Amazon Kindle 2011 Review
The new tablet makes the change for the companys Kindle line up, the company made a surprise move, offers a new device that will bear the Readers name. The fourth generation Amazon Kindle is least expensive, lightest, and easiest to use the reader we have ever tested. It is a cheap one $109 for standard version and $79 for the ad-supported. So is the new Kindle worthy of name that has become synonymous with e-readers? Find it out on our review.
The new Kindle is rather small compared to last versions; it is pocket-sized, slips quite nicely into pant pockets. The new Kindle measures 6.5-inches height, 4.5-inches width, and 0.3-inches thickness. It weighs 6 ounces. It is made of matte gray plastic, with soft touch back cover that makes it easy to grip. The Next page buttons are on both sides of the frame, along with smaller Back page buttons. They are little awkward to press, and lacks the QWERTY keypad. We got used to them quickly, also using it one-handed. Beneath the screen are Back, Keyboard, Menu, and Home buttons, along with five-way control pad. The bottom edge holds the micro USB charger port and power button. Amazon includes a USB cable but no longer bundles a AC adapter, means you can either charge it from the USB port on the computer or an additional $9.99 AC adapter from Amazon web store.
There is no 3G option in the new Kindle. They assumed that anyone who was willing to shell out such functionality would also likely drop the extra cash for touch version. Support for audio files like mp3 and text-to-speech has been dropped as well, thats why this has been a low cost and entry level device. They have also opted to forgo the expandable memory here, instead to relying the devices built in 2GB for download texts. But while the relative lack of storage is less than ideal, keep in mind that Amazon also lets you store texts in the cloud, take some burden on the device itself. Amazon had also bumped up the processor to 800 MHz.
The Kindle is built around a sharp Pearl E-Ink Screen, offers the same 600*800 resolution and 16-level gray scale as its predecessor. The text really does pop, and unlike its LCD based competition, its quite readable in sunlight. The page-turn is on par with latest generation readers. The ad-supported version Kindle, got the ads arentvery intrusive, as they only pop up when you put the device on sleep or when you are looking at Home screen, which has small screens lining at the bottom. The base model supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Clicking on the keyboard button will bring up the virtual QWERTY, in this typing the letters through navigation pad, which can be a pain while searching for books in the store. For persons of serious typing can opt for $20 extra and upgrade to the Touch. The Home page contains the list of items you have purchased and a link to Archived items, which gives you access to content stored on the Whisper Synced devices. A bar on the top indicates the strength of the Wi-Fi signal and battery life and how mush storage you have got left.
Menu button on the Home screen lets you to visit the Store, sync the content, rotate screen orientation, and visit the settings. There is also a Search feature, brings you a central page, you can find keywords on the device, Kindle store, Wikipedia, and built-in Oxford American Dictionary, and the web. The browser is basic with search bar on the top, where you can enter the URL or a keyword, using the toggle switch between, Go To, Wikipedia, and Google, pressing down the arrow key down will magnifying glass for zooming into page. The page layout is simple, with menu bar from the home page carrying over. The menu brings up options to search text, read description, and in case of sample, purchase the book. You get eight font sizes: small, medium, or large line spacing; regular, condensed, and sans serif fonts; a choice of default. You can also rotate the screen to all four positions, although there is no built-in accelerometer. You can take notes and annotate text, and also share them with Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The new Kindle can read TXT and PDF files, which you can drag on to your device through micro USB. When looking at PDF files, the Kindle lets you Zoom in and out and adjust the contrast.
The fourth-generation Kindle is one of the solid devices. The hardware is well made, processing is snappy, and the screen is easy to read. The lack of keyboard or touchscreen makes the browsing quite chore. For typing you can get the Kindle Touch for the extra $20. The Kindle is $79 with the ads and $109 without ads. The new Kindle is going to end up in the hands of users who have been eyeing e-readers, and while this certainly is not the best or most fully featured e-reader we have seen.