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Which Kindle?

Discussion in 'Book club' started by TheoGriff, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    The Consumers' Association has assessed the various Kindles. I agree with them: the Kindle PaperWhite is the BEST EVER!



    <table class="best-buys">
    <thead>
    <tr><th rowspan="1" colspan="7">

    Which Kindle should I buy?

    </th></tr>
    <tr class="heading">
    <td class="firstcol" scope="col" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Kindle</td>
    <td scope="col" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Click for full review</td>
    <td scope="col" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Starting price</td>
    <td scope="col" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Score</td>
    </tr>
    </thead>
    <tbody class="aligntop">
    <tr>
    <td class="firstcol aligntop" scope="row" rowspan="2" colspan="1">

    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">
    _______________________________________________________

    Amazon Kindle (basic)

    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">&pound;69</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">66%</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="lotsoftxt" rowspan="1" colspan="6">



    [​IMG]





    • The cheapest Kindle in the Amazon range, the basic Kindle doesn't offer bells and whistles like a touchscreen, glow-light or 3G. But it's a great ebook reader in its own simple way.



    • The Kindle's 6-inch screen is great for reading on, and performs well in both bright and dim light conditions.
    • There's no built-in light on the basic Kindle, unlike the Paperwhite models, so if you want a helping hand reading in the dark, you'll have to buy a light accessory.
    • It's slim and light at 168g, and it can easily be held in one hand.
    • The page turn buttons are small and narrow and not as easy to use as on some other ebook readers. There's no touchscreen control.
    • There's no audio player on the basic Kindle, so you can't listen to MP3 files or audio books.
    • You can only connect to the Kindle store over wi-fi, as this model doesn't have 3G mobile internet.


    • VERDICT: Although it's not perfect, the Kindle makes for a versatile and comfortable reading experience, and it's brilliant value.

    _______________________________________________________
    </td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="firstcol aligntop" scope="row" rowspan="2" colspan="1">

    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Amazon Kindle Paperwhite</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">&pound;109</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">72%</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="lotsoftxt" rowspan="1" colspan="6">
    [​IMG]








    • The Best Buy Kindle Paperwhite is an excellent ebook reader, and it's the best Kindle yet by a comfortable margin.



    • Compared to rival-brand ebook readers with lights, the Paperwhite is the easiest to read in dim light and its screen has the sharpest text and best contrast.
    • The touchscreen is responsive and nice to use - you can swipe or tap to turn the page and can pinch to zoom in and out using your fingers.
    • You can add notes to the text and the Paperwhite will automatically synchronise your last page location, bookmarks, and annotations across all your Kindles and apps.
    • Without 3G mobile internet, you'll have to download books via wi-fi or through cable connection to a computer. Unless you need books on the go, this is no great loss.
    • The Paperwhite is a bit heavier than the basic Kindle (220g vs 169g). Despite the extra weight, it's still lighter than the average paperback, and easy to hold comfortably.


    • VERDICT: This is the best ebook reader we've ever tested, and it's great value if you're happy to get by without 3G internet access.

    _______________________________________________________
    </td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="firstcol aligntop" scope="row" rowspan="2" colspan="1">

    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">&pound;169</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">73%</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="lotsoftxt" rowspan="1" colspan="6">



    [​IMG]





    • The Paperwhite 3G takes everything that makes the Paperwhite model great, and throws in 3G internet. The only downside is the extra &pound;60 you'll have to pay for the privilege.



    • The screen technology is identical to the non-3G Paperwhite's, and the text is sharp and easy to read whether you're using the light or not.
    • The touchscreen is simple to use and intuitive for turning pages, and can feel easier than pressing buttons on the basic Kindle model.
    • The 3G is a large extra expense, though there are no monthly charges for using the 3G connection. That said, you can only use it to access the Kindle store or Wikipedia. You can't email on-the-go, for example.
    • At 220g, the Kindle Paperwhite 3G weighs the same as the non-3G model. It's comfortable to hold, but weightier than the basic Kindle.


    • VERDICT: Like the non-3G Paperwhite, it's hard to fault as an ebook reader, but the extra cost for the 3G is hard to justify unless you see yourself regularly downloading books without wi-fi access.

    _______________________________________________________
    </td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="firstcol aligntop" scope="row" rowspan="2" colspan="1">
    [​IMG]
    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">&pound;109</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">73%</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="lotsoftxt" rowspan="1" colspan="6">



    • This is about as basic as tablets come. If all you want to do is read books, watch videos and browse the internet occasionally, it's fine. But there are better options out there.



    • Sitting in size between the 10-inch iPad and dinky 7-inch tablets, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the third tablet released by Amazon.
    • The 1200x1920 resolution screen offers more dots per inch than the latest iPad's Retina display. This means the screen is great to look at - it doesn't wash out too much in bright daylight and offers clear images with good colours from normal viewing angles.
    • The touchscreen is nice and responsive, so when you tap the screen to navigate the system or interact with apps it'll react quickly and accurately.
    • If you want access to apps you will find your options limited to Amazon's own store, not the larger Google Play store, even though it runs a version of the Google Android operating system.
    • On a full charge the Fire will last for just over 7 hours of video playback and 15 minutes longer still for web browsing over wi-fi. This is ok, but not as impressive as the likes of the iPad, which can last for 12 hours of video playback and 13.5 hours of web browsing.


    • VERDICT: This is a great piece of hardware with a super screen and decent battery. If you like Amazon content and don't mind being walled into the Amazon ecosystem then this is a great tablet.

    _______________________________________________________
    </td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="firstcol aligntop" scope="row" rowspan="2" colspan="1">
    [​IMG]
    </td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">&pound;159</td>
    <td class="aligntop" rowspan="1" colspan="1">68%</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="lotsoftxt" rowspan="1" colspan="6">



    • The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD caters for those who want more than an ebook reader but don't want to spend a fortune on a top-of-the-range tablet.



    • The Kindle Fire HD has full internet access via wi-fi and a colour screen that allows you to do much more than simply read books.
    • Its 7-inch screen is great for watching video and reading books. Text appears clear and crisp and images are bright. It's far better than the Kindle Fire's screen, though not up to the standard of the iPad mini's.
    • It weighs a light 395g, which is slightly less than a typical paperback book. However, this is more than twice the weight of the basic Kindle ebook reader.
    • You'll get around 10 hours of internet browsing over wi-fi from one charge of the battery. This beats the 7 hours you'll get with the Kindle Fire (non-HD).
    • There's no shortage of videos, books and music to buy from Amazon's store, but the choice of apps and games is nothing like as good as on the Apple or Android store.


    • VERDICT: It's a good all-rounder if you want to do more than just read books, but it's not the best 7-inch tablet around. The Google Nexus 7 or Apple iPad mini are worth considering.
    </td>
    </tr>
    </tbody>
    </table>

    _______________________________________________________

    <h2>Should I buy a Kindle Fire tablet or a Kindle ebook reader?</h2>
    Tablets and ebook readers both let you read digital books, but they are built around very different screen technologies. For this reason, the Kindle Fire tablets and the Kindle ebook readers are very different devices.

    [​IMG]
    <h3>Kindle ebook readers</h3>
    The Kindle ebook readers use e-ink screens, which imitate the look of a paper screen closely.

    This means that they don't reflect sunlight the way a shiny tablet LCD screen can, and they typically use no power when a page is displayed, and only require power when you turn from one page to the next or download books.

    Traditionally, Kindle ebook readers have had no built-in lights, but the latest Paperwhite range lets you illuminate the page for reading in the dark.

    These e-ink screens are easy on the eye when you're reading for long periods, and they're energy efficient. However, they're black-and-white only, and you can't play back videos on them.

    What we think: The e-ink screens are better suited to bright light and reading for long periods, and the battery life beats a tablet's. If you're purely looking to read books, this is the style to go for.

    Read our Best Buy ebook reader reviews



    [​IMG]
    <h3>Kindle Fire tablets</h3>
    The Kindle Fire tablets use full-colour, high resolution LCD touchscreens. This means you can watch videos, play games, read full-colour magazines and browse websites just as you can on other iPad-style tablets.

    The downside is screens like this aren't as comfortable to use for prolonged periods of reading, as it can be a strain on the eye to stare at a glowing LCD screen for so long.

    Battery life can be another issue. While displaying an ebook isn't particularly taxing on a tablet's screen, it can't compare to the zero power use of an e-ink page.

    What we think: The colour screens let you do much more than just read books, though you may not find this style of screen as easy to read in bright light or for long periods.

    Read our reviews of the best tablets



    <h2>Do I need a 3G Kindle?</h2>
    If you're buying a Kindle ebook reader, like the Paperwhite range, you can choose from wi-fi only models, or models with wi-fi and 3G internet.

    3G means you you can download books wherever you are using mobile data, and you won't have to pay each time. Instead, you pay more for the initial cost of the ebook reader itself.

    The &pound;60 extra fee for 3G connectivity isn't to be sniffed at. This is a high premium to pay given that the only things you can do on Amazon's 3G network are downloading books or accessing Wikipedia.

    It's only really worth it if you know you'll buy lots of books when on the move, or if the recipient - if giving as a gift - doesn't have wi-fi in their home.

    What we think: If you have wi-fi at home, there's little reason to pay extra for 3G as well.



    [​IMG]
    <h2>Do I need a keyboard or touchscreen?</h2>
    All of the models in Amazon's latest line-up have a touchscreen, with the exception of the basic Kindle.

    The Kindle Fire tablets are built around their touchscreen approaches, but the Paperwhite ebook readers also find good uses for touchscreen control.

    A touchscreen makes it easy to type in the name of the book or author on the on-screen keyboard. Changing pages with a touchscreen can feel more natural than pressing the button on an ebook reader, and it's easy to select words or passages to look up definitions.

    The older Kindle Keyboard 3G model is no longer widely available, but it's possible to track down online. The keyboard is useful if you add a lot of annotations as you read, or when you're typing the names of books or authors in the Kindle store.

    Verdict: Most new models now have touchscreens, but if you're determined to have a keyboard, you'll have to buy an older Kindle.



    <h2>Can I listen to music or audio books on a Kindle?</h2>
    The new Kindle Paperwhite and best-selling basic Kindle don't support MP3 playback. So if you want to listen to music or audio books then you'll need to buy an older Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard.

    These models can also read English language texts out loud to the user, though in a rather robotic voice.

    What we think: You can only listen to MP3 files on older Kindles and even then this is arguably easier to do with a smartphone or MP3 player, which will be pocket-sized.



    [​IMG]
    Kindle apps are available for most smartphones, tablets and computers


    <h2>Can I just get an app for my phone or tablet instead?</h2>
    With smartphones and tablets becoming more popular and including larger higher resolution screens you might be tempted to opt for an ebook reader app rather than forking out for a whole new device.

    With free Kindle apps available for most devices it is a much cheaper option than buying a new device, though tablets and smartphones aren't as suited to long periods of reading as an e-ink screen.

    See how the Kindle Android app and Kindle iOS app compare to dedicated ebook readers our lab tests.

    What we think: It's free to download an app to your tablet or smartphone, but using these screens for long periods may not be as appealing as an e-ink display.




    Best wishes

    ___________________________________________________

    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations.





     

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