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Amazon Kindle app review

Simon Handby
7 Oct 2012
Our Rating 

With Amazon's app, the Kindle experience is almost as good on a smartphone or tablet as on a Kindle eReader

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Amazon's Kindles are our favourite eReaders for several reasons, chief among which is that their technology doesn't get in the way of a pure and fuss-free reading experience. This seamlessness extends to the entire Kindle ecosystem, where books, notes and reading progress are silently synchronised between owners' Kindle accounts and all the Kindle devices registered to them.

Kindle iPad home

The home screen is a clear view of the titles you own

While a dedicated E Ink Kindle reader is doubtless the best way to experience this, the Kindle app is the next best option for anyone who already has a smartphone or tablet. It's available as a free download for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, Android and BlackBerry devices and Windows Phone 7 – a uniquely wide range among the reader apps we've reviewed. There are also versions for the PC or Mac, and a browser-based version that should work on almost any other platform.

Install the app and the first step is to register it to your Kindle account, creating one if you haven't already done so. Once registered, any books or other publications you've already purchased will appear in the Archive menu, from where you can choose to move them onto the device.

We noticed that the app was comparatively slow to load, taking almost 10 seconds to get past its splash screen on an Android phone or a first-generation iPad. On Android phones, the initial view is of any items already on the device, with a ticker of recommended content appearing underneath. As with the physical readers, it's possible to browse and buy directly from the app.

Only titles stored on the device can be opened for reading. Kindle's reading view is quite similar to other eReader apps; on Android it's possible to customise it with white, black and sepia themes, and to change the font and margin size and line spacing. Navigation is via a slider at the base of the screen, a text-search box or a Go to menu, which includes quick links to the cover, table of contents or specific pages or locations. It's also possible to navigate to notes or bookmarks added previously.

Kindle iPad Go to

There are plenty of ways to navigate, including the useful go to menu

Things are quite similar on the iPad, although the terminology is slightly different; publications are kept on the Device or Cloud (rather than Archive) and the initial screen does without the recommended content ticker. At the top, buttons let you filter quickly between books or periodicals. On either device it's possible to long-press a document's text and add a note or highlight.

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