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Amazon Kindle 2012 review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good screen
  • Excellent ebook infrastructure

Cons

  • No Paperwhite-like light
  • Black finish shows up E-ink contrast issue

Key Features

  • 2GB internal memory
  • 6in 600 x 800 resolution E-ink Pearl screen
  • microUSB port
  • Physical page turn buttons
  • Wi-Fi
  • Manufacturer: Amazon
  • Review Price: £69.00

Introduction

The Amazon Kindle has become the ereader to own, much as the iPod became the signature MP3 player back in the noughties. Amazon hasn't become complacent because of the series's popularity - the new Kindle Paperwhite remains our ebook reader of choice. However, the budget model looks and feels much like the non-touch version released in 2011. Given this great starting point, and with a few tweaks made, this a superb buy if you don't want a touchscreen, though.

Amazon Kindle 2012 - Design

This year's lower-cost Kindle makes just a few design changes to the formula setup by the 2011 model. It doesn't have a touchscreen, relying entirely on clicky buttons instead, and it's still much lighter than the top-of-the-range Kindle Paperwhite.

Kindle 2012 2

At 170g, the Kindle is a similar weight to the Sony PRS-T2 and Kobo Glo - the outlier is the chunky Paperwhite, rather than the non-touch Kindle. However, the weight and build of the device are hard to fault. Its body feels reassuringly dense but is light enough to hold for hours without causing twitch-inducing muscle spasms.

The boldest design change here from last year's model is the colour. In the past, Kindles all had grey bodies, which helped to mask the grey-ish quality of E-ink screens, but now the whole Kindle range has gone black. If there's one ereader that'll suffer from this change, it's this £69 model - the Paperwhite has a contrast-increasing light and the Kindle Fire models use LCD screens that don't have the low-contrast look of E-ink. We'll cover the effects later.

Kindle 2012 3

Materials used in the construction of the ereader have changed slightly too. In the 2011 Kindle, the edges of the ereader were metal, but this time they're finished with black plastic. In-use, you'll barely notice the difference as the parts that come into contact with your fingers use the Kindle-staple soft touch plastic. The entire rear of the device uses this soft finish, and its silken surface is a treat for the fingertips.

The rear success of the non-touch Kindle design is something that was present and correct in the 2011 edition. The page turn buttons are superbly designed, the page forward button resting under your thumb naturally whether you hold the ereader in your left or right hand, while the page back button is rightly relegated, given a smaller button above.

The 2012 Kindle's other buttons are just the same as the previous ereader, too. There's a central D-pad used to flick through the menus, and a quartet of shortcut buttons - back, keyboard, menu and home.

Kindle 2012 7

Using such an array of buttons means that this Kindle isn't quite as pure-looking or attractive as the beautifully simple Kindle Paperwhite, but the move to a black body wins the new £69 Kindle a half-handful of cool points. It would arguably look better if the sides weren't glossy, though.

Although not afraid to plaster its body with buttons, the 2012 Kindle keeps its connections as simple as possible. There's just a microUSB slot, used to charge the internal battery and transfer ebooks.

Kindle 2012 5

Some other ereaders let you expand upon the memory and plug in headphones, but here there's no audio playback whatsoever and you're stuck with the 2GB of internal storage, 1.25GB of which you have access to. The 2012 Kindle has Wi-Fi, but there's no 3G option - as there is with the Paperwhite model.

Should we mourn the loss of periphery features? We think not, as the ereader is one of just a few gadgets these days that thrives as a single-function device.

twaun

January 4, 2013, 6:56 am

i don't see why anyone would be as dumb as me and buy a kindle. Unless money is no object and you want to pay for all the books you read. Completely untech wife bought a blackberry playbook and was downloading free books from online libraries within 1/2 hour, i got mine in Jan of 2012 and today Jan 3, 2013 i have yet to be able to download free book from library. Limited supply of Kindle file books even in US Libraries, Only available if you have US library card. I do and after giving up negotiating Amazons Library ( required), Overdrive, (required), Adobe (I think required), and obviously my libraries website to find a book last year, thought i would try again. Last 2 days AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Nothing. This Kindle touch is as useful to me as crap!

Higgins

April 28, 2013, 9:11 am

To be fair, if you grow rhubarb, crap is very useful indeed.

Sue

May 5, 2013, 9:33 pm

Yes debating on buying something like a Kindle, then thought why? I use computers at work, I use computers at home, I have a mobile touch screen phone and I like to watch TV - now screens to read books by. This did not make sense. There is not nothing like the smell and feel of new and old books. The lost page number, the trolling through the book to find your place. A Kindle type of devise does not give you that real life experience in handling a real book. Also going to libraries book shops and op shops to find "that book" is a another pleasure that is being eroded by these types of devices. Don't get me wrong the devices do have a place in society - say for those people who don't have strength in their hands and arms to hold a book, but at this point in time its not for me.

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