One of the downsides with E-ink technology is that there is no screen backlighting. In reality this means that when the ambient light in your room starts to lower, then reading can prove difficult. These devices act just like a real book, so in a similar fashion it is up to you, the reader to supply the light.
Amazon sell several leather covers to protect the Kindle 3, but the more interesting one also has a white LED built into it. It is £20 more expensive, at £49.99, which is a considerable investment considering the low asking price of the eReader itself. Amazon were kind enough to send us one of these to test.
The leather cover takes power directly from the Kindle 3 battery, so there is no need to stock up with AAA or AA batteries. This is an elegant solution to the common light problem and once fitted, it also locks the unit into the cover (above right). As this product is specifically designed for the Kindle 3 it is a perfect fit. We have to say that the quality of leather is also very high.
The light is built into the top right corner of the leather cover and when fully extended it turns on. You can disable it, by either sliding it back in, or by turning off the power on the Kindle 3 itself.
I was surprised by how good the light actually was – it is an LED design and very bright indeed. There is some play in the flex of the light extension so you can move it a little. Out of the box however it seemed in a perfect position.
The Kindle 3’s six inch E-Ink screen is the best I have seen to date and as they have enhanced the contrast level, I never found myself straining to read text even at the smallest sizes. This is an issue I experienced with the Sony PRS 600 – the smallest text size with this eReader is basically unusable particularly as there is a slight reflection apparent in the semi glossy screen.
When the device is powered down into standby mode, there are a plethora of randomly selected images which make an appearance. The quality of these is fantastic and you would swear you are looking at a monochrome magazine the quality really is that good. The depth of black really shows through on the Kindle 3, far exceeding other eReaders we have seen in recent months.