When traveling overnight or for one to few weeks, what most people take with them is a book, magazine, iPad or all together.
This might be a reading or even a travel book concerning the holiday destination.
Either way books may be heavy and take up room when packing. So is there a much better option?
An e-book reader serves as a perfect companion for most bookworm travellers.
There are several of those on market but Muchmor Canada Magazine analyse the Amazon Kindle which has repeatedly been named best e-book reader by companies like Consumer Reports.
The Kindle is currently in its third-generation redesign where there are three models to select from. The first and cheapest model will be the Wi-Fi version retailing at $139 USD.
It has a 6-inch screen which uses E Ink Pearl to produce the books.
It weighs only 8.5 ounces (240 grams) along with the battery lasts approximately 30 days wireless off.
The second model will be the same since the Wi-Fi version also includes 3G wireless coverage.
It weighs a fraction more: 8.7 ounces (246 grams). The total cost is $189 USD.
The third option will be the larger Kindle DX featuring a 9.7 inch screen and includes Wi-Fi and 3G.
It weighs 18.9 ounces and contains a battery life of around 2-3 weeks.
This model is certainly the dearest at $379.00 USD.
All models can be found in the new graphite finish and are available with Amazon’s Whispernet technology which together with Wi-Fi networks allows instant searching and downloading using their Kindle book store.
So, does the Kindle meet expectation?
Muchmor Canada Magazine tested the Kindle to determine if it really was as good as everyone says.
As an avid book reader, I was sceptical about using a book reader as I love the touch and feel of a book I am holding.
This might sound somewhat odd to somebody who is not a self-confessed bookaholic, but to anyone who is that they will understand what I mean.
At first glance the kindle looks good.
The graphite finish adds some class and comfortable to hold. It is much lighter compared to a standard paperback and feels comfortable in my hands.
There can be a keyboard in the base of the device together with menu, home and back buttons.
The 5-way controller allows you navigate the screen easily.
Down the side of the screen are 4 large paddle-type buttons which permit you to turn pages forwards and backwards.
Those same buttons are saved to both sides to allow for right and left-handed navigation.
I had the wifi version.
So after initial charging I was anxious to use it out. I quickly set up the Wi-Fi connection.
It found the accessible network with no trouble and in just a couple of minutes I was set to look.
My first task ended up navigating towards the Kindle store to find and purchase a book.
By pressing the menu button, you will find there is an option to head down to the Kindle Store where one can search for books just like you would if accessing Amazon online.
The store was simple to use and I soon found a book to download.
I activated the buy option and instantly downloaded the e-book to my Kindle. You do need to set up the 1-click ordering option on your own account to allow for this to be effective.
You can also look for and order books direct from Amazon. These wil download the next time you activate the Kindle if linked to Wi-Fi.
It is worth mentioning at this time now that Amazon enables you to download a sample of your book before buying.
By doing this, you receive the first few pages of your book to learn, allowing you to obtain a feel of the writing style before buying.
If you like it, you simply click the buy now option which downloads to your Kindle in seconds.
Reading books on Kindle can be a pleasure.
The text could be changed to suite you.
You can choose bigger or smaller characters, line spacing options and characters per line etc.
The E-Ink screen is quite clear and easy to learn even in bight daylight since there are no reflections to hinder you and also no LCD backlight to wash out.
On the downside since it does not have a backlight option reading in low light requires additional illumination.
Amazon possesses the option of cases with light but these should be purchased separately (approximately $60 USD).
They also make use of the Kindle’s battery to power it.
This results in the battery life being reduced.
As you turn all pages, the screen needs to refresh, but this is incredibly quick and must not hinder your reading experience.
According to other reports and comparison, the Kindle comes with one of the fastest page-turn speeds of all disposable readers.
The Kindle can accumulate up to 3,500 books and you can build collections in folders to store them in.
You can add exactly the same book to a few collections if you want.
You can also archive books that can take them from the device, but keeps them kept in your Amazon account so that you never lose them.
You can also download PDF files and study them for the Kindle.
You also have the capability to add annotations and bookmarks to text. This enables you to add notes, highlight passages etc. These notes could be deleted or exported if necessary.
One cool option will be the built-in dictionary. If you stumbled upon a word or phrase you do not understand, you have access to the dictionary which provides everything you need to know.
Additionally, if you do not feel like looking at the screen and even turning pages and reading yourself, the kindle will perform it for you personally.
It has a Read-To-Me feature that if activated, will see the text to you and also even turn all pages, making it completely hands-free.
You can select the voice it uses along with the speed of speech.
Another feature the kindle has can be a web browser.
This means you can access the web. I personally found this weird as you will be looking at the internet in grey tones only.
However, it could be handy should you just want to quickly look something up.
Navigation is just not ideal because you have to make use of the 5-way controller.
But should you want a device to access the web on a regular basis, then this kindle is just not the one to suit your needs. After all it is only an e-reader.
One other feature worth mentioning will be the kindle supports MP3 files.
This means that you can transfer your favourite tracks to your Kindle and listen to music while you read.
For me, I like to read in silence which means this feature is not really for me.
But will it be good for travel?
I will absolutely recommend the kindle for all types of travel.
It is so light and thin that it fits easily into the tightest of packing bags.
If you are travelling for virtually any length of time, you can just pack a kindle knowing that you have a whole library of books available to you personally at any time.
You can download a travel or guide book.
This is so that upon reaching your destination, you should have all the details of the area at hand.
The kindle will complement most women’s purses. So it should come handy all the time.
If you are like me, I cannot really confirm which book I will be reading next and tend to possess several in reserve after finishing one. Can be a book, magazine, novel or newspaper.
This allows me to select a new book according to my mood during that time.
With a kindle I do not need many books stocking up my shelf anymore.
Upon finishing one book, I can select another and download it within seconds.
The kindle is also great for those who travelled frequently be it on business trips or vacations.
I can also use kindle to kill time while servicing my car for fuel refill or repairs.
Overall, I found the full reading experience a lot better than I had anticipated.
I have not missed the feel of any book in my hands or shelf.