Kindle 4 Review – New Kindle Review

This Kindle 4 Review covers the $79 new Kindle. It reviews the main features and drawbacks of the Kindle 4.

You can find Kindle 4 photos and a more detailed review at the Kindle 4 Review, Photos page.

Kindle 4 Review – $79

The biggest selling point of the Kindle 4 is the $79 price. The general assumption has been that once Amazon hits $99 with a Kindle it will open up the floodgates. Well, Amazon has hit $79 and it is definitely going to lead to a huge number of sales.

First, we’ll look at the main features of the Kindle 4. Then we’ll look at whether you should get the $79 Kindle 4 or the $99 Kindle Keyboard or the $99 Kindle Touch.

Kindle 4 Review – Main Features of the $79 Kindle

Here’s what you get for $79 -

  1. The latest eInk screen technology. It’s eInk Pearl and it’s optimized for reading. You can read it in sunlight but there is no backlight.
  2. The screen is 6″ with 600 by 800 pixel resolution and 16 levels of grey-scale. Note: This is a black and white screen, not color.
  3. A very light and compact eReader. It’s just 5.98 ounces (170 grams) and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. Exact dimensions: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″ (166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm).
  4. WiFi. Also included is free access at AT&T hotspots.
  5. It has 2 GB of internal memory with 1.25 GB available for you. That can hold 1,400 books.
  6. Free Cloud Storage for all Amazon content you buy.
  7. Battery life of 1 month with wireless off (and half an hour a day of reading). Battery life of 3 weeks with wireless on (again with half an hour a day of reading).
  8. USB 2.0 connector.
  9. Formats supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC.
  10. Formats Supported after conversion: HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP.
  11. Experimental Browser.
  12. Faster page turns than Kindle 3 had.
  13. Adjustable Font Sizes and Fonts optimized for the eInk Pearl screen – for speed and readability.
  14. Support for Latin, Greek, and Non-Latin characters including English, Cyrillic, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean.
  15. Option to switch between Portrait and Landscape Mode.

That’s a bit overwhelming so let’s look at Top 5 Benefits.

Kindle 4 Review – Top 5 Kindle Benefits

Here is why you might want to get a $79 Kindle -

  1. It’s just $79.
  2. It’s the same excellent-for-reading eInk Pearl screen the $189 Kindle 3 had (now just $99 if you don’t mind ads in screensavers and at the bottom of your home page).
  3. It’s very light and compact and portable and WiFi lets you carry it around and get books and browse anywhere there is a WiFi network you can access. It has great battery life which adds to the portability.
  4. You get access to the Kindle Store and Amazon’s infrastructure. Including free Cloud storage for your Amazon purchases and features like WhisperSync.
  5. You get support for library books.

There are also some concerns -

  1. With neither a keyboard nor a touchscreen the usability will be bad – and downright terrible for taking notes or writing down anything.
  2. No Speakers – That means no text to speech and no music in the background.
  3. For just $20 more you can get a Kindle Touch or a Kindle Keyboard which are much better. Both in value for money and in overall features.
  4. The memory is on the low side – With 1.25 GB available and with no memory card slot you are stuck if you like carrying a lot of books around with you.
  5. Battery life is less – just 1 month compared to 2 months for the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard.
  6. Update: Without ePub support it means you can only buy books from Kindle Store.

We keep coming back to the comparison with the Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard so let’s look at it in more depth.

Kindle 4 Review – What about $20 more for the Kindle Touch or the Kindle Keyboard?

If you don’t need touch and don’t need a keyboard - then the $79 Kindle is great. Please do note that the lack of a keyboard (physical or touch based) will make some things difficult. Also, it doesn’t have speakers so no Text to Speech which is one of the biggest Amazon/Kindle advantages.

If you like to take notes or like having a physical keyboard – then the Kindle Keyboard is the best choice. It’s not as compact and page turns are not as fast. However, it’s a pretty good deal at $99. It also has speakers. Note: It is the third generation Kindle so it’s not as new as the $79 Kindle or the $99 Kindle Touch.

If you want a touchscreen and are OK with an on-screen touch keyboard – then the Kindle Touch is the best choice. It also has speakers. It’s also a Kindle 4 i.e. a fourth generation Kindle.

In my opinion, it’s a far better decision to get the Kindle Touch or the Kindle Keyboard. In either case, for just $20 more, you are getting a far more usable interface. I’ll update this Kindle 4 Review by Friday or Saturday. However, it’s pretty clear in my mind that you lose a lot by choosing the $79 Kindle over the $99 Kindle Touch or the $99 Kindle Keyboard.

26 Responses

  1. How do I unsub from this email list? I can’t find any instructions on this and there are way too many emails from this blog

    • I’m not sure myself. There should be a link in the email itself. Every email is supposed to have a link to unsubscribe. If you have a WordPress account then you can unsubscribe at WordPress.com.

      Also, you should have the option to get weekly or daily updates instead of for every single post.

    • “Unsubscribe or change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions.” at the bottom of each email.

    • If you don’t unsubscribe, you’ll be getting e-mail forever. I got five messages today that had been posted a month ago. I went to Manage my e-mail and unsubscribed.

  2. When you get it, please also note which version of the software it has. It wil be interesting as a Kindle 3 owner whether they have moved onto software version 4.x (Essentially stranding the Kindle 3 software, like the 2.x for DX), or whether they still use the Kindle 3.x software (which I actually suspect).

  3. I like the fact that the $79 Kindle is lighter and more compact than Kindle 3. The Kindle Touch does not have page-turn buttons. For me, that’s a deal-breaker. I’ve ordered the $79 Kindle to replace my Kindle 3.

    • The lack of page turn buttons is a mystery to me. Okay, so kobo touch doesn’t have them and Nook Touch’s buttons suck — this is an opportunity to improve, not to save costs.

      Although I suppose paper books you touch the page to turn it, no need to stick with the old paradigm.

  4. Also, please note that all of the lowest priced units in each flavor seem to be the ‘special offers’ units.

  5. This would be nice for a second “travel” Kindle. I.E., the one you take to the beach, etc.

    1. It is significantly lighter than the other ones
    2. If all you are doing is reading books then not having the keyboard or touch is no biggie.
    3. If you lose it, or if it gets damaged, then it is cheaper to replace.

    I would not buy this as a primary Kindle. Article is correct that it is too limited.

    • I agree with John. This would be a good device to keep in your car or toss in your luggage to fill that unexpected downtime, like when I was stopped dead in a huge traffic jam last week. Also, it might be a good “starter” Kindle for tweens and younger teenagers.

      One thing no one has mentioned however is that it does not include a power adapter, just the USB cable. The adapter can be bought separately for $10. Not a huge deal (especially if you already own one from an earlier Kindle) but it might cause some unnecessary annoyance to a first time buyer. Charging through your computer’s USB port supposedly takes longer though I’ve never tried it.

      • Straker, What you’ve heard about trying to charge by way of the USB port is accurate. I use the USB cable when I want to work directly with the documents folder…and sometimes I leave it plugged in. I have never yet had the Kindle reach full charge by way of the USB port.

      • That’s a good catch. That’s definitely something that should be made clearer. That there is no power cable.

        Agree with you that the $79 Kindle is a good ‘starter’ Kindle.

  6. Many thanks. Please can you compare K3 with these new Kindles in terms of weight and size?

    • Yes, i’ll do that in a later post. Here’s some quick comparison.

      Kindle 3 – 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.34″. 8.5 to 8.7 ounces.

      Kindle Touch – 6.8″ x 4.7″ x 0.40″. 7.5 to 7.8 ounces.

      Kindle 4 for $79 – 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″/ 5.98 ounces.

  7. I’m trying to understand why I want a keyboard or speakers if I’m just using a Kindle to read books. The Kindle 4 sounds like a great device to take on vacation or business trips.

  8. Thanks, Switch. If K3 price drops, then that will be even better.

  9. One thing that is a misconception is that ebooks have to be purchased through Amazon. Smashwords and many other websites offer .mobi and .prc ebooks that work on Kindles. To say that you are locked in to purchasing from Amazon only is misleading.

  10. It seems this latest round of Kindles are adding to the line-up instead of replacing it. If touch is significantly more popular than the keyboard then it will get dropped at the next update, but I think the keyboard is here to stay for now.
    But I think the $79 Kindle will be great for kids, since it would be harder to directly buy with it.

  11. It appears that model (except the Kindle Fire and Kindle DX) comes in two variants: one with ads and one without.

    However, Amazon’s default is to take you to the version with ads, probably because they one is cheaper and they are trying to highlight the low price.

    For example, the Kindle Touch home page automatically shows you the $99 version which has ads. But at the top there is a button to take to you the ad-less version, which costs $139. Similarly, the plain Kindle defaults to the $79 ad version, but at the top there’s a link to the $109 ad-less version.

  12. Which Kindle or Nook would be best for a Senior Citizen just wanting to read books. Kindle 4 vs. Touch? Kindle Touch vs. Nook Touch?

    Based on ease of use.

    Service Nook vs. Kindle ease of use/library lending?

    It seems like the Kindle 4 or Nook Touch may be the easiest to use and have ergonomics that may be best suited for a senior senior citizen.

    • Ian,
      I think the three you should consider are Kindle Keyboard, Nook Touch, and Kindle Touch.

      Ease of use – Kindle Keyboard and Nook Touch are best. Kindle Touch is good but doesn’t have physical page turn buttons. Kindle 4 is slightly awkward as it doesn’t have keyboard or touch.

      Library Lending – Should be the same for all devices.It’s all done via Overture (another company) so shouldn’t be any differences.

      kindle 4 is lightest but it has neither keyboard nor touch so it can get a bit frustrating at times.

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