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BW Businessworld

Booked On It: Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD

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Raison d’etre; a reason for being. That’s the question that’s been asked of dedicated e-book readers, more so from the category leading Kindle devices from Amazon, for the longest time. I mean, why take a favour and ask someone travelling abroad to buy one of these when tablets and smartphones ship with the very same Kindle app, allowing you to access the massive Amazon library without having to carry around a second device? With the India launch of the Kindle Paperwhite and the Fire HD 7, the matter of how to buy them is resolved. The question is — should you?
Kindle Paperwhite

If you haven’t seen or used a Kindle in person before, prepare to be surprised. It’s really very small and thin, and so incredibly convenient to carry around that you won’t notice its presence in the bag. Your device arrives with your Amazon ID configured (if you've specified one at purchase), which means all the e-books you've purchased previously can be downloaded immediately. The e-ink display, like the previous Kindles, is easy on the eyes even after hours of reading and reads almost like a paper book. However, unlike previous Kindles, the Paperwhite's standout feature - an array of LED lights that evenly illuminates the screen from the top rather than underneath the display - means that the Paperwhite can be used in the dark without the added strain associated with backlit LCD displays that tablets use. The screen is sharper, though it has to be said that the lag in going from one page to another may initially annoy folks who’re used to modern day smartphones. This quibble aside, the new capacitive touch screen makes interacting with the Kindle for stuff like using the on-screen keyboard, browsing the Kindle store or looking up a book summary a far more pleasant and less clunky experience than with previous Kindles. Of course, the legendary month(s) long battery life remains, though a lot obviously depends on how much time you keep the screen illuminated, how much you use the wireless option, etc.
If you’re an avid reader who cares for the pure reading experience without the extra doodads that tablets offer, the Paperwhite comes highly recommended. I’d avoid the 3G variant, which offers limited additional capabilities for an addition three grand, and pick up the Wi-Fi only variant, though.
Kindle Fire HD
As much as I’m impressed by the Paperwhite, the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet is a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, it’s a well-built tablet with reasonably specced internals that handle the heavily cloaked Android experience rather well, but the user interface is heavily oriented towards the consumption of Amazon’s goods and services. Corollary – if you’re not interested in the Amazon ecosystem and prefer Google’s wild-West-esque Play Store, the Fire HD will not work for you. It’s also missing movie and music content, something Amazon will resolve in the future. That said, most popular apps are available and Amazon’s curation of the store means there’s a more quality feel to the experience. All in all, a unique Android experience by all means, but not one that I see making a significant dent in India.
Kindle Paperwhite
: 9/10
Price: Rs 10,999
Kindle Fire HD
: 7/10
Price: Rs 15,999

Twice As Much
Take the hugely successful Galaxy Grand Duos recipe, tweak the ingredients with the infusion of a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, and the Quattro seems right on track to be another winner for Samsung. Design cues follow the rest of the family, but it’s the pixel packed screen (198 pixels per inch) which makes a great first impression. The phone runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 out of the box, but software features that were present on the Grand Duos including the Multi-window, Direct Call, Pop up Video and S Voice are noticeably absent. In everyday use, performance was without lags and battery life is impressive, but the cameras, both front and rear, are the Quattro’s weakness. At its rather compelling price point of close to Rs. 16,000(street price), the Quattro is a good stab at a dual-SIM Android smartphone.
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 17,290

Nothing Out Of the World
What happens when human beings stumble upon powerful alien technology they were never meant to have been exposed to? When an unstable energy source called Fuse falls into the wrong hands, you’re part of an elite team of CIA operatives sent in to retrieve the Fuse. You form a team and use the unique LEAP future to shift between agent to agent during combat, you to take advantage of each one’s special weapons. Fuse is a crazy, chaotic game but in the end feels very generic and a lot like other games in this genre. Rather unremarkable, I’d suggest you wait till this one goes on sale.
Rating: 6/10
Price: Rs 2,999

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