The M-Edge Cambridge Jacket is one of the many new accessory cases designed for the third-generation Amazon Kindle eReader. Like other Kindle covers in the line, it pairs with the e-Luminator2 Booklight, which is sold separately.
I have to admit, the M-Edge Cambridge Jacket for the new Amazon Kindle is one of the first eReader accessories I’ve ever used that even comes close to making me forget I’m not reading a “real” book. And as a result of that, I’m positively pleased with this $44.99 accessory.
A big part of my adulation stems from the Cambridge’s design. It’s so aesthetically pleasing that it actually makes me want to use my Kindle more often. One of my initial reservations about the Kindle, even the sleeker designs of its evolved models, was that despite its portability and lightweight nature, it’s always felt the way a bar of soap feels in my grip in the shower. In other words, like it’s ready to launch away from me at any second. And at a price tag as steep, who wants to risk bringing something like that to the beach, or the bathroom, or even the back porch, for that matter?
Given the unappealing nature of some of the Kindle cases I’ve tried out in the past — especially the first generation Kindle covers, which remind me of those cheap grocery store Halloween costumes from the 60’s and 70’s — I suppose that it was only a matter of time before someone finally came out with a design that replicates the feel of actually holding a hardbound book.
That’s where the true value of the Cambridge comes into play, because although it is visually attractive, it’s far more satisfying to the touch. I’ve discovered that my hands actually miss having a book resting in them when I read, and that’s what the Cambridge turns my Kindle into: a book. While there’s no real added bulk to speak of, the Cambridge’s 6.7 ounces are actually a plus because the extra weight delivers the closest thing to an actual book reading experience you can have with an eReader.
The Cambridge Jacket has a mixed woven cotton and leather exterior, and the lastest-generation Amazon Kindle is held into place by leather straps on the case’s interior flap that slip easily over the Kindle’s four corners. The fit? Snug as a bug. In addition, the case’s woven exterior offers the kind of improved grip that makes it far less of a “flight risk,” even in clumsy hands. And if it does take flight, its sturdy, padded design provides enough shock resistance to leave your Kindle unscathed.
Also of note, the back cover features a magnet, holding the front cover in place when it is folded back over itself. This keeps the cover from flapping while you hold the Kindle with one hand and is an excellent feature.
The M-Edge e-Luminator2 Booklight, available for $19.99, is another story. In fact, if you hold them side by side – the Cambridge Jacket and the e-Luminator2 – the two look so oddly mismatched that using them in tandem is the equivalent of throwing on a pair of dirty sneakers to wear with your tuxedo.
The existence of four credit card-sized pockets on the left inner flap of the Cambridge Jacket allows for the alternate placement of the book light, but it works best when inserted into the upper right pocket just behind the Kindle. At 1.3 ounces, the e-Luminator2 is lightweight enough that it’s almost not felt, and sturdy enough that you don’t have to worry about it moving about on its own, but overall its design doesn’t come anywhere near working as a match for the Cambridge.
It runs on a single AAA battery, which is good I suppose, and its LED lightbulb will apparently never need to be replaced – another bonus. But other than that, the e-Luminator2 is unremarkable as far as book lights go.
Its two brightness settings, which I’ll call “bright” and “pretty brighter,” do their job adequately. I like for my book lights to cast a wide enough arc of light that I don’t risk having to read any portion of my eReader (or book, for that matter) in shadow, and to that end, the e-Luminator2 works well. It also creates no glare on the Kindle screen, another major concern led by my desire to be fooled into thinking I’m reading an actual book and not an electronic device.
The pivot neck is plenty flexible, and is almost capable of doing a full 360, but it’s short and hard to manipulate. Even if I could get past that, the book light is doomed by a clunky and awkward design, something that seems incredibly out of place when paired up with the Cambridge. For one, it’s too bulky to fit into the case when the Kindle’s locked and loaded. There go your plans for having less to carry around. And it simply smacks of being in a far lower class of Kindle accessory.
What would be truly ideal here would be the development of a smaller, less obtrusive book light that would ramp up the sleek factor for the Cambridge Jacket, not detract from it. Alas, that’s what the e-Luminator2 winds up doing. And I hate it when that happens.
The Cambridge Jacket:
- Gorgeous visual design that looks and feels like a real hardcover book.
- Offers the Kindle a snug fit and impressive impact protection.
- Not enough room to stow the e-Luminator2 and Kindle at the same time.
- Calls for the availability of a sleeker, more compact book light to act as a worthy counterpart.
The e-Luminator2 Booklight:
- Operates on a single AAA battery.
- The pivot neck can rotate 360 degrees.
- Its neck is too short to offer superior flexibility.
- Awkward design that does no justice to high-caliber eBook jackets like the Cambridge.
At $44.99, the Cambridge Jacket is a well-priced Kindle accessory that deserves a solid review on its own merit. The e-Luminator2 Booklight, on the other hand, has its merits, but does not pair well with the excellent Cambridge Jacket.
Both the M-Edge Cambridge Jacket and e-Luminator2 are both available from the M-Edge online store for $44.99 and $19.99, respectively.