The Kindle Wi-Fi has all the features you are looking for in an e-Reader from Amazon, but it’s been put on a diet to make it squeeeeeeze into a smaller budget.
I’ll go through all the features with you, one by one, stacking them up against the other Kindles so you can make an informed choice about which Kindle is right for you.
I’ll start with the most important and largest and most obvious component, the screen! Amazon has managed to keep the 6″ screen that you see on the other Kindle readers, depsite lowering the price considerably. The screen is not where they’ve made their compromises. The 6″ is measured on the diagonal, and still uses Amazon’s trademark E Ink. You really have to see the E Ink in action before you can believe it. It is very soothing to read, much more so that type written on a cheap paperback paper. I have to say that now I’ve got my Kindle I actively avoid reading from a book. Even books I already have in print, I have repurchased in the Kindle format so I can read it more comfortably.
Because the screen is not shiney, and the screen is not back-lit you can read comfortably even in direct sunlight (something that’s impossible to do on a computer screen or an iPad, for example). So, if you’re planning on getting your Kindle for a bit of holiday reading at the beach, it’s perfect.
This Kindle is much smaller than the old-style Kindle, and still smaller than the other Kindles on offer now. This means it’s highly portable and could at a push fit into a reasonable sized pocket or purse. So, for those commuters amongst you, this maybe the device for you…easy to whip out on the train and then just pop it back into your purse or pocket when you reach your destination.
To give you an idea of whether you have a pocket big enough, the Kindle WiFi measures just 6.5″ in height, 4.5″ in width and a depth of just 0.34″. I bet if you can fit a paperback book in your pocket, your Kindle would fit just fine….and remember you’d be carrying a library!
Given it’s small size it’s hardly surprizing that the Kindle is light. It weighs in at just under 6 ounces! This means it’s not going to rip through your pocket or pull your coat out of line. I keep my in my purse and I hardly even know it’s there! Much easier to wipe clean than a paperback book too!!! (You should see the state of my purse, though if I tell you I have two small children you can probably imagine).
I guess the battery is the next thing of importance. Amazon states that the battery life is about a month though that’s with WiFi turned off and reading for only half an hour a day. Now, I must admit, I read for much more than half an hour a day but then I’m not a big fan of TV. 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 a month (30 days roughly) that would give me at least 15 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!!!).
How do I get my books?
Ok, on most places you’ll see this bit talked about as ‘Connectivity’. The Kindle WiFi obviously has WiFi capabilities (otherwise that would have been a really silly name!). But, it doesn’t have 3G enabled. 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:
- Cable connected to your computer
The easiest way is using 3G. Although this isn’t available on the Kindle WiFi version, I’m just going to go into it a little bit so that you can make an informed choice about whether the Kindle Wifi is for you. 🙂 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!
The Choices Available
The Kindle Wi-Fi comes in either a special offer sponsored or an ad-free version and you can choose whether to go for the original graphite color or the new black version.
I’ll explain about the special offers option in a bit more detail for you…
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. Personally, I think this is a great offer to keep the cost of the Kindle down, and although mine doesn’t do it I have looked on Amazon to see if I can get the special offers screensaver (unfortunately you can’t, once you’ve paid full price you can’t get the ads!).
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!
Games and Apps
Even though this is the baby of the Kindle family, you can still use it to play the Kindle games and use the other apps that are being created. This is basically a fully featured Amazon e-reader but at a fraction of the price of the others! Absolute bargain!
Why would you go for the Kindle Wi-fi instead of one of the others?
If you are looking for a cheap option then you really can’t get better than this Kindle. Some of you may be concerned that it doesn’t come with 3G but I really don’t think it’s a problem if you either have access to a Wi-Fi network somewhere, or you own a computer.
There is slightly less storage on this Kindle than the others, Amazon reckon you can get 1,400 books on this one compared to 3,000 books on one of the bigger Kindles, but don’t forget you also have access to Cloud storage as well (although remember you need access to the Wi-Fi network to access it!).
To me, the biggest downside of this Kindle is the lack of an easy interface for typing. If you’re just planning on reading books then this isn’t an issue. But, if you are planning on doing any studying and want to use your Kindle instead of hard copy text books then writing notes is going to be a real pain. The only ‘keyboard’ on the device pops up on screen, but then you have to use the 5-way controller to move your cursor around the keyboard (great if you like all those old-fashioned computer games where you have to put in your initials to register your hi-score!). But, to me, it’s just too much work. I also play a lot of work games on my Kindle and this was just ‘too hard’ on the Kindle Wi-Fi.
There is NO SOUND on the Kindle Wi-Fi version, so you won’t be able to listen to music or audio books. If you are wanting to listen to content as well as read you’d be better off looking at either the Kindle Touch or the Kindle Keyboard.
Personally, I think the Kindle Wi-Fi is a great little e-reader for those of you out there that just want to read books and have easy access to a Wi-Fi network. Its display is crisp and clean, it fits easily into a pocket or purse and it’s cheap too. This would also make a great gift for someone without leaving a big hole in your pocket!
If you’d like to check out more information about the Kindle Wi-fi, check out the full details over at amazon.com
Do you have a Kindle Wi-Fi?
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Features at a glance (For the Techies)…
(Thought I’d put this in here in for completeness sakes!)
|Display||Amazon’s 6″ diagonal most advanced E Ink display, optimized with proprietary waveform and font technology, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale. It now has darker, hand-tuned fonts for easier reading|
|Size (in inches)||6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″ (166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm)|
|Weight||5.98 ounces (170 grams)|
|System Requirements||None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer to download content.|
|On-device Storage||Up to 1,400 books or 2GB internal (approximately 1.25GB available for user content).|
|Cloud Storage||Free cloud storage for all Amazon content.|
|Battery Life||A single charge lasts up to one month with wireless off based upon a half-hour of daily reading time. Keep wireless always on and it lasts for up to 3 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store, web browsing, and downloading content.|
|Charge Time||Fully charges in approximately 3 hours via the included USB 2.0 cable connected to a computer. U.S. power adapter sold separately.|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS); 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. Please note: this device does not come with the free 3G capability so you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to download any new content or sync your bookmarks/notes.|
|USB Port||USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)|
|Content Formats Supported||Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.|
|Documentation||Quick Start Guide (included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device). Additional information in multiple languages available online.|
|Warranty and Service||1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year protection plan available for U.S. customers sold separately.|
|Included in the Box||Kindle wireless e-reader, USB 2.0 cable, and Quick Start Guide. Power adapter sold separately (you don’t need this as you can charge your Kindle using the USB cable).|