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Review: Kindle Lighted Leather Cover (For Kindle 3rd Generation)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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LED light is retracted and hidden within cover.

Kindle Lighted Leather Cover (For Kindle 3rd Generation) in Black Leather.

Image from Amazon.com

While there are hundreds of 3rd party covers available for the 3rd Generation Kindle (that's the DX), one of the best selling and best rated versions is a first party version offered by Amazon. As an added bonus, Amazon has tucked an extendable LED light into this cover, and there are no batteries required - it's powered by your Kindle.

First Impressions

This cover is well constructed and attractive looking. The leather is stiff, with a rather course grain, but it feels nice enough and the stiffness gives some heft to the cover, making it feel more like a hardcover book. Quite a different effect from the rather floppy Cole Haan version, for example. The interior of the cover is lined with soft felt to protect the Kindle's case and display. An elastic strap is provided to hold the cover closed if you wish (or open, should you choose to fold the cover back fully while reading) and as a nice design touch, a narrow groove is incorporated on the cover to keep that cord in place. Closed and secured with the cord, the cover is capable of providing protection from many common mishaps: drops off a coffee table, scratches in a purse or a spilled drink. However, it is not waterproof and while edges that overhang the device slightly do provide some cushioning, the edges and ports of the Kindle are exposed to the elements.

 

Let There be Light

Unfortunately, the light position is not adjustable.

Light is adequate, but not great. Note the glare on top right of display, darker toward the bottom.

Photo by Brad Moon

One of the big selling points of this cover is the integrated night reading light. Consisting of three LEDs mounted to a flexible plastic arm, the light is hidden within the top right corner of the case. There's a little plastic edge there with a light icon, otherwise, you'd never know it was there. The light slides out and curves upward, until it's several inches above the Kindle display. Powered by the Kindle itself (thanks to the attachment hooks that mount Kindles to cases), there's no need to worry about lugging spare batteries around. To save power, the light is activated by your Kindle: turn it on and — if extended — the light turns on. If your Kindle goes to sleep, the light also powers down.

 

Not Quite Perfect, but Pretty Good

The Kindle Lighted Leather Cover serves its job well in terms of protecting your e-reader. It doesn't offer the same degree of coverage that a case would, but it's also less obtrusive. And it looks and feels nice. The leather is a little slippery, especially if you hold the Kindle in the traditional two handed book reading grip, but with the front cover folded back (which it does, easily), the felt on the inside of the cover provides a very pleasant gripping surface. 

The light is another matter. It's a tough one to beat for convenience but design choices represent compromises. The retractable arm is a thin, inch-wide plastic strip. It makes it easy to tuck the light into the cover without adding excess bulk, but it means the light is in a fixed position with no adjustability. That being said, the trio of LED bulbs do a decent job, but the bottom left corner of the display (the lights are positioned to shine down on the top right) is definitely dimmer. There's also a bit of glare off the Kindle's plastic case. It's still sufficient to read comfortably, but if you're particular about having lighting that's even, a night light with a flexible arm might be a better choice. Having the light powered by the Kindle itself also has its downside, namely the fact that the more night reading you do, the more you'll be recharging your Kindle. It's not like you'll use the battery up in a few nights, but using the light will definitely have an impact on battery life.

 

Recommendation

If you want some protection for your Kindle without the bulk of a full case, this is a pretty good choice. It's well constructed, looks good, it's reasonably priced and it's available in a range of colors. The integrated nightlight is a nice bonus, although picky night readers might find they prefer a light that they can adjust.

 

Kindle Lighted Leather Cover (for Kindle 3rd Generation)

$59.99 from Amazon.com

Available in seven colors, including black, chocolate brown and burgundy red.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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