I got my Amazon Kindle 3 a few months, and my one sentence review of this is “I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!”
The longer review goes below:
Amazon Kindle from Amazon aims to do what Ipod of Apple does,. Ipod tag line is “1000 songs in your pocket“. It is mentioned on the amazon page that the kindle can store up to 3500 books, but i believe this figure is for standard kindle books. Pdf files are usually larger in size, though the Kindle might not be able to store 1000 books (due to varying file size of pdf files, some of which can be as large as few hundred MB), my bet is its pretty close.
What i look for a ebook reader are the following:
-Ease of Reading – No/little glare
-Page turning speed
-Weight and Ease of hold of device
-Reading pdf files
1. Ease of Reading
I know there are quite a number of people who wants to get an Ipad mainly because they want to do lots of reading on it. No more lugging around heavy books. I was one of them. Price Comparisons of Ipad ($499) and Kindle DX ($379 – Kindle DX is the same size as Ipad) probably swayed many to buy the Ipad over the kindle.
As someone who have the experience of reading on the both the Kindle and Ipad (I tested reading on my brother’s Ipad), I came to a conclusion – Reading on the Ipad has the same effect as reading from the computer screen – the glare tires your eyes after a while.
On the other hand, reading on the Amazon Kindle 3 is REALLY like reading from a book. I know for those who have not seen it before, its hard to believe anything can resemble the look and feel of a book, especially when we are talking about an electronic device.
I have read close to 30 books on my kindle, and I would say that the effect of reading ebooks on kindle and holding and reading real books in your hands is exactly the same, if not better! Kudos to the E-Ink technology!
2. Page turning speed
In earlier versions of the Kindle, page turning speed have often been cited as an issue. However it seems to have been fixed in Amazon Kindle 3.
Page turning is at most the blink of an eye now. The buttons are situated at convenient spots on both the left and right of the device. See screenshots.
3. Weight and Ease of hold of device
The Amazon Kindle 3 weights only 8.5 ounces or about 240 grams, no heavier than a paperback. It is extremely light and easy to hold. To illustrate the difference in weight, an Ipad weighs about 4 pounds of 1.8kg.
The Amazon Kindle 3 is so light that I can go hours without feeling any effects on my arm, which is actually what Amazon wants to achieve – same feeling as reading from a book.
4. Battery Life
A single charge lasts up to one month with wireless off. I have not tested this but i did read on my Kindle regularly for a period of at least 2 weeks without charging it. Also it does not have the usual heat problem associated with handphones and laptops, as it is only a reading device.
5. Storage Capacity
The storage capacity for Amazon Kindle 3 is 4GB, and is touted to be able to store 3500 books.
Due to the larger pdf files, on average about 5 MB, i would say the figure would be close to 500.
6. Reading pdf files
One of the most important concern for potential buyers is the ability and readability of pdf files on Kindle. It was my most important concern when i was about to buy it, as most of my books were in pdf format.
Having read both pdf files on Kindle and Ipad, i can safely say the Kindle is well suited to reading pdf files. In fact there is even an option to darken the words so as to increase to make reading clearer.
The cons of the Amazon Kindle 3 are largely due restricted to Pdf files.
For example, large pdf files are known to be very laggy in terms of scrolling and page turning.
Also, there is only the colors black, grey and white on the Kindle, this means that you will not be able to see color while reading on the Amazon Kindle. This also mean you can only see black, grey and white for pdf files with color. This might change in the future, as Amazon continues to develop newer versions of Kindle.
Finally for pdf files that are in A4 size, you might want to read the pdfs in Landscape mode instead of standard orientation. (see above screenshot) Other than this inconvenience, it works pretty well for me.
Deciding between wifi or wifi+3G, or Kindle DX?
Between Wifi and Wifi+3G, my opinion is that if you are in a country other than USA, then its best to go wifi only. To understand why, lets look at why is there a need for internet connection.
Internet connection via 3G or broadband on the Kindle is mainly for two purpose, One for downloading kindle books that you purchase on Amazon, Two, to surf net on the experimental browser.
Surfing the net on the Kindle is still a work in progress, and i highly advise using it for browsing the net. There are many other devices well suited for this function. This means, the only need for internet connection is to download books that you purchase on Amazon.
Look, you are probably going to purchase books when you are at home, or at work, where there are already wireless connection. Besides in Singapore, there are wireless almost everywhere. There is really no need to opt for the 3g model, IMHO.
Also with almost everyone getting a smartphone, you can use your smartphone as a Wifi hub. You will need to connect your Kindle to your Andriod or Iphone 3G data connection. On my Samsung Galaxy S, i use this setting call Mobile AP, which is a s setting that essentially allows any device with the right password to use my mobile phone 3G data connection to surf the net. Nowadays i just browse Amazon kindle books on my mobile, and just buy the books using the One Click settings. (Please make sure you have enough gift card balance first before clicking on the One Click Purchase button!). Then after purchasing, i will turn on wifi on my Kindle, and connect it to my Samsung Galaxy S 3G data network, and “wala” the book will automatically be downloaded to my kindle!!
Seriously, just get the Wifi one, because 3G data charges can cost you a lot of money f you do not manage the settings properly. I have heard people reporting incur expensive 3G charges on their kindle without their knowing. Besides the 3G model is $50 more expensive ($189 vs $139 for wifi only). Not recommended.
Between the Kindle DX and the Kindle 3, its a little more complicated. I deliberated for a while between the Kindle DX and Kindle 3, mainly because i wasn’t sure if the Kindle 3 screen is suitable for reading A4 size pdf or books. After deciding on the Kindle 3 and using it for a while, i can safely say that the landscape orientation is sufficient to read books that require a wider screen.
Furthermore, the price difference is significant. Kindle DX cost $379, while a Kindle 3 (wifi) cost only $139. An entry level Ipad cost $499, which makes the Kindle DX not that worth it, considering the lesser functionality on the Kindle DX as compared to the Ipad.
Okie, if you are like most people who just want a lightweight excellent device for reading, you would want to get your hands on the Amazon Kindle. Go get it now!
Update: 30th Sep, 2011:
Amazon has just announced “FOUR” new products adding to the Kindle Family. Actually its just ONE new product, i.e. the Kindle Fire, which is a Andriod Tablet that runs on a customized Amazon OS. From the reviews i read, its does the basic functions really well, and for those who wants an inexpensive Tablet to watch movies, read books, listen to music on, this is the device to get. Unlike many of the Andriod tablets which have received fairly poor reviews, this tablet developed by Amazon, a company known for fanatical service and fantastic products, proves to be the real competition to the Ipad. It costs just $199usd and is vailable only for pre-order. Do check it out the all new Amazon tablet here.
As for the other 3 new products, there are actually just 3 variations of the latest version of the kindle. The previous kindle was known as “Kindle 3″ , while the new kindle is just “Kindle”. The 3 variations are
3) Kindle Touch 3g (same as Kindle Touch but with 3G. Price is $149 w advertisements, and $189 without. As always, my advice is NOT to get 3G version, since wifi ones are more than sufficient. Besides a Kindle Fire cost $199, and a Kindle Touch 3G cost $189, its a no brainer right?). If you insist, you can check it out here
I found out that Amazon has a Kindle specially for international shipping and its cost the same (i.e $109). The only thing is if you buy using this, then you have to use Amazon shipping for international, which might not always be the cheapest. I do advise due diligence in checking before making your purchases.