KindlesAmazon recently announced three new Kindle devices, the new Kindle, the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. Then immediately afterwards it was suggested that they were unlikely to be made available in the UK before the end of the year…

I still have a fair few paper books so I wasn’t too put out by this delay. Then when the new, cheaper, Kindle was displayed on the Amazon site for £89 I couldn’t resist and decided to pre-order one. And as it arrived today I decided to get to work and write a review…

Once I had placed my pre-order I wanted to get my hands on an old Kindle, which has now been renamed the Kindle Keyboard, to make sure I would be able to make a decent comparison between the two so I recently read a short book on Shirley’s Kindle.

I received my new Kindle through the post today. That’s why this post is a little late. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to play with my new gadget so I can give a honest opinion of it…

First lets start with a quick run down of the new Kindle models. Only the basic Kindle is currently available here in the UK but it may be useful to know what’s around the corner…

Kindle

The new Kindle is very similar to the original model except that all the letter keys have been removed to make the device more compact. The memory has been halved from 4GB to 2GB but still holds up to 1,400 books compared to 3,500. Also the battery is smaller and so doesn’t last quite as long, now stated as 1 month instead of 2.

Neither of these compromises feel that restrictive though as there is no real need to carry thousands of books with you. Even an extended trip away from home you would only need a few books. All you need is a wireless connection to download more from your collection or even purchase new books on your travels. There is no 3G option with the basic model as with the Kindle Keyboard

As for the smaller battery one thing that is a shame is that there is no wall plug adapter included as there was with the original. All you get is a USB cable to attach to a computer of some kind. You can buy the adapter separately or as it is a standard USB connection presumably you could use your iPhone plug or any other generic adapter.

The American version is even cheaper still as they offer a model that has built in Special Offers which display on the home screen or when the device is in sleep mode. This allows Amazon to subsidise the device based on the advertising revenue. As the Special Offers don’t interfere with any actual reading I would have happily selected this option if it was available over here in the UK…

Kindle Touch

The Kindle Touch is the next model up. It is still based around the E-Ink screen but adds the ability to touch the screen to turn the page or for navigation rather than using external buttons.

This puts the device in between a basic e-reader and a tablet device. There may be some benefits especially if you like to add lots of comments on what you read as the on screen keyboard is a bit slow to use on the new Kindle.

Without getting hands on I’m not sure if you can pinch to zoom as on the iPad as that could be quite useful especially with PDF files.

Anyway the idea sounds good but I’m not sure how much of a benefit touch would be. As this device isn’t going to be available in the UK for a while anyway I didn’t see any reason for me to wait for the touch version.

Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is touted as a competitor to the iPad. It’s a fully fledged tablet device with a multi-touch colour screen rather than the E-Ink used on the other e-reader devices and it’s got a bigger screen than the other Kindles. The screen is however a fair bit smaller than an iPad.

This will allow you to play games, although I don’t know how you get them onto the device, and watch films. One advantage over the iPad is the widescreen form factor which should be great for films.

Another thing that works well on tablets is the internet. Amazon have developed a whole new browser especially for the Kindle Fire called Silk. The basic idea is that all of the heavy lifting is done in the cloud reducing the workload on the tablet itself. For more information on Silk check out the Introducing Amazon Silk page that includes a video going over some of the priciples.

My Review

OK so now to the important stuff. What do I think of the new Kindle…

First impressions are very important and even the packaging it comes in is great. The device is a fair bit smaller and lighter than the Kindle Keyboard which makes it much easier to hold in one hand.

The page turn buttons are a little lower than before, due to the overall size reduction, which isn’t ideal but I can still change pages really quickly and easily while holding the device comfortably in one hand. I find that this makes reading much quicker on the Kindle compared to paper books. It takes a little bit of time to turn the page of a paper book and usually requires the use of both hands whereas with the Kindle your thumb is naturally positioned over the page turn button, whichever hand you hold the device in, so a little flick turns the page pretty much instantly.

Overall I have been surprised by how quickly I get through stuff on the Kindle when compared to paper…

Being able to send PDF files to the device, either by sending to a unique email address or manually copying them onto the device, is very handy. Obviously the document can only be displayed in black and white so is only really useful if it is mainly text based. You can also send text files but I haven’t had a reason to try that out yet…

It is much easier on your eyes than the iPad when reading text in natural light and you can easily get fully immersed just as you would with a paper based book. As the screen isn’t reflective you can even read outside in the sun, if there ever is any…

Conversely this does mean that you can’t read in low light situations as you can with a backlit device such as the iPad.

Anyway I love it. Compared to the Kindle Keyboard it is much more compact and I don’t feel the need for the keyboard. I just want to read and have no real intentions of writing any comments as I go.

With the reduction in price the new Kindle has got to be tempting, hasn’t it. It’s just a shame we can’t get the even cheaper Special Offers version over here in the UK…

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4 comments

Shirl

My kindle is better than yours ;0) just slighty larger.

    Pete O'Shea

    Very true yours has much more space and a better battery. Size isn’t everything though…

Michael Ludgate

I’m with Shirl, I’m be completely lost without the keyboard. I like being able to annotate and post small comments/reviews on the kindle to facebook.

Although in terms of books, the capacity doesn’t seem too important, you’ll soon eat it up with audio books. Recently picked up a set of John le Carré novels for the Smiley arc, around 500MB each. The unabridged audio books last around 3/4 hours so you could want 2GB for a week away from a computer.

    Pete O'Shea

    That’s something I forgot to mention, another thing that has been removed is the ability to play audio. There is no headphone socket on the new kindle…

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