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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- WiFi. Also included is free access at AT&T hotspots.
- It has 2 GB of internal memory with 1.25 GB available for you. That can hold 1,400 books.
- Free Cloud Storage for all Amazon content you buy.
- 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).
- USB 2.0 connector.
- Formats supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC.
- Formats Supported after conversion: HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP.
- Experimental Browser.
- Faster page turns than Kindle 3 had.
- Adjustable Font Sizes and Fonts optimized for the eInk Pearl screen – for speed and readability.
- Support for Latin, Greek, and Non-Latin characters including English, Cyrillic, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean.
- 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 –
- It’s just $79.
- 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).
- 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.
- You get access to the Kindle Store and Amazon’s infrastructure. Including free Cloud storage for your Amazon purchases and features like WhisperSync.
- You get support for library books.
There are also some concerns –
- With neither a keyboard nor a touchscreen the usability will be bad – and downright terrible for taking notes or writing down anything.
- No Speakers – That means no text to speech and no music in the background.
- 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.
- 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.
- Battery life is less – just 1 month compared to 2 months for the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard.
- 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.