on the right, two on the left – that either turn the ‘page’ forwards or backwards. And why do these buttons appear on both sides? To make it as easy for southpaws to use as it is for right-handers.
Personally, I also like the fact it’s not a touchscreen. I understand Amazon is releasing a couple of these very soon, and that’ll no doubt appease the real tech-heads. But I enjoy the back-to-basics approach of scrolling around with the buttons. And I really like the fact it means you aren’t reading through all the smudges and fingerprints!
So what about the reading experience? And how does it compare to its paper peer? Top marks on both counts. The device weighs less than 170 grams, so you can comfortably hold it and turn the ‘page’ using only one hand. There’s also no fear of glare, thanks to what Amazon calls an E-ink screen, so working your way through the latest Bill Bryson while lounging on the beach just isn’t an issue.
On top of that, you can change the font size. And unlike a lot of smartphones and tablets, you don’t have to fret about recharging the battery every five minutes. In fact, you can read for up to one month without having to plug it into the mains.
Then, of course, there’s the small matter of over one million books at your fingertips. And once you’ve chosen your next read, it takes less than a minute to download the entire book. A lot of titles are cheaper than buying on the High Street, while in many cases, you’ll also save on Amazon’s RRP for a tangible copy. Plus, there’s even the chance to download classics, including Pride & Prejudice, Robin Hood, Dracula and Wuthering Heights for free.
So would I recommend one? Absolutely. In fact, if you read on a regular basis, they’re basically a no-brainer.