Being new to the Kindle (and all e-readers for that matter) I tried the kindle apps before I made the decision to get the Amazon Kindle 3. I have, and still use, Kindle for Android, Windows and Mac. I have tried Kindle for iPad when I installed it for a family member who has an iPad. After looking at the iPad I came to a conclusion. The iPad wasn’t for me. It’s a GREAT device and could be useful in a lot of ways. But I already have a MacBook and for the things I do, that is the perfect device. I couldn’t justify paying $500 for something that duplicates most of what my other devices do. What I wanted was a small, light, easy to read tablet that was great at one thing. Being an e-reader. It didn’t have to do anything else and that is where the Kindle shines. (even though it doesn’t have a back lit screen.)
The e-ink pearl display is nice and crisp and easy to read. In fact, when I took it out of the box, it had a plastic covering over the screen and some printing that said something about how to turn on the device and thank you for buying a Kindle. I though for sure that was printed on the plastic covering. When I peeled it off, the writing was still there. It was shipped with this on the display! It looked just like printing. Being that e-ink requires no power to maintain the display, that was perfectly OK.
Over the years, I have bought a few Kindle books and read them on my computers and phone. So when I booted up the Kindle, there was an easy, on screen form to either sign up for an Amazon account or to sign in with your existing account. I signed in and it instantly started to populate my book list. I think I had somewhere around 20 books and it took less then 2 minutes to download them all via Wifi.
I was struck by the size of the Kindle. It’s very thin, light and much smaller then I expected. About the size of an average paperback. It seems just right compared to the iPad which felt more like a laptop without a keyboard. I had never seen a Kindle in the wild so I’m not sure how the new one’s size compares in real-life to an older generation Kindle. I do know it’s the perfect size to fit in my jacket pocket and it’s a great size for reading for long periods of time.
The reading experience on the Kindle is really like reading a paperback book. Better in some ways. Like not having to hold the book open and turning the page with a nicely placed pair of buttons on each side. I was able to read for an hour and a half with no eye strain, no sore fingers from holding a stiff book open. The fonts were clear and easily re-sized to make them readable without reading glasses.
I have read in other reviews of the last generations of Kindle that the page turns take too long. I did not notice this on the Kindle 3. There is a brief flash (the e-ink clearing off the screen) and then the next page is right there. I would say half a second or less. It takes me more time to turn a page in a magazine then that!
The only bad thing I have to say about the Kindle 3 is the ugly “screen saver” pictures that come on when you turn off the device. They are pictures of authors and philosophers and an add for the Kindle (which seems redundant to me since I own the device)
Amazon does not officially call the newest Kindle the Kindle 3. They call it either “Kindle WiFi” or “Kindle 3G”. I decided on the Kindle Wifi. At $139 it seemed that even if I don’t use it alot, it’s better then having a big book shelf full of dead trees that I don’t read. With the Kindle, I know I will read what I have over time and I will have that with me a lot more then I would lug around books.
The Kindle 3G + Wifi can be had for $50 more ($189) and includes Free world wide 3G via AT&T (in the US).
The Kindle is also accessible to those with Low or no vision. The menus can be in voice and most books can be read to you in either a female or male voice, at normal, fast or slow speeds. (publishers can turn off this “read to me” feature if they want) It takes some getting used to hear the books this way, but I worked good enough for me to get though a book on road trip while driving.
I would say, if you are a reader, the Kindle 3 is the nearly perfect device for just that single task.