Kindle Keyboard

Kindle KeyboardAh, the Kindle Keyboard.  This is the Kindle I have and I use it literally every day.  It’s wonderful and I often wonder (as does my husband!) what I ever did before I got it.

 

What is it about the Kindle that makes it so special?

Well, it’s incredibly easy on the eye, and I don’t mean that it’s pretty to look at!

I use computers a lot with my work and I used to find at the end of a long day I would want to read, but my eyes just couldn’t take it.  They’d feel gritty, itchy and sore and trying to focus on a book just made it ten times worse (especially if that book was a paperback, you know the ones, where you can see the text on the back of the page coming through?).

As soon as I got my Kindle I could feel my eyes breathing a sigh of relief….the screen with it’s eInk is so incredibly restful to read!  It’s almost like wrapping your eyes in cucumber slices, you can literally feel them relax.

The screen measuers 6″ across on the diagonal which is a large reading area.  You have the ability to alter the size of the font, the font itself and even the space between the lines of text, so you can tailor each book to exactly your needs (show me a paperback that does that!).

 

The Size

The size of the Kindle Keyboard is slightly larger than the Kindle Touch, basically because the’ve got to get the keyboard on there and Amazon didn’t want to compromise on the screen size.  That being said though, the Kindle Keyboard only measuers 7.5″ tall by 4.8″ wide with a depth of 0.33″.  Still small enough to fit into my purse (along with lots of junk!).  The Kindle Keyboard weight in at 8.7 ounces, so although it’s a bit heavier than the Kindle Touch, your shoulder and back probably won’t notice!

 

The battery

The battery is the next big thing to talk about, and when I say big, I’m talking about battery life not size and weight!  Amazon states that the battery life is a whopping 2 months!  Though that is with WiFi turned off and reading for only half an hour a day.

Now, I read for a lot more than half an hour a day and for those commuters amongst you I would imagine you’d probably end up using it for more than half an hour a day too.  But let’s get down to basics here…

My aim with my Kindle was to be able to read it when I wanted without having it beep at me telling me I needed to recharge it….could this be done?

Looking at it logically, if I were to read for half an hour a day, for 2 months (60 days roughly) that would give me at least 30 hours of reading time.  When I was commuting, I used to travel for an hour in the morning, another hour in the evening, and then I’d want to read for about half an hour before bed…so that would work out to 2 and a half hours a day.  I figured that would allow me to read my Kindle all week without needing to recharge, so I would just plug it in at the weekend.

Admittedly this is all worked out with the caveat of having the WiFi switched off, but then I didn’t have a WiFi connection on the train so I wasn’t missing out on anything!  The only time I ever use the WiFi connection is to download a new book so it’s not something that I need on all the time (therefore why use up battery on it!).

I hope I haven’t scared you into thinking that the battery isn’t powerful enough.  I have to say that I have never had issues with running out of battery.  When the battery gets low the Kindle displays a warning message which you can dismiss and carry on reading.  When I’ve finished that session of reading I just plugin my Kindle for about half an hour and off I go again.

Just for the record Amazon states that the Kindle takes 3 hours to charge, though I’ve never experienced this…it’s never taken any longer than an hour for me to get it to register as fully charged, I assume that’s because it’s never charging from completely empty (even when it was brand new it was charged…those kind people at Amazon understand the way I work and it came fully charged straight out of the box…no annoying wait for the battery to charge when I wanted to play with my new toy!!!).

 

The Choices Available

The Kindle Keyboard comes in several different flavors, you can choose to have 3G or just Wi-Fi (a French colleague of mine  pronounces W-Fi, ‘Whiffy’ and now that’s all I can think of when I see it written down!) and you can choose to go for the special offer sponsored or the ad-free version. You can now also choose to go for white or charcoal (I’ve got the charcoal one).

I’ll go into a bit more detail for you…

 

To 3G or not to 3G?

On most sites you’ll see this bit talked about as ‘Connectivity’.  The Kindle Touch comes with 2 options, Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and 3G.  What does this mean for the Kindle owner?

In order to get your books you need to somehow get Amazon talking to your Kindle.  This can be done in three different ways:

  • 3G
  • Wifi
  • Cable connected to your computer

The easiest way is using 3G.  With 3G you are permanently attached to the mobile phone network (for free! forever!!!).  Therefore, no matter where you are, as long as you have access to a 3G mobile network you can download books and games to your Kindle.  If for some reason you can’t access the 3G network e.g. you’re on the subway, then the 3G network automatically reconnects once your Kindle finds it again.

The second easiest way is using a Wi-Fi network.  Lots of people now have Wi-Fi networks set up in their offices and even in their homes.  There’s also free Wi-Fi networks popping up all over the place, from Starbucks to MacDonalds, libraries, public buildings, restaurants even some shops have them.  So, even if you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi network in your own home or workplace, you may still be able to get by by going for the odd coffee everytime you want to download a new book!!

The third way is via a computer.  Every Kindle sold comes with a cable that allows you to connect your Kindle to a computer for charging purposes (either a PC or Mac…it doesn’t matter).  The other way to put books onto your Kindle is to ‘drag’ them there!  When you connect your Kindle to your computer, your computer just sees your Kindle as an ‘external storage device’.  You can download your ebooks from Amazon, store them on your computer and then click and drag them to your connected Kindle.  This is the way you would get non-Amazon stuff on your Kindle too…it’s really easy to do and though it’s not as swizzy as Whispersync, you don’t need to be a techie to do it!

One thing to note though, according to many people I’ve spoken with, you can’t ‘surf the web’ on 3G…that facility is there only to communicate with Amazon, so you can visit their bookstore and download your books, but if you wan’t to surf other web pages then you need to have a connection to a Wi-Fi network.  (I haven’t seen anything on Amazon stating this in so many words, but this is what I hear on the grapevine and I wanted to warn you).

Although the 3G version does cost a little bit more at the initial purchase time (about $40 extra), it doesn’t cost anything more from then on.  Amazon have promised ‘No monthly payments, no annual contracts. Download books anywhere, anytime’.  The Kindle uses the same wireless signals as cell phones, so with 3G you don’t need to worry about Wi-Fi connections, passwords or internet charges and Amazon will pay for Kindle Keyboard 3G’s wireless connectivity! Forever! Wow!

If you go for just the Wi-Fi version, and don’t have a Wi-Fi at home (or work), you can download your books from amazon to your computer.  When you connect your Kindle to your computer using the supplied cable a little window opens up automatically on your PC or Mac.  You then browse to where you downloaded your book and drag it to the new window.  When you’re done you simply disconnect your Kindle and you’re ready to go 🙂  I guess whether to go for 3G or not depends on how comfortable you are with moving files around when you don’t have Wi-Fi.  For those of you who want to use your Kindle without a computer, 3G is a must.

My Kindle doesn’t have 3G and I can’t say that it’s been a problem for me.  I have a Wi-Fi network set up at home and work so when I want to get a new book I can easily jump on and find what I’m looking for.  I guess, if you don’t have regular and frequent access to a Wi-Fi network either at home or work then the 3G option would be good for you.   I have to say though, most of the time I leave even the Wi-Fi functionality of the Kindle switched off.  I tend to use my Kindle mostly for reading or playing games (I’ll come to that a bit later), so when I’m not searching for a new book I have the Wi-Fi switched off.

 

Special Offers

The next thing you need to decide is whether to go for the special offers version.  In order to offer customers the maximum number of choices available and to keep the cost of the Kindle as low as possible, Amazon has brought out the special offers version.    Mine doesn’t do this, but I’ve actually looked to see if it’s possible to switch it on as I think it would be useful to have Amazon’s special offers brought straight to my Kindle for me! (Ok, I admit it…I’m a bit lazy!).

Amazon say the Special Offers version of it’s Kindle allows you to ‘Receive special offers and sponsored screensavers that display on the Kindle Keyboard screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen—they don’t interrupt reading.’.  This sounds like a benefit to me, and it subsidizes the cost of your Kindle!

One advantage of receiving the special offers direct to your Kindle is that it’s a real pain trying to find the special offers on the Amazon site if you don’t already have a link!  Amazon bury their offers and freebies way down in the depths of their site which means that unless you want to spend hours looking for them on the off-chance there might be something you want, you just end up giving up!  Having the offers displayed on your Kindle sounds great to me…especially when you can just click on the link from your Kindle to take you straight to the Amazon store (providing you’re attached to a Wi-Fi network of course) to make your purchase!

This also means that if you went for the Special Offers version, it might well bring it into the price range you’d be willing to spend on someone for a gift…I’m sure anyone would be thrilled to receive a Kindle for Christmas!

If you do decide to go for the Special Offers version, but then get fed up with the ads, you can pay Amazon to ‘upgrade’ your Kindle which will remove the ads for you forever…you don’t have to buy a completely new Kindle!

 

Colors

And the choices don’t end there!  For some reason Amazon have chosen to make the Kindle Keyboard available in Charcoal Grey or White, so you get to pick a color too!!!

 

If you are completely bamboozled with all of these options, don’t worry…head on over to my Which Kindle? Quiz page and after just a few questions I’ll let you know which Kindle suits you best! 🙂

 

Games and Apps

For someone that’s interested in playing games as well as reading books, the Kindle Keyboard could be the one for you, especially if you like word games.  Although having the touchscreen on the Kindle Touch would make some games easier to play, having the keyboard pop-up and cover the screen content could be quite annoying.  With having the physical keyboard, you also know exactly which key you are pressing, and you know you’ve pressed it too!  At the moment, the games are mainly word based like Scrabble or word searches, anagram games and such like, but more and more apps are being written for the Kindle all the time. New releases out recently include diaries, calendars, note taking apps, puzzle games and even those role-based books that were really popular in the 80′s…fab on the Kindle!!!!  So, I guess it’s personal preference as to whether to go for a touch screen or a keyboard.

 

Why would you go for the keyboard instead of one of the others?

Well, when I got mine, the Touch and the basic Kindle didn’t exist, so I didn’t have a lot of choice!  That said, if I were choosing today, I would probably still go for the Kindle Keyboard.

Although at first I found the Kindle Keyboard not having a touch screen a bit odd (mainly because we also have an iPad so I’m used to touching the screen with that), I soon got used to using the keyboard and navigating around with the little controller.  I also use my Kindle for playing games (on Doctor’s orders I might add*) and I find the keyboard very useful for those.  That being said, I haven’t played with a Kindle Touch for any length of time, so the gameplay on those might be just as good.

One other thing where I think ‘not’ having a touch screen might be useful…I enjoy reading in bed and I’ve noticed recently that I do tend to touch the screen a bit as I’m holding it, or the blanket might…I think I would get pretty annoyed if doing that kept causing something to happen that I wasn’t expecting!!!

 

Plus Points

Just about everything!  Amazon have created a really neat little e-reader (with the emphasis being on the little!) so it’s easy to carry in your purse or pocket.

You get a choice of Wi-Fi and/or 3G so you’ve got no problems getting hold of books/games and apps.

You still get all the advantages of the e-Ink

Fab battery life!

Great amount of storage…even more than with the Keyboard Touch!  The Keyboard version of the Kindle is capable of holding 3,500 books!

If you are a student and plan on using your Kindle as a study aid, having the ability to take notes using a physical keyboard may well be easier than using a touch screen.

 

Downsides

Like I said over on the Kindle Touch page,  I can’t really think of anything, but I feel in order to provide a balanced review I need to pick something…so I’m going to go with the fact that Amazon don’t let you surf the web with the 3G (but considering that Amazon are supplying the 3G for free, forever, I don’t really think this is them being mean!  I think it’s just the compromize they’ve  come up with to enable them to keep it free…like I say, I feel like I needed to pick something and this was all I could come up with!).

If you’d like to check out more information about the Kindle Keyboard, check out the full details over at amazon.com

Buy Now

 

 

*Why am I playing games on Doctor’s orders?  I find it incredibly difficult to switch off at night and fall asleep…my brain is still going at top speed churning through everything that has happened during the day, and all the things I need to get done tomorrow.  My Doctor suggested playing word games such as Word Searches just before going to sleep…it allows my brain time to stop thinking about work, but doesn’t mean I’m up half the night trying to figure out the crossword clue…it needs to be something mind-numbing…well, the good news is there are lots of mind numbing games freely available for the Kindle!!!

 

Do you have a Kindle Keyboard?

I would love to hear your comments and opinions on the Kindle Keyboard.  Please click the button below and let me know your thoughts :)

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For Techies…

Display Amazon’s 6″ diagonal electronic paper display with eInk, optimized with proprietary waveform and font technology, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale.
Size (in inches) 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″ (190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm).
Weight 8.7 ounces (247 grams).
System Requirements None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer. Check wireless coverage.
Storage 4GB internal (approximately 3GB available for user content).
Battery Life A single charge lasts for up to two months with wireless off based upon a half-hour of daily reading time. If you read for one hour a day, you will get battery life of up to one month.
Keep wireless always on and it lasts for up to 10 days. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store, web browsing, and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly.
Charge Time Fully charges in approximately 4.5 hours via the included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via the included USB 2.0 cable.
3G Connectivity HSPDA modem (3G) with a fallback to EDGE/GPRS; utilizes Amazon Whispernet to provide wireless coverage via AT&T’s 3G high-speed data network in the U.S. and partner networks outside of the U.S.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n (in b or g compatibility mode) standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not connect to WPA and WPA2 secured networks using 802.1X authentication methods; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
USB Port USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) for connection to the Kindle U.S. power adapter or optionally to connect to a PC or Macintosh computer.
Audio 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, rear-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.
Included Accessories U.S. power adapter (supports 100V-240V), USB 2.0 cable, rechargeable battery.
Documentation Quick Start Guide (included in box) [PDF]; Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device) [PDF]. Additional information in multiple languages available online.
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately.