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Kindle Lighted Leather Cover Review

on November 20, 2011 8:00 am

When Julie and I recently reviewed the newest, cheapest Amazon Kindle e-Reader, I mentioned that I had ordered the lighted cover for it. The Kindle readers use eInk screens, which don’t have any backlighting.  A lot of people say the more paper-like nature of eInk screens is easier on the eyes, but apparently their eyes aren’t like mine.  Since my Sony PRS-500, I’ve had the lighted cases for all my eInk readers, and I sometimes use the lights even in the daytime because I need the extra light with those screens.  I ordered the Kindle Lighted Leather Case at the same time I ordered my Kindle from Amazon.  The lighted covers apparently were plagued with production problems, because the availability date has been delayed a couple of times since I ordered it on September 28.  I was surprised to find the box on my porch recently, because I had just been notified that the availability had been delayed until mid-December.  Let’s find out if it was worth the wait.

Some pictures can be clicked for a larger view.

Amazon seems to have made a mission of easy-to-open packaging.  They certainly achieved that with the Kindle lighted cover.  It arrived in a plastic bag.  The top was folded over and partially sealed with a sticker printed with product information.  The manual was a piece of paper with three illustrations showing you how to insert the Kindle into the case and how to deploy the light.

Amazon says this Kindle cover is made from premium leather.  I would not call this a premium leather at all.  It has a faint leather smell, but it looks more like a bonded leather or even a good vinyl to me.  The front cover is stiffened with a cardboard or plastic core.  It has stitching around the edges to bind it to the fabric lining and to the spine.  The Kindle name is embossed at the mid-point of the right side of the front.

The cover measures 6-7/8″ long X 4-5/8″ wide X 1/2″ thick.  It weighs 5 oz empty and 10.8 oz with the Kindle inside.  It was available in black, brown, (lime) green, and purple.  I purchased the purple, but I would actually describe this color as more of a deep, bluish-red berry color.  The color is actually a bit darker than the photos show, but I brightened them a bit so you could see construction details.

The back of the case is a molded plastic shell wrapped in leather on the outside.  Some of the leather extends past the shell to form the spine of the case.  You can wrap the front cover completely to the back so you can hold the cased Kindle in one hand.  I like holding it like a book.  This feels more natural to me, and I find this grip more comfortable than the “pincher” grip I use to hold the naked Kindle.

Inside, the front cover and spine are lined with a heather gray fabric that feels like suede.  The Kindle name is embossed into the fabric.  The plastic shell that holds the Kindle has no lining, but it’s smooth and shouldn’t scratch the device.  The hard shell has a rubbery lip around the rim to help hold the Kindle in place.  The Kindle snaps in securely; I have no fears it will accidentally fall out of the case.  There are two metal contacts at the middle bottom of the plastic shell.  These contacts mate with the metal contacts on the back of the Kindle.  This is the source of the power for the light.  I like that I don’t need to keep a supply of batteries on hand for the case.  Using the light may drain the Kindle’s battery more quickly – so I’ll charge it every 3 weeks instead of every 5 weeks.

The light is hidden into the top of the shell.  The light bar is attached to the plastic shell with a pivot joint on the spine side.  Put your finger on the “arrowhead” end and pull toward you to deploy the light.

There’s a frosted lens covering the LED light source.  I can’t actually see an LED in there, but it seems to be over at the side, under the gray plastic.  It shines across a white surface behind the lens.  The indirect lighting seems to prevent hotspots on the screen.  Something I really like about the light is that it will not illuminate unless the reader is turned on.  You don’t have to worry that you’ll set your reader down without turning it off and find a dead battery when you pick it up later.  To test it, I left the reader and the light on without turning pages until the Kindle timed out.  The light went out immediately when the screen turned off.

There are long notches cut into the left and right sides of the shell to make the page-turning buttons on the Kindle accessible.  I don’t have any trouble using these buttons while the Kindle is in the case.

There’s also a notch in the bottom of the shell to make the power button and microUSB port accessible.  I had no trouble using the power button nor charging the Kindle while it is in the lighted case.

This picture shows how evenly the Kindle screen is lighted by this case.  There’s no hot spot on the screen.  Although the light is dimmer at the bottom of the screen, it’s still well-lighted and easy to read.  Click to enlarge this picture, and you’ll see the screen is lighted well enough that you can see dust at the bottom of the screen.  I took this photo in a dark room with no flash; I didn’t edit the picture in any way other than to crop it.

I really love the Kindle Lighted Leather Case with my Kindle reader.  It adds a bit of weight to the Kindle, but it’s no heavier than a standard paperback.  I find ebook readers easier to hold when they are in a book-style cover because I like holding a book with two hands.  I think the light arm works better than any of the gooseneck lights used in cases for other readers, and I don’t find myself always fiddling with it trying to get the light head adjusted to just the right spot like I do with those goosenecks.  It’s always in the right spot, and it produces a nice, even light over the Kindle’s screen.  I like that I don’t have to keep a supply of batteries on hand, too.  I think it’s a bit expensive – only $20 less than the ad-support Kindle – but a lighted case is not optional for me.

 

Product Information

Price:$59.99
Manufacturer:Amazon
Requirements:
  • Newest Kindle reader (2011 model, WiFi, without keyboard)
Pros:
  • Makes the small Kindle a little easier to hold
  • Lightweight
  • Evenly lights the Kindle screen without hotspots or dark spots
  • Uses power from the Kindle, so you don't need batteries
Cons:
  • Expensive

Comments

  1. 1
    jimlat says:

    I can’t wait to get mine….and that’s the issue…I ordered my brown case in mid October to go with the kindle my kids got me for my birthday…and still haven’t gotten it….I finally wrote to Amazon’s customer service and the response was basically “Oh well…you’ll get it when we get them”…they gave me a $5 credit, but that’s it. Today I got an e-mail saying the estimated ship date is Dec 29-ish…I’ve never had any other issues with Amazon, but have been really disappointed with the service on this product…

  2. 2
    Carol says:

    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.

  3. 3
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Carol There are no gold bars in this lighted cover that I can see anywhere, and certainly no gold bars that connect into the Kindle. There are two silver wires that touch metal contacts on the back of the Kindle, but they don’t connect nor can they fit into anything on the Kindle. The Kindle just lays into a molded plastic shell and is held in place by friction. Opening the cover can’t put any stress on anything near the contact points anyway. I’m pretty sure you are talking about another style cover for one of the earlier Kindles, not this cover.

  4. 4
    Marissa says:

    I’m digging this cover but I went with a non stationary light and had my cover custom made by Joe V. Leather. When I need the light, I just insert it into the slot that was created for it and we are good to go. Great selection of Handmade Leather Covers for all Kindle units.

  5. 5
    Pam says:

    Disappointing experience with the Kindle cover. The Kindle touch can’t even fitting into it plastic shell. Returned and had a Belkin cover instead. Perfect.

  6. 6
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Pam This particular cover that I reviewed is not for the Kindle touch model. Amazon does have lighted covers that fit the touch model, though.

  7. 7
    DruidoBianco says:

    Carol is talkind about the previous generation kindle and cover, that had two gold bars that fits into the kindle to lock and get power. If you have the prevoius generation covers, you’d better cut the gold bars and place some velcro to hold up the kindle to the cover

  8. 8
    Sophie Moore says:

    Thank you for this very helpful review. I was pondering whether to order this little luxury (it IS pricey!) without having seen it actually at work. I found the precision of all the details very helpful, particularly in regards to how effectively the light spreads over the screen. Like you, I like holding a book with both hands and I will go ahead and order it.

  9. 9
    Esse Mar says:

    I purchased the Kindle for $70 and it’s an excellent unit. I then purchased a generic cover from Staples for $32 and was not too happy with it. So I went for broke and ordered this lighted cover for almost what I paid for the Kindle unit itself! Not sure why it works that way… Nevertheless, the cover is very well made and sturdy. HOWEVER!…. the “back button” on the left edge of the Kindle does not work when it’s in the cover. It seems the cover is so perfectly form-fitting that it does not allow the 1mm clearance required to allow all the page advance-reverse buttons to function properly. I called Kindle support and after about 10 transfers, they refunded my money so I can order another one. At this point, though, I don’t know if the problem is with the cover or the Kindle itself.

  10. 10
    Susan says:

    Just a tip. If you have trouble with the left side buttons, fold a business card in half and put it between the Kindle and the case on the left side. It lifts it that little bit to allow the buttons room to move.

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