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.