12 Days of Christmas: Amazon Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi

Ho, ho and ho again. Welcome to Christmas on Pocket-lint. Yes, we said it. It’s a dirty word and to many is all about the stress of having to find the time, energy, cash and idea of what to buy before it’s too late. Well don’t you worry. We’re going to be taking the sting out of all of that for you this year.

The next 2 weeks is the 12 days of Christmas according to Pocket-lint. Each day we’ll bring you a solid gold, killer gift and a matching 12 reasons of exactly why it’s worth buying. Stick with us, trust our instincts and you’ll have all your Christmas shopping done, dusted and gift-wrapped on arrival in under 2 weeks, and all without leaving the comfort of your own computer.

Day 1 - Amazon Kindle 3G + Wi

What is it?
Bargain ebook reader

Who is it for?
Almost anyone - probably not your gran

How much is it?
£149

Delivery Speed?
Next Day

It's a bargain

£149 might not seem like the world's cheapest gift but, considering all the ebook reading competition, it’s one of the best value devices out there. If £149 is too much for you, you can always knock it down to £109 for the Wi-Fi only version which, ultimately, will probably do your giftee just fine.

It's lighter than a paperback

One of the major conveniences of an ebook reader over a proper paperback is that you can store more than the one volume on it but, with the Kindle at 241g, it’s now even lighter than a single book. It also happens to be thinner than a magazine as well. So, that's one less excuse for all the traditionalists out there.

You almost never need to charge it

The third generation of the Amazon Kindle has got a battery life that smartphones can only dream of. With the Wi-Fi switched off, it will last 1 month on a single charge - otherwise known as an age. So, you can stick this thing in your backpack and it’ll last most of your travels with just one socket required to keep it going each time there’s a new moon. Should you wish to use the Wi-Fi, and are careless enough to leave it on, it’ll still last you 10 days. Switch it on and off as you need is probably the sensible option here.

Ebooks cost less

Without all the printing and materials costs involved, a digital copy of a book will, of course, mean you have to part with less cash for the privilege. For example, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is £7.79 in paperback on Amazon and only £2.68 for the Kindle. There’s even over 1 million free titles to enjoy as well.

You can download books anywhere

You can access the Amazon Kindle book store on the Kindle device wherever you are and download books almost instantly whenever you want them. The Wi-Fi only version, as the name suggests, will let you do that either at home over Wi-Fi, at a public hotspot or wherever you can get onto a network. With the 3G version you can download books using the mobile phone network and that’s without paying any kind of contract or anything at all. That means full choice of what you want to read whenever you want to read it. So, no added cost to the person you give this present to.

You can surf the web on it

The Kindle has some browser software on it based on WebKit, meaning that you can go onto the Internet whenever you’re on a Wi-Fi network. In practice, of course, it’s no substitute for your laptop or tablet at home, but having a drink in a cafe or out and about on a public hotspot, it’s an excellent little addition. The pages aren’t in colour and there’s no touchscreen but the QWERTY keyboard’s certainly useful and that 6-inch screen is some decent real-estate for browsing on the move.

You can read it in the sunshine

Because it uses E-Ink rather than a backlit screen, it also means that you can still read you books on the Kindle when you’re outside in the sunshine. That might not seem like a big deal but, given that one of the most enjoyable places to read is on holiday, on the beach or by the pool, it’s a serious edge that it offers over a laptop, tablet or mobile phone with an LCD display.

You still get a library

You might not be able to stack your digital books on shelves in your house to show guests how well read you are, but you still get to keep all the books that you buy on the Amazon Kindle system. Everything you choose to download is backed up on the Kindle network and you can re-download any of them for free any time you like, be that in 2 weeks or 2 years. In other words you can re-read or re-try any title you like.

You can get your newspaper on it

It’ll cost you a subscription of some kind, but you can use the Kindle as a platform to read the newspapers and magazines that you like. Naturally, there’s no colour but you won’t get the ink rubbing off on your fingers either.

You can read your downloads on any device

Just because you bought and downloaded a book onto your Kindle, it doesn’t mean that that’s where you have to read it. You can get the Kindle app for smartphones as well as your laptop and each of them syncs with your Amazon Whispernet books account, meaning that you’ll be able to download and read for free wherever you are and regardless of whether you accidentally left you Kindle at home.

You can download books abroad for free

So you got through the Northern Lights trilogy a little faster than you anticipated. With a Kindle, that’s no problem wherever you are as there are agreements in place with mobile networks in over 100 countries of the world meaning that you can download more books for free even when you’re on holiday. No roaming issues at all.

It’s easy to use

We could mention the fact that it plays MP3s and podcasts and it’ll also read you the books with its text to speech function but, if this is a gift for someone else for Christmas, the big question is whether they’ll actually use it. The great thing about the Kindle is that the answer to that is yes. It’s not a gadget designed for the geek elite. It’s a piece of family consumer electronics and it’s more or less idiot proof. It’s middle-aged technophobe friendly. You can buy it for your parents - maybe not your nan, but definitely for anyone else.

Share you thoughts on hot gift tips for Christmas 2010 in the comments below and stayed tuned for the other 11 days of Pocket-lint Christmas.