Name: case-mate Enlighten
Rating: Weak Recommend*
My Kindle 2 and I are rather inseparable. A late adopter to the digital book scene, I continue to be surprised at just how much I continue to love my Kindle 2 and use it 6 months after its purchase. So when the opportunity came to review a new accessory for the Kindle 2, the prototype of the Enlighten by case-mate, I jumped at the chance. The Enlighten is a case made of genuine leather in an Old English book style and is the first case on the market equipped with a LED powered light for nighttime reading as well as an interior side pocket for storage. The concept for the Enlighten, a case with a built in light that enables easy nighttime reading is great. It was nice to be able to carry around my own light source along with my Kindle 2. The light has three modes, high, low, and off, which allowed me to easily adjust for the necessary light depending on the environmental conditions. The case also has a very nice feel, although it did not make "reading Dan Brown will feel like reading Dante," it did make my Kindle 2 feel more book-like.
My first experience with the Enlighten was not terribly positive, as I tried to insert my Kindle 2 into the case, one of the clips broke off. Without using the clips there is no alternate way to secure the device to the case. I have been assured that when this case is on the shelves it will have much stronger clips. Thankfully a second prototype was included, so that I was able to see the case in action. It was difficult to insert and took a few attempts before I was able to secure the device in the case.
The LED light in the high setting is quite bright, unfortunately, as you can see in the pictures a ripple sort of effect became visible across the screen. Because this is a prototype I am hopeful that this will not be present in the case when it becomes available for sale. The ripple made reading, which is the whole point of the Kindle 2, quite challenging and is a pretty big flaw in this case. The panel that the lights shine through picks up every scratch and piece of dust, it's very important to keep this clean as this also significantly alters the visibility. It's for this reason that I thought twice about using the inside pocket, as I did not want to put anything in the case that could damage that sensitive panel.
Another feature that I hope is improved upon is the previous page button. This button is very difficult to engage, and for a reader like me who frequently uses this button, it really slows you down.
Although the case has a nice feel to it, it is a bit heavier than one would like (this is primarily due to the two batteries that are housed in the spine) and does feel a bit clunky. I do confess that I usually keep my Kindle 2 in a envelope-like sleeve that I made in order to maintain the slim profile while the device in being carried around with me.
All in all I love the concept and would seriously consider purchasing one should the bugs be worked out. As much as I strive to maintain the slim footprint of the Kindle 2, it would be nice to have an option that would make reading in low light easier.
The Enlighten will be available on case-mate.com in early December.
Pros: Innovative concept and case has a nice feel.
Cons: Hard to insert Kindle 2 into the case, difficult to read, previous page button hard to press, and feels a bit bulky.
(images: Joelle Alcaidinho and case-mate)