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Kindle Touch 3G Review
Simple to use
Intuitive touch screen
Great battery life
Wide range of book titles at competitive prices
Heavier than basic Kindle
Ad free version costs extra
The Amazon Kindle Touch 3G is one of the best ebook readers on the market today. Improved screen and touch screen facilities make this the most usable of the Kindle products so far, and has all the advantages of Amazon’s previous readers.
The Amazon Kindle has been the most popular ebook reader on the market, and with the Kindle Touch 3G, Amazon have introduced a touch screen and 3G connectivity to improve upon their best-selling product. We take a look to see if the improvements are worthwhile additions below.
The Kindle Touch 3G is slightly larger than the Kindle, at 4.8 x 7.5 inches and 0.335 inches thick. It weighs 8.5 ounces, which is 30% heavier than the basic Kindle. It still feels fairly light though, and the extra weight is evened out by the increased battery life and storage.
There are two speaker grills on the back, which can be used for MP3 playback (so you can listen to music as you read), or for the ‘text to speech’ feature (see below)
There are very few buttons or sockets on the Kindle Touch 3G, with just a power button, 3.5 jack, and USB port, which helps keep the Touch 3G sleek and simple.
Ease of use
The touch screen uses a 6" E Ink Pearl display, and offers 600 x 800 pixel resolution with 16 level greyscale, which offers great contrast and resolution, and very little glare. Fonts on the Kindle Touch 3G appear as sharp as they do on the non-touch version, and with a side-by-side comparison we noticed that the fonts are slightly darker on the Touch 3G, which is an improvement. There are 8 different text sizes and three fonts to choose from, which we hope Amazon will expand on future models as other ebook readers offer a greater selection of better fonts.
To turn a page on the Kindle Touch 3G, you can simply tap (or swipe) the touch screen on almost any point (the left edge of the screen works a previous page button, and the top will bring up the toolbar and menu, which has a direct link to the Amazon store).
You can also use finger swipes anywhere on the screen: Swiping your finger right to left will move you onto the next page, while swiping left to right will turn to the previous page. An upward finger swipe takes you to the next chapter, and as you would expect, a downward swipe to the previous chapter. This is all very intuitive and works incredibly well. The only slight disappointment is that the pages turn slightly slower on the Touch 3G than on its predecessor, but this isn’t a huge issue, especially considering the time saved with the touch screen features.
Amazon offers the largest collection of content on the market, with over one million books, newspapers, and magazines currently available. There is a large selection of free books available, including many classics such as the works of Dickens etc.
You have to use Amazon's store to purchase books, but Amazon’s prices are very competitive, and there is the option to subscribe to your favourite magazines and newspapers.
Using the 3G technology, wireless is not needed to download content, which is a big advantage if you like to buy books/newspapers etc. on the go. It uses the same 3G signal that smartphones use, and is surprisingly quick. With the Wifi you can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots across the US provided free from AT&T, and the wireless performance is very good as we have come to expect from Amazon.
Battery & storage
The larger size of the Kindle Touch 3G also means a bigger battery, and this one can last up to one month with a single charge, providing the WiFi is turned off. The Kindle Touch 3G comes with 4GB of memory, with 3GB of this available for storage. That's approximately 3,000 books, which is double the amount that can be stored on the basic Kindle.
The X-Ray is a nice feature of the Kindle Touch 3G. Using this feature, tap on the screen and you are shown passages of the book with themes, ideas and concepts, which link to Wikipedia and Shelfari. Currently this is only available on around 1000 books, but Amazon is aiming to provide a few thousand very soon.
On-Screen Keyboard – The on-screen keyboard works well as the keys are separated enough so that typos are limited. Autocorrect is available, although we found typing very easy and didn’t produce many errors. It is a huge improvement on the navigation pad used by the basic Kindle, and is great if you buy books on your Kindle, rather than from a PC or laptop.
Text to speech – This feature allows the Kindle to read English articles out loud to you. Do be aware that some book owners make this feature unavailable.
In summary, there is very little not to like about the Kindle Touch 3G. Whilst it is slightly bigger and heavier than the basic Kindle, the pay-off is that you get 3G, better battery life and greater storage capabilities. Combined with the intuitive qualities of the touch screen display, it makes it hard to go back to a traditional Kindle or eBook reader, and this is the best touch screen device we have used so far.
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