The following is a guest post from Amanda Slavinsky as part of our Kindle Review Month here on Her Packing List.
When e-readers first started to become popular a few years ago I was firmly in the anti camp. I spouted off all the typical reasons that avid readers give and I avoided them for as long as possible. Before moving to Korea in 2011, my parents gifted me a Kindle Keyboard with 3G and soon I was praising the Kindle to everyone who would listen.
Here are some of the positives, and negatives, I’ve experienced in the past year with my Kindle Keyboard.
1. I can buy books instantly. Anywhere.
Thanks to the fact that my Kindle model has both 3G and WiFi, I am able to download a book instantly, almost anywhere. Living abroad this comes in handy because I don’t have to make the trek to an English language bookstore, and while on the road I can buy recommended reads right away, or find a new book if I can’t get into something else. The 3G service is surprisingly speedy- I’ve downloaded books in mere seconds while cruising down the freeway on a bus.
2. I no longer have to flirt with airline luggage weight allowances.
The Kindle is lightweight and thin, easy to throw in a daypack or purse, and comes loaded with as many books as I want. I no longer have to take up valuable space, and weight, to make sure I have enough books to read on a trip.
3. I don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money at English bookstores.
If you think the cost of a paperback in English speaking countries has gotten expensive, you’ll have major sticker shock if you look at an English language book in a foreign country. With my Kindle I can get books for the same price I would pay at home.
4. The battery lasts a long time. Like, a really long time.
The Kindle’s battery life is outstanding. Because it’s not backlit like a computer or phone, there really isn’t much drain on the battery (and it also makes it easier on the eyes). With the WiFi and 3G off, my battery can last anywhere from 3 weeks to over a month, depending on much I read.
5. Features only available from something electronic.
While I originally thought that reading an electronic book would be weird, I soon found out that it has some major advantages. Several Kindle cases come with reading lights that are powered through the device’s battery, which is great for reading on dark buses or in hostels where you don’t want to disturb others. And because it’s built in, it’s one less device to carry around. Additionally, I like to underline or make note of my favorite passages while I’m reading. With the Kindle you can highlight notes, which are then saved to your device. No more dog eared pages or notes scribbled on bits of paper that are bound to get lost.
1. I can’t share every book with anyone.
With physical books it was easy to let a friend borrow something great I’d just finished. With the Kindle I can only share certain titles with my friends who are also Kindle owners.
2. 3G does not mean Internet everywhere.
The 3G seems to be good for downloading books but not much else. This isn’t a huge deal for me, as I also travel with an iPhone and laptop, but don’t plan on surfing with web with this Kindle model.
3. The keyboard.
Typing using the keyboard on this Kindle is very difficult. Again, not a major drawback for me as I usually am only typing book titles in the search box on Amazon, but don’t think you’ll be drafting up emails or blog posts with this.
4. It spontaneously broke.
I had just started reading a new book and turned my device off to take a break. When I tried to turn my Kindle on a few hours later, I only saw lines. I contacted Amazon and they said this was a known defect. While I was somewhat frustrated I couldn’t read immediately, Amazon replaced my Kindle for free and was really easy to deal with.
My overall experience with the Kindle Keyboard with 3G has been fabulous, and now I wouldn’t consider leaving home without it!
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About the author: Amanda is an American currently living in Seoul, teaching writing to elementary ESL students, and planning her long term, post-teaching contract trip. She blogs about travel, food, elephants, a love of Italy, and life in Korea over at Farsickness. You can also find her on twitter @farsickness and Facebook.