Author Topic: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover  (Read 6062 times)  

Offline FearIndex

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TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
« on: October 25, 2012, 04:04:05 am »
Okay, so my mission to find the perfect Kindle solution after PW disappointment continues with a new cover for the $69 Kindle 5 (see here for the reference: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,129956.0.html - So you didn't like the Paperwhite, now what? The solutions thread).

I just received the TeckNet Kindle Lighted Leather Cover With Integrated Flexible Reading Light for NEW Amazon Kindle / 6 inch / 2011 generation / Book Style - Black (http://www.amazon.com/TeckNet%C2%AE-Lighted-Integrated-Flexible-generation/dp/B008635H4M/). It is available with purple and black covers, I got the black one. The cover is compatible with both the $79 Kindle 4 and the $69 Kindle 5.

I am yet to try the cover, I will post those notes later in this thread, but here are the first impressions on the product itself. First off, what attracted me to this product is that it is one of the few lighted Kindle covers that can be powered by the Kindle 4/5 itself - just like the official Amazon lighted cover for Kindle 4/5 is. This means no battery swaps, you just keep the Kindle in the cover at all times, charge as normal, and you have a light at your disposal (when you want to use it).

Background:

As you may recall I wasn't particularly impressed by the official lighted cover for Kindle 4/5, the leather is poor, the light shines in the eyes when reading in bed and some even have issues with the official Amazon cover interfering with the page turn buttons (latter was not an issue for me though, perhaps a little with the Kindle 4 but time or Kindle 5 have removed that worry entirely though, personally I wouldn't worry about that aspect of the official cover).

So, I got this new TeckNet cover in the hopes that it would fare better than my official Kindle 4 lighted cover from Amazon does, with my new $69 Kindle 5 (my review: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,129956.msg1921055.html#msg1921055). The TeckNet cover is different from the front and sides, hopefully eliminating those quality issues compared to the official lighted cover. Most importantly, though, TeckNet has a pull-out, movable/adjustable light instead of the on/off light of the official cover. I am hoping this will remove my worries about reading in bed.

What's it like, then? The TeckNet Kindle Lighted Leather Cover With Integrated Flexible Reading Light for NEW Amazon Kindle / 6 inch / 2011 generation / Book Style - Black...

Exterior:

Overall, it looks quite a bit like the official Amazon cover - just a little bit taller because the lighted area on top is different. Top is black leather on the front and felt inside. Inside is also the moulded area into which the Kindle is pushed into, again just like in the official cover. The plastic inside is a little greyer and harder than on the official cover. Back, as I knew from the reviews, is not leather in the TeckNet, just the same hard plastic as the sides.

First impressions are that the quality is at times higher and at other times lower than in the official cover. The TeckNet leather front is definitely more detailed and better-looking compared to the lackluster fourth-generation official Amazon covers. The cover looks a lot like the well-made Amazon Kindle 2 cover. On the downside, the plastic in the bottom part is harder - I would probably worry more about putting the Kindle in and removing it in this one, than with the official cover. We'll see how it feels when I try.

Also, even though the official cover has some of the worst quality leather on its bottom I've seen, the TeckNet only has plastic on the bottom, which means it can slide on the table and doesn't feel quite as satisfying when setting down. So again a little trade-off, the plastic rear of TeckNet actually looks a lot better than the poor quality leather on the official cover, but putting it down on the table feels worse. The TeckNet might benefit from skinning its rear cover or maybe just a felt sticker or few.

TeckNet interior color is closer to the grey Kindle than the official darker Amazon cover is, we'll see how it works with my black Kindle 5. Overall, exterior seems a slight improvement over the official cover, thanks to the higher quality front. The TeckNet design of the sides is also different, which will hopefully eliminate any issues anyone might have had with the official cover interfering with the page change keys. I will probably add some padding to the rear of the TeckNet, though, to keep it from sliding on the table.

The TeckNet has the TeckNet logo in four places, but simply embossed without color, so nothing that will stick in your eyes. The product comes with a nice four page manual that explains the setup really well. It is packed in a nice plastic (but openable/closable) retail box. All in all, a professional product for the (low) price.

Operation:

You don't have to touch the hard plastic back with your fingers once you turn the front behind the cover. Taking the cover in hand feels pretty much like the official cover: the TeckNet front turns nicely over the back and the felt on the interior side of the front cover feels good against your hand, just like it does on the official cover. I should have no problems holding this with one hand as usual. So neither have any issues with how they feel in hand, or at least that is the first impression here.

The question here, of course, is the light. Opening the cover, the light is hidden in the top right corner, much like the Kindle 3 official Amazon leather cover (although its pull-out mechanism was different). If you don't want to use the light, you don't have to. The light pulls out around 9 cm (3.5 inches) and it seems you can either pull it out fully or leave it at some intermediate position. The light's arm bends many ways and also the light at the top swivels to the sides.

So, the light seems plenty adjustable. I will report back once I've experimented with it in the dark. At least it is obvious you can turn it away from your eyes when reading in bed, which looks promising. When you push the light back in, it clicks in place quite satisfyingly. Of course, because the light is adjustable, I will have to develop a personal routine to set it up right (unlike the Kindle 3 and Kindle 4 lighted covers that had only one position). Time will tell how easy or hard that will be. Will report back.

First impressions:

Overall, I'm liking what I see. The cover is quite low priced compared to the official cover, but can still beat the quality of the official cover especially in the way the front looks. The light seems far more functional as a concept, but of course experience and time will tell how well it works. Hardness of the plastic back is a little worse than the poor-leather back of the official cover when placing the device down, I think it will require a little felt tape, but so far this small con seems very well offset by the upsides of this cover.

Can't way to try it out! :) Comparison pictures with the official cover will follow, too, once I get to that.

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    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 01:50:24 pm »
    Time to continue my review of the TeckNet Kindle Lighted Leather Cover With Integrated Flexible Reading Light for NEW Amazon Kindle / 6 inch / 2011 generation / Book Style - Black (http://www.amazon.com/TeckNet%C2%AE-Lighted-Integrated-Flexible-generation/dp/B008635H4M/) beyond the first impressions above. Now with some actual reading time behind me...

    First off, while inserting and removing the Kindle from the TeckNet cover is slightly different from the official Amazon cover, and more care is needed due to the hard plastic, it is by no means too hard. I tried both of my compatible Kindles (a grey $79 Kindle 4 and a black $69 Kindle 5) in it and swapping them was no problem, nor did it cause any damage to either the devices or the case. Not an issue, just read the instructions and push the "elastic" left side clasps outwards with both thumbs when removing. When inside the case, the Kindle sits in very snugly with no movement or fear of dropping out. The clasps on the interior sides of the TeckNet case are somewhat more visible than the rubbery sides of the official Amazon cover, so it does look a little "busier" than the official cover, but not much. Compared to rubber-band solutions in cases like the Oberon, the TeckNet is much better integrated.

    Yep, this is certainly the best integrated lighted cover from a third-party vendor I have seen for the Kindle. Comparing the official Amazon cover and the TeckNet further, the latter is distinctly taller and surprisingly thicker though. This is by no means necessarily a problem, but when holding both side by side there is a clear difference. TeckNet is bigger, the official cover is certainly more petite. Also, the official cover feels a little tighter, both in volume (less "air" or wasted space) and in the way the front cover moves. All in all, I think the official cover has a slight edge in how it feels in hand. As for colors, I must say the grey Kindle does look better inside the TeckNet cover. Its colors are quite grey, both the inside felt and the plastic, so the black $69 Kindle 5 looks distinctly less home inside this cover. The grey version of either model fits in visually better. The darker official cover works well with either Kindle color. TeckNet works best with the grey Kindle color.

    What about the light, then? This obviously being the most important aspect for me, as the official lighted cover shines in my eyes disturbingly when reading in bed. The TeckNet light does work really well and you can adjust it to pretty much any position within the reach of the arm. I found myself hoping for a few more centimeters/inches of length in the flexible light arm to get the best light coverage without hotspotting, but certainly it is possible to create a fairly even light without any significant hotspotting with this - one that doesn't shine in your eyes either. So definitely, this light does not have the shine-in-your-eyes issue the official lighted cover has. The flexible arm and the operation of the light are good quality. It will probably take a while to find the best spot for the light, since the arm reaches several potential positions. You can also leave the arm at an intermediate length position to keep it nearer the screen, as the light only turns off when you push it fully in.

    One thing to note about the TeckNet light, and this comes down to personal preference, is that it creates a much colder/bluer light than the official lighted cover (with is quite warm/yellow in tone). I will try to take some photographs later. If I'd have to wager, I'd also say the TeckNet light is slightly less bright than the official cover one, but it is also able to cast more even light over the screen thanks to this, whereas the official light has quite a bit of hotspotting on the top part. If the color hue of the light is your preference, certainly TeckNet can be adjusted to shine more at the Kindle and less at your eyes...

    So, as the first impressions already hinted, there are upsides and downsides in the details, but it is a very well and reasonably done integrated case for the $79 Kindle 4 and, through compatibility, the $69 Kindle 5. It looks to be a solid cover and a good, more affordable alternative for the official cover. When I have a little more time and experience, I will conclude this early review with pictures and further experiences.

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 09:05:55 am »
    Here is a comparison in a fairly dark (one light on) room with black $69 Kindle 5 on the left in the official Amazon lighted leather cover and grey $79 Kindle 4 on the right inside the TeckNet lighted cover:



    The TeckNet light can obviously take many other positions, but here I posed it similarly to the official light for comparison purposes. You can see how the TeckNet light on the right is a lot colder/bluer hue and also that it is somewhat less bright, compared to the official lighted cover on the left. You can also see how the somewhat thicker TeckNet cover raises the Kindle a little higher on the table than the official cover.

    By the way, the hotspotting effect on the left-side official cover is not quite as harsh in reality as it is in the photo, the ball of light doesn't show nearly as much in real world. However, the relative difference between the brighter Amazon light and the dimmer TeckNet light is quite accurate - in reality, the TeckNet shows hardly any hotspotting, where as the official cover does show some.

    Offline Jodi O

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 10:30:03 am »
    Thanks so much for the detailed review. I am in the process of figuring out which Kindle solution I will be adopting next. Your efforts are appreciated.

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 11:29:19 am »
    Thanks Desertway! I'm glad to hear it. :) And happy to know I'm not the only one looking!

    As for this cover, I'll try to post a few daylight photos over the weekend.

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 02:12:31 am »
    Here are pictures of the TeckNet lighted Kindle cover (black), with my grey $79 Kindle 4 inside:

    Front, closed - the front leather is deep black, a little shiny:



    Inside, open with the light pulled out - very grey in here:



    Plastic rear (you can see the pushed-in light on the top left corner):



    Hope these help. :) The Amazon link in the first post of this thread has further photos.

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: TeckNet $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted cover
    « Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 08:48:20 am »
    To wrap up my review of the TeckNet Kindle Lighted Leather Cover With Integrated Flexible Reading Light for NEW Amazon Kindle / 6 inch / 2011 generation / Book Style - Black, I have been reading both on and off for the past couple of days and now made up my conclusions.

    So, here are the pros and cons compared to the official black Amazon lighted leather cover for $79 Kindle 4 and $69 Kindle 5...

    TeckNet pros - is better than official:
    + Much higher quality front cover, textured leather and better detailing on the sides of the front cover
    + Front feels more durable
    + Adjustable light can be pointed away from eyes when reading in bed or pretty much which way you want
    + Adjustable light can be used to avoid "hotspotting" on the screen, to make the light more even
    + Grey inside coloring fits better with the grey Kindle 4 than the blacker official cover
    + Way cheaper

    TeckNet equals official cover:
    + One of the best Kindle covers in terms of integration, form made, nothing wrapping over the Kindle
    + Light takes power from Kindle like the official cover, no need to charge separately
    + Light can be pushed inside the cover and quite seamlessly hidden when not in use
    + Kindle fits snugly in without covering any keys, won't wiggle or drop, just like the official cover
    - Neither has any closing mechanism

    TeckNet cons - worse than official:
    - Hard plastic rear slides on the table compared to the leather rear of the official cover
    - Hard plastic parts are less nice than the softer plastic on the official cover
    - Light hue is quite blue, some may prefer it but I feel the warmer official light hue is nicer
    - Light is a little less bright
    - While TeckNet integrates better with Kindle than any official cover I have seen, its holding clasps are more visible and less seamless than the official
    - Grey inside colors fits worse with the new black Kindle 5
    - Thicker (and taller)

    As a recap, I can recommend the TeckNet cover as a cheaper alternative to the official lighted leather cover. The concept of lighted cover taking its power from Kindle is great. Both the official Amazon and the TeckNet cover have their ups and do their jobs, but are, however, somewhat imperfect. The lowish leather quality of the Amazon cover is questionable considering its price and its light shines in your eyes. On the other hand, TeckNet (which has better leather and doesn't shine in your eyes) has worse plastic, a plastic back and a dimmer, bluer light that may divide opinion as well. So, it comes down to personal preference.

    Amazon cover on the left, TeckNet on the right:


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