Top critical review
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It's much better than most reviews make it out to be, but not perfect
on November 24, 2011
First of all, this cover is not nearly as bad as some of the reviews make it out to be. It doesn't feel like "cheap" plastic, nor does it feel like it's going to immediately disintegrate into a pile of rubbish. So let's start having a look at it in detail:
1) The back. Mine is very thin leather, formed around what appears to be a rubber-like shell. In my opinion, the leather on the back looks pretty good. It's tightly form-fitting, and form-fitted and bonded to the shell, so I can see where some casual users might mistake it for plastic. It is in my opinion, most definitely leather. Is it "quality" leather? Well, I suppose so, but it'd also have to be extremely thin quality leather.
2) The shell. The next layer would be what I call the form-fitting shell. It comprises the structure that makes up the back half of the cover. The kindle touch fits very tightly into this shell. It's certainly not going to fall out of there. In fact, it might not be all that easy to remove the kindle, it's so tightly snapped in. The shell tends to increase the bulk of the kindle a bit, which I actually like. It feels like it'll give me some shock/drop protection. Contrary to some other reviewers, I don't think it makes the kindle overly bulky. I think it gives a very thin device some much needed weight and substance.
3) The light. It's on a snap up arm on the top. There's no adjustment to it, it's either fully up or it's fully down. It gives off plenty of light to read my kindle in the dark. The light is at a fixed angle. It's slightly brighter at the top of the kindle than the bottom (it does after all, have to obey the laws of physics). The light is of course powered by the kindle's battery. That's your reason for buying this case and not some other case.
4) The front cover. It's made of the same thin leather as the back, with some hard material sandwiched inside, and then a felt-like inner layer. The front cover is extremely thin. It's not flimsy as other reviewers have claimed; it's actually quite stiff. However it's thin enough that it feels like you could snap or crease it if mishandled.
1) The cover looks good, fits good, and is compact. It's just the right size, and it's just the right weight. It feels like the cover is designed for the kindle. It doesn't feel like a sloppy poorly fitting aftermarket case. Your kindle and the case become one.
2) The light illuminates well, it lights up the whole surface of my kindle, making it easy to read.
3) It offers adequate protection. The rubber shell will protect from drops and shocks. The front cover, provided it stays closed, will protect the screen.
1) The light distracts me while I'm reading, particularly if I read while laying on my back in bed. I wish it had more of a glare shield. I might try fabricating something from a piece of black electrical tape, just to see what happens.
2) The light feels fragile. It articulates up and down, but does not articulate front to back. If you ever whacked it a good one front to back, you'd probably bust it off, at which point you'd have a non-lighted kindle cover.
3) The front cover has no means to stay closed. I wish it had magnets to give it a little extra staying power. My K2 cover had nothing to keep it closed either, so I don't feel slighted, but you'd think on the 4th generation someone would be able to figure out a way to stick some magnets in there.
4) The front cover is both stiff and thin. It feels like if I mishandled it that I could easily damage it. For example, tossing it into a briefcase or a bag and letting the cover get caught in just the wrong way could leave me with a big ugly crease. This wouldn't be so much a problem if there would have been something to keep it closed.
In short, I'm both impressed and disappointed in the quality. Impressed because it turned out to be much better than the reviews led me to believe. Disappointed because it's a very pricey case and I'd like the light and the front cover to be a little more hefty in design. I also really wish the light had a better glare shield. I deducted one star due to the perceived lack of durability and one star due to the lack of value for such a high price.