Amazon Kindle 2012

Score

Sections

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good screen
  • Excellent ebook infrastructure

Cons

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

Key Features

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

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.

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