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Review of the Kindle 3 Lighted Cover (and a brief history...

Kindle 3 Lighted Covers Colors

Last week, I gave you my impressions the Kindle 3.   Lightweight, friendly redesign but with a terrible keyboard.   I promised that I would write up my thoughts about the Kindle 3 Lighted Cover which carries a hefty price tag of $59.99 and the battery life.

Before I get into the lighted cover, I have to tell you that integrated light for ereading has been kind of a crusade of mine.   It was one of the things I liked the least about eink devices when they debuted and why I had such affection for the Sony PRS 700.

The technology of eink prevents backlighting.   Backlighting is when the light comes from the back of the screen or underneath the screen.   Eink is like a sophisticated etch-a-sketch.   There are tiny balls that have white on one side and black on the other.   The computer tells the device which balls should be black and which should be white and thus it forms letters on your screen.   The problem is that to get that really flat, paper like look, there isn’t any backlighting.   The only way you can light an eink screen is from above the screen itself.

Folio Lighted coverSony Light wedgeSony PRS700

The Sony PRS 700 was the first and only eink device to integrate a light within the device.   Another layer was placed on top of the eink screen and between the two layers, lights were installed on the side which flooded the screen with light.   It was an elegant solution but the screen quality of the eink was degraded.

Apparently no one has come up with a better idea for integrating a light.   Sure you can buy book lights galore but none really satisfied and booklights are often battery monsters.   Further, it was yet another item you had to remember to bring with you.   Case manufacturers have tried to make their devices light friendly  and Sony had a cover with a light wedge which reportedly scratched easily.   Batteries were installed in the center of the unit.   The Kindle 3 Lighted Cover was a new animal altogether.

Kindle 3 Lighted Cover thoughts

The Kindle 3 Lighted Cover runs off the battery of the Kindle itself.   It attaches with two brass fittings into the side of the Kindle.   The light is a plastic LED lamp with 3 bulbs that pulls out from the right corner.   Because the light is dependent on the Kindle itself, there are a couple of unique features.   First, if the Kindle goes to sleep, so too does the light preserving battery life. The light is only activated when pulled out into the upright position and if the Kindle is awake.

While I have read some complaints that the light is too strong on the right hand corner, I found it was a good wash of light over the entire page. This picture was taken in total darkness and gives a fairly good representation of the pool of light. You can click to see a larger image.

The Kindle cover does add bulk.   The Kindle 3 weighs about 8 ounces and the light adds another 8 ounces.   The mass market paperback weighs 7 ounces.   The Kindle with the cover weighs 1 lb 1/2 ounces.   The hardcover weighs in at 1 lb 3 ounces. Click for larger images to see more size comparisons.

Because the sides of the cover are rigid, it feels like reading a small hardcover.   You can read it one handed but I found myself inadvertently hitting the page turn buttons if I did.   Sometimes I liked to slip my fingers behind the Kindle on the right side, but then the light doesn’t display as evenly.   It may have been better if the cover was just a little wider.

The LED bulbs can be intensely bright if you are looking at the light from the side. I usually have to lie on my side so that my body partially blocks the light. If you lie on your back, the light will pool around you and may spill some on the space next to you. If you lie on your side with the book cover’s back to your partner, the LED bulbs can blind them. The backlight is the best nighttime solution, in my opinion, because there is little side spillage of light. It’s very concentrated. A light from above or outside the device will always cast a brighter pool of light.

What about the battery life?

I fully charged the Kindle on Monday when I received the Kindle 3 cover at about 3 pm. I read 7 books on it.   2 shorter erotic romance novels; 4 categories; and 1 full length novel.   The battery died about 9 pm last night.   I used the light every night for approximately 8 hours in total.   I read during the day and I used the Kindle to read to me for 3 hours while I drove one day (it was excruciatingly bad and I did not repeat the experience).

At this point, I will likely leave the Kindle 3 cover by my bedside and use it for traveling because I actually prefer   to read and hold the Kindle without the cover.   So is the Kindle 3 cover worth the $59.00 price tag?   It’s a pretty expensive booklight but running off the Kindle 3 battery provides a worry free way of reading at night.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

23 Comments

  1. farmwifetwo
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 06:30:10

    I just bought the kobo light. It simply clicks on the kobo. I need a case one day or I’m simply going to swipe my kids’ nintendo one they don’t use… it’s big enough and with separate spots they shouldn’t bother each other…

    Anyways… it has one LED light on it, I can hook it anywhere… The batteries are to last 25hrs (I believe) and how often do you actually read in the dark, so they should last a long time. It lights the screen up and cost $16.99 Cdn which at 95cents on the dollar… is about the same in US funds.

    A much cheaper fix to IMO a very minor/rarely occuring problem…

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  2. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 07:05:33

    I’ve bought a Really Tiny Book Light for mine, when it eventually comes. I’ve had good experiences with the Really Tiny with paper books, and so I thought it might be the best option for the Kindle. I’d love the lighted book cover, but I really don’t want to pay half as much again for a cover. It’s £50 in the UK, which is, to my mind, outrageous.
    I also have a paperback-sized book wedge, but I don’t know how it will work with the device. The Really Tiny is produced by a British company, but I believe it’s available worldwide. It weighs almost nothing and is powered by button batteries. Gives a nice flood of light. We shall see.
    http://fwd4.me/cSg

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  3. Keishon
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 08:00:38

    Excellent review and thank you.

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  4. LVLMLeah
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 10:14:21

    I’m pretty much spoiled by my eBookwise. I love the non led back light that I can make brighter or duller and which is easy on the eyes.

    So far, all these other ereaders- the eink ones, you have to Jerry rig to read with a light. Even it seems you have to read in a certain way to get the full benefit of the light. What’s the point of that?

    I already have a head lamp that I use for when I read paper at night, but it’s still too bright and bothers the DH.

    I refuse to spend money on an ereader then have to spend a ton more just to be able to read it at night, which I do a lot of. It’s the main feature I need.

    I was looking at the covers with lights at B&N for the Nook. Same thing, $30-$50 for it. That’s a bunch of BS.

    Thanks for the review though. It’s good to know what I’d be getting into by having to add a light. I have been thinking about buying the Kindle3 but it’s still a lot of money when I’d have to invest in a separate light.

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  5. pooks
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 11:00:15

    Did you choose the male voice? I let my male voice read to me a lot (K2) and while it’s not perfect, I don’t hate it, either. I love listening to audiobooks and prefer them, but not all are available and when I’m driving I need something to listen to.

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  6. Jane
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 15:29:55

    @pooks No, the female one.

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  7. emmad
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 16:42:23

    I bought the case without the light and am really pleased with it. Protect’s the Kindle while in my bag and is small and light enough that doesn’t worry me while reading.
    “LVLMLeah” there is no need to hold the kindle a certain way to read it at all. I find it as easy to read as a normal book and in alot of case’s is actually clearer.

    Must admit I’m another that is not worried by not having a light at all. If I’m reading at night I turn the light on just like I would with a normal paperback. There is no need to have a seperate light and huddle in a corner lol. If my partner comes to bed and I want to continue reading for a bit he just face’s away from my bedside light.

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  8. Lisa Hendrix
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 16:57:38

    I bought two (2) little LED clip on book lights for $3 at Walgreens this week. They work perfectly and can also be used on paper books and for working at the computer in the dark.

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  9. Ridley
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 23:26:11

    @emmad:

    That’s what I do too. I mean, my husband routinely falls asleep with all the lights on anyway, so one low wattage bed lamp is totally NBD.

    I feel for these women with sensitive bed partners. That’s no fun.

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  10. Terry Odell
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 09:27:15

    @LVLMLeah I'm pretty much spoiled by my eBookwise. I love the non led back light that I can make brighter or duller and which is easy on the eyes.

    And there’s the rub. I’m addicted to the convenience of the back-lit screen on my eBookwise for all the reasons LVLMLeah mentioned. Adding more bulk to the reader doesn’t sound appealing. And ‘light bulbs’ seem squinty-bright when you wake up and want to read at 2AM. But I guess there’s not going to be an alternative, because there are fewer and fewer books formatted for the eBookwise. Oh, bother.

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  11. Monday Morning Stepback: Teaching Romance, Blogger Fragmentation, Kitchen Redo « Read React Review
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 12:05:40

    [...] Author getting her geek on with not just a detailed K3 review, but a second review dedicated to the Kindle cover with integrated light. I love my Kindle, and am so spoiled by the comfort and feel of reading on it that I will not read [...]

  12. Hannah
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 22:55:24

    Thank you for the review. To me the perfect way to read in bed or in a dark room is an inverse text display such as that on my Ipod touch where I use the Kindle and Stanza apps. This is not perfect mostly because of the size of the screen. I’d rather read on my Kindle 2 but haven’t found a really good book light yet. I prefer a light that’s not screamingly bright which is why I like the inverse text setting so well.

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  13. David William
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 00:44:51

    There are some many varieties of kindle covers to choose from. You should make your choice based on utility. This means you have to decide whether you will use the kindle primarily at home or on the commute and this will help you determine the best cover to choose. Some come with stands integrated which will allow you to protect and provide a lecturn for easy reading at a table or desk. Kindle 3 cover

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  14. Matthew Nerbles
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 17:18:25

    That was an excellent read, i suppise you would need a light for in the dark erotic romance novel reading haha!. I just recently picked up a my lighted kindle cover from. http://www.kindlelightedcover.net now i need to get a class of wine and turn off the lights for those steamy novels :D

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  15. Raeven
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 09:15:49

    @Ridley: Hi Ridley! I just have to tell you that I LOOOOVE THAT PICTURE!!! IT MADE ME LAUGH RIGHT OUT LOUD!!! OMG, it’s hysterical and cute at the same time. LOLOLOL!!!(Sighing and slowly gaining composure) Thanks for that! I really needed a good laugh. (I know, I’m easily amused.) Is that a family member or something you found on the internet? Too cute. Too funny.

    To Jane: Thnaks for the excellent review. I appreciate knowing all this as it will most assuredly play a role in my decision to buy a Kindle3.

    Thanks to you both!

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  16. Jo Pearse
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 02:54:49

    This Kindle Lighted Cover is excellent and well designed, however it is very expensive. It is almost as much as a Kindle itself, the website http://www.kindlelightedcover.org.uk offers a very similar product at a fraction of the cost at £17.95, which is much more reasonable I think you will agree. Would be interested to hear your comments on what you think.
    Many thanks
    Jo

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  17. links for 2011-03-10 | Jeff's (Mastermesh's) Delicious Links
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 18:22:13

    [...] Review of the Kindle 3 Lighted Cover (and a brief history of … [...]

  18. henrymcdo
    May 15, 2011 @ 05:12:19

    Hi all, i just finded a good site with a lot of cool covers and cases, with cheap prices. Check it out.

    http://kindlecoversandcases.tk/

    ReplyReply

  19. Crissy
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 12:03:35

    Excellent review and it is very informative. This would be very helpful for kindle owners and also to some people who are planning to buy a kindle.

    I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about faulty lights for their kindle covers so others prefer to chose the standard cover with no light rather than having a lighted kindle cover. Kindle lighted cover is good though but the only thing is it is just a bit expensive but I guess it’s worth the money only if you get yourself a good one with a light in excellent working condition.

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  20. Marione
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 07:49:08

    Hi, for the LED light, is it replaceable? :) thanks!

    ReplyReply

  21. Jane
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 08:04:57

    @Marione Not that I know of.

    ReplyReply

  22. Betsy
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 13:59:59

    I bought a kindle lighted cover last year – loved it, but beware – they aren’t very tough. My 5 year old picked it up off the table by the cover – it flipped open and the gold connections just snapped – one is permanently stuck in my kindle. I’m hoping to get a kindle touch soon, as my kindle subsequently was accidentally broken by my lovely daughter (I’m seeing a pattern here), and am hesitant to get a new lighted cover due to the durability issues.

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  23. Carol
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 20:09:01

    I would not recommend this product AT ALL.

    I am currently on my fourth leather cover with book light in a year. I have found the cover it’s self to be bulky however the light illuminates the whole screen really well and is great for reading in bed while hubby sleeps as the light is bright without overpowering the room.

    The reason why I would not recommend are the gold bars that connect into the device and power up the book light as these are VERY fragile and can snap off at the drop of a hat. One book light lasted only 3 days before the gold bars snapped, Once I could not get the gold bars out and I had to send my kindle back and get a brand new one as the gold bars snapping off effectively bricked my kindle. I am not being rough with the cover either, it is just wear and tear from opening the book cover (i.e it is not being dropped or anything).

    Customer support on this matter has been good as they have replaced the cover under warranty each time, however last time I had to send the book cover back and pay for postage at my own expense, which was half the price of the cover to begin with as it is being shipped internationally.

    I use the cover and the light on a daily basis as when it works it is good and beats having to have a lamp on in the room however considering how many times I have had the same component break off and had to go to the inconvenience and cost of getting it replaced for me makes it more trouble than it’s worth. I would not recommend it and would only give it half a star if possible.

    ReplyReply

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