Way back when I first started RV52.com, and RVing, I wrote an article about books and ereaders. You can find that old timer article here. In that article, I was a real advocate of the Nook. Every person in the family had one.
At the same time, we were also very big advocates of Amazon Prime. We still are as of the writing of this article and plan on continuing to renew our Prime as well as be good customers of Amazon.
Then because of Prime, we really saw an advantage to at least obtaining a single Kindle. We wrote about the Kindle purchase here.
Eventually, I wanted to upgrade my Nook. Simultaneously, I finished up a graphics-picture-heavy book called the Ultimate RV Companion Users Manual – 5th Wheel edition, and I was not able to upload to Barnes and Noble's web site due to the file size limitation on BN.com. I also wasn't selling near as many books on BN.com. Really none. Amazon dwarfs BN for my stuff.
I also was so connected to Prime and do so much on Prime, I honestly felt that a tighter link would make MY life easier. I also reasoned that I needed to look at my own books on Kindle rather than a Kindle reader on my PC as a quality check.
I've had my Kindle for several months now, so I feel qualified to give you a Kindle HD7 review. Honestly, it is IMPOSSIBLE to cover everything in a tablet, but maybe I can hit a few high points that will help you decide if it is right for you OR help you get more out of the Kindle (or even a nook or iPad) you might already own.
Cases are good. Get a case.
For about 2 weeks after getting my Kindle I made a discovery and I could not solve the problem on my own. I would go have my sushi lunch at my company cafeteria hoping to read. My idea of reading is that I could eat sushi and read simultaneously. Holding the Kindle was inconvenient. I found that no matter what I did the Kindle would slip and slide and I couldn't read.
So the first order of business was to order a case. So I picked a more popular case off of Amazon called the Roo case for the Kindle HD7. I picked blue – the biggest decision after the case type.
Here are my pros and cons to the Roo case.
- You can do landscape or portrait by simply re-attaching your Kindle.
- You can use it as stand and read or eat sushi and only have to touch the Kindle to turn pages.
- It comes with a stylus (which I've never used.)
- It automatically turns on and off your Kindle based on the cover opening/shutting.
- It seems pretty durable.
- It looks pretty good. Not cheesy. You can get male colors or female colors which is nice.
- I'm not sure it deserves 4.5 stars – beastly high rating for anything on Amazon. It is a just fine case, but dang – 4.5 stars?
- To rotate, you un-velcro and reattach. Velcro wears out – so I'm nervous to rotate the Kindle in the case.
- The case is a little bit too close to the power plug slot on the Kindle. Not horrible, a small skooch will fix it everytime, but it could be slightly better.
- It is thick – good for durability – but bad for clunkiness.
I'll see how long this one lasts and if the velcro does ok, I'll probably buy this again. Know the devil you dance with, right?
Making your battery last
I noticed that my battery ran down easily in about a day. For a book reader that is very, very bad. I did some playing around and I found that in the WiFi settings if you put the unit into Airplane mode and MAKE sure the roo case stays closed, you can make the battery last a week with casual lunch and morning reading. Below is a picture of that screen where you change to Airplane mode.
Having battery whenever I want to read is critical and has upped my pleasure in the Kindle immensely.
Careful of the power plug
One day I awoke, grabbed my kindle from the charging cord, when to work, and then found out I had no battery left. No reading for RV52 that day.
What happened? The plug, which is standard USB phone-style plug, simply was partly mangled or corrupted.
Now when I plug in the USB on the Kindle I go very slow, I don't force it, and I make sure the fit is good. The problem is solved, but BEWARE and BE-GENTLE when plugging in the Kindle. Below is a picture of the power plug to be gentle with.
You can make phone calls with the Kindle!
I downloaded the Skype application off of the Kindle store. This is free, so no cost to anyone. I already have a skype account so all I had to do is find the write Post-it note with my skype password and I was in business.
I noticed that the Skype app only had 3 star rating on Amazon so I was a bit worried.
I did make a phone call or two and it worked flawlessly. Loved it. I don't do this often but I was pleased with this and wanted to let you know about it. Plus with the double camera I don't have to show my ugly mug I can use the other camera. Word of caution – when you flip cameras, make sure you have pants on! ;-)
Book Reading and More. What the Kindle was meant to do
I've no complaints on using the Kindle to read. I still don't read in the bathtub for fear of dropping it. But you can have books going two or three at a time and Kindle keeps your place perfectly. I pre-buy books so that I have 3-5 unread books that I can go to whenever I'm done with one.
Just today, my wife had to visit an emergency patient and ALL I had was my iPhone. So I sat in the car, fired up my Kindle app and kept reading in a book I was reading on the Kindle. When I got home and turned on my Kindle and went to the book it asked me if I wanted to jump ahead to where the iPhone left off. I said yes. Tell me on WHAT PLANET is that not cool?!
It allows you to look up words while you are reading, check references and color passages. You can see what other people are highlighting too which helps you ZOOM in and focus on important points.
When done it suggests similar books and gives you a chance to pick or pan on the book.
My biggest KNOCK on the Kindle is that there is so much it can do that it makes some of its screens cluttered. For example – it puts the recent and recommended listing front and center when maybe it would have been nice to have it default to books. But these amazing devices would be hard to make too simple. There is just too much under the hood.
Regardless, on the whole, I LOVE my Kindle. I picked it (without remorse) over Nook, Android-only, and iPad and don't have a strong reason for going to one of the others.
Lets get on with the nickel tour:
If you have ANYTHING of any value, if you've even went to a banking site with your Kindle, you should probably have a lock screen turned on. I do. You see the lock screen above. Amazon takes that small moment to put an advert to you. I've had pampers to car parts slung at me. I'd say for every 50 they place, only 1 or 2 are relevant. That is probably a good thing.
Slide the arrow on the lock screen and you can enter your unlock code. This gets a little bit old, but still a wide open Kindle could be trouble.
The home screen (above) is an odd mix of current things with supposedly relevant thing. I find the last thing that I have used isn't necessarily the front most thing. Honestly, this screen still baffles me. Generally I have to slide the current thingys selection in the middle until I find my book.
Across the top of the home screen you see media categories like books, newspapers, etc. Each one of those you click will take you to the collection you own. You might own it and NOT have it on your Kindle and it will be in your library. In that case you have to go get it. You can see what you own versus what you have local (and don't need WiFi for) by clicking between “Device” and “Cloud”.
Here I'm showing the App collection just to show you that the collections look the same for different media types and they have the same concept of Device versus Cloud.
Here is the book reading screen. I hear people say that it isn't like reading a real book. You could have fooled me. Its like reading a real book, but better. But it LOOKS like a real book. I love it.
One tap in the middle and you'll get to a control screen which gives you the ability to do different things.
For example, you can change the font size. It seems roughly proportional to my age. Bigger age = Bigger font. Yikes.
I'm sure you can find many, many more write-ups in much more detail on the web, but this should give you a great flavor of the Kindle.
Happy reading! Oh yea, happy RVing now that your book library weighs less than a pound.
As a final thingy, here is an Amazon search for different kindle “stuff”. I didn't make it too narrow.