The best-value ebook reader around, to say nothing of its absurd desirability
Let's get straight to the point: the Kindle is by far the best e-reader on sale right now. Buy one and you won't be disappointed.
It's so good it's hard to know where to start. Slide it out of the box and the superb build quality and finish is immediately apparent; turn it on and the screen announces itself as the best around. Excellent contrast and extremely good readability mean settling in for a night of reading has never been so appealing.
Then there's the flawless tie-in with Amazon. Register the Kindle to your account and, if you opt for the 3G model (£149), you can subscribe to newspapers or buy an enormous number and variety of ebooks regardless of where you are, as long as there's a data signal. Amazon's prices are among the keenest around, and it's not unusual to be turning the first pages of a new book just a few minutes after buying it; less if you use Wi-Fi. You don't ever need to plug the Kindle into a PC – you never need to transfer a file.
It doesn't have a touchscreen, but that’s something we don't mind in the slightest. Touchscreens on ebook readers are generally red herrings, as with the Sony Reader PRS-650. The Kindle's Qwerty keyboard and D-pad is fine for moving through books, and the inline text search is exceedingly useful.
The only reason the Kindle might not be perfect is if you're looking for an e-reader that does more than simply read books. Typing anything on the keyboard is tricky: the keys are too stiff for our liking and, like all E Ink screens, text boxes simply don't update fast enough to make typing practical. The web browser is also something of a mess; it'll be some time before the Kindle can challenge the iPad for the title of best all-rounder.
However, the title of best ebook reader is all sewn up, and that's largely because of the Kindle's hugely appealing price. Where most premium ebook readers charge the thick end of £200, the Kindle sits at the budget end of the market, which is amazing considering how well-featured its bookstore is and how well the device itself is made. £109 for the Wi-Fi-only model is nothing short of a stone-cold bargain, particularly considering it will change your reading habits for the better, forever.
Amazon Kindle 2010 review
The finest ebook experience around – and at this price it’s a bargain star rating