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Instant expert: Amazon's Kindle

Joe Malone

Copy Producer, johnlewis.com

The hugely popular eReader is now available online

Originally the perfect solution for those who love to read, Kindles are still divisive among those who love the feel and smell of a genuine book, but they're so convenient that it's hard to fault their usefulness. The introduction of the Kindle Fire range of tablets saw Amazon branch out into the world of multimedia entertainment, with movies, games and the internet readily available from an easily portable unit. Here's a look at the Kindle eReaders and what makes them so appealing.

Kindle eReaders

Thin as a pencil and lighter than a paperback, the Kindle eReaders are handheld devices which allow you to carry a wealth of literature with you wherever you go. You may struggle to see the appeal of reading a whole book from a screen, but unlike a phone or a computer screen the Kindle uses E Ink Pearl, the most advanced E Ink technology, helping to deliver clear, crisp text you'll be able to read without strain. It uses actual ink particles to create crisp, print-like text, similar to what you'd see in a physical book. The E Ink Pearl display is also great for images and photos, showing them with a high resolution. You won't need to worry about your screen reflecting light either as it'll show like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, so you'll be able to read just as easily in bright sunlight as you would in your living room.

Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle is currently on its fifth generation. You use the buttons on the front and sides to navigate everything - whether it's turning a page, searching for a quote or buying a book. You can store up to 1,400 books on Kindle and the battery life can go for as long as a month before it needs recharging. It currently only comes with WiFi connectivity, which means you'll have to connect to a wireless network in order to download books directly onto your Kindle. If you don't have access to WiFi, you can download books onto an internet-connected computer, and then transfer them onto your Kindle using the supplied USB cable.

Kindle Paperwhite is a similar shape and size to a Kindle. It takes the name 'Paperwhite' from its screen, which has a whiter background, designed to reflect the look of words on a piece of paper. The screen also has an adjustable built-in light, making it easier to read at night without disturbing others. Unlike Kindle, Paperwhite has a single button to turn the device on or off. All other navigation is performed using the touch screen, making it a much more intuitive, interactive experience. Paperwhite comes in two versions: WiFi, or WiFi & 3G.



What would it be good for?

The Kindle is ideal for keeping yourself entertained during the daily commute to work. Less room than a book, it's great for reading on packed tubes and busy buses. You can download your daily newspaper in the morning, enjoy your favourite blog or even send yourself important files to review before a big meeting. Tucking into a good novel while at the gym will help you to take your mind off the exercise and help ensure keeping active doesn't feel like a chore. If you're a frequent flyer then you've found your ideal travel partner: offering up to a month of battery life, it'll be there when you need it.

But most of all, for those who just enjoy lying on the sofa engrossed within a good read, the Kindle offers you a convenient and comfortable way to indulge. The real beauty of the 3G model is that you could be anywhere in the world and be able to download your favourite magazine or newspaper and keep abreast of the news back home.

What's the benefit over a paper book?

Designed with long-form reading in mind, the Kindle is comfortable to hold and incredibly easy to use. For readers with sight impairments, the Kindle has 8 adjustable font sizes. You'll even be able to choose from 3 font styles, allowing you to tailor the most comfortable reading experience possible.

 
 

Why not protect your Kindle in a smart case? There are several brands to choose from, including Mulberry and Ted Baker.

Verso Artist eReader Case
 

If you want to share meaningful passages or quotes with friends and family, a built-in Twitter and Facebook feed will allow you to post clippings onto your social media account. You'll also be able to add annotations around the text, perfect for students.

When going away on holiday we all know that space is at a premium. Rather than packing 4 or 5 thick books taking up both valuable space and weight in luggage allowance, your Kindle will fit nicely into your bag and store all the holiday reading you could ever wish to manage.

What can I read on it?

With free access to the Kindle Store you'll be handed recommendations pertsonalised just for you, according to your reading habits. You'll have access to 1 million books, UK and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

You can send documents, including PDFs, direct to your Kindle and read them anytime, anywhere. Each Kindle has a unique and customisable e-mail address allowing you and your approved contacts to send Word, PDF and text documents, and pictures to your Kindle via WiFi for no fee.

How do I update it?

You can either update your Kindle by connecting your device to your computer or laptop via the supplied cable, or connect to the Kindle Store wirelessly via 3G or WiFi, depending on the version of Kindle that you have. You'll be able to get the books uploaded within 60 seconds. With the built-in WiFi your Kindle will automatically detect nearby WiFi hot spots when you're out and about. If you need to enter a password then simply enter the password the first time and you'll connect every other time in the future. Your Kindle will work anywhere in the world, so wherever you travel, you'll be able to update your device. The 3G model connects to the internet using 3G - the same technology that modern mobile phones use to connect to the internet. This means you can download books wherever you can receive Amazon's 3G signal, and without any additional costs. It's also ideal if you don't have access to internet at home.

Find out more

Find out about Kindle Fire