Tuff-Luv British Racing Green Case for Amazon Kindle Keyboard with Light – Review

Tuff-Luv British Racing Green Case for Amazon Kindle Keyboard with Light

Time for a product review. I already have a cover & light for my Kindle Keyboard, so when I was sent this one to review I thought I would go to town on a direct comparison. So here you are:

Tuff-Luv Case with light

This is a very well designed case/cover for the Amazon Kindle Keyboard in a lovely British Racing Green colour and with the gorgeous smell of real leather. The whole case has a soft padded feel to it which gives the impression that my Kindle will be well protected by this Kindle Cover.

There is a magnetic clip tab which fastens on the bag to keep the cover closed and another small tab which folds over the top Kindle once it is in place and fastens neatly with Velcro to stop it falling out at the top. This is not at all intrusive.

Looking from left to right at the open case, on the inside of the front (left) cover is a slip pocket which would be ideal for thin papers (not too much so as not to risk scratching the Kindle’s screen) and this incorporates a credit card size clear-fronted pocket which could hold your business card, perhaps to show who it belongs to.

Tuff-Luv Case back view

There’s an elastic loop flush with the spine which will hold a pen or the light if you want to keep the two together.

Having extricated the cardboard protection from the right hand side (no mean feat) it did take quite a bit of strength to slide my Kindle Keyboard right down to the bottom as it is a very tight fit. Once in place it all looks very neat and all the buttons and sockets are available to use. The stitching is very neat and there is only a very slight looseness with the top-most piece which may be seen as the beauty of having real leather. I’m not sure how well the little Velcro tab at the top will last if I keep taking my Kindle in and out. Altogether it adds136g (4.7 ounces) to the weight of the reader for a combined weight of 365g (12.8 ounces) – without the light.

Turning it over, there are two very neat cut-outs with silver coloured grills for the Kindle Keyboard’s rear speakers. The whole cover closes with a very succinct ‘click’ when fastened.

Now for the light. This is a Tuff-Luv Spark light and it comes in a clear plastic display case which easily comes apart without needing scissors. It includes three minute button cell batteries which it says will last up to 72 hours. The batteries are small and a bit fiddly and you need to be careful to open the packet over a tray or table so that they don’t fall out onto the floor.

Tuff-Luv Spark light

There are no instructions for installing the batteries, but it was easy enough to work out that they make a little stack inside the base of the light – once you’ve been able to open it! However, having installed the batteries with the plus side to the top, there is no way to keep it  switched on – I assume mine was broken and I had to hold the strange switch at the bottom all the time.

Now, at first I supposed this light is designed to clip into the elastic loop on the inside spine of the cover, but it was really difficult to put it in place. There is also a leather loop on the outside right of the cover and it seems to fit nicely there – as per the photo. Unfortunately the clip has too thin a gap to clip over the sides of the cover itself and I wouldn’t want to risk tearing or scratching the leather by forcing it or using it in the same place every time, even if it were to work well.

Tuff-Luv case with light on right

When storing the light by wrapping it over the top and under the top tab from the spine loop, it doesn’t allow the cover to close properly; if mounted on the right side loop, it does look a lot neater and can be rolled over the top and can still be held in place by the top velcro tab, but then the magnetic cover clip doesn’t fit well. (Also more potential strain on the velcro tab.)

On to the light. The problem with lights for any Kindle is the spread and brightness of the light itself. A single bulb, LED or other, is not going to be able to span the width and length of the reader all at once, so you will need to adjust it as you read. Kindles not being the same size as books, this means that you will need to adjust it every few seconds if you are a fast reader.

With the Tuff-Luv Spark Light mounted either side, and even though it has a bendy stem which is not too stiff, there is no way it illuminates the ‘page’ adequately from either, or in fact any, position.

Located so that it does its best to illuminate the whole screen, there is an awful glare spot which is only out of site if the Kindle is held at the sort of angle which requires you to move your head up and down when reading – so not at all relaxing.  Even mounted exactly as per the photo, it is so flimsy that it takes forever to set up, will move on you and still hurts the eyes.

I found the light coverage to be poor and the strength of light was not as good as I would like. Having used it for just a few seconds I still have spots in front of my eyes and I don’t think I could read for any length of time with this light. I much prefer the Kindle Kandle style light which fits so much better, has three LEDs and doesn’t give out any annoying glare.

My favourite Kindle light

I love this really excellent quality leather Tuff-Luv Kindle Cover but it is really let down by the addition of the dreadful light. For that reason I would recommend buying the cover separately. But I would like it even better if it had a back-stand so that I didn’t always have to hold it.

Bottom Line: Love the cover – HATE the light! Buy them separately.

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Amazon Kindle Touch In UK

Amazon Kindle Touch In UK

At last – Amazon’s Kindle Touch is now available in the UK. This has headphone socket and speakers (see my earlier review post), Would I have bought it if it had been available before?

Maybe. Even though the keypad is awful, it’s better than not having one at all. But having said that, the touchscreen is tempting as we are all so used to using them now. Have to go and try one in the shop. The X-Ray facility looks interesting too.

The one thing I don’t like about the older Kindles is that the buttons on the side are a bit too low to make for easy reading. Minor niggle.

How to recognise the Touch – it has that little square speaker centre bottom.

BTW – at time of writing, Amazon have a sale of Kindle ebooks – 99p for lots which I have been putting off buying until now. I’m off to spend some money!

Kindle Keyboard Personal Review

Why, when the Kindle (Kindle Touch is it’s US name) has only just been brought out, did I decide on the Kindle Keyboard (or Wi-Fi non 3G)? It wasn’t price – £20 isn’t worth compromising on features. If some of my Top Five are important to you too, you need to check if the Kindle you want to get does them. I have not considered the Kindle Wi-Fi as I don’t see the point in paying nearly £50 more to do something I can do for free at home.

There is one more point I would like to make. The Kindle Keyboard is only available as a refurbished item on Amazon (co.uk) – only the new Kindle and Kindle Wi-Fi 3G are sold new. I bought mine through Tesco Direct and had it delivered to my nearest store. Prices seem to be the same wherever you go.

Just to summarise: here in the UK we have the Kindle, Kindle Wi-Fi and Kindle 3G. In the USA they have the Kindle Touch, Kindle 3G and Kindle Fire as well. In the USA some of these are sold with advertising to keep the prices down – but I understand these cannot be used in the UK. Please be careful and check before you buy from abroad, wherever you may live.

No, definitely features not price were more important to me, so here are my top five for my Kindle Keyboard personal review.

1. Having a keyboard. 2. Audio playback. 3. Size. 4. Better battery life. 5. Greater storage capacity.

1. Having a keyboard was of utmost importance as I have dislike of virtual keypads. My phone lets me slide words, the Kindle can’t to do that, so a proper keyboard/pad, poor as it may be, is infinitely better for me than the Kindle option. Nevertheless, even the keyboard has its drawbacks. The buttons are very clunky and the menu options don’t let you hit a letter to get to them, nor does it cycle round: you must use the ‘5-way controller’ to navigate the menus. Perhaps future software updates will be able to address this (currently on version 3.3).

2. Audio playback (please see Steve’s comment and my reply on the right – I have been into shops to closely examine the Kindle Touch: no speakers and no headphone socket!) is something I wanted to have available, even if I may not use it very much and I cannot see that the Kindle Touch has a headphone socket nor does it have speakers. It’s one of the experimental options called Text-To-SPeech. The male and female voices are quite robotic, but they are bearable and can be slowed down. It’s quite interesting how they interpret full stops and commas, and of course their inflections may be somewhat out of place, but not bad considering. [Update March 2012: The Kindle Touch is he US-only version and does indeed have speakers and a headphone socket. Here in the UK we have what is now called the Kindle (no speakers etc), and Kindle 3G. Some shops still sell the Kindle Keyboard WiFi, which is the one I have.]

It is also possible to listen to music MP3s, and audio books which I already have can be installed into the audio folder, music  files to the music folder. All quite obvious once the Kindle Keyboard is connected to my pc. Music playback is only experimental at the moment, but serves a great purpose for me as I can surf on my laptop where I don’t want sound and listen to music from the Kindle with headphones or it’s in-built speakers (yes, 2 of them!).  You cannot use the text-to-speech option with PDFs, but it’s OK with most books.

So far I have discovered that you cannot send MP3s to your Kindle via email, you need to connect it to your computer and transfer them that way. Quality of sound from the built-in speakers is not bad considering, and of course headphones can be used instead.

Useful tip

When you register your Kindle with Amazon (if you bought it from somewhere else) then you will be given an email address which is the before the @ part of the email address you use with Amazon email @kindle.com. So for example, myname@gmail.com. This will result in myname@kindle.com and you can send documents etc to your Kindle via email. The email address you send from must be the same as your full Amazon email. The system is clever enough to let you know if you get it wrong!

3. Size is important. When I saw the Kindle side-by-side with the Kindle Keyboard, I actually felt that it was a bit too small to hold comfortably. Then when trying to navigate the menus, it was fiddlier. (I wasn’t checking for a headphone socket at the time, by the way.) To be honest, I do find that the page forward and back buttons on the Keyboard aren’t ideally placed for my thumbs – I’d like to see them higher up, nearer the top – but they are on both sides, which is good for lefties. It looks to me as if the buttons are in the middle on both, so as the Touch is a bit smaller, they might be even worse for me.

4. Battery life is twice as much on the Keyboard as it is for the Touch. Not quite sure why that should be, but that’s what the specs imply. Not too big a deal to be honest, but added to the others it’s relevant.

5. Greater storage capacity is only going to be relevant if I collect thousands of ebooks, but if I’m adding audio files then it becomes more important. Of course, I can archive all the books I have read by removing them from my Kindle Keyboard, and retrieve them in future as they will be quite safe on Amazon’s Kindle servers.

And the niggles?

1. Having to work up and down menus, ie not being able to cycle from bottom to top.

2. Clunky buttons – surely the action could be improved.

3. PDFs are a bit of a nightmare to read, they are almost too small in normal mode, but when rotating the screen to landscape then lots of scrolling from side-to-side. However, all these formats can be used properly on the Kindle:

Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
Rich Text Format (.rtf)
HTML (.htm, .html)
Text (.txt) documents
Archived documents (zip , x-zip) and compressed archived documents
Mobi book (so if I can find them, I can send my MobiPocket books over to it)

Images that are of type JPEGs (.jpg), GIFs (.gif), Bitmaps (.bmp), and PNG images (.png).

Adobe PDF (.pdf) documents are delivered without conversion to Kindle DX, Second Generation and Latest Generation Kindles.
Adobe PDF (.pdf) can be converted to Kindle format and delivered on an experimental basis.

Well, I hope that you have found my Kindle Keyboard personal review useful. I’m really pleased with it and have gone back to reading more books – many are free ones too. It’s great being able to nip among them – a chapter here, another chapter there – and all from one device. Quality of the screen is excellent, but it does need a light on it when the room is dark. I have also bought a colourful Gelaskin to brighten it up.

Do leave me a comment or question and I will endeavour to reply as quickly as possible.

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How To Publish On Kindle

How to devise, write, edit, publish and promote your own e-book on the Kindle platform – and make a lot of money from it too – using the Kindle Kash course.

This is the first decent course I have come across about getting into the potentially very lucrative Kindle ebook market as a publisher. Kindle Kash is a 10-Part course covering both fiction and non-fiction writing. But it isn’t limited to Kindle – it tells you how to publish to other platforms too, eg Nook and Apple iPad.

Publishing for the Kindle is easy and profitable. You get paid 70% in royalties, listed in the Amazon catalogue and can even set your own prices.

Kindle Kash

However, be warned!

I have bought a few books for my Kindle reader. At the moment I use Kindle on three devices – my laptop, mobile (cell) phone and android tablet. Very soon I will be buying myself a Kindle as I have difficulty holding books these days – I just need to decide which model to go for.

My warning in this – be sure to give true value to your ebook. Value = quality content + provides what it says on the tin + plenty of pages + grammatically correct. Kindle Kash will help you with all this – and more.

Here are two examples from my own experience. Both ebooks were absolutely dreadful and Amazon were very fast to give me full refunds.

No 1.

I wanted to find out more about book-keeping as my daughter asked me to help set up her new business accounts. So, I had a look through the Amazon site and came across a title which looked as if it would give me the advice I needed: A Guide To Bookkeeping. I read the blurb and bought it for the princely sum of £2.21 (approx US$3.50). Frankly, it was beyond awful.

Far from being a guide to book-keeping, it was a spiel about why you needed to do it. Very few pages as well. I read it all in about 5 minutes – and immediately contacted Amazon for a refund. I don’t see it on Amazon any more.

No 2.

How To Shoot a Bow – Your Step-By-Step Guide To Instinctive Archery. Sounds good, and when I checked the content it showed over 350 indexed items, so I thought that for the princely sum of £7.15 (US$11.26) it would be a good read. How disappointed I was! All of 40 pages – I mean screens – and barely 10 minutes to read. Along came another refund and I bought a real book on archery instead. The content was rubbish and it purported to have been written by an expert archer. The grammar was awful, there were loads of typos and content was – well – not anything worth having. I could have done better myself  and I’ve doing been in the sport for just over a year. Even my archery blog has more useful information.

The upshot of all this is that if you want to self-publish an ebook, you really must do it to the same standard as a hard copy book. As well as ‘killer’ content (quality) you must, must, must be sure to have it proofread by someone who knows a bit about grammar and can recognise poor spelling. It’s not enough to use a spell-checker. Make sure you have 3 or 4 times as many screens as a normal book would have pages. You won’t have the benefit of a professional publishing company to advise and fine-tune your literary masterpiece, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing a really good job. Only by this stringent attention to detail will you avoid the dreaded clawback of refunds.

Give, give, give of yourself, your ideas, your expertise and you will have a really good book which will sell time and time again at no further expense from yourself.

So, while you may be able to work everything out for yourself, why not give yourself a headstart and get a copy of Kindle Kash so you make sure you don’t miss anything. Lots of ideas as well as tips to help you develop your ideas and even promote your work of art, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

To find out more about what this program has to offer go to KINDLE KASH by clicking here: KINDLE KASH

I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Until next time.