Amazon Kindle 2012 Review

Sections

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good screen
  • Excellent ebook infrastructure

Cons

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

Key Specifications

  • 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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