I first got a kindle in March of 2009 when the 2nd generation came out. I’ve since purchased more kindles than I want to admit – for myself, my family, my extended family and friends. It’s a go-to gift for me as well as prize when I have a giveaway to do. There are currently 7 kindles in this 4 person household (each person has their own plus we have 2 new Fires and I’m moving my stuff from my keyboard to this new Touch) – plus I play librarian to several family members. To say that I’m a bit of a kindle freak would be an understatement. When someone I know says they are going to buy a kindle, they usually are asking me for my opinion on which one, etc. So, that’s where I’m coming from with this review.
The new Touch and Basic put me in a really tough spot. I use text-to-speech from time to time so having the audio is a must (the Basic version doesn’t do audio), so the Touch is a must right? Well… I’m not in love with the touch screen, so I should get the keyboard right? Well, I like the smaller size. Sigh. I need Amazon to design a kindle JUST for me – basically, a Basic edition with audio. BUT since good old Jeff doesn’t live his life to please me, I guess I’ll just make do…
Anyway, my recommendation is almost always to save the $30 or whatever and get the ones with ads. Hey, at least the screen savers are different and I’ve seen some really neat deals (let’s face it, coupons are kind of trendy now anyway and I hear that Amazon Local will be available on the kindles with ads soon, if not already). The ads are NOT in the books, it’s only on the screensaver and a little ribbon at the bottom of the home screen. But what do I recommend to friends and family now? It comes down to the audio for me.
Other than audio, the biggest difference is, obviously, the touchscreen. I originally thought the screen was going to be divided into thirds – it is NOT – thank goodness because left-handed reading would have been awkward at best if that were the case. The way it’s divided up is that tapping the screen moves the page forward except for the left edge (which turns back a page) and the upper edge (which brings up the menu). It’s pretty easy to use. You can also swipe your finger to turn the page if you wish.
When you first pick it up and start tapping (or banging while cursing) on the screen, it’s a bit confusing. It took me a good 10 minutes to figure out why I couldn’t get the thing to do what I wanted (it apparently doesn’t read my mind). Once I got the whole tap, swipe, long press, menu thing down, I was in business. It also helped when I realized that the comb/vent thing on the face of the kindle was actually a button that, when pushed, took me to the home screen (this is probably why I should I have paid attention to those start up screens – eh, who needs instructions, right?).
Really, that’s the only difference between the keyboard, basic and touchscreen versions. There’s the new x-ray thing, of course, but for most of us that just want to read, it doesn’t much matter. I do think the screen refresh is better on the basic and touchscreen, it doesn’t do a full clear-screen “thing” except for every six pages are so, so it’s a little faster than my keyboard. On the Touch, the screen is slightly recessed, I assume so it’s harder for us to turn the page on accident.
The contacts are now on the back of the kindle, where presumably the lighted case will draw power (I wouldn’t know because the delivery date, at the time of this writing, keeps getting pushed back for both my touch and my daughter’s basic edition – not that I’m impatient or anything).
The really big difference for me and the reason I’m going through the long process of moving my books from my keyboard to the touch is the way it looks. It’s smaller, sleeker and it just looks better. It’s like the kindle is growing up and turning into quite a young lady.
I’m sure once I get more used to the touchscreen, it will be fine. I’ve already mastered peck-typing on it. I have not, however, mastered highlighting and sharing. It’s much easier to use a cursor to get to where you want to go instead of your finger – especially if you use a smaller font. Again, something I’ll probably get used to as time goes on, but for now it’s on my “annoying” list.
I’d recommend this as an upgrade from a K1 or K2. If you are happy with your keyboard version and don’t care about the look or the size, then you can probably skip this upgrade. Otherwise, it’s a very worthy “what’s next” step.Description:
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
- Only e-reader with text-to-speech, audiobooks and mp3 support
- Built in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds
- Borrow Kindle books from your public library
- Exclusive EasyReach touch technology lets you read easily with one hand
- New X-Ray feature lets you look up characters, historical figures, and interesting phrases.