Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers Price Details:
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Simple-to-use touchscreen, with audio and built-in Wi-Fi – Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch – New sleek design – 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books – Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s – Built in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds – Massive t book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less – New – Borrow Kindle books from your public library
- Display: Amazon’s 6" diagonal most advanced E Ink multi-touch display, optimized with proprietary waveform and font technology, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level grayscale.
- Size (in inches): 6.8" x 4.7" x 0.40" (172 mm x 120 mm x 10.1 mm)
- Weight: 7.5 ounces (213 grams)
- None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer to download content. On-device Storage: Up to 3,000 books or 4 GB internal (approximately 3 GB available for user content).
- Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
- Battery Life: A single charge lasts up to two months with wireless off based upon a half-hour of daily reading time. Keep wireless always on and it lasts for up to 6 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store, web browsing, and downloading content.
- Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via the included USB 2.0 cable connected to a computer. U.S. power adapter sold separately.
- Wi-Fi Connectivity: Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS); supports WPA and WPA2 secured networks using 802.1X authentication methods using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
- USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
- Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, rear mounted speakers
- Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced(AA,AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.
- Documentation: Quick Start Guide (included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device). Additional information available online.
- Warranty and Service: 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Protection Plan available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Kindle is subject to the terms found here.
- Included in the Box: Kindle wireless e-reader, USB 2.0 cable, Quick Start Guide. Power adapter sold separately.
First Kindle: Chose Touch over the Keyboard (UPDATED: 06/17/2012)
I’m definitely an avid reader. Actually, as I type this, I have roughly 1000 books sitting on a wall of shelves behind me. E-readers have always intrigued me, but I’ve never felt like they were worth $199 or more; however, when the Kindle Fire was announced, I thought they had released the Kindle for me.
I watched video reviews, “hands-on” videos, read numerous reviews, etc. I was pretty sure that I wanted a Fire, but as I thought about it, I wasn’t convinced that the Fire really provided me with access to anything that I couldn’t do on my phone (HTC Inspire 4g). Other than a bigger screen, the Fire was actually pretty limited (for my purposes). I mean, I would only be able to use the browser and watch videos in areas with WiFi (i.e. at home, at work, or at retail location with WiFi). If I’m at home, I’ll probably just watch videos on my tv and access the internet on my desktop or my laptop. At work I’m too busy for the Fire to get much use. And other than the occasional trip to Starbucks (and by occasional, I mean like once a month), I don’t really make use of hot spots.
SOO…I decided the Fire didn’t really justify the extra money for something I already have access to through my phone, laptop/desktop, or tv. This caused me to run the gambit of reviews for the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard. Best Buy was advertising the Kindle Keyboard 3G (with ads) for $89, so price wasn’t really a distinguishing feature for me. My thoughts:
- Kindle Touch is full-on touchscreen, and based on video reviews, it looked a little laggy
- Kindle Touch will probably drive me nuts with fingerprints/smudges
- Kindle Touch seems like a digress in touchscreen technology (like using a late 90s ATM)
- Kindle Touch doesn’t have physical buttons for page turns, which seemed like it would be a negative
- The $99 doesn’t have 3G, so I’d be limited to Wifi
- Highlighting and note-taking seems like it would be difficult on a laggy screen
- Looking up words will probably be easier
- Kindle Keyboard has a decent keyboard and physical page turn buttons
- Kindle Keyboard has strong support through reviews (not many people don’t love it)
- The Best Buy sale lets you have free 3G for cheap
- Fingerprints/smudges won’t be an issue
After considering all of this, I went to Best Buy absolutely intending on buying a Kindle Keyboard. I got there, and of course, they had demo models of both. I figured, “What the heck…might as well make sure I like the Keyboard more.”
I played with both for over an hour. I read books, made notes, made highlights, looked up words, went to the menu, back to a book, back to the menu. I went forward through a few pages. I went back through the same pages. I did everything I thought I would normally do while reading. My decision?
- The Kindle Touch touchscreen does have a slight delay, but it’s definitely not a late 90s ATM. It’s a delay, but just long enough for you to demonstrate a slight bit of patience (and to be honest, if you’re an avid reader, patience is probably a virtue you can easily put into practice. There’s a reason you’re reading a book and not watching a movie.)
- Highlighting/note-taking is actually much more convenient on the Touch. Just press where you want to start, wait a second, drag to where you want to stop, and click highlight. Much easier (in my opinion) than moving the cursor down to where you want to start with the d-pad, clicking enter, dragging the cursor to where you want to stop, and then clicking enter again.
- Note-taking is slightly more convenient on the Keyboard simply because you can just start typing (if you’re not overly concerned about the exact line the note is attached to). If you are concerned about the location of your notes, then using the d-pad to move the cursor was not only inconvenient but also uncomfortable (I have pretty big hands, so doing all of this one-handed required me to contort my thumb in a very odd way to use the d-pad).
- I didn’t really like the keyboard on the Keyboard. The buttons are very heavy, so you have to give them a decent push to register a keystroke. Also, the qwerty layout is not a true qwerty layout, so beware of that. I had to be very conscious of the keys I was pushing otherwise I ended up with notes like: “The Kimdle keynoard is very mice.” VERY ANNOYING (especially if you take a ton of notes…which I do).
- The page turn button on the Keyboard was very annoying. The page turn button on the demo model gave two very audible clicks when I pressed it. The clicks were distracting, taking me “out” of the book after every page.
- After thinking about it, the free 3G wasn’t a huge benefit. I could only think of a few scenarios where it would have been useful: 1) I’m somewhere with no WiFi and I’ve read everything on my Kindle and I’m absolutely going to die unless I read a book right then (which I could easily do on my phone, which DOES have 3G…not free, but it’d resolve this scenario). 2) I’m reading somewhere and I get an urge to share something via Twitter/Facebook. No 3G, no sharey sharey. Yet, again, if I ABSOLUTELY felt the urge to share something, I have a phone in my pocket that is fully capable of accomplishing this task.
Overall, I was almost dumbfounded that I preferred the Touch over the Keyboard. I actually delayed my purchase and took my wife to the store and had her play with both to see if I was just crazy. She agreed: the keyboard on the Keyboard is poorly designed, the clicking is annoying, and the screen on the Touch is actually pretty incredible. (Edit: The clicking page-turn buttons on the Keyboard may be confined to the demo unit I used. I played with another Keyboard at another Best Buy and there was no clicking. Regardless, the tapping/swiping on the Touch is a much more natural movement for me.)
So far, I love my Touch. It will definitely be more convenient than carrying my normal 3-4 books around in my backpack.
For those on the fence, I hope this helped.
UPDATE: Just a few additional notes worth mentioning (notes as of 12/24…my Touch has had a little over a month of use now):
- (This may only apply to those who are thinking of purchasing their first Kindle) While the ability to make notes and highlights directly on the device is very handy, a huge time-saver, and a pretty awesome convenience, the dictionary function is by far one of the more intuitive features. It is incredibly useful to simply touch an unknown word and have the definition pop up. I first noticed the convenience of this option when I literally pushed on an unknown word in a paperback book, an action that was observed by my wife, resulting in: 1) my wife laughing hysterically, 2) me feeling a little ridiculous, and 3) I still didn’t known what the word meant. I’m definitely spoiled.
- For those not willing to flip through the additional comments: the ad-supported version is actually pretty useful. I’ve purchased a few Amazon Local deals and used one Amazon e-book coupon during the course of this month. (As I mentioned in one of my replies, the ads may not be as useful to those who live outside of a major metropolitan area.)
- The battery life is pretty legit. On 12/21, I decided to charge my Kindle for the first time since 11/22. A complete month of fairly heavy use, and I probably had at least a few more days to go, if not a full week, before I really NEEDED to charge it. WiFi was off for the majority of that time, but I’m not too sure why you’d need WiFi on when you’re not downloading new content.
- Fingerprints have not been an issue at all. The only slightly negative thing I’ve noticed with the screen is the occasional hair stuck in the edge of the screen. Nothing major, but it is a little annoying.
- I love my Touch. I use it daily, sometimes for a few hours at a time. I find myself almost loathing reading a hard-copy book, primarily for no other reason than having to hold the book open (Ugh…), and turn the pages (Moan…), and find a bookmark (Groan…).
Maybe I’m just lazy.
Regardless, the Touch is awesome. Probably the best $100 I’ve spent in a while.
I still love my Touch. I use it a little less now because the novelty of e-ink has subsided a bit, but it still gets a fair amount of use. My Touch is my go-to when I’m reading for “enjoyment.” When I’m reading for work, I still prefer paper, pen, highlighters, and sticky-notes.
As far as new features/updates:
- The latest update definitely sped things up. Page turns are almost instant, flipping back to the menu is almost instant, and typing is almost instant. Amazon has included a predictive text feature that I don’t find particularly useful, but others may like it (the predictive text has a slight delay, making it faster to just type your words out).
- Highlighting has been improved drastically, both in speed and functionality. Highlighting no longer has a delay; it pretty much highlights what you drag your finger over WHEN you drag your finger over it. Also, they added the ability to highlight across pages (BIG improvement).
- Not an update but…: I wasn’t aware that you can email .pdfs to your Kindle email address, and Amazon will convert the .pdf to Kindle format for you. I’ve used this several times to convert professional journal articles to Kindle format. I haven’t noticed any major formatting issues. I’ve had a few with page headers lumped in with the actual text, but other than that, nothing too distracting has popped out. I would imagine .pdfs with several graphs/charts wouldn’t convert very well, but you never know…
- I love having the ability to read samples from books I may find interesting. Most samples are the first chapter of the book, but occasionally you’ll get the first two or three chapters. I’ve found a few really awesome books this way and avoided several bad books.
- The last update made the “Go to…” menu function as a hover menu with an embedded table of contents. Prior to the update, “Table of Contents” was an option on the “Go to…” menu, which meant if you wanted to access the ToC you had to tap the top of the screen, tap “Go to…”, tap “Table of Contents”, and then you would get sent back to ToC at the beginning of the book (i.e. if you didn’t know where you were in the book, you just lost your page). Now the ToC is a scrolling list that “hovers” over what you’re reading. This was a minor update that I have found very useful. (However, the ToC hover menu is NOT collapsible, so if a book has a really long ToC, then you could find yourself scrolling for an exhaustively long time to get to chapters toward the end of the book. For example, the ESV Study Bible ToC lists every chapter of every book of the Bible, so if you need to access something in the NT, you get to scroll through a list that includes every chapter (Gen. 1, Gen. 2, Gen. 3, etc.) of every book (Gen., Exo., Lev., etc.). VERY annoying.)
- Landscape mode IS an option now. Not sure if it’s only with certain books or not, but it’s an option on all of the books I’ve tried it on (30 books or so).
As I said above, I still love my Touch. The battery life is still amazing, it’s definitely more convenient than lugging several books around in my bag, and the screen looks and feels incredible. As more and more libraries seem to be opting toward digital lending, I think e-ink readers will only improve in convenience and versatility.
Still the best $100 I’ve spent in years.
A Solid Successor to the Kindle Keyboard
For my review, I’m going to focus it on the differences between the previous Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (which I’ll refer to as the K3), and the Kindle Touch (KT)
USE – As far as the reading experience, I really like the touch compared to the physical buttons on the previous generation. At first I was worried that I would constantly be turning the page from accidentally touching the screen, but this didn’t become much of an issue. The screen is broken up into mapped sections, so if you touch the far left side that covers about 1″ of the left of the screen, it goes to the previous page. If you touch anywhere on the other 80% of the screen beside that, it goes forward. Touch the top 1″ margin, and it will bring up the menu. There is also a physical button on the bottom of the touch that serves as the Home button and will take you straight to the Home menu. The area where I found the touch most useful is the dictionary. Previously, if I wanted to look up the definition of a word, I had to use the clunky joystick to navigate through the text. If a word was at the very bottom at the end of the sentence, sometimes I’d usually just ignore it rather than go through the trouble of pressing that joystick 15 times. With the Touch, I can simply touch the word and hold it down for about 1.5 seconds (so it knows I’m not trying to turn the page) to access the dictionary, which is incredibly useful and time-saving. Underlining phrases and highlighting works almost the same way. You hold down the first word in the sentence, then after two-three seconds it will recognize what you are doing, and then you drag your finger across the rest. I never used to do this before but now I do it all the time. The Kindle Fire actually handles the dictionary search much better. Though this is probably one of the only things the Fire does better than the Touch as far as ebooks. When you swipe your finger across the page or drag it down to change, the page changes just like it did with the Kindle Keyboard, in that it draws the next page. So there is a very short flash. It does not seamlessly and fluidly switch like it does with an iPad or what you would expect if you scrolled your mouse down a web site. This doesn’t detract from it at all for me. There is a new X-Ray feature that you can click on to bring up more ideas and common features of the book, but it is apparently only available on select titles and none of my books had it so I couldn’t try it out. The Kindle Touch does not allow you to switch the display to landscape mode like the basic Kindle does. I have no idea why but I would be surprised if they did not resolve this in a future firmware update.
Form Factor – Even though the changes are fairly small, they feel significant. The KT is only .1″ less width, and a little over half an inch shorter than the K3, but after several hours of using it, I feel like I can hold it longer with one hand than with the K3. I think the main contributor to this is that this Kindle is one ounce lighter than the K3. This is a very noticeable difference from the K3. One ounce adds up after hours of holding it in front of you with one hand. I never had a real problem holding the previous version, but this one seems even easier.
Real Page Numbers – the K3 only displayed a percentage of the book completed or some weird “location” setting that I never understood. The KT displays the actual page number, regardless of what zoom setting you have it on. This is a big improvement for me, especially after I realized how difficult it is for them to be able to do this. This does not work on every book, but most of the popular books I have checked it with have it.
Book Lending – This is another huge improvement and just another reason to make the jump from regular books to a Kindle. You can finally lend your books to other people with Kindles. You can lend a book only once, and only for 14 days. I am okay with that because I understand the need to curb piracy. My only problem is that the book has to be eligible for this option and so far, most of the books in my collection aren’t.
Display – Same as before on the K3, with a few improvements. The short flash that you get when turning the page (although I never really notice it) while the Kindle loads up the next page, occurs less frequently. This makes the Touch feel a lot more like a real book. Even though the display is monochrome, the KT delivers very crisp black and white images, and renders photos and images very well. I have tried out the Kindle Fire as well, but I still prefer the Kindle Touch due to E-Ink, which I think looks much better than backlit text, especially since I like to read for 4-5 hours at a time. Reading in the sunlight with E-Ink compared to a backlit screen is no contest. It is the difference between night and day (pun intended). Newspapers, magazines, and PDFs all look better on the Fire though (although with some limitations as you can see in my review for that product). If your main purpose of buying a Kindle is to read, I highly recommend the Kindle Touch over the Kindle Fire. Even though the E-ink on the touch is supposed to be improved over the K3, it must be very slight, because I noticed almost no difference. Even photos look pretty much the same across both devices. I have uploaded several photos into the image gallery so you can compare the two.
Wi-Fi – I originally ordered the 3G version of the Touch, then cancelled when I realized I almost never used it. If you travel a lot and are a voracious reader, it might be worth it. But if you have access to a computer it is so much easier to download a lot of books at once so you always have something available to read when you finish your current book. You can save a lot of money by foregoing the 3G option. If you don’t have wireless, you can always transfer books through the USB. If you want to save even more money, make sure to order the Kindle with Special Offers. Not only do you save $40, but most people I have seen actually prefer it. The offers are very unobtrusive, and after a couple months with the regular Kindle, you will get sick of looking at that Agatha Christie screensaver over and over. The offers are even fairly useful and will pay for themselves. If Amazon added new screensavers every few weeks or let you add your own, it might not be so bad, but they get really boring after awhile. Trust me on this, and get the Special Offers version.
Battery – Advertised as 2 months. Battery life seems on par with the K3, which also advertised as 2 months. Be warned that if you add a lighted cover such as the Kindle Touch Lighted Leather Cover, Black your battery life is going to be diminished since it draws power from the device, however it is still going to be overwhelmingly sufficient for an electronic device. I use my Kindle Touch Lighted Leather Cover, Wine Purple during most of my reading and only have to charge my Touch about every three weeks.
Storage – Same 4gb storage as on the K3, which will hold roughly 3,000 books. The average 500 page book is around 500kb. Considering this device also comes with access to Amazon’s cloud storage for saving backups, I think it’s very unlikely anyone would ever need to store more than 3,000 books. If your device is getting full, just back up your old books to the cloud, and they’re there if you ever want them again. 3,000 books on your Kindle makes things rather difficult to manage unless you have everything sorted into separate folders.
Text-to-Speech and Experimental Features – The Text-to-Speech option on the kindle is rather useless in my opinion. This is the same functionality as on the K3, and it is fairly difficult to listen to the automated (mostly) monotone voice reading your novels. I don’t know many people who actually use this feature. Audiobooks are better, but I still think they’re just too expensive for me. The experimental browser is nice to have in a pinch, but it is so slow and clunky to use (you can’t really see anything unless you magnify certain sections of the screen), that I don’t really see anyone using it either. The touch feature does make it much easier to use than the previous version, which required you to navigate through the links using a cursor and joystick, but the browser is still too slow to be of any use. I will look things up with Wikipedia occasionally but you can’t do any real extended web browsing with it. If you really want this feature, you should look into the Kindle Fire. The MP3 Payer is back, and much improved since you can now see the artist and title of the song you’re listening to on a visual display, although the Touch is definitely not to be confused with an actual music player. I use this feature sometimes as background music while I’m reading or when I go to sleep, since it uses very little battery.
Touch Capability – This is where the device shines. I originally thought it wouldn’t be that much better than the previous version, however I have found the touch function is so intuitive and much more useful than I would have thought. I like to use the embedded dictionary a lot, and it is a bit of a pain to use the joystick from the K3 to scroll down to the word I want and look it up. With the Touch, I can just touch the word and have it jump straight to the dictionary. This is a GREAT feature. I have also found it useful when I read books like the Lone Wolf 1: Flight From the Dark series, which has you constantly using inline links to skip to different sections in the book. Navigating with the KT is so much faster and easier than with the previous generation. For anyone who reads a lot, I would say this is definitely worth an upgrade consideration. The built in touch keyboard is not as fast as the previous model, but it is extremely well designed and the buttons are spaced just right. I have no problems with the lack of a physical keyboard.
EXPERIMENTAL FEATURES – The MP3 Player is not designed to be a fully-functional music device. It was included because the capability to play audiobooks allowed it to be easily added. The MP3 player with the Kindle Touch is slightly improved from the K3, as you can now see a display that shows the artist and track while the MP3 is playing. This makes navigation much easier. I do use it occasionally to play classical music while reading or as an ad hoc music device while traveling, but don’t expect much out of it. The nice thing about it is that it consumes very little battery life as compared to a traditional music player. The Web Browser included with the Kindle Touch is much better than the previous generation, however like the MP3 player, it is not designed to be a full-functioned browser. Don’t plan on doing long periods of web surfing with it, but it does come in handy if you need it in a pinch for looking up more information. Pages display much better than the previous version’s browser and load faster. If you’re using the 3G version, please note that you can only access Amazon and Wikipedia with it. You will need to connect to wifi if you want to go anywhere else.
My one major problem with this new Kindle is that Amazon has decided not to include a power adapter with it. If you do not already own one, or have a computer, you cannot power this device! I don’t know if they are trying to make more profit by getting people to purchase their Amazon Kindle US Power Adapter (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX) (which is what you need to connect it to an outlet) separately, but this is completely ridiculous. The Kindle Fire contained a power adapter and no USB cable. The Kindle Touch contains a USB cable and no power adapter. Who is in charge of this ridiculous decision? It would not have cost Amazon more than $2 to include the adapter. If you have a previous generation Kindle, that adapter will work with this device. But I am still very disappointed in Amazon for this. There will be thousands (millions?) of people searching their boxes for a missing adapter to charge this thing. And with more people using tablets and getting rid of their desktops, it makes this even more important. If you don’t already have an adapter or computer to plug the USB into, add the Amazon Kindle US Power Adapter (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX) to your cart.
Overall, I definitely think that the Kindle Touch is an improvement over the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard). It is probably not a big enough improvement for me to recommend that people replace their previous generation Kindle with it unless they really use it a lot, however at such a cheap price tag, it’s almost difficult not to.
UPDATE: February 2012 – Software Update Version 5.0.3 makes page turning as well as menu navigation noticeably faster. Most users should receive the update over wi-fi within the next couple weeks, or you can download it manually from Amazon (do a web search for “Kindle Software Updates”). Still no fix for landscape mode though.