Archive for e-reader
Amazon has released a totally new product line for their Fire tablets, which is getting most of the mainstream media attention. Flying under the radar is the Kindle Basic and Kindle Voyage, two e-ink based readers. Today, we take a look at both devices to give you a sense on what they are capable of and the main differences.
The Kindle Voyage builds upon the software and design principles of the Paperwhite line of e-readers. Today, we evaluate if it makes enough sense to upgrade from the second generation Kindle Paperwhite over to the Voyage.
The Voyage has superior resolution and DPI compared to the Kindle Paperwhite, but how does this play out in real world conditions? We show off the eBook and PDF experience to give you a sense on how the same content looks, side by side.
Finally, we take a look at the front-lit displays on both units, to show you how reading in complete darkness plays out. The results are very interesting.
Amazon has been making e-readers since 2007 and over the years they have refined their hardware technology constantly. The new Kindle Voyage might very well be the best e-reader currently on the market, due to the innovative new tech and expansive eBook ecosystem.
The Voyage is nothing but innovative and it has enhancements that are not found on any other e-readers on the market. One is the inclusion of Page Press technology, and the other is an ambient light sensor.
Today, we take a look at the Kindle Voyage, from the prospective of looking at its core technology and what makes it entirely unique.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink Carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080. It has 300 PPI, which is the highest we have ever seen. In contrast, the Paperwhite 2, which this model replaces only has a resolution of 1024 X 768 and 212 PPI.
Lets look at what the competition is doing, the Kobo Aura H20, which came out a month ago has a 6.8 inch screen with the same resolution as the Voyage, but has 265 DPI. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight has been on the market for most of the year, but its 1024 x 758 and 212 PPI is somewhat depressing.
One of the big design changes with the Voyage is the screen is completely flush with the bezel. All prior Kindle e-readers had a sunken screen and employed infrared touchscreen technology. The new capacitive screen is much easier to interact with and allows for more pin-point procession.
The Voyage has really refined their front-lit technology, which allows you to read in the dark. It has five LED lights on the bottom of the bezel, which projects light evenly across the screen. This is ideal for reading compared to smartphones and tablets which has the light emitting from behind the screen. The lighting system is a marginal improvement over the Paperwhite 2, but completely blows away anything that Kobo has ever done.
Amazon has really hyped the new ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts in the brightness of the screen. On paper, this sounds really cool, but it misses the mark. When reading in complete darkness, it makes the screen too dark to read properly. I often had to find myself relying on the manual settings.
Many older e-readers had physical page turn keys that protruded from the bezel and had a audible mechanical click when turning a page forward or backward. Page Press technology actually has the page turn keys flush completely with the bezel. You can turn a page and there is a small vibration that is courtesy of haptic feedback. Within the settings menu there are a number of options to tweak how hard you have to press in order to turn a page, or you can remove it completely. If you are not a fan of turning pages by clicking on the bezel, you can disable Page Press completely and rely on the touchscreen to swipe pages.
In the past, all prior Kindle e-readers had a power button on the bottom of the chassis, right next to the MicroUSB and status indicator light. Amazon has borrowed design elements from the Kindle Fire line of tablets and implemented a sweet rounded button that is easily accessible when holding the e-reader normally. When I first noticed it and turned it onto standby mode, it was one of the those moments when I said to myself “man this is so intuitive, why din’t they do this all along?”
The back of the Kindle Voyage is not 100% plastic or rubber anymore, but uses a new hybrid magnesium alloy. This not only makes the e-reader lighter than previous iterations, but prevents scuffs and fingerprints when taking it in and out of your bag on a daily basis. I really like the angular aspects of the design, which again, is much akin to the Kindle Fire.
Underneath the hood of the Voyage is a 1 GHZ single core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. Battery life should last around a month, and if you don’t use it much, standby should easily last you six months.
On paper, the Voyage has super high DPI and crazy resolution, but how does it play out in real world conditions? During the last few days we have been putting the Voyage head to head against the Kindle Basic Touch, Kobo Aura H2O and Paperwhite 2. We tested the Glowlight, eBooks, and PDF files. The new Voyage really stands out in the crowd by having more clarity on the screen and the fonts really do look better.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage borrows heavy design elements on the software front from the Kindle Basic Touch and second generation Kindle Paperwhite. You have the main navigation bar which allows you to quickly access the Kindle Store, search for books or access social media website GoodReads.
Amazon has promised new features such as Kindle Family Sharing, which allows you to share the same purchased content accross all other Amazon tablets and reading apps in a few months. They also will be introducing another new feature upon opening a new book will tell you who the author is and other books they have written. You also will be able to establish the book as “currently being read” on GoodReads. Ironically, the new Kindle HD6, HD7 and HDX 8.9 all have “currently reading” out of the box.
What I can say about the software that it is really polished. Its easier to interact with all of the menu and settings features due to the screen being flush with the bezel. It basically feels like you are interacting with a smartphone in terms of performance. This fact is really evident when you are typing notes or entering your WIFI password with the keyboard. In the past, many e-readers had a noticeable delay between when you hit a key, to when it actually projected the character on the display. e-Ink Carta really addresses this shortcoming and doing anything touchscreen related on the Voyage is pure bliss.
Amazon has really simplified the entire reading experience on the Kindle. It is really easy to adjust the font type and font size by clicking on the top half of the e-reader. There are six options, and the rare book will have a seventh, which is the publisher default. Changing the margins and line spaces is also a walk in the park, I like the fact Amazon does not make the adjusting of the core e-reading experience complicated or advanced. It provides enough customization options to appeal to the average user, but isn’t a barrier to the non-tech-savvy.
The high PPI and resolution are really evident when you are reading a standard eBook or anything that involves heavy imagery, such as Manga or digital newspapers. The text just pops, its hard to quantify exactly how, but there is no pixelation, even when you crank up the font size to maximum. Its times like this, that I wish I knew someone with a quantum microscope to really dive deep into the matter. All I can say, is its a step up from the Paperwhite 2.
Amazon has really refined their entire PDF rendering engine in 2014. I remember when the Paperwhite 2 first came out, the page turn rates would be really slow and files over 100 MB would simply crash. Engineers released a series of firmware updates that solved this problem.
When you read a PDF file, you get a small preview pane on the upper left hand corner, which helps orient you on where exactly in the document you are. If you have zoomed in to a very high degree and feel lost, this feature lends the assist.
Pinching and zooming PDF files has never felt as robust as it does now. The capacitive touchscreen makes this possible and images look great. One feature many people aren’t aware of, is when you click on the top center to access the settings menu. Normally when reading an eBook, this brings you to the font option screen. On the Kindle Voyage you can increase or decrease the level of darkness or brightness in a document. So if you notice things become very dark or shady in an image, and it becomes hard to discern exactly what it is, like things getting lost in the shadows, you can adjust this. Kindle is the only e-reader to include this type of tech, which makes it stand out in a crowd.
The Kindle Voyage is a priemium e-reader with a high cost. It retails for $199 right out of the gates, but is comparable to the Kobo Aura H2O which hit the market at $179.99. I remember a time when basic e-readers cost $349 for a six inch model, so the price tag is not really a barrier.
If you have an older model Kindle should you upgrade to the Voyage? Well, it depends. If you have the an older model with a physical keyboard or a Kindle Basic 2013, the answer is yes. If you bought the Paperwhite 2 in the last year, the Voyage on a fundamental level is an incremental update, with a few new bells and whistles.
Screen is Flush with Bezel, much like the Kobo Aura
High PPI and resolution
Front-lit display is the best in class
Responsive touchscreen display
Page Press feels like a gimmick
Wish it had audio
Costs more than most other six inch e-readers on the market
Rating – 9.5/10
The Amazon Fire Phone has not been selling very well, and recently the Seattle company said they had to write off close to $170 million in loses. Things have got so bad, that AT&T is throwing in a free Fire Tablet in a bid to lure people over. What is all the fuss about, is this a legit good phone? Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box. You can get a sense on the form factor and core features that makes this unique in the marketplace.
Amazon has been focusing on making their entire lineup of tablets family friendly. In the last few years they have developed a system called Freetime, which automatically blocks access to the Silk Browser and Kindle content stores, disables location-based services, in-app purchases, or social features, and requires your parental controls password to enable or disable the feature. Amazon also unveiled Freetime Unlimited in 2012, which is a subscription based service that lets parents download thousands of movies, television shows, books and apps for a low monthly fee.
Amazon has packaged all of this into the brand new Fire HD Kids Edition, which spec wise, is exactly the same as the Kindle Fire HD6 and HD7. The main difference is the rubberized padding that spans the entire circumference of the tablet. This is an accessory that is shipped with the tablet and is not built right into it.
Today, we unbox a brand new entry into the Amazon product line, the Fire HD Kids Edition. We show you everything that comes in the box and power it on for the first time.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 edition is the Seattle companies flagship large screen tablet, meant to carry the battle to Apple, Samsung and Sony. This device has amazing resolution and has been slimmed down and enhanced with a new version of Android. It also has better hardware under the hood, compared to the HDX 8.9 2013 version. Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box and power it on the first time.
When Amazon first started making tablets they focused on seven and eight inch models and adhered to this size convention for the first few generations. This year, the Seattle based company broke the mold and developed a six inch tablet, called the HD6. Today, we take this out of the box and show you everything that comes inside. As an added bonus, we power it on for the first time so you can get a sense of new design changes and an updated version of Android.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage is one of the most cutting edge e-readers we have ever seen. The screen is completely flush with the bezel, has amazing screen clarity and haptic enabled page turn buttons. Today, we take this little puppy out of the box, show you everything that comes inside and power it on for the first time.
Over the course of the last decade, eBooks have become second nature to savvy readers. Not only can you purchase them in your pajamas, but they are more economical viable than new releases that come out only in hardcover.
One of the big questions that readers always ask, is what are the direct benefits of reading digitally? Is there a big difference between reading in print and an eBook? Today, we look the big reasons why buying an eBook makes a ton of sense.
Table of Contents – One of the big benefits with an eBook is a clickable TOC. It makes it really easy when reading an academic or textbook to be able to quickly go to the exact page that you want, with minimal fuss.
Cloud Syncing – If you have a smartphone, tablet or e-reader in the household and often read the same book on many different devices, cloud syncing makes things really easy. Amazon and other vendors have the ability to monitor the last page read. This insures that you will pick up exactly where you left off on a book you were reading when you were going to sleep on your e-reader and then pick up where you left off on the subway with your smartphone.
Highlights and Annotations - Writing your own notes or making highlights is ridiculously simple with an e-reader or e-reading app. Anything you do with an eBook is also synced to the cloud, insuring any change will follow you, no matter what device you are on. This is especially beneficial with digital textbooks that you rent for a few weeks or a semester. The title may not be in your library anymore, after the loan period is up, but any note you make are yours to keep and is stored perpetually in the cloud.
Some companies have really taken the note taking features on hardware to new and exciting levels. The Sony Digital Paper is a 13.3 inch reader, that is billed as a replacement for read paper. Instead of exclusively typing on touchscreen keyboard, like most smartphone, you use the pen to quickly draw your notes out save them as an independent file. The Galaxy Note line of phones is also super solid for note taking because of the accompanied Stylus.
Dictionaries and Translations – When reading fiction or non-fiction title, inevitability you will be unsure on the exact meaning of a word. It might be something you never heard before, or may use idioms from another country. Many of the top e-readers by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo all have dictionaries pre-loaded on their devices, with the options to download additional ones, for free. If you buy an English Kindle, but want to load in a German dictionary, no problem. I also really like some of the translation software on the new Kindle Voyage, you can click on a word or body of text and translate it from the language its in, to over 15 ones. Oh, you can also get diverted to Wikipedia and Google to look up a specific word too!
Fonts - If you have a vision deficiency and love to read, going to your bookstores large print section used to be your only option. These large font titles are really expensive too, often costing two or three times that of a paperback and they are normally just available in hardcover. The benefits of eBooks is being able to adjust the font on a title to your own personal preference. If you don’t like the default font eBook comes with, you can switch that too. Most e-readers and e-reading apps often have six fonts you can switch to, but Kobo goes one step further by allowing users to load in any font they want, allowing for more flexibily and control.
You can Loan an eBook out, and always get it back – I have six big book shelves full of books, but used to have more. I have loaned a ton of books over the years to friends who really dug what I was reading or wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I am also not ashamed to say, there were times I gave an awesome book to a girl I was sweet on, only to never get them back. Amazon and Barnes and Noble developed eBook lending programs that allow you to loan an eBook to a friend, one time, for up to two weeks. The only problem, is that your friend, also needs the same e-reader as you do. Many European companies sell digital books with watermarks, which makes it infinity easier to give out a copy of your book, while still preserving ownership of the original.
Many people in their social circle of friends are the only one with an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook. This makes loaning out titles impossible and borrowing books super hard. A number of eBook loaning services have been developed over the years that connect readers with each other, who don’t know one another in real life. Lendle and eBook Fling are the two most popular.
Buy eBooks in your Pajamas – The one aspect of eBooks that I really like is being able to buy a title at any time. There has been many cases where I complete an amazing book and want to see what else the author has written. In many cases at the end of the book, you can click on a series of links to bring you to whatever online bookstore the author recommends to find additional titles. If the book you just read was apart of a series, you can immediately buy the next one.
eBook pre-orders are proving to be fairly popular on iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Google. You can have a book immediately sent to your device at midnight, on the day of the release. Its like when new movies come out, and you can see it hours in advance if you checkout the midnight showing, its the exact same thing with digital books.
Fan fiction – If you grew up loving My Little Pony, GI.Joe, Harry Potter or boy bands, there is fan-fiction for that. Millions of stories are available to read for free, on WattPad, Kindle Worlds or fanfiction.net. Some fanfic authors have transcended their humble beginnings, such as Anna Todd and landed publishing and movie deals. incidentally, her book about a One Direction signer has had billions of reads.
Fan Fiction normally flies under the radar in the standard eBook conversation, but some of the websites like WattPad do gangbuster business. Readers spend two billion hours a day reading free books on their site and social media elements allow authors to converse directly with their fans to help them become better writers. Fans will frequently offer advice on serialized novels, on what they want to see, or to help in the direction of the plot. Its interactive, which is why so many people love it.
Beyond the Book/X-Ray – If you are like me, sometimes I find myself juggling many books at once. I may begin a book and something I have been waiting for finally comes out, and I instantly switch and devour it. When I come back to the original book I started, sometimes I feel lost. Sometimes names of minor characters can blur together, and I think “how was he again, whats going on?”
To solve this situation Amazon developed X-Ray, which gives you a comprehensive list of all the major and minor characters in any given book. It also tells you about the locations, objects and how many times they are referrences throughout the book. No longer will readers be confused on a book they are reading, because they can easily access a small biography.
eBooks have less of a carbon footprint – There are higher environmental costs involved in manufacturing an e-reader unit, compared to a unit of paper, and there are also on-going operational effects. However, one e-reader can hold any number of eBooks, newspapers and magazines — which means that e-reader users purchase fewer printed publications. Producing a Kindle creates the same CO2 as 30 books. So you need to read that number or more to offset the carbon emissions it takes to make it.
eBooks Allow you to be Anonymous – Our taste in books no longer have to be a guilty pleasure. The entire 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon showed us that many women were reading the eBook on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader on public transit and they weren’t advertising what they were reading like they would a print book. The social stigma of reading trashy romance, fantasy or erotica have been firmly removed with the advent of portable e-readers. Not advertising what you are reading may remove some of the public transportation flirting, but it allows you to immerse yourself in a book you love, without attracting too much attention.
eBooks are Cheaper – Many readers cite the price of eBooks as one of the primarily aspects of why they choose to read digitally. A new report by Books and e-Books UK 2014 is trying to quantify the parallel between cheaper books and reading more. Their data suggests 26% of consumers who have bought an eBook in the last year are reading more than they used to, because eBooks cost less than paperbacks, a figure that rises to 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds.
You don’t need reports to say that eBooks cost less than print. When a new book comes out, it is normally exclusively in a hardcover. The average cost is around $29.99, sometimes more, depending on the title and publisher. When it comes to eBooks, new titles are anywhere from $9.99 to $12.99, in rare cases they go all the way to $18.00.
When people ask me what I do for a living, inevitably they ask me about the benefits of an e-reader or eBooks in general. I always cite, if you love to read, you can read more books, while spending less.
Kobo has unveiled a brand new firmware update for their compete modern of line of e-readers. This includes the Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, and the brand new Kobo Aura H2O. It includes a bevy of enhancements, such as the ability to turn off the X-Ray inspired Beyond the Book.
New Touch Zone: The new software adds a fourth option in the Reading Settings menu to customize the tap zones for turning pages and accessing the menu options. The new setting is optimized for one-handed reading.
Keyboard: The keyboard now offers the option to use accented versions of letters by long pressing on them.
Beyond the Book: This feature has been changed slightly to add the option to view related titles from the initial popup window.
Reading Progress: The reading progress feature can now be set to display info for the current chapter or the entire book, and can be set to show page numbers, percentage read, or time remaining in footer.
Dictionary Fix: A bug that caused users to have to re-select what dictionary to use each time has been fixed to remain on the selected dictionary.
Other Changes: There’s a new “You’ve finished” page added to the end of Kobo ebooks that shows reading stats, related titles, and includes a Facebook sharing option.
The update should be pushed out automatically to most Kobo e-Readers when you are connected up to WIFI and press the sync button. Like most firmware upgrades, not all countries receive it at the same time, as it would kill the servers to have millions of people updating it at once. If you want to get the jump on installing this, you can download it from HERE, then Extract the downloaded file and place its contents in the .kobo folder by accessing it via Windows Explorer. Safely eject the Kobo from your computer and unplug the USB cable; the update will automatically install.
The new Amazon Kindle Basic 2014 edition is the first entry level Kindle to ever be shipped with a touchscreen. This makes it way more intuitive to interact with reading eBooks or just browsing around. Today, I will teach you how to load your own eBooks on this e-reader.
First of all, Amazon Kindle e-readers read AZW and MOBI as a primary format that are easily found online. Many European bookstores actually sell eBooks in MOBI format and embed them with digital watermarks to curb piracy. There are also many bookstores and websites all over the internet that sell or allow people to download them. Sure you can buy or download, but whats the step steps?
Amazon has feature many people are unaware of. It allows you to send attachments via Email to your Amazon Kindle. If you have have registered an Amazon account and attached your Kindle to do, during the setup, you are half-way done. You need to visit your Account Management Page and then visit Settings. Near the bottom you will see a few email address and the associated devices. It should give your first name and a few random numbers, mine is email@example.com. You can then enter that email has the destination email address and attach any MOBI books you have downloaded from the internet and in a few minutes they will be on your Kindle Basic!
I really like a program called CALIBRE. It does some powerful stuff, like allowing you to add coverart to an eBook you have downloaded that may not have one, or to change the authors name. The feature I dig the most is being able to convert eBooks from one format to another. EPUB is one of the most common book formats out there, and is 100% incompatible with the Kindle. In the video below, I will show you how to convert an EPUB book to a MOBI one and also how to use this program on a very general level.
Finally, many people simply copy books to their Kindle Documents directory via a file manager or Windows Explorer. You can get a sense of the internal directory structure of your e-Reader and where you should be copying books manually.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we do a side by side comparison with the Kindle Basic 2013 edition with D-PAD and the enhanced 2014 model with a touchscreen. In this video you will get a sense on how they perform with eBooks, PDF files, Shopping and check out the main differences.
The Kindle Basic 2013 model has physical page turn buttons, a D-Pad for navigation and hardware buttons to bring up the virtual keyboard or access the home screen. Typing on the virtual keyboard is a real pain, especially when you have to enter complex WIFI passwords or to take notes when reading an eBook. It also lacks a true home screen and main navigation menu to access the store or library. This is as bare bones as you can get, there are no translation features, X-Ray or GoodReads.
The Kindle Basic Touch 2014 edition has the same firmware as the Kindle Paperwhite 2. This gives you a true home screen, with a UI at the top that can easily grant you access to the Kindle Store, GoodReads Search or access your settings. The touchscreen is really refined, I remember not to long ago they were completely woeful.
If you have an older Kindle Basic, without a touchscreen this video will give you a compelling enough reason to upgrade. It costs a paltry $79, with Special Offers, which is a fancy way of saying it displays advertisements on the home screen and screensaver.
Barnes and Noble has just released the 10.1 inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook Android tablet today, and it joins the 7 inch edition that came out two months ago. The Nations largest bookseller now has two devices that they are marketing across all of their sales channels, encouraging US and UK based readers to invest themselves in the Nook ecosystem.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 10.1 inch screen and a resolution of 1280×800 and 149 PPI. The screen itself won’t win many awards in terms of picture clear clarity, but if you are only reading eBooks, magazines and newspapers it should do the job.
Underneath the hood is a quad-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU with 1.5GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. This model does have support for a 64 GB micro SD, if you need to get more space for all of your music and videos. Unlike Nooks of the past, this model has two cameras, a rear facing 3 MP edition and front facing 1.3 MP for video calls. It weighs 17.28 oz. (489.9 g) and should garner you 10 hours of battery life via the 6.8 mAh battery.
Barnes and Noble is hyping the fact this tablet costs $299 and comes with $200 of free content. What exactly do you get? Well, Customers will receive four free bestselling eBooks including And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Two of a Kind (Fool’s Gold Series #12) by Susan Mallery and The Best American Series 2014: 12 Short Stories & Essays by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as an episode each of three hit TV shows: The Newsroom and Curb Your Enthusiasm from HBO, as well as Disney’s The Octonauts.
The resolution on this tablet is actually a downgrade from the Nook HD+ that many customers have, but it does have a modern version of Android 4.4, which will insure almost all of the apps from Google Play will work. I think the biggest strength that Barnes and Noble has when selling this 10.1 tablet is their support network. If anything goes wrong with your device, you can simply bring it back to any bookstore and they can take a look at it. In most cases, they can swap out your old model for a new one right then and there.