Kindle from Amazon.com
This is somewhat different from the other two, yes you can still buy books as you would expect and you can also upload documents and even PDF files to it. Firstly it has a keyboard (45 keys) and second when you purchase items they are sent wirelessly to the Kindle (normally in less than a minute) so you do not even need a computer. By wireless the service is called Wispersync and it uses the mobile phone network, you do not even need to own a mobile phone.
It is 20x13.5x.7cm, the screen is 12x10cm and it weights 240grams. It can charge from a USB slot or from the mains. It has a USB to mains plug and a small USB (it’s not mini or micro) to USB lead that fits when required into the plug.
Unlike the other devices it does not come with any sample books, it does come with a dictionary and the user manual loaded. However unlike the others, the Kindle store (part of Amazon.com) allows you to download sample chapters of books to read on the device (or your PC) without you having to pay any money for the privilege.
There are only two connections on the unit a 3.5mm jack (however the inbuilt speakers are quite good) and the USB lead connection. Beside the 3.5mm jack on the top is the on/off slider the USB connection is on the base of it.
The back is clear and the left front edge has two buttons, previous page and next page, the right edge has home and next page and below that two smaller buttons (also on the edge) menu and back and between these the ubiquitous five position joystick button.
Just like the other devices it uses no power while you are viewing pages the only power is to reorganise the ink display (type) when turning pages. It is capable of showing some great images in monochrome and indeed if you only slide the on/off for a short period an image will be displayed, you need to hold the switch over for four seconds to turn it fully off.
You can download an applet from Kindle to allow you to copy documents from your PC to the Kindle device this can also be used to sync any books (or sample books) to your PC both actions use the supplied USB lead to do this.
When you first purchase it and start using it you will need to register it so you have an identity to enable you to sync your device from different PC’s should you wish. All your details are stored in the settings section of the menu.
You Kindle even has its own email address so documents can be sent to it. You can (for a fee) send documents to the Kindle store to be transferred wirelessly (wispersync) to your Kindle, so others can send documents (with your permission) to your Kindle, it means you can read documents in the bus or train on a decent sized screen. There are six font sizes and the screen can be either portrait or landscape as you decide. It has three ‘experimental’ features built in Basic Web, Play MP3 and Text to Speech. For the latter to work you will need special book permission. However for the MP3 just transfer MP3 files via the USB lead to the music folder on your Kindle, currently you can only play sequentially but the inbuilt speakers are quite good.
An interesting feature is sync to furthest read page where should you have read further on a PC than the Kindle rather than the Kindle return to the page last read on the device it tells you the page you have read up to on a PC and offers to go to that location, this will only work if wispersync is turned on.
While it has to be purchased from Amazon.com it is quite legal to do so and it says delivery will be in two days to the UK. I have no hesitation in recommending this for a highly commended award it is one of the best gadgets of the year. Available from the link below for $259 including free delivery.
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