Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Four Kindle Addicts Compare Devices and Accessories

It's a family thing with us. If we're readers, we read ebooks. And that means, for at least some of us, we own Kindles or have Kindle software on our computers. So it really wasn't a big deal when four of us sat down after Thanksgiving to compare our Kindles and accessories.

Andy (right) is holding his brand new Kindle Fire. Pam (center), Jeff (left) and I (taking photo) all have Kindle 3rd Generation. But we have all chosen different cases and accessories.

This was a day before my new Kindle Fire arrived, and what you see in front is my old Kindle. I had a hard time being patient, especially after seeing Andy's, which was his birthday present. (See previous post.)

Jeff has that classy leather cover in orange with an extendable light. http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Lighted-Leather-Cover-Keyboard/dp/B003DZ165W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323212758&sr=1-1 When he bought his cover, it was a lot more expensive than it is now- about $70, and he chose orange because he figured not many other people would choose that so it might make his Kindle a little less vulnerable to being stolen. Also he tends to mislay things and orange is hard to miss, especially in a household where the only other orange things are his shirts.

What he likes about Kindle 3: The e-ink screen is easy to read, and the pull-out light is handy if he's in a darker environment. He can read it outside, regardless of how bright the day is. And he likes the long battery life. Kindle books are so easy to download, he's starting to complain about impulse buying.

What he doesn't like: He loves science fiction, and his favorite authors are either expensive or not available in ebook format, but that has nothing to do with e-readers and accessories. The pull-out light can be annoying, with an odd glare on the screen. I wouldn't be surprised to see him up-grading to the Fire. But then again, he might not.

In this photo you can see he's reading with the Kindle propped on a small, lightweight plastic stand. He found holding the Kindle a little awkward so he found this little stand for something like $7. He even uses it in bed by propping it on his nightstand. He reads several books a week. The week we went to Hawaii in October, he actually ran out of Kindle books even though he'd stocked up well before leaving. We had trouble getting his Kindle to download new books so were forced to go to a real bookstore for a change.

Pam bought a silicone sleeve by Marware because the Kindle seemed vulnerable to being dropped.
 It's easier to handle, she says, and she has a bright pink sleeve with a clear window, by M-Edge, so it can be read without removing from the sleeve.

What Pam likes: She can't see any point in buying the Fire. Gray e-ink is easier on her eyes, and she likes the long battery life of the Kindle 3. She gets lots of cheap or free books, and she has no qualms at all about asking her favorite authors to get their books available in e-book format. She still reads lots of paper books, too, and often re-reads her favorite authors. Then there are audio books, to which she listens on her daily commute. She gets them mostly from her local library. So far she hasn't tried the Kindle audio feature, but says she might.

What she doesn't like: High book prices.

At this point, Andy hadn't yet bought a cover. He's thrilled with the Fire, which is actually his first e-reading device beyond his computer.

What he likes: At first he didn't like how easily the screen changes its orientation from portrait to landscape, but then he found the lock. He and I both though we would want the anti-glare screen protector. But the reviews aren't good, and we just aren't seeing any glare worth worrying about. He likes the sharp, bright screen and the ability to change screen text display to white lettering on black for night in-the-car reading.

The case he bought a few days later, by Inland, is lightweight and semi-rigid, with a zipper and an inner mesh pocket. He bought it at Fry's Electronics. He likes the extra protectiveness of the hard shell..
The mesh inner pocket would hold a USB cord, but not the charging cord one that comes with the Kindle.

What he doesn't like: He wishes he could have a longer battery life like the e-ink screen devices.The case doesn't have a strap, loop or lanyard and he had to add one of his own. He also thinks the pocket is too loose and prone to "fall-out".

That purple-encased e-reader in front, with no person attached to it, is mine, and I will be passing it on to a friend for Christmas. I just can't see letting a perfectly good e-book reader go to waste when it could enrich someone's life.

What I like: You know what I love about the new Fire. What I love about Kindle 3, though? It was the first e-book reader I could actually tolerate. My really crazy vision problems kept me from enjoying the older darker, dull-colored screens, but Kindle 3 was bright enough. And it was very lightweight and easy to hold. The long battery life means it will run for several days without re-charging. I did have to re-charge once while in Hawaii, and that charge lasted until long after I was back home. And I think I liked the old Kindle method of grouping books in lists, better than I do the flip-through color covers on "shelves". But the new more visual system is definitely growing on me.

As for the case: I didn't want the weight of a leather case, and I wanted one that could zip, thinking maybe it would offer better protection. This one was made by Tucano for the 7" Galaxy Tablet, bought at Fry's Electronics. It's sort of like this: http://www.tucano.com/IT/featured/radice?lang=eng&___store= 
It's a perfect fit, and is nicely padded but lightweight (also fits the Fire, which is essentially the same size). The outer pocket makes a great place for the cord when traveling. The case, possibly by adding some cushioned bulk without much weight, is actually more comfortable to hold than just the reader alone. So for now, I'm keeping this case for my new Fire.

What I don't like: The e-ink screen is not soothing to me. It's my eyes, I guess, and also something about the way I respond emotionally to color. Gray depresses me. The Fire is much more pleasurable for me to read. I had to find a separate light, and never did find one that was really satisfactory. I ended up with a Mighty Bright that folds. It does stay in place better than others, but none of them do a really good job. The Fire sure doesn't need a light!

Oh, the knitted lace tablecloth? Why yes, thank you, I did knit it myself.

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