Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: SD Tabletwear Lighted Case For Kindle


As e-readers are becoming more and more prolific, so too are accessories for them. Just a couple of years ago there were only a couple of lighted covers to choose from for your Kindle. Now there are close to a dozen, albeit most covers that come with a light are very expensive. Today I’ll be reviewing one from SD Tabletwear—a very inexpensive alternative that’s still very high quality and extremely stylish.

I should say up front that I’m not sure who actually manufactures this case. The Kindle Cover I received for review is distributed by Slick Distributions LTD and is sold under the name Luminous in the UK by GearZap. (They have a second online distributive channel called mobilefun.co.uk which sells the same case for the same price.) This case is also distributed in the USA by AYL® (A Young Life). Americans can, however, buy the case through GearZap.com also. They currently sell it for £19.95 which I believe amounts to roughly $30 American currency. Amazon’s own lighted cover for Kindle (which I reviewed here) sold for $60 originally. They now have the price down to $50. That’s still $20 more than the lighted cover I’ll be reviewing today.

This Kindle Cover with Light is made from polyurethane leather—basically a low to mid grade leather with a polyurethane poured over it. The result is an inexpensive leather that will now be stronger and more resistant to abrasions and weather (because of its low water absorption) than the highest grades of leather. Adidas Roteiro soccer balls, for instance, and several manufacturers of high quality automobile seats are covered with the same material. The case feels very strong and yet soft to the touch.


The inside is covered with a beautiful soft velvet in your choice of red or purple.


If there was any glue used on the case, I’ve not been able to spot it. Everything I see is well stitched together.


There’s also a convenient strap to carry the case with. It’s made of the same polyurethane leather and is easily detachable if not needed. The case is secured by a tab that slides under a loop on the rear of the case.


If you want to fold the case in half while reading, you can attach the tab backwards through that same loop on the back of the case to keep it from flapping around.


Your Kindle will slide into the straps snug and secure with no danger of falling out. And the design allows you full access to all the Kindle’s controls. Once you’ve placed the Kindle in this case, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have a reason to remove it. It’s as snug as a bug in a rug!



As well-made as the case is, the light may even be better. The machining on this light is as good as it gets with every part well-seated.


It sports a single white light LED (daylight temperature) which is very easy on the eyes. There’s also a diffuser to aid in getting rid of glare.



It uses 3 AG13 1.5V Button Cell Batteries. These are rated at no less than 25-hours of use and are very economical. You can buy them in packs of ten for less than a quarter each and in packs of fifty for about a dime.


You can keep the light in a drawer if you don’t use it much, but the case also has an elastic band for storing the light. There’s even a small hole to allow for easy access to the light’s on/off button.


I did find myself accidentally turning the light off and on with the case folding in half while reading since this makes the button stick right out into your hand; however, you’ll be glad to know that you can simply turn the light so that the button is pointing elsewhere with no problem. In fact, you can just as easily press the button through the fabric holding it in place, so there’s really no problem at all in this regard.


You may even find that there’s no need to ever remove the light from its elastic holding strap. The base of the light is magnetic, and there’s a magnet on the upper right corner of the case to hold it while reading.


However, I found that keeping the light in its holder, and then bending the gooseneck to the side, provided excellent illumination, perhaps even better than when placed on the magnetic holder.


That flexible gooseneck is what really sets this light apart from most others in the e-reader marketplace. You can easily find a position which illuminates the entire screen evenly. You may recall from my review of Amazon’s own lighted case that getting even light distribution was a major problem with theirs because the bottom half of the screen got very little light in comparison to the upper half.

My photo here doesn’t do the light justice as I couldn’t manage to photograph it in such a way that shows even light distribution, but believe me, you can do it.


Conclusions:

Don’t get me wrong, although it's close, no one has yet to come out with the perfect lighted e-reader case. My only complaint with this one is that, while the light is sufficient, it could be a bit stronger. I’ve always believed that the best way to attack the problem is to have a case with 4-LEDs, one in each corner of the screen. I’m confident that eventually we’ll see that case appear. But at the moment, this offering from SD Tabletwear may just be the one to beat, especially considering the low price, high quality materials, great workmanship, and an adequate LED light on a gooseneck for easy positioning. My sister wants a Kindle for her birthday, and I intend to give her one of my two lighted cases to go with it. Guess which one I’ll be keeping.

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