Monday, August 23, 2010

Is WiFi-Only a good choice for $50 less? Also, the Kindle 3 case with light

At the Kindle forums, the question of whether or not a WiFi-only Kindle would be all that is needed was raised quite often this weekend, including by those who don't seem to have a WiFi setup at home at this point.

  Essentially, I pointed newcomers to the main article here on 3G/WiFi and WiFi-Only posted Saturday, which covers the basics and I mentioned one aspect I consider important:

 People realize they can use WiFi access at home, and if they're not using the Kindle outside the home much, that would be enough.  And it should be, although some forum participants cautioned that their WiFi networks can go down at times.
  But after reading a few notes, I realized that there are some who actually don't have a WiFi network in the home and may not realize they'd need to set one up or that if they do leave the home regularly, the ability to download a book while here or there will no longer be available the way it was with the Kindles 1 and 2 unless they are in a WiFi hotspot and can access the network easily (whether needing a passkey or a fee, as only some hotspots are free).

The less-expensive Kindle 3 (or UK Kindle 3) comes with WiFi only -- but I am guessing there are some who actually do not have a WiFi network set up in their homes and might not care to have this done, in which case that wouldn't work.
  If people know they could access any printers in their home that recognize WiFi networks, without needing cables, that might be an added incentive to spend the ~$40 - $50 to buy the router needed.

If you do have a WiFi network set up at home, it would allow you to just click on a Kindlestore book on your Kindle to get it TO your Kindle w/o needing to hook up the Kindle to a computer at all and, often, it might be faster to download books or do a web lookup than with 3G cellular network access.

But if you don't have a WiFi network at home and are not likely to have one set up, what I just described won't work and you would have to download an e-book to your computer first and then transfer it to your Kindle with the USB cord.

  In that case (no WiFi network at home), if you do have AT&T 3G cellphone type coverage in your area, you'd be better off with the 3G/Wifi model or UK 3G/WiFi model as you could then just use that 3G cellphone wireless capability to download a book direct to your Kindle without needing your computer or the missing WiFi network.  And you could still use (automatically) the WiFi capabilities of any place you visit that does have a WiFi network setup.

The best of both worlds.

Here are links to Amazon 3G Whispernet Coverage maps:
  North America     Worldwide

CNet's David Carnoy has what may be the first review of what his headline describes as "Amazon's secret weapon: Kindle Lighted Leather Case

He further describes it as "one of the better designed add-on accessories we've seen in recent years: the Kindle Lighted Leather Case"

As you'd expect, he likes the fact that it needs no additional batteries, as it's powered by the Kindle, and "the light completely disappears into the case--so much so that you don't notice that it's there at first glance",

And what I noticed in the photos is confirmed but may not be a problem:
"The light, like a lot of LED book lights, doesn't splash uniformly across the screen.  It's a little brighter in the right corner than the bottom of screen.  But it does provide enough light for reading."

He points out that it's expensive at $59.99, although the cover without light is $35, so the cost of having the built-in light (that needs no batteries) is $25.

My favorite Kindle clip-on light has been the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Clip-On (Black, Kindle Version) for which they added a foam pad where the top clamp meets the Kindle's bezel and protects it from scratches from that clamp.  That's been $20 at Amazon (you might be able to get it elsewhere at $13), and I like that I can clip it right to the Kindle instead of having to use the case while reading and the neck is very flexible so that I can bend it to avoid glare on the screen.  Some find it too bright for those sharing a bed at night though, and it requires 3 AA batteries, though there is a 2nd, lower setting which is bright enough.

  If you plan to read the Kindle while it's in a cover or case, then this new light that's attached to the Kindle 3 cover, which you pull out when you want it to be On, should be very useful, as it'll always be with you and there's no worry about batteries, except to keep the Kindle battery high enough..

  I wonder how much of a Kindle-battery drain it'll be, but if reading in bed, you can always plug the Kindle into the wall charger.  The Kindle battery can't be overcharged and Kindle customer reps say it's best to keep it above the 25%-remaining mark and that it is not hurt by regular charging.

  There looks to be little flexibility in angling the light just so, as you can with the Mighty Bright or other clip-on lights.

 But if this new light covers the screen well and is out of sight but always available with the cover, it solves the problem of reading in dimmer light.

CNet and Amazon customers have also liked the detachable Octovo Solis light.  The Amazon description of it is of course for the 6" Kindle 2, but CNet's video of it shows it on a large DX.
  The Kindle 3 is somewhat slimmer, so I don't know if this'll fit as well, but it gets good ratings, though there are only 29 so far.  It's $30.
Kindle 3   (UK: Kindle 3),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. I enjoy your blog, and am anxiously awaiting my first Kindle. Not only do I not have a router, but I only have access to dial up, or a wireless card from my cell phone provider for internet access. I could get satellite access, but there's a hill between my house and the mountain I need to have access to, so they'd have to put the dish about 50 in the air. So no router at my house. The extra $50 is a no brainer for me!

  2. Anonymous,
    No question for sure in your case :-)


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