It’s been a long time coming, but the Amazon Kindle finally has a touchscreen option. This means that the physical keyboard has gone, and accessing menu items or picking a word to look up in the dictionary just got a lot quicker and easier. The price isn’t bad, either. Keep reading to find out whether the Kindle Touch Wi-Fi or 3G models could be the right eBook reader choice for you.
Kindle Touch Key Specs
Average Price: $99 – $139 (Wi-Fi) or $149 – $189 (3G) Release Year: 2011 Battery Life: Two Months (Wi-Fi off) Screen Size: 6 inch Screen Type: e-Ink touchscreen Weight: 7.5 oz (Wi-Fi) or 7.8 oz (Wi-Fi + 3G) Storage Size: 4GB Internet: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G in 3G Model Main eBook Format: AZW (Kindle)
Pros Of The Kindle Touch Models
Battery Life: The battery life on the original Kindle is already impressive at one month with Wi-Fi switched off. However, with the Kindle Touch you can read for up to two months without charging! This is perfect for those who travel and don’t want to constantly worry about where the nearest power source may be. This matches the battery life of the Kindle Keyboard and the Nook Touch.
Price: Although the Kindle Touch readers are more expensive than the standard Kindle, for just $20 more (for the Wi-Fi only version) you get a touchscreen and several other features (see below). $99 for the ad-supported Kindle Touch is still an extremely affordable eBook reader, one that will no doubt bring a lot of new customers into the world of eBooks. And, for just $50 more, you get access to Amazon’s free 3G connectivity (see more below).
Extra Features: The Kindle Touch also comes with some features that were standard on the Kindle Keyboard, but haven’t been included in the new Kindle 2011. Because this device now has speakers, we see text-to-speech available again (meaning you can have your books read to you out loud), as well as the ability to play Audible audiobooks and MP3 files.
The new X-Ray feature isn’t found on the Kindle or Kindle Keyboard. It allows you to see the “bones of a book” at the click of a button. The feature means you can see, at a glance, all the sections of the book that may mention a specific character, topics, places, and ideas. This is an excellent way to get an overview of certain elements of a book, perfect for studying or learning more detail even though you may not have finished reading.
3G Connectivity (3G Model Only): Amazon is famous for its 3G Kindles. Unlike smartphones and tablets that connect to 3G internet, Amazon has made the Kindle’s 3G access completely free all over the world. You can use it as much as you like to purchase books from the Kindle Store, or browse on the experimental web browser, and you’ll never be charged a penny. For many, this is worth the price of the Kindle alone!
Whispersync: This feature of all Amazon Kindles keeps all your reading data in sync between your various devices. This means that you’ll always know where you’ve got up to in your book, which pages you’ve bookmarked, and when you’ve taken notes. This setting is on by default, though you’ll need to connect your Kindle to either Wi-Fi or 3G to send the data across.
Cons Of The Kindle Touch Models
No Buttons At All: The fact that there are no buttons on the Kindle Touch isn’t a drawback for everyone. After all, it helps to simplify the design, and the touchscreen is intuitive to use. However, if you’re not into technology, or are buying the Kindle for someone who isn’t used to using these gadgets, they may find buttons make things easier to navigate.
Size And Weight: The Kindle Touch Wi-Fi and 3G editions are heavier than the standard Kindle. At almost 8 ounces, you may feel the difference between the Touch and the original Kindle (less than 6 ounces), but the good news is that both are still noticeably lighter and smaller than the Kindle Keyboard. All of these devices are honestly light enough to hold for hours on end.
No ePub eBooks: As with all the other Kindle models, the Amazon Kindle Touch still doesn’t support the open source ePub book format. This means it isn’t as easy to read books from other stores, but you can do so with the aid of a free conversion tool such as Calibre.
The good news, however, is that Kindle is now part of the leading library eBook lending service Overdrive. This means that you can borrow eBooks for free, to your Kindle, as long as your local school or library is signed up to the service. You can also lend Kindle books to friends, but only if the publisher allows it, and only for a fixed period of time.
Is The Kindle Touch Worth Buying?
The Kindle Touch devices have firmly brought Amazon back into the world of eBook readers as a major player. Before their release, people were swaying between the Kindle Keyboard and the Nook, wondering when Amazon would catch up and add a touchscreen. Now they’ve done it, the results are fantastic, and the price even better!