Light re­make rekin­dles ap­peal

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

un­changed. It re­tains its 6-inch Elec­tronic Ink screen that closely re­sem­bles pa­per. It is black and white with a 16-level grey scale for dis­play­ing book cov­ers and other il­lus­tra­tions, and it fea­tures no back­light­ing. This is both good on your eyes and lets you read a book in di­rect sun­light. It does mean you’ll need to sit near a lamp or an­other light source, how­ever, rather than rely on your gad­get’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing prop­er­ties.

The new Kin­dle comes with a wi-fi con­nec­tion for down­load­ing books and thou­sands are avail­able from Ama­zon’s online store, all of which ar­rive in less than a minute.

Users nav­i­gate the book­store, down­loaded books and even its spar­tan, ‘‘ ex­per­i­men­tal’’ web browser us­ing an ar­ray of just five but­tons and a four-way nav­i­ga­tion bar be­low the screen. The set-up takes a while to get used to, but it’s ef­fec­tive.

Flip­ping vir­tual pages for­ward and back is more in­tu­itive, how­ever, thanks to two ded­i­cated but­tons on ei­ther side of the de­vice.

In fact, read­ing books on this de­vice is just as easy as you would want it to be. Af­ter a few min­utes, the de­vice it­self ap­pears to dis­ap­pear as you find your­self en­grossed in a book rather than tim­ing how long it takes pages to re­fresh, or how much bat­tery life you have left.

As in other Kin­dles, this e-book reader also lets you high­light pas­sages, look up words in its built-in Ox­ford Dic­tio­nary, vir­tu­ally fold page ends and change its font size or page ori­en­ta­tion to suit you.

Though an im­prove­ment in many ways, this Kin­dle does of­fer less in oth­ers. It de­liv­ers half the stor­age of the last model (just 2GB for up to 1400 ti­tles) and its bat­tery life has fallen from two months to one.

It also loses its QWERTY key­board, mak­ing it more fid­dly to look up po­ten­tial book pur­chases in its at­tached store, and its lack of a 3G mo­bile con­nec­tion lim­its the places in which you can up­date your mo­bile li­brary.

The new Kin­dle does just what it needs to do, how­ever, and that is pro­vide ac­cess to plenty of books and a com­fort­able way to read them. At lit­tle more than $100, you’ll be hard­pressed to find a bet­ter of­fer.

JEN­NIFER DUD­LEY-NICHOLSON

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