This Kindle 3 Review will walk you through the best features and weaknesses of the Kindle 3. You can find videos/photos at the Kindle 3 product page.
Thanks to Stephanie and Jay of the Kindle team for the chance to review the Kindle 3 for about an hour.
Kindle 3 Review – Kindle 3’s strengths
Kindle 3 improves on the Kindle 2 in numerous ways –
- New eInk Pearl Screen with 50% better contrast. Kindle 3 has the new eInk screen (which the DX 2 has) and also software improvements (which DX 2 doesn’t). The contrast is much better than Kindle 2. Side by side Kindle 3 blew away Kindle 2.
- $189 Price – Kindle 3 manages to stay at $189 despite the improvements.
- WiFi Support – Kindle 3 has both WiFi and 3G. There’s free book browsing and buying at AT&T WiFi hotspots. There’s also a Kindle WiFi for $139 (my Kindle WiFi Review) although the only difference is the lack of free 3G in Kindle WiFi.
- Lighter, Thinner, and Smaller – Comparing the weights of the Kindle 2 and Kindle 3 was a revelation. It’s 8.7 ounces and feels lighter. It’s also 21% smaller and will fit a coat pocket or a small clutch purse. It’s thinner than the Kindle 2 and the tininess is a bit disconcerting.
- 3 Font Types, Sharper Fonts – Kindle 3 added sans-serif and condensed fonts to the Caecilia serif font. There’s also talk of making fonts sharper via waveform technology that flew over my head.
- 1 Month Battery Life – Yes, you read that right. It’s ‘up to 1 month’ with wireless off and up to 10 days with wireless on.
- Improved PDF Reader - You can add notes and highlights to PDFs, use the Dictionary, and access password protected PDFs.
- Accessibility via Text to Speech for Menus, Home Page – Kindle 3 reads home page lists, item descriptions, and menus to you. Add on the supersize fonts and it’s great for blind readers and low vision readers.
- Quieter Page Turn Buttons – Yup, no more getting cursed at when you’re reading in bed. Easier to push too – though the ends wrap around the edge and it’ll take some adjusting.
- Double the Memory – You can now store 3,500 books and it’ll soften the pain of not having an SD card slot.
It’s a solid set of additions and it makes the Kindle 3 amazing. Amazon keeping the price at $189 makes the Kindle 3 ridiculously good value for money.
Kindle 3 Review – Kindle 2 strengths that are carried over
Important features that are carried over from Kindle 2 –
- eInk Screen. Reads just like paper. You can read books in direct sunlight. It doesn’t bother your eyes like an LCD would.
- Free 3G wireless. This covers browsing the kindle store, downloading books in 60 seconds, free Internet, and free Wikipedia.
- Global Wireless Coverage – Books in under 60 seconds in over 100 countries. Internet is free for US customers in all these countries. Free Internet/book download availability may vary for Kindle owners from other countries.
- Text to Speech. Reads books out to you unless disabled for the book by its Publisher. A court ruling may (perhaps, not sure) force Publishers to enable this in future.
- Kindle Store – 630,000 books and 510,000 under $9.99. 1.8 million books (mostly public domain) are available from various sites.
- Very Simple to Use – The Kindle is simple. You don’t need a computer to use it. It works out of the box.
- Share your Favorite Passages – Use Facebook and Twitter to share your favorite passages in a book right from your Kindle.
Nearly every Kindle 2 strength is carried over.
Kindle 3 Review – Improvements everywhere
It’s clear that a ton of thought and work has been put into the Kindle 3 –
- The new Kindle 3 cover (bought separately) comes with a built-in LED light powered by your Kindle. It’s marvellous and uses the hinges that lock-in your Kindle to power the LED.
- There’s a new WebKit browser (experimental) which is faster, easier to use, and has an ‘article mode’ that shows just the main text on a webpage.
- Another improvement is that the Menu, Home, Back, and 5-way buttons have been moved next to the keyboard.
- The 5-way is replaced by a different sort of arrangement of 5 buttons that reduces wrong button pushes. It’ll take some getting used to as it’s pretty different.
- The power slider and volume control are moved to the bottom and are easier to get to.
Kindle 3 is just very easy and painless to use.
Kindle 3 Review – Kindle 3’s weaknesses
Kindle 3 isn’t perfect and there are some drawbacks –
- No Color – It only applies to textbooks and books with color illustrations. However, it’s an eInk disadvantage that’s often brought up.
- No Touchscreen – If you envision taking notes with a stylus then Kindle 3 isn’t the eReader for you.
- No ePub Support – Don’t see Amazon letting the fox in among the chickens by supporting ePub.
- No SD Card slot – Double the memory should help make this limitation less taxing for people who wanted extra memory.
- No replaceable battery – It’s still not replaceable.
- No number keys – Now we have to use Alt+Top Row to type numbers.
- No lending ebooks – Nook has some books that have LendMe enabled and can be lent once. Kindle 3 doesn’t. It does have sharing of multiple Kindles on 1 account (meant for families) and reading 1 book on 5-6 devices at a time. Nook also has these features.
- Now that it’s so small you have to wonder about falls and drops.
Please do point out any drawbacks this post missed.
Kindle 3 Review Conclusion – Kindle 3 is Strongly Recommended
Kindle 3 combines solid improvements (50% better screen contrast, compactness, faster page turns, better PDF support, WiFi, lighter weight, longer battery life) with an even sharper focus on reading and simplicity.
Quite simply, the Kindle 3 is the best eReader available.
- If you’re looking to buy an eReader get the Kindle 3. At $189 it’s Strongly Recommended.
- If you’re thinking about upgrading consider my Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 comparison post.
- If $139 is very attractive and you don’t need 3G consider the Kindle WiFi.
- Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi aren’t right for you if you need ePub, color, touch, lending, or the ability to do more than just read.
If you love to read you’ll love the Kindle 3. Hope this Kindle 3 review helped you.