Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2

The Kindle 3 is here!

Thanks to Stephanie from the Kindle Team was able to do a quick Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 comparison. The Kindle 3 is MUCH better than the Kindle 2 and improves on it in a dozen different ways. Check my Kindle 3 Review for a detailed review of the Kindle 3.

At $189 it’s really, really good value for money. The Kindle WiFi at $139 is stealing. Together these ought to sell millions.

Please do note that the entire Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 comparison lasted just 15 minutes – It was, however, enough time to contrast the screens (definitely 50%+ better contrast), the weight (felt much lighter), the feel (about the same), the look (about the same), and the page turns (noticeably faster) and get a pretty good idea of the improvements in Kindle 3.

Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 – Kindle 3 hits it out of the ball park

Perhaps the biggest improvement in Kindle 3 is the screen contrast – The 50% better screen contrast combines with the graphite casing to make for a markedly better reading experience. The Amazon Team said that in addition to the new eInk Pearl screen there are software tweaks done to improve the screen contrast (which aren’t present in DX 2). Didn’t have my DX 2 so couldn’t contrast it with the Kindle 3.

The Kindle 3 is noticeably smaller and thinner. It feels much lighter. The page turns are clearly faster. There are a bunch of usability improvements – page turn buttons don’t make a loud clicking noise, on-off slider and volume controls are at the bottom, buttons other than page turn buttons are moved next to the keyboard.

The claimed 1 month battery life (with wireless off) really stood out – it’s hard to believe and it’ll be fun to see if it really lasts that long.

The improvement in PDF support, the WiFi, the double memory, the font options (there are now condensed and sans-serif fonts), and the new browser with ‘article mode’ all combine to make an exceptional package. It’s easily the best eReader available and at $189 it’s a steal. The Kindle WiFi at $139, if you can get by without free 3G, is even more of a steal.

Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 – 10 ways in which Kindle 3 is better

Here are the top 10 features/improvements that make the Kindle 3 markedly better than the Kindle 2 –

  1. 50%+ better Screen Contrast – The screen itself is 50% better, Amazon has added proprietary technology to make fonts sharper, and the graphite casing adds to the effect. Side by side the Kindle 3 outshines the Kindle 2 – it’s a much more readable screen. The Kindle DX 2 video page shows the difference between eInk Pearl and the old eInk and Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 is slightly more of a difference.  
  2. Faster Page Turns – With Kindle 2.5 we already have fast page turns. The page turns with the Kindle 3 are 20% faster. 
  3. Thin, Compact, and Light Design – Kindle 3 is really thin and compact. It’ll fit into a jacket pocket or a small purse. It feels really light at 8.7 ounces. It makes the Kindle 2 seem heavy and that’s an achievement.
  4. Built-in WiFi – There’s WiFi support so you can use your home network. There is free access for browsing and buying books at all AT&T WiFi hotspots.
  5. Improved PDF support – Now you can add notes and highlights and use the Dictionary in PDFs. Also, password protected PDFs are supported.
  6. Accessible Menus – Blind and Low Vision readers will be really happy to know that menus and the home page are now text to speech enabled. Combine this with the supersized fonts in the Kindle 2.5 upgrade and we have very respectable accessibility.
  7. 1 month of battery life. Quite frankly, don’t believe this and will wait to test it – 1 month battery life is something else.  
  8. Double the Storage – No SD card is tough and getting double the storage makes up for it a bit.  
  9. Usability improvements – Page Turns aren’t loud, buttons are placed better, page turns are easier to do now (though the button edges wrap around a bit and it’ll take a little getting used to).  
  10. 3 Font Options – You now get to choose between Serif, Sans Serif, and Condensed Fonts. Didn’t like the condensed font much though the Sans Serif looked very nice.
  11. Bonus: The Cover – You have to buy this separately but the cover is a delight. There’s a pull out LED light that’s powered by your Kindle. You have to use it to see how cool it is – It uses the hinges of the case (that latch on to the Kindle) to power the LED light.

Quick Note on Negatives

There is no touchscreen and there is no color and if those matter a lot to you (for illustrated textbooks or taking notes) then Kindle 3 isn’t the device for you. We still don’t have ePub support or an open eco-system and it seems unlikely that they will arrive anytime soon.

It’s also worth noting that we just have the Press Release and Amazon’s product page so far. There might be some downsides we realize only after using the Kindle 3. One downside is that the Kindle 3 almost seems too small – it’s smaller than a paperback and super-thin and you have to wonder how it’ll react to a fall. 

Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2 Conclusion – Kindle 3 is Strongly Recommended

Kindle 3 manages to improve massively on the Kindle 2. It’s a huge relief that it does this without straying from a focus on reading. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for Amazon is to release the Kindle 3 for $189 and the Kindle WiFi for $139.

The Kindle 3 is easily the best eReader on the market and it’s strongly recommended. 

  1. If you are looking to buy an eReader then definitely get the Kindle 3 – unless ePub or library books or an SD card are a must-have.
  2. If you have a Kindle 1 it’s well worth the upgrade.
  3. If you already have a Kindle 2 then perhaps it’s worth waiting till Christmas. You might want to spring for the Kindle WiFi if the improved lightness or screen contrast or WiFi appeal strongly to you.

After getting a Kindle 1.5 masquerading as Kindle 2 and a Kindle DX 1.7 masquerading as Kindle DX 2 we finally get a Kindle 3 that’s worthy of the 3 in its name.

9 thoughts on “Kindle 3 vs Kindle 2”

  1. While it does look nice (and I still think my kindle 2 $110 was a great deal) I still think touch screen would have been better. If you hack off the keyboard of a K3 you could either A) drastically reduce the size even further while keeping the same screen size or B) increase the height of the screen, which while taking it out of the standard ratio would provide more reading space.

    I have had my kindle for a few weeks now and I can say I have only used the keyboard about 3 times, I feel it is wasted space.

    1. Interesting. For me losing the number keys is a big negative. A full keyboard would have been nice. The frequency of use of the keyboard is a good point.

    2. Interesting. I use the keyboard quite a bit, and am not a fan of touchscreens, so I’m pretty happy they kept it. I’ve said a few times on the forums that if they switched to touch instead of buttons, I’d buy a spare K2. Instead, I’m getting a K3!

  2. I feel the elimination of the number keys is a masterstroke. Clearly a lot of thinking and debate went into this; they are really cutting out what’s more unnecessary to get a better form factor. Reminds me of the PalmPilot days…

    One thing puzzling, though, is that Amazon won’t be shipping new 6″ Kindles for a month?! I never thought the day would come lol

  3. A fascinating review: I awoke to the news of the K3 at 4.00 a.m., and I was so urged by what I read that I pre-ordered one (with leather cover + light) even though I have a bookeen as well.

    The big attraction for me is the lower-priced wifi option as I don’t think I’d use Whispernet once the novelty had worn off ~ so why pay for something you hardly ever use? I may suddenly decide to buy a sandwich in the High Street, but to purchase a book, I can get home first.

    Thanks for setting forth all the many pros (and the very few cons) to help my in my choice.

    Looking forward to D-Day!

  4. The $139 kindle has “wi-fi” but does not have “3g”. I ask a little compassion for dummies like me, but can you explain the difference? What does “3g” add to the usability of the $189 kindle? What does “wi-fi” do? Thanks for any help you can give.

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