The 10th edition of the popular e-book reader checks all the right boxes - it looks good and boasts several good features. With a thickness of 8.2 mm, this device feels sleek, is lightweight (182g) and boasts an ergonomic design with the 6-inch e-ink touch display blending seamlessly into the thick side bezels and giving it a perfect grip. The wake button and the charging port are at the bottom panel while the side panels and the rear have a rubberised soft finish. Best of all, the device is waterproof and comes with an IPX8 rating, which means it can withstand an accidental dip up to 60 minutes in 2m deep water.
Setting up the e-book reader is easy. Just connect it to the Wi-Fi network (my review unit was the Wi-Fi only variant) and log in using your Amazon account. The home page is neat and well-organised. The row on the top includes all necessary icons - home, back, settings, Goodreads, store and search. These came in handy as I was able to adjust brightness, change reading options and turn the background from white to black. The homepage also features more sections - a library containing purchased and downloaded books, new & notable in Prime reading (free and unlimited access to a selection of books if you have an Amazon Prime membership), recommendations, bestsellers in Kindle Store and new releases. Also, the device quickly downloaded books from the server and added them to the library. I was also able to increase/decrease the font size by pinching in/out using two fingers and the Kindle instantly auto-fitted the text. Moreover, I could resume my reading from where I left off whenever I opened a book. And this holds good for any book I had opened in the past. The device has plenty of additional features such as looking up a word, highlighting text, creating a note, sharing and more.
Overall, images and text appear sharp on the 300 ppi screen. Then there are five built-in LEDs to enable reading in the dark. The screen is glare-free and quite comfortable to peruse even under harsh lighting. Unlike tablets and mobile phones, the e-ink display does not strain your eyes and one can easily read for long hours. Even the battery life is impressive as a single charge lasted me long enough to finish a 500-plus-page book with still some juice left. Although nothing can replace the good old feeling of holding a printed book and turning its pages, this e-reader is convenient as I was able to download new titles and old collections quickly, in real time. Plus, the 8 GB internal memory is good enough to store thousands of books.A Mixed Bag
Of late, Samsung has been launching some interesting products across price points. The latest from its stable is Galaxy A9 with a quad camera system at the rear. My review unit in lemonade blue looked stunning while the rear sported dual shades - the colour smoothly shifting from green to blue at the top merging with the blue at the bottom. And the slightly longish design makes it easy to hold.
The front boasts a 6.3-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display. Samsung has cleverly utilised all the panels. The SIM slot is on the top; the left houses a dedicated Bixby button (Samsung's voice assistant); the right one features volume control and power buttons, and the bottom has a Type C charging port along with a 3.5 mm jack and a speaker grill. Finally, the rear looks impressive with the vertical quad camera system and a 3D glass cover curving at the edges, but here is more on the four-camera set-up.
Going from top to bottom, the first one is an ultra-wide 8 MP camera with a 120? view, similar to what our eyes can see. It did an excellent job when I clicked a few panorama shots of monuments and a large group of people. Plus, it flawlessly captures natural colours and details when used in bright light. Next comes the 10 MP telephoto lens that can be used for 2x optical zoom. The third one is a 24 MP primary camera, which does a decent job in bright daylight, but low-light photography is the weak point as it captures a lot of noise. The fourth lens at the bottom is a 5 MP depth sensor for capturing bokeh images. I was able to adjust the background blur while capturing an image and could also do it later while editing. The camera app's user interface is neat and simple. Within the auto mode (and Scene Optimizer), you will find the mode switch options. The three-tree icon is for the ultra-wide lens, two trees for switching to the main camera and one tree is for the telephoto lens. The Scene Optimizer automatically detects the subject and chooses from 19 different scenes.
Galaxy A9 is still running on Android 8.0 Oreo although Android 9 Pie has been available for months. Plus, it is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor while competitors (in this price range) like OnePlus 6T are powered by the flagship Snapdragon 845 processor. As for performance, it can handle basic tasks with ease, is quick to access the gallery and swiftly switches between camera modes or apps. But it might struggle when you play graphics-heavy games. The 3,800 mAh battery supports fast charging that easily lasts a day even with excessive usage.