Light remake rekindles appeal
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.