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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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New Solar Powered Kindle Cover by SolarFocus

On January 14th, SolarFocus releases the first ever solar powered Kindle cover. It is a form fitting cover with a solar panel included for charging.  It also comes with a built in LED reading light that charges from the cover’s reserve battery.

The e-ink Kindles already have an impressive battery life that holds charge for up to two months.  Battery life depends on several factors though.  First off, avid readers will obviously use up battery more quickly than those who don’t read as often.  Kindle games also take up a chunk of battery life, and so does browsing the Kindle Store.

The reserve battery that is built into the cover charges in sunlight.  The amount of time it takes to charge depends on the strength of the sunlight that it catches.  It reaches full charge after 8 hours, and provides up to three days of reading per hour of charge according to the product’s website.

The protective nature of the cover and the built in light are what wins me over.  I travel a lot at night, and would like to find a cover the includes as much functionality as possible for the most reasonable price.  The Solar powered Kindle cover is $79.  As far as cases go, it is on the higher side, but I think it is a really good value for what it does.

This is the first portable solar powered charging device that I’ve seen hit the major tech news.  I hope that the future will bring more solar powered and other energy friendly charging options.  It would be cool to have a multipurpose docking station to charge all of my gadgets.  What a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time.

Thinking even further ahead, electronic devices will most likely include their own solar panels so that they can charge themselves.  Because of cost, this is still a few years off at least.

From what it looks like now, the SolarKindle Cover is only available on the SolarFocus website.  I’m sure it will be offered on Amazon at some point soon.

 

SolarFocus Kindle Cover Revealed

Recently revealed at CES and available for sale on the 14th of January, the new SolarFocus Kindle cover seems to be an interesting solution to a problem that few, if any, people have run into.  This doesn’t mean that it will fail to impress as a gadget or that it is in any way useless, but one has to wonder how big the market will be for something like the SolarKindle cover.

Essentially this cover is meant to serve as recharging station, backup battery, and book light all in addition to the normal screen protection function.  Certainly not a bad thing.  The case’s internal battery carries a charge sufficient to add an additional three months of battery life to the Kindle 4 and can be recharged over the course of eight hours of direct sunlight exposure if you don’t have access to a powered USB port or adapter.  Even one hour is supposedly sufficient for as much as three days worth of reading time.

Sadly, there are any number of drawbacks.  In terms of basic use, there are a few obvious problems.  The addition of this cover more than doubles the weight of your Kindle, along with doubling its thickness and increasing the size of its footprint to slightly larger than the Kindle Keyboard.  The added size and weight remove a great deal of the appeal that the $79 Kindle carries.  The SolarKindle case itself also appears fairly unappealing, though some might disagree with me if they find solar panels and white plastic pleasant.  Perhaps the most striking thing about this case, however, is the pricing.  At $79 itself, it will double the cost of owning a Kindle.

I have nothing against a desire to be environmentally friendly, but this doesn’t make sense to me.  Given the fact that the Kindle 4 already runs for a minimum of three weeks at a time between charges (based on regular personal use on my part), how could it possibly be worth the inconvenience of the bulk and weight just to avoid having it find a wall outlet?

As of the Kindle 2, we already have analysis indicating that eReaders become environmentally friendlier than buying new books as of the 50th title or so.  Probably safe to assume that things have gotten even better by now, but even ignoring that entirely we have to assume that the impact of manufacturing these covers will be sufficient to increase the numbers.  How quickly can saving $0.25 or less per month in electricity help this case start to pay for itself under any metric?

Despite the hype surrounding the CES reveal, it seems unlikely that the SolarKindle will take off.  The price is too high and the benefits too few.  It isn’t as if you were adding months of battery life to a tablet or smartphone.  If you spend months at a time without access to power, this might be the case for you.  For anybody else it is not much better than an ostentatious nod toward “Going Green” that the Kindle, despite having numbers to support such a claim, fails to advertise on its own.

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover vs Marware

Personally, I’m not cover-type person. I prefer my electronics bare. Kindle Fire is no exception. I did order Amazon recommended Marware Kindle Fire Cover for review purposes only. If you look at my Kindle Fire Scratch test you should get the idea that it is a strudy device and it fend for itself quite well. Screen protector is a definite waste of money and will only diminish screen quality.

However I’m well aware that there we people unlike me who love to pamper their devices and just must use some cover, skin or a sleeve. It is for such people I write this review.

Disclosure: The Snugg cover I have was sent to me by the manufacturer as a free sample. I hope you trust me to still be objective despite $29.99 incentive from one of the competitors :)

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover

Marware Kindle Fire Cover

Marware Kindle Fire Cover

Since I have both accessories here in front of me, lets compare them.

  • Both covers are made of leather. Marware is smoother, while Snugg is more coarse. Both feel pleasant to the touch. It is a matter of taste and therefore a tie.
  • Snugg uses leather envelope and hidden velcro to hold the device, Marware uses metal braces covered by leather. Although both covers hold Kindle Fire securely, Snugg is much nicer looking. One point to Snugg.
  • Marware uses rubber band to hold the cover closed, while Snugg uses magnets. Both ways seem to have cons and pros. With band you can also hold the cover in the open position and overall more secure. While magnets make the cover easiers to open and involve less parts that can get tangled. I call it a tie.
  • Snugg build quality is flawless (white stitches are clearly visible and perfect), Marware is also quite nice except for the aforementioned metal braces. Therefore one point to Snugg.
  • Both covers sport a rubber band for holding the device more securely. Both allow landscape reading position. However Marware cover requires you to unbuckle the device from two of the hinges to use this position. A minor inconvenience but inconvenience nonetheless. Snugg also advertises comfortable typing position. Although you can put Marware cover into a similar position, it doesn’t hold itself securely in it due to lack of locks. One point to Snugg.
  • Both covers make power button and connectors easily accessible. One of the nefarious hinges on Marware cover obstructs part of the right speaker. While I don’t think it will affect listenting experience (remember we are talking about tiny cheap portable device speakers here that are so close to each other there will be no noticeable stereo effect) it is a design flaw nonetheless. Half point to Snugg.
  • Snugg is available only in Black, while Marware if available in Black, Brown, Charcoal, Green and Pink. Finally a point for Marware.
  • Although Snugg cover covers the top of Kindle Fire and gets really close to screen edges it doesn’t obstruct them. You can still slide out notification and settings bar from the top and button bar from the botton. I played a few rounds of Fruit Ninja and the cover didn’t interfere with the game.
  • Both covers are sold on Amazon.com and are available for Prime free two-day shipping. Marware cover costs 1.5X the price of Snugg ($44.99 vs $29.99)

I guess that by now it would be clear that I’m definitely leaning in favour of Snugg. Don’t trust me? Take a look at reviews on Amazon: although Marware sold much more covers due to being featured on Kindle Fire page, only 35% of their reviews are 5-star. Snugg on the other hand sports 83% 5-star reviews.

Conclusion: if you are unlike me and into covers – try Snugg. To me it definitely seems like a better deal.

Notable Kindle Special Offers

There are a few Kindle Special Offers out there that I thought were a really good deal, especially for Kindle book and accessory purchases.  Writing this makes me really wish I was a Kindle Special Offers owner!  Definitely on my list for the holiday season because I’m up for an upgrade.

Buy $20 worth of Kindle Skins and Save $15

This offer ends July 29, so not much time left.  Kindle Special Offers owners can purchase $20 worth of Kindle skins created by Amazon and save $15.  All of the skins are around $19.99, so basically you buy one, get another for $5.  There are some skins with some cool looking designs on them.  Dress your Kindle up a bit!

Use Visa and Get $10 Amazon Credit

Use a visa card on select Kindle books, and you get $10 in Amazon credit.  This offer ends on August 21.  There are a good number of bestsellers and big name authors such as Sara Gruen, Mary Higgins Clark, Michael Connelly, and Suzanne Collins in the selection.

Save $10 when you spend $20 on Kindle Accessories

If you purchase $20 worth of Amazon’s Kindle accessories, you can get $10 back.  This offer expires August 19.  Looking for a cover or light for your Kindle?  Here’s your chance to save.  Amazon has a cool looking Kindle cover that also includes a light.  It comes in many different colors, and doesn’t suck up the Kindle battery too much.

All of these promotions are restricted to one code per Kindle Special Offers account.  I also noticed that not all KSO owners get the same codes.

In addition to the Kindle related deals, you’ll find offers on camping, beauty products, video games and smartphones.  So, there’s a good variety to choose from.


 

 

 

 

New Kindle 3 Reading Light Cover

One of the biggest complaints that naysayers seem to be able to come up with about the Kindle, and eReaders in general, is that you can’t read in the dark.  Sure, you could go with something like an iPad or even the superficially similar, if less useful or functional, Pandigital Novel and be able to read in any lighting besides direct sunlight, but chances are good that if you’re the type to be reading with the lights off then you do it enough that staring into a back-lit display is going to get on your nerves after a while.

Fortunately, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) seems to have come up with a simple and effective solution in the form of a very nice looking, light cover for your eReader that draws on the battery in the device itself to power a small but powerful LED reading light. The Kindle Lighted Leather Cover currently comes in seven colors, doesn’t weigh you down with bulky batteries or annoying cords, and costs about $60.  It’s difficult to say, just yet, whether or not the power drain from the light will be a major concern, but it would seem doubtful given the greatly increased battery life of the newly updated Kindle and the notoriously low power draw of quality LED lights.  This seems like a great idea for anybody who likes to read in bed without disturbing somebody, or even just those of us who don’t do all our reading inside.