Author Topic: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions  (Read 11271 times)  

Offline FearIndex

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Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
« on: October 07, 2013, 01:23:46 pm »
I have been going through various $69/$79 Kindle 4/5 covers and cover modifications looking for the perfect one (see my signature for some older stories). So far the best cover has been the original Amazon lighted leather cover in black, I bought back in 2011 for the $79 Kindle 4, modified with a piece of black cardboard to stop the light shining into my eyes.

As I upgraded some family members Kindles to the $69 Kindle 5, I also got a chance to toy with a few new, 2013 acquired official Amazon lighted leather covers - so far again in black and also wine purple. I was interested to see if anything had changed in the cover since the 2011 version of the same cover. Also, I wanted to see the difference between different color versions. Here are my findings.

First of all, since last year's $69 Kindle 5 facelift I assume, the cover now ships in Kindle Paperwhite cover styled case, whereas the $79 Kindle 4 contemporary of this same cover shipped only in a plastic bag. You can see the difference below, on the left the 2011 version, on the right two 2013 versions:





Getting the covers out from their boxes reveals basically an unchanged design. Although between the colors it is easy to notice how the wine purple cover has a grey interior, one that better matches the grey version of this Kindle, although it is not the exact same shade (all non-black Kindle 4/5 official covers have this lighter grey interior) - luckily the light grey interior doesn't look as cheap as it did in pictures, it looks fine. The black covers, both new and old, have black interiors. As for the yearly revisions, as far as I can tell, nothing major has changed between 2011 and 2013 versions. That doesn't mean there aren't some details that are different, though, which I'll get to in a minute.

2013 black on the left, 2011 black in the middle, 2013 wine purple on the right:





I could discern the following small changes in the 2013 version of the covers (compared to the 2011 one):

- Slightly thicker front leather (not much, but it does seem thicker), which mostly shows a slightly more substantial sides
- Slightly blacker/glossier leather on the black version, this is on both sides so I don't think it is sun fade on the old one
- Slightly lighter color on the black plastic interior in the new black version, this shows well in the picture above (I don't have a 2011 wine purple to compare to)
- Significantly blacker and shinier Kindle imprint on the inside cover, new one looks quite nice actually
- Slightly different light warmness/brightness
- New packaging

So, while the cover basically is the same, the new version does seem a little shinier all around. As the old one is in very good condition and has been only used at home, I don't think wear and tear explains the difference. The new one just is a little shinier. I think the quality is a tiny sliver better, but you have to realize the difference isn't that big. But it is there. Still, I wish the Kindle 4/5 cover would be as nice as the second and third generation Kindle covers, or the Kindle Paperwhite - it isn't, but oh well.

One thing warrants special mention though, the LED light has definitely been changed. It still "shines in the eyes" equally, but the 2011 light is different from the light in both the black and wine purple 2013 covers. The new light is warmer, a little more yellow than the slightly bluer, colder old light. The new tone is probably easier on the eyes and more book-like, if that means anything. I swapped different Kindles into the cases, that didn't affect the light - it is a different light in the cover itself between 2011 and 2013 versions.

It would seem the new 2013 light is also slightly dimmer, though, which causes two things: There is none of that excessive hotspotting on the top part of the screen, which is great, but as a downside when reading in pitch black the bottom right corner seems a tad bit darker. Just the bottom right corner, rest is just fine. Someone mentioned this in the newer reviews at Amazon and I couldn't see the issue in my 2011 cover, because the 2011 cover has a little brighter light. I can see the issue in both of the 2013 covers. Now, it probably isn't a problem for most people, but this is a clear difference between my 2011 and 2013 versions of the cover.

Luckily, this seems fixable. As the 2013 cover also suffers from light shining into eyes, I believe it too requires the cardboard trick I mentioned before for maximum usability. I quickly experimented with cardboard that was white and glossy on the bottom side, which shines excess light from the LED back on the screen and makes a clear impression on the problematic bottom right corner, which is suddenly a lot less problematic. When I install the cardboard trick on the new covers permanently, I plan to use a glossy white cardboard this time. If I have something new to add, I'll report back, but it seems promising.

These pictures show the lights considerably bluer than they actually are, but you can see the brightness difference in the lower right corners and in the "hotspot" top middle of the screens:





It is a tad bit unfortunate one has to tinker this much to try and find the perfect Kindle solution these days. It was so much easier in the Kindle 3 Keyboard times. Off to cut some cardboard! ;)

One final note, while the light grey interior of the wine purple case is unfortunate with a black Kindle, and all new baby Kindles are now black only, the wine purple color itself does look absolutely beautiful. It does add that extra bit of punch to an otherwise quite modest cover. Maybe I could get used to the grey interior and give my black cover to someone else instead...

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    Offline Tabatha

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #1 on: October 09, 2013, 05:26:09 am »
    I had the wine/purple cover for the K4, and loved the gray interior. I used the dark wings skin on front of kindle, and the back skin on front of cover to avoid scratchs. There is a photo somewhere on KB showing it. The skin matched the cover perfectly, and worked well with the gray interior.

    http://www.decalgirl.com/artwork/2084/Dark-Wings

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 05:48:45 am »
    Thanks for the tip! Placing a DecalGirl rear decal on the front of the cover sounds like a really neat idea, actually.

    As for the pics, I quickly ran a search and these came up:

    https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=99815.0



    Here's the design inside an Oberon:

    https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,95050.msg1482809.html#msg1482809





    Also this warning of yours about hardness of removing the decal came up:

    https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=149403.0

    In that thread someone also did it for the inside of the cover of a PW, which suggests a non-lighted official baby Kindle leather cover might also be suitably sized for a decal.



    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 05:53:13 am »
    Thanks, FearIndex and Tabatha for the information about the covers.

    FearIndex--not a biggie, but I reduced the size of your images to 800 pixels wide for the benefit of people with older monitors and mobile devices.  (I put width=800 in the first img tag of each image.)  Thanks for understanding!  I think they are still very viewable.

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    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 06:11:02 am »
    Thank you, Betsy!

    That is a very handy trick, too. I tried it immediately above to rectify the width in my reply to Tabatha too.

    Will keep this in mind. :)

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 10:21:36 am »
    Now, this is interesting. The friendly UPS man brought the final missing piece of my Kindle 4/5 lighted cover puzzle, the olive green official lighted cover for $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5.

    And it was packaged like my 2011 black official lighted cover was, in the Kindle 4 "design" plastic bag only, suggesting this is from an older batch than the 2013 bought black and wine purple cases I showcased above. Indeed, it shows some of the differences the black 2011 cover has: milder, a bit smaller Kindle imprint on the inside... and a different LED light than the 2013 black and wine purple covers. Otherwise it seems similar, the shade of the grey plastic is the same as in the wine purple cover.

    Just like my 2011 black cover, the olive green cover has a colder, brighter light. It is even a little colder, bluer in shade than the 2011 black one. It draws a very straight light across the middle of the Kindle (and lights the bottom corners better). (Whereas the 2013 covers have warmer, less bright tones and sort of point towards the left, leaving the bottom right corner a little darker.)

    Notes about the olive green lighted cover:

    - Came packed in 2011 plastic bag packaging, not the 2012-2013 Kindle PW inspired cardboard packaging
    - Has a bluer/colder, brighter light just like my 2011 cover (even a little colder), unlike my 2013 covers
    - Has a slightly less prominent Kindle imprint on the inside like my 2011 cover, unlike my 2013 covers
    - Otherwise looks similar to the 2013 wine purple cover, e.g. interior plastic is similar grey in shade

    So now I have four Kindle 4/5 lighted covers in the house, waiting to be put into use. I'll just have to mix and match with relatives, once I get a feel for who likes which. The new black and wine purple have warm, gentler LEDs, the old black and new olive green have colder, brighter LEDs.



    I'll try to get a better photo in daylight of the case colors, but below is the packaging difference (today's olive green on the right). The color of the olive green case seems quite earthy, mustardy.

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 03:39:40 pm »
    I toyed quite a while with all the four official Amazon $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5 lighted leather covers and especially their lights.

    I have covered this above in some detail, but now I took to really look at the differences more closely. Just like a bunch of PWs :), all the LED patterns on these covers are somewhat different.

    - The black cover I bought back in 2011 shines a quite cold, blue light down the middle of the screen, but concentrating on the top of the screen. This means it hotspots quite a bit on the top half, but at the same time lands quite uniformly across the rest of the screen. It does look, overall, the brightest of the bunch, but on the other hand the cold tone and hotspotting on the top part of the page means it isn't very "warm and cozy".

    - The olive green cover I bought in 2013, but which is still packed like the 2011 covers were in a plain plastic bag, is nearest to the black 2011 cover. It also shines a quite cold, blueish light, even somewhat colder than the black 2011 cover. Calling the light blue would be too much, but it is a very cold tone of white. This one also lands down the middle of the screen, but doesn't hotspot on the top as much, instead it sort of splits the screen by being bright on the middle throughout the height of the screen and dispersing on the sides. I think I prefer the black 2011 pattern over this, though, the coldness and the splitting pattern isn't quite as nice.

    - Both 2013 covers that came in the latest cardboard boxes have different LEDs than the above two. They are much warmer in tone than the above-mentioned are, especially visible when comparing side to side. The tone is cozier, warmer, yellower for sure. On the wine purple cover the light points a little to the side, which further avoids hotspotting and splitting, but also means the bottom right corner is visibly darker than the rest of the screen. I think this light is probably my least favorite as is, although a glossy cardboard guide (https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,131020.0.html) over the LED would probably do wonders.

    - The 2013 black cover has my second-favorite LED of the four cases. It is warm, like on the 2013 wine purple cover, but it points towards the center a little better - it does, though, leave a sliver on the right of the page darker than the rest, so that glossy cardboard might do good here too. It isn't as pronounced as on the wine purple, though, and the upside is much less hotspotting on the top and a much more inviting warm tone of light than the colder light in the 2011 black version.

    All of the lights are perfectly usable for reading in the pitch dark, even thought that is also when the imperfections show best. If you are reading in ambient light, you can pretty much forget about any such worries, because additional lighting will even things out anyway.

    So, be aware of such differences between official lighted Kindle 4/5 covers...

    Offline FearIndex

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    Re: Differences between Kindle 4/5 official lighted cover versions
    « Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 02:13:14 am »
    Here are a few more photographs of the official Amazon lighted leather cover for $79 Kindle 4/$69 Kindle 5, from left olive green, wine purple and black, mostly just to show the colors. These are the versions I bought in 2013, although as I said the olive green one seems old stock from the $79 Kindle 4 days, while the two others are newer. In the olive green and black cases is a $69 Kindle 5 in black, in the wine purple case a grey $79 Kindle 4.

    Mind you, the grey-interior cases actually work with a black Kindle much better in darkness, when reading with the on-board light. They grey hardly sticks out then. But certainly in daylight the black Kindle fits much nicer into the black cover that has dark interior plastic.



    Bigger picture: http://imageshack.us/a/img534/2000/e0pz.jpg



    Bigger picture: http://imageshack.us/a/img834/7026/la7u.jpg

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