Well, the new $79 Kindle with Special Offers arrived today, and I had a chance to briefly play with it. I will say for the money it is an outstanding value. For example, if you have been wanting to get your kids one, but price has been an issue, maybe this is the right price point for you to take a chance that they won’t drop it too many times or lose it.
I did write a review on the Amazon website for it, and you can read it if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/ozlwuI into your computer’s web browser. If you like the review, how about doing me a favor and pushing the “Yes” button on the Amazon review page where it asks if the review was helpful to you? I would appreciate it!
If you don’t have a chance to go to the Amazon website to read and vote on the review, here it is in its entirety:
The new Kindle with Special Offers (“KSO”) arrived today – this review reflects my preliminary observations after using it for about two hours. A better, more-reflective review should (in my opinion, at least) be based upon a couple of weeks of use of loading it up with lots of books, deleting said books as they are read, loaded up again, etc. Not to mention a few games here and there like Scrabble. Please check back after a couple of weeks and I will update this review to reflect how “time tells” on this device. I am also writing this from the perspective of being a long-time Kindle user vs. someone brand new.
From an overall perspective, considering the pricing at $79 vs. close to $200 for the “regular” Kindle with 3G (“K3G”), this one is a hands-down bargain. If you have wanted to get your kids a Kindle to encourage reading as well as sharing of books but hesitated because $200 is a lot of money to risk with a child, maybe at $79 this is your price point. From a size standpoint, it is 1/3 of an inch less in width and 1 inch less in length than my K3G I’ve had for about a year now, and while noticeably thinner than the K3G I can’t tell you how much as I can’t see the well enough to count the millimeter lines – take my word for it, it is noticeably thinner. And lighter.
Opening up the box, the only thing that is included is the KSO, a USB cord, and a one-page instruction sheet that shows you what the various buttons do. One noticeable difference I like (so far) is the on/off control is a button vs. a switch. Let’s see how that holds up for durability. The right and left page turn buttons are on both sides of the Kindle which is pretty handy, and the only other buttons you have are the five way controller, back, menu, home, and a new “keyboard” button to activate the touch keyboard. One thing that is a little annoying is with the included USB cord – there is no adapter plug to charge it into a wall socket: you either supply that yourself or plug it up, for example, into your computer to charge. I guess they had to cut 25 cents out of the manufacturing costs somewhere, and that was one of the places.
The display is crisp and dark. Looking at the display side-by-side in the same location of an eBook against my K3G, the text on the KSO is much darker. Considering the K3G after a year of use is still darker than my Kindle 2, I think that is saying something – you want to be able to read what you’re supposed to, right?
As mentioned above, you press a special key to activate the keyboard. To change letters or numbers, you need to move the 5-way controller and individually pick your letters and numbers. I find that to be a little bit of a pain in the neck as you click a bunch of times to pick, for example the letter “l” then click a bunch more times to pick the letter “a.” I think I have cured my “Scrabble” addiction on the Kindle so I don’t use the keyboard very much, but that may bother some people who use the keyboard frequently. With this method, however, you run away from the graphite K3G issue of letters constantly being rubbed off and not being visible.
If you like the text-to-speech feature of previous Kindle models or listened to music with your previous Kindle, please be aware there are no speakers nor is there a plug for headphones.
Web surfing speed with the wireless only on with my K3G is about the same as with the KSO – my test was hitting the main pages of the mobile websites of Fox News, CNN, and Google. I pushed “go” or “enter” at the same time on each and did not see a visible difference in the load speeds start to finish. I did try to check one of my Google email accounts on both but it crashed on both – that has been a continuing problem checking email with your Kindle for some time now.
One last thing to point out – if you order one (or have ordered one), you probably saw the option to add a cover. The “official” Amazon cover is not available for about a month, but there are some available from third parties. I didn’t order one because of the ship date, but I sure would like one as I like the feeling of thinking I am actually holding a book.
Reading over this review, it might seem a little negative – that is not my intention at all, but more of a comparison of what I am used to vs. what we have with this version of the Kindle. I actually love it, and think it will help explode the eBook revolution even further as they get in more people’s hands. If you have not purchased a Kindle before due to price, and this one is in your price zone, I would strongly recommend this one!
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