We’ve seen the $139 Kindle WiFi and the $189 Kindle 3 arrive today and one of the hot topics at the kindle forum is Kindle vs Kindle WiFi.
This Kindle vs Kindle WiFi comparison post will explain the differences between the two and help you choose the right Kindle for your needs.
Note: Kindle 3 has BOTH 3G and WiFi and you can switch between them freely. You can choose to use WiFi instead of 3G. Kindle WiFi, on the other hand, has only WiFi.
Note: You only need 3G or WiFi when you are downloading books or browsing the Kindle Store or Internet. It is NOT needed when reading. Once you have a book on your Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 you can read it without being connected.
Kindle vs Kindle WiFi – Exactly what are the differences
There are, to the best of my knowledge, just two significant differences –
- Price – Kindle WiFi is $139 and $50 cheaper than the $189 Kindle 3.
- Free 3G – Kindle WiFi does not have 3G and will not benefit from free wireless via AT&T’s network. You will have to find a WiFi network/hot spot to browse the Kindle Store and browse the Internet.
There are also 3 minor differences –
- Weight – Kindle WiFi is 8.5 ounces and Kindle 3 is 8.7 ounces.
- Name – They’re named differently and have different serial numbers.
- Kindle WiFi is only available in Graphite. Kindle 3 in White and Graphite.
Let’s look at Kindle vs Kindle WiFi differences.
Kindle vs Kindle WiFi – $50 vs Free 3G
The benefits of Free 3G include (provided you’re using the Kindle 3 in places covered by AT&T’s network) –
- Browsing the Kindle Store.
- Downloading Kindle Books in 60 seconds.
- Free Internet Access – This includes Wikipedia and Internet sites via the built-in browser. The browser is experimental and while mobile sites work other sites might not. The 3G is also somewhat slow.
The benefit of getting the Kindle WiFi is – $50.
What is WiFi?
WiFi is simply a wireless network that lets you connect your laptop or mobile device to the Internet. An example would be a wireless modem that creates a wireless network in your home which you use to access the Internet from your laptop (without needing a physical Internet cable).
Another example is a coffee shop that takes its Internet connection and creates a wireless network (also called WiFi hotspot) which its customers use to access the Internet.
Kindle WiFi depends on these WiFi networks to connect to the Kindle Store, to download books, and to access the Internet. If you have a wireless network at home or work the Kindle WiFi should work (you might need to figure out the password). Additionally, Kindle WiFi works with AT&T WiFi hotspots.
How does Kindle WiFi work with AT&T WiFi Hotspots?
Kindle WiFi works automatically with AT&T WiFi Hotspots. If a coffee shop or a mall has an AT&T WiFi HotSpot your Kindle WiFi will automatically recognize it and work –
Free Access at AT&T Hotspots
Enjoy free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots across the U.S. for shopping and downloading Kindle content – no AT&T registration, sign-in, or password required.
This is a nice benefit although Internet access is not included.
Kindle vs Kindle WiFi – Cases where the Kindle WiFi is better
You don’t really need Kindle 3 with 3G in case –
- You will mostly use your Kindle WiFi in areas where you have access to a WiFi network. For example – If you use your Kindle WiFi mostly at home and you have a WiFi network setup at home then you don’t really need the Kindle 3. Save the $50.
- If you happen to have a decent number of AT&T WiFi Hotspots where you usually head out for reading or near your house then you should do fine with the Kindle WiFi.
- Some coffee shops have a free wireless network. Again, the Kindle WiFi will do just fine – ask the Barista for the network password and you’re set.
Basically, if you have access to a wireless network at home and where you read outside the house then you can get by with the Kindle WiFi.
There are two qualifiers –
- If you travel a lot, and especially if it involves international travel, you should get the Kindle 3 with 3G.
- Even if you don’t have WiFi networks handy you can go with the Kindle WiFi if you don’t mind searching for books on your PC and downloading Kindle books to the PC. You can transfer books from your PC to the Kindle WiFi via USB – It’s pretty straightforward.
At $139 Kindle WiFi is a great value and if you don’t need the 3G (or can do without it) it makes sense to get it.
Kindle vs Kindle WiFi – Cases where the Kindle 3 with 3G is better
If you fall into one or more of these categories –
- Don’t understand WiFi at all and don’t have home Internet. Note: WiFi is quite simple. So do give it a shot before deciding Kindle WiFi isn’t good enough.
- Can’t be bothered to learn how to set up WiFi at home and how to find WiFi hotspots.
- Really value the fact that Kindle 3 with 3G is much more convenient.
- Travel a lot and don’t want to keep looking for WiFi networks.
- Travel internationally or move around internationally and don’t want to bother with WiFi.
- Will use your Kindle a lot on commutes where WiFi networks will not be available.
- Don’t think $50 is a big deal.
Then please get the Kindle 3 with 3G. The $50 is worth it since you get free Internet and it’s very convenient.
There are a few qualifiers –
- Keep in mind that AT&T network isn’t available everywhere. If you read mostly at home and have a WiFi network at home but AT&T’s network doesn’t cover your home – Well, it makes little sense to get the 3G Kindle 3.
- If you plan on moving to a different country or different state it makes sense to get the Kindle 3G – You might find that you no longer have any free WiFi hotspots nearby.
- $50 isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. Kindle 3 with 3G will pay that back in many ways – perhaps just the convenience of using it on a vacation, perhaps through higher resale value, perhaps when the 3G saves you (at a time when WiFi isn’t available or is very expensive).
If $50 isn’t a deal-breaker consider going with the Kindle 3 with 3G. Kindle vs Kindle WiFi should tilt towards Kindle 3 – unless you always have a WiFi network around when you’re reading. Also consider taking a look at this Kindle vs Kindle WiFi discussion at the official Kindle Forum.