What is the Best Kindle for Me?

In 2009 we’d written a post on choosing a Kindle – Which Kindle is Best for You?

For some strange reason, lots of people are reading that post these last few days. Guess it’s time to do a post for 2013 on Choosing a Kindle. It borrows from that post, and also from this post from 2011 – Which Kindle? Kindle Buying Guide.

What is the Best Kindle for Me?

Well, first let’s look at the options.

Amazon sells the following eInk Kindles –

  1. Kindle WiFi with Ads for $69. In the budget eReader market, this really is the best choice. You get a device focused on reading, at a very low price. You get access to the Kindle Store, which has the best range of ebooks. It also has the lowest ebook prices. As a bonus, the Kindle Store has the most free books from new and upcoming indie authors. The Ads only show on the screensaver, so they don’t impact your reading experience. The eInk Pearl screen isn’t as white as the Kindle Paperwhite’s, and there’s no in-built light, but the reading experience is still very good. You get Amazon’s infrastructure and customer service. There are sometimes cheaper deals – However, Kindle WiFi with Ads for $69 is easily the best budget eReader when you consider the overall package.
  2. Kindle Paperwhite with Ads for $119. Kindle Paperwhite was the best eReader since its launch, until recently. Now Kobo Aura HD has arrived and it’s hard to say which is better. Kobo Aura HD is $169 which is considerably more expensive. However, you get a higher resolution HD eInk screen, which should lead to a markedly better reading experience. You also get what should be better lighting for the screen (unconfirmed until actual use). Kindle Paperwhite still boasts the better store (Kindle Store is better than Kobo Store), the better infrastructure and services package, and considerably better customer service. My recommendation here would be to wait a few months and see what Kindle Paperwhite 2 is like. If you can’t wait and can afford $169, then Kobo Aura HD is a safe bet. If you can’t afford $169, then Kindle Paperwhite is your best option.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite with 3G and Ads for $169. If you want 3G access on your eReader, Kindle Paperwhite with 3G is the only choice. 3G access is helpful if one or more of the following are true for you – you travel a lot, you read while commuting, you live in a region without easy WiFi access, you don’t want to deal with having to look for WiFi hotspots. You get free 3G access to the Kindle Store and 60-second downloads. You also get all the other benefits of owning a Kindle Paperwhite.
  4. Kindle DX 2 for $299. I really can’t recommend this. This is the only large screen eReader available, so you might be tempted to buy it. However, the technology is 2 years old and the product line had been discontinued. Amazon is perhaps going to release a new Kindle DX, in which case you’ll regret buying something that’s 2 years old. If Amazon doesn’t release something new, then this will be the only option, but it’s an exceedingly poor one. There are a few things you miss out on – Kindle Paperwhite screen (previous generation), eInk Pearl screen (2 generations ago), HD eInk screen (latest generation), in-built lighting. Paying $299 for a device from 2 years ago makes little sense – it’s the equivalent of buying a brand new car manufactured in 1980. Just get a Tablet instead or a Kindle Paperwhite.

The Kindle WiFi, the Kindle Paperwhite, and the Kindle Paperwhite 3G are all good choices. It depends on what your needs are, and what your budget is. In later sections, we’ll discuss further on which is the Best Kindle eReader for you.

Amazon sells the following Kindle Fire Tablets –

  1. Kindle Fire Tablet at $159. This is a slightly updated version of the original Kindle Fire. I would very strongly recommend NOT getting this. This is very, very outdated now. If you can’t afford the $199 Kindle Fire 2, then get a Nook HD for $129 (currently on sale), or wait to see if Nexus 7 goes on sale for $149 once the Nexus 7 2 arrives. Here’s an example of why it’s outdated – Kindle Fire 2 has 1024 by 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, and is $159. Nook HD for $129 (currently on sale) has 1440 by 900 pixels screen resolution at 220+ ppi. Just that screen difference alone will make you cry if you ever see them side by side. Plus Nook HD is on sale for $129.
  2. Kindle Fire HD at $199. This is a good, solid tablet with a great screen, the best speakers of any tablet, and all the Amazon ecosystem and infrastructure benefits. If you are set on buying a Kindle Fire Tablet then it comes down to this (7″ screen, $199 price) or the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (larger screen, slightly more expensive at $269). This is better if you want a more compact, easy to carry device. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ is better if you want a larger screen. Do consider the Nook HD and Nook HD+ at $129 and $149 respectively. They now seem to be on permanent sale.
  3. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ at $269. This is the larger screen Kindle Fire HD. This is very similar (almost identical) to the Kindle Fire HD, apart from having a larger screen and weighing more and being slightly unwieldy. At this price you also need to start considering the iPad Mini which offers a much richer App Store for $60 more. It also is much lighter while still having a screen larger than the 7″ Tablets. Another option worth checking out is the Nook HD+ at $149 (much cheaper since B&N is clearing out stock).
  4. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ LTE at $399. I really wouldn’t recommend this. Paying $130 more for LTE makes zero sense. It’s just a $25 to $35 chip – so you’re gifting Amazon $100 for nothing. Also, at $399 we’re competing with $499 iPads and Samsung’s higher end tablets and $329 iPad Minis. Kindle Fire HD doesn’t win any of those comparisons – unless you are very attached to Amazon’s ecosystem. Even then, it’s irrational to pay $399 for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ LTE.

Out of the 4 Kindle Fire Tablets, the best choices are the Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. You should also consider fire sales like the one currently going on with the Nook HD+ (just $149) and the Nook HD (just $129). The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ are good, solid choices. Kindle Fire HD is the better choice of the two, unless you want a larger 8.9″ screen.

Let’s get into more detail below.

Should I get a Kindle eReader or a Kindle Fire Tablet?

This is a good question. It depends on what your needs are.

Kindle eReaders with eInk screens are good if –

  1. You read a lot. This is the main criterion.
  2. You are not looking for a device that can do more than read. This is pretty important too. An eReader isn’t good for anything else. It’s not a tablet you can read on. It’s a device you can ONLY read on.
  3. You want a device optimized for and built for reading.
  4. You already have a tablet and want a reading focused eReader to complement it.
  5. You read quite a bit in sunlight – at the beach, by the pool, in the park, etc. Note: No matter what device manufacturers claim, LCD screens aren’t readable in direct sunlight. You need an eReader if you often read in sunlight.
  6. Your eyes get tired after reading for a long time on LCD screens. Note: There are LCD-compatible people who complain loudly at the mere suggestion that LCDs can hurt the eyes. There are LCD-incompatibles who prefer eInk over LCDs. There are also studies that show that reading on LCD screens before sleeping time causes sleep problems. Your individual case will differ. See if reading on LCD screens works for you or not. If not, then you’ll love the eInk screen.
  7. You want the lightest possible device because your hands get tired from holding Tablets for long. If you read in stretches of longer than 15-30 minutes then you really need to get a 7″ Tablet or a 6″ eInk Reader. Those are the only two devices that you can hold for long stretches. Of them, the 6″ eReaders are half the weight – So, if your hands are weak and you read for long stretches, then you probably need an eReader.
  8. You want something for reading which is far cheaper than a Tablet. Note: If you can’t afford a Tablet consider the fire sale on the Nook HD ($129 now). You can also wait for the release of the new Nexus 7 2. Nexus 7 might drop to $149 after Nexus 7 2 arrives.

The two keys are –

  1. You should get a Kindle eReader if you are looking for a device optimized for reading and which can be used only for reading.
  2. You should get a Kindle eReader if you want to read more and/or love to read. If you want a device suited for people who read a lot.

If you read more than a book a month, then spending $69 on a Kindle WiFi or $119 on a Kindle Paperwhite is a good decision.

Kindle Fire Tablets are good for you if –

  1. You want a device that can do more than just read. In particular, you want a Tablet that you can do lots of things on – read books, watch movies, play games, check the Internet, check your email, listen to music.
  2. You want a device on which you can also check your email and surf the Internet. While these things are technically somewhat possible on Kindle Paperwhite, they are very inconvenient and inelegant. In effect, you can’t really do them on eReaders.
  3. You don’t read more than a book a month and/or You are fine reading entire books on LCD screens. If you are LCD-compatible, you’ll probably miss the color and shine and glimmer of LCD screens.
  4. You are an Apple or Google person. If you believe strongly in Apple products or in Google products, then the design decisions and overall user experience of the Kindle eReaders will bother you to your very core. For Apple – There’s a stark lack of aesthetics and animated page turns. For Google – there’s no openness, only a walled rainforest.
  5. You feel it’s not worth it to buy a separate device focused for reading. You also might not want to carry around both a Tablet and an eReader.
  6. You don’t usually read in the sunlight. Note: As mentioned earlier, LCD screens don’t work in sunlight. So don’t believe the marketing nonsense about anti-glare layers and such.
  7. You do one or more of these things often – watch movies, surf the Internet, check email, listen to music. You want a Tablet that allows you to do these easily and conveniently. Important: Kindle eReaders are NOT Tablets. They are devices dedicated to reading books and they don’t really do anything else.
  8. You can’t afford an iPad or iPad Mini OR You prefer Amazon or Amazon’s ecosystem. If money is no object then you should get an iPad – no matter what. If you absolutely dislike Apple then get a Surface Pro or a high-end Samsung Tablet. Kindle Fire Tablets are not high-end or luxury tablets and if you can afford a high-end tablet it will almost certainly provide a markedly better experience.
  9. You want a Tablet that ties in with Amazon’s offerings like Amazon Instant Video and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle FreeTime for Kids. Kindle Fire HD is perfect for that.
  10. You travel a lot and/or have a long commute and want a Tablet to pass the time and/or make some use of the time. The downside with a Kindle Paperwhite is that you can only read. If you want a device that also lets you play a quick game or check the news then you need a Tablet.

The three keys are –

  1. You want a Tablet i.e. a device that can do lots of things.
  2. You want a Tablet from Amazon.
  3. You don’t read a lot and/or you are fine reading for long stretches on LCD screens.

If a Tablet is what you’re looking for, your next questions is – Is Kindle Fire HD the best tablet for me? What is the best Kindle Fire Tablet for me?

The following sections will help you answer those questions.

Which is the Best Kindle Reader for Me?

That’s a tough question. The three best Kindle eReader choices each have their own unique advantages –

  1. Kindle WiFi – This is the cheapest. The eInk Pearl screen is still very good. This is the most compact. This is also really good as an add-on device dedicated to reading if you already have a Tablet.
  2. Kindle Paperwhite – This is the best option if you don’t need or want 3G. The screen is great. The device works well. It’s pretty well-priced at $119. Note: Please also consider the Kobo Aura HD.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite with 3G – This is the only option if you want an eReader that also has 3G store access and 3G book downloads. It’s pricy at $179 but worth it as the 3G is very, very convenient.

Get Kindle WiFi if one or more of the following are true – money is tight, you already have a tablet, you read just one book a month, you aren’t really much of a reader, you are buying it for your kids, you want the lightest and most compact eReader, you’ll use it only on occasional trips and vacations.

Get Kindle Paperwhite if one or more of the following are true – you want the best reading screen out of all eInk Kindles (also consider Kobo Aura HD if this is the case), you want the newest Kindle (you could wait for a few months for Kindle Paperwhite 2 if you want the absolute newest model), you read a lot, you need an eReader for your daily commute, you travel often for work, money is no object and you want the best screen (consider the Kindle Paperwhite 3G and the Kobo Aura HD too), you are OK with having only WiFi, you read a book a week or more, you read often at night and need the built-in reading light the Kindle Paperwhite has.

Get Kindle Paperwhite 3G if one or more of the following are true – you will read books often while travelling or commuting and don’t want to bother with finding WiFi (Note: WiFi is only needed to download books and to shop for books, not for reading books that are already downloaded), money is no object and you think 3G will help.

Kindle Paperwhite is perhaps the best fit for most people. Do consider waiting a few months to see what Kindle Paperwhite 2 will be like.

Which is the Best Kindle Fire for Me?

If you’ve decided on a Kindle Fire Tablet, chances are that the Kindle Fire HD or the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ is the best choice for you. The two best choices have their own unique advantages –

  1. Kindle Fire HD – This is the 7″ Kindle Fire HD. This is a good choice if you want a compact, light Tablet with a very high quality screen and great speakers and decent usability. If you can afford the iPad Mini, get that instead – it is easier to use and has a lot more apps. Kindle Fire HD at $199 is perhaps one of the best choices after iPad Mini (also consider Nook HD at $129). This is the best choice if you want a lighter, more compact 7″ tablet, or if your budget is only $200.
  2. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ – This is the 8.9″ Kindle Fire. This is $269 and a good choice if you want a larger screen. Perhaps you want to increase font size in books. Perhaps you want a larger screen for magazines and Internet surfing. Perhaps you want the larger screen for HD movies to have more room. The downside of having a larger screen is that the device is slightly heavier, it is larger, and it is a bit awkward to hold for long periods. Also consider the Nook HD+ at $159.

Get Kindle Fire HD if – you want a 7″ tablet, you have a limited budget (consider the on-sale $129 Nook HD if that’s the case), you want a lighter tablet, you have arthritis in your hands or have weak hands, you have smaller hands and want an easier to grip tablet, you want something you can throw into your purse or handbag easily (the larger model won’t fit smaller purses), you have good eyesight and don’t need a 8.9″ screen for large size font in books and websites, you want a more compact tablet.

Get Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ if – you want a 8.9″ tablet, you have weak eyesight and/or you like reading in larger font sizes and want to be able to see more of the large font size text on pages in books and websites, you don’t mind a slightly heavier and a larger tablet, you won’t be travelling with it and it doesn’t have to be small OR you don’t mind it being less compact, money is no object and you don’t mind the $70 higher price, you prefer it over iPad Mini (I think iPad Mini is a better choice than Kindle Fire HD 8.9″), you want a device better suited for magazines and newspapers, you don’t like the much cheaper but equally good Nook HD+ at $149.

Unless you have a need for a large screen device, I would recommend the Kindle Fire HD or the cheaper $129 Nook HD.

Is there a better eReader than the Kindle eReader?

For the moment, you have the Kobo Aura HD as a serious contender –

  1. Kobo Aura HD offers a better resolution screen than the Kindle Paperwhite and, at 6.8″, the screen is a bit larger than the Kindle Paperwhite’s 6″ screen.
  2. Kindle Paperwhite offers a better store and better services and infrastructure.
  3. Check out our Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Aura HD comparison for further details.

It depends on what you value more. If screen resolution and clarity and sharpness of text are most important to you, then you should get Kobo Aura HD or wait for Kindle Paperwhite 2. If the largest ebook store with the best prices (and the most free books) is important for you, then get the Kindle Paperwhite.

Is there a better Tablet than the Kindle Fire HD?

Yes, there are several. My rough ranking would be –

  1. iPad Mini.
  2. Surface Pro if you want a good keyboard and Windows 8.
  3. iPad.
  4. Samsung’s higher end Tablets.
  5. Surface RT.
  6. [Tied] Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD and Nook HD+ (the latter two are on sale for $129 and $149).
  7. Nexus 7.
  8. Other Android Tablets.
  9. Other Windows 8 Tablets.

Kindle Fire HD is, however, the best Tablet under $200 (tied with Nook HD). It’s also tied with Nook HD for best 7″ Tablet.

  1. If you’re looking for a smaller 7″ tablet, at a price below $200, then Kindle Fire HD is perfect for you. Note: Nook HD might be a better fit if your budget is tight.
  2. If your budget is higher, get an iPad Mini or Surface Pro or iPad. If you need a larger screen, but are short on money, consider Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+.

Well, that brings us close to the end of our ‘Best Kindle for You’ article.

What is the Best Kindle for Me? Only you can decide

We’ve walked you through all the choices and it’s pretty clear that –

  1. You need to decide whether you want an eInk Kindle or a Kindle Tablet.
  2. If you want an eInk Kindle, then Kindle WiFi, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Paperwhite 3G are all good choices. Kobo Aura HD is also worth considering.
  3. If you want a Kindle Fire Tablet, then your choice depends on your budget. If your budget is tight, the $199 Kindle Fire HD and $129 Nook HD are your two top choices if you want a 7″ Tablet. If you want a larger Tablet but have a tight budget, the $269 Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and the $149 Nook HD+ are your two top choices.
  4. If your budget is more expansive (or limitless), then iPad Mini, Surface Pro, and iPad are your best three choices. The new Kindle Fire HD 2 will arrive by end of this year. At this stage, however, it’s hard to say if it will beat out iPad Mini and Surface Pro. It’s somewhat unlikely.
  5. You could get a Tablet and an eReader. A good combination for the budget conscious would be a $149 Nook HD+ and a $69 Kindle WiFi. For those with more of a budget, you could get an iPad Mini for $329 and a Kindle Paperwhite with Ads for $119.

Best of luck with your decision on ‘What is the Best Kindle for Me’. If you can wait 2-3 months, you’ll have a much better choice of eInk Kindles – perhaps even a Kindle Paperwhite HD. If you can wait 4-5 months, you’ll have a much better choice in Kindle Fire Tablets.

Which Kindle? Kindle Buying Guide

With Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire, and the new Kindle, Amazon now has a confusing number of Kindles to choose from.

This ‘Which Kindle?’ Kindle Buying Guide will help you pick the right Kindle for your needs.

Which Kindle – The Top 3 Choices

This section is the conclusion of the entire Kindle Buying Guide (so you don’t have to go through the entire Kindle Buying Guide if you don’t want to). The three best Kindles and the ones we recommend are –

  1. Kindle Fire (if you want a Tablet).
  2. Kindle Touch (best Kindle eReader with touch).
  3. Kindle Keyboard (best Kindle eReader with keyboard).

Please Note: Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch are not yet out. So the recommendation is with the Qualifier that these devices might not be as good as expected. With Kindle Touch it’s quite likely (given past Kindles) that it will be a very safe and solid bet. With Kindle Fire, we will only know when it’s actually released.

A little on why these were the winners.

Kindle Fire – A good choice if you are looking for a Tablet

Kindle Fire is a Kindle Tablet. It is optimized for consuming content (movies, books, TV shows, music), for surfing the web (with a fast browser), and for games (thousands of apps and games from Amazon’s Android App Store).

The combination of low price, good features, and multi-purposeness make it a good Tablet. It offers a lot of value for money and lets you both read books and also do lots of other things. It has a good-sized 7″LCD screen with IPS and color and two-finger touch.

Kindle Fire can be used as a reading tablet but does not have the eInk screen that is great for reading and is not focused on reading. It does have a reading light. It will not work in direct sunlight (you won’t be able to read off of it in direct sunlight).

It seems to be a very good choice (once it is out we’ll know for sure). If your budget is higher than $199 (the Kindle Fire’s price) then also consider iPad 2 (around $499) and Nook Color ($249, $170 for refurbished). Nook Color 2 is rumored to launch soon and iPad 3 and a 10″ Kindle Fire are rumored to launch in early 2012.

Touch Kindle – The best eReader choice if you don’t need a physical keyboard

Touch Kindle is just $99 for the version with ads and with WiFi only (ads are not in books, only in screensavers and on home page). It has a 6″ eInk Pearl that is great for reading. There is no color. There is touch. The touch is via IR so there is no layer over the eInk and no glare.

It is the 4th generation Kindle (though there aren’t very many advances over the 3rd generation Kindle) and thus offers the latest features. You get a focus on reading, the great eInk Pearl screen, and the convenience/appeal of touch. There is no backlight so you have to use a reading light. You can read it in sunlight. The eInk screen is great for reading and easy on the eyes.

The Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) are the best choices if you are looking for a device for reading.

Kindle 3 aka Kindle Keyboard (WiFi only version)

Amazon has continued the Kindle 3 and it’s a good decision given the benefits of having a physical keyboard and the good, solid design and ease of use of Kindle 3.

Kindle 3 has a 6″ eInk Pearl screen (same as Kindle Touch) but doesn’t have a touch screen. Just like Kindle Touch, the Kindle 3 is great for reading and is readable in sunlight but doesn’t have a backlight for reading at night.

It has a physical keyboard which makes note-taking and highlighting and searching much easier. It also allows for lots of keyboard shortcuts (Alt+B to add a bookmark) and makes things convenient.

Kindle 3 is a good, solid choice.

Which Kindle – the Full List

Let’s look at every Kindle available and at what makes it unique and what situations and uses each is optimal for.

Please Note: There are sections later on that cover ‘Kindle WiFi or 3G’ and ‘Kindle with Ads or Kindle with No Ads’.

$79 New Kindle (Kindle 4 with Ads)

This is a very solid Kindle and incredible value for money. The downside is that there is no keyboard and no touchscreen – which makes things like taking notes very difficult and some other things awkward. There is also no text to speech and no music since it doesn’t have speakers. It has less storage space and less battery life than the $99 Kindles – However, it shouldn’t matter very much as there’s still space for 1,400 books and there is still 3 weeks battery life with WiFi on.

My recommendation: Add on $20 and get Touch Kindle or Kindle 3 Keyboard.

$79 Kindle 4 Review – Kindle 4 Review, Photos.

Thoughts on Ads: Not a problem. You get ads instead of screensavers and ads on the main page. No Ads in Books so it doesn’t hurt the book reading experience.

$109 New Kindle (Kindle 4 with no Ads)

Same as above. Just with no Ads. Don’t really see any reason to buy this instead of the $79 version.

$99 Kindle Touch (with WiFi only, with Ads)

Probably the best Kindle option.

For $99 you get – 6″ eInk Pearl screen that is great for reading, touch screen, ease of use and simplicity, access to Kindle Store (the best ebook store), text to speech, great battery life (2 months with WiFi off – assuming half an hour of reading per day). It is the latest generation Kindle (Kindle 4 Touch) so you get the benefit of all the lessons from the past 3 Kindle generations.

You don’t get – Color, Ability to do things other than read.

My recommendation: Best Kindle available (alongside Kindle Keyboard). If you prefer touch over a physical keyboard then this is the best choice.

$99 Kindle Touch Review – Kindle Touch Review.

Thought on Ads: Same as earlier, or please see Section later on ‘Kindle with Ads or Kindle with No Ads’.

$139 Kindle Touch (with WiFi only, no Ads)

Same Kindle Touch as Above. You pay $40 extra to be freed of ads in your screensaver and on your Home Page.

$139 Kindle Touch 3G (with 3G and WiFi, with Ads)

This is the same as the $99 Kindle Touch except $50 more expensive and with 3G.

WiFi and 3G are types of wireless technology. 3G means you can use AT&T’s cellphone towers and get wireless anywhere there is wireless coverage from AT&T. WiFi means you either have to have your own home wireless network or use a WiFi network at Starbucks or MacDonald’s or a Coffee Shop or at your work. Note: With any Kindle you get free WiFi access to all AT&T WiFi hotspots.

3G is more convenient. With 3G you get free Internet browsing and can browse the Kindle Store and buy and download books. It also extends (provided you are a US Kindle owner) to 100+ countries. You can be in England and still shop the Kindle Store and surf the Internet on your Kindle – as long as there is 3G coverage (from AT&T or a partner).

When do you need Wireless: You only need wireless when buying a book or downloading a book or surfing the Internet. You DO NOT need wireless when reading a book.

My Recommendation: Get this if you travel a lot OR don’t have a home wireless network OR will be reading on your commute or at work and won’t have WiFi access. Do get this is you travel internationally.

Quick Thought: If $50 isn’t a big deal to you, then always get Kindle Touch 3G instead of the WiFi-only Kindle Touch. The convenience more than makes up for it.

Thought on Ads: Same as earlier. Not a big deal.

$189 Kindle Touch 3G (with 3G and WiFi, no Ads)

This is the Kindle Touch 3G with no Ads. Same as above except no Ads.

$99 Kindle Keyboard (Kindle WiFi with WiFi only, Ads)

This is the Kindle 3. This is a really good Kindle and neck to neck with Kindle Touch.

For people who prefer a Keyboard this is the best choice. For people who prefer a touchscreen the Kindle Touch is the best choice.

For your $99 you get – 6″ eInk Pearl Screen, all the improvements learnt from Kindle 1 and Kindle 2, text to speech, very good usability, good operating system that’s easy to use, lots of options for font size, access to Kindle Store (the best ebook prices and the widest range of new ebooks), same 2 month battery life as on the Kindle Touch.

What you don’t get – the latest Kindle, touch screen, color, ability to do more than read.

My Recommendation – If you want a physical keyboard, then the Kindle 3 is the best choice.

Kindle Keyboard Review – Kindle 3 Review.

Quick Thought – A very safe choice. This is the third generation Kindle and third generation devices tend to be very solid.

Ads – Not a big deal. Saves you $40 if you are OK having Ads as screensavers. No ads when reading books.

$139 Kindle Keyboard (Kindle WiFi with WiFi only, no Ads)

Pay $40 extra and get the Kindle 3 without Ads.

$149 Kindle Keyboard 3G (Kindle 3 with WiFi and 3G, Ads).

This is identical to Kindle 3 except that you pay $50 extra to get 3G capability.

The exact same benefits as we discussed with Kindle Touch 3G – free 3G Kindle Store browsing, free 3G Internet, more convenient (works wherever there’s AT&T coverage), get free 3G in 100+ countries.

My Recommendation: If you travel often, or don’t get WiFi at home and work, or don’t want to bother with WiFi, then Kindle 3 with 3G is a great choice.

Convenience vs $50: If $50 isn’t much to you, then always get the 3G.

Wireless only needed for buying and surfing: You can read a book without wireless.

Ads: Not an annoyance.

$189 Kindle Keyboard 3G (Kindle 3 with WiFi and 3G, No Ads)

This is Kindle 3 with 3G and No Ads. Pay $40 extra and get back your screensaver and the bottom 20% of your home screen.

$199 Kindle Fire – The Kindle Tablet

A very good choice if you are looking for a low-priced Tablet that lets you do a lot more than just read.

The Kindle Fire is a 7″ Tablet. It has a color IPS LCD screen which makes it great for photos and movies and TV and games. It’s decent for reading and Amazon is doing some things like adding an anti-glare layer/treatment to make it a good reading tablet.

There is a gorilla glass display to make it tougher.

It’s a steal since the components alone cost $191. Add on manufacturing and software development and marketing and it’s probably costing more than the price Amazon is selling it for – perhaps as much as $50 more. Amazon is subsidizing it against the hope of future content sales.

That means you get a $250 to $300 Tablet for $199.

Kindle Fire vs Nook Color 2: Since Nook Color 2 is not out or announced, we don’t know what it will be. It is, however, a good idea to wait and see. You can still preorder a Kindle Fire to book your place. Then, if you find you like the Nook Color 2 more, just cancel the order.

Kindle Fire vs iPad 2: They are different devices. Can’t really compare a $199 Tablet with a $499 Tablet.

Kindle Fire Review: Not up yet. Here’s a post on Kindle Fire Specifications & Details.

My Recommendation: If you want a device for more than just reading, then Kindle Fire seems promising. Preorder one to book up a spot. If Nook Color 2 ends up being more tempting, you can always switch.

$379 Kindle DX 2 – The large-screen Kindle

Kindle DX 2 is the large screen Kindle. It has a 9.7″ eInk Pearl screen which is great for reading and offers all the benefits the smaller eInk Pearl screen offers – easy on the eyes, optimized for reading, readable in sunlight. It doesn’t have a backlight.

Kindle DX 2 is OK but not great for PDFs. The larger screen size is great and you can use landscape mode to get even better views. However, the PDF support is a bit limited – There is no text to speech for PDFs and highlights don’t always work.

In fact, something like the Kindle Fire or the Nook Color might be a better PDF reader due to color and touch and better PDF software.

Value for Money: When you can get a $79 Kindle 4 and a $99 Kindle Touch, the $379 price of the Kindle DX 2 becomes really unappealing.

My Recommendation: Wait for Kindle DX 3 or buy a Reading Tablet.

Kindle DX 2 Review: Here’s my Kindle DX 2 Review.

Thought on All the Kindle Choices

The introduction of the WiFi or 3G choice with Kindle 3 in 2010 made things confusing.

Now, with Ads or No Ads and 2 new models of Kindles, Amazon has made choosing a Kindle a royal mess. Hopefully this post (including the sections below) clears up the choice for you.

My recommendation would be –

  1. Kindle Tablet (Kindle Fire) – preorder one and then wait to see what Nook Color 2 is like.
  2. Kindle Touch – Best Choice if you’re looking for a touchscreen Kindle and want the latest model.
  3. Kindle 3 – Best Choice if you want a keyboard and the most stable, battle-tested Kindle.

Between Ads and No Ads – The Ads version is OK as Ads are not in the actual books.

Between 3G and no 3G – If you can afford it, or if you travel, or if you don’t have WiFi at places where you will want to buy books or surf the Net, then do get the 3G variant.

Which Kindle – eInk or LCD?

Kindle Fire is the only Kindle with a LCD screen. It is also a Tablet and not an eReader.

Kindle Fire Tablet with LCD screen – 7″ screen, usable for movies and TV shows and color games, two finger touch, IPS panel for great viewing angles, can be used for more than just reading, backlight so readable at night.

Kindle eReader with eInk screen – 6″ screen, eInk (with Touch if you get Kindle Touch), no color, no backlight, readable in sunlight, easier on the eyes, optimized for reading.

They really are two completely different devices.

If you read 2 or more books a month, or would like to read more

Then a Kindle eReader with an eInk screen is the best choice. Even if you get a Kindle Fire you should consider getting a $100 Kindle Touch or Kindle 3 for your reading.

Which Kindle – 3G or WiFi

Firstly, wireless is only needed when buying and downloading a book and when surfing the Internet. You don’t need wireless to read a book that’s already on your Kindle.

Secondly, if you can afford the extra $50 then it’s almost always a great idea to get the 3G version. It’s a lot more convenient, it works in 100+ countries (if you are a US Kindle owner), and it gets you free Internet browsing.

Thirdly, here’s the difference:

WiFi – A wireless technology where a router creates a wireless network in a particular spot (like a cafe or a house or a store). So your Kindle (both WiFi-only model and 3G model) can connect to this network and then connect to the internet through the router.

3G – A wireless technology where cellphone towers create a large wireless network over huge areas (like an entire city, or large areas of a city). So you Kindle (only the 3G model) can connect to this network and then connect to the Internet through the cellphone tower.

They are both ways to connect to a wireless network and then to the Internet. However, the latter (3G) is much more expansive as it works wherever an AT&T cellphone would work. It also works in 100+ countries where there is an AT&T partner 3G network.

WiFi will only work if there is an accessible WiFi network. You might have one at home. There are 10,000 AT&T hotspots in the US that your WiFi-only Kindle can access.

However, WiFi won’t work in a lot of cases like when driving around or when travelling. 3G will work much more often.

My Recommendation: It’s better to get the 3G Kindle but you can get by on the WiFi Kindle if you have WiFi at home or are OK downloading books to your PC and then transferring to Kindle via USB.

Which Kindle – Touch or Keyboard or Neither

This is usually a clear preference – If you like typing notes and prefer a physical keyboard then the Kindle 3 is the clear choice. If you fall into the camp of ‘touch is so cool and I can type faster/as fast on a touch keyboard as on a physical keyboard’ then the Touch Kindle is the clear choice.

Please keep in mind that the Touch Kindle isn’t here yet so we don’t know how well that on-screen keyboard works.

Which Kindle – 6″ eInk screen or 9.7″ eInk screen

At $379 the Kindle DX 2 is too expensive to consider. If Kindle Fire is just $199 and Kindle Touch is just $99 then the Kindle DX 2 at $379 becomes a puzzling choice. Just buy a Kindle Fire and a Kindle Touch instead and still have $80 left over.

Which Kindle – Should You get a Refurbished Kindle? What about a used Kindle?

Not a fan of all the refurbished Kindles and used Kindles.

Kindle Touch is $99. Kindle 4 is $79. Kindle 3 is $99.

There really isn’t a strong argument for buying a refurbished Kindle. The two exceptions would be:

A refurbished Kindle DX 2 if it is significantly cheaper than the $379 price of a new Kindle DX 2. My thought: Yes, as long as you don’t expect it to be a fantastic PDF reader.

A refurbished Kindle 3 with 3G and no Ads if it is in the $100 to $120 range. My thought: Yes, this is a good deal.

In nearly every other case it makes no sense to pick a refurbished Kindle over the latest generation, super-low-priced Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch.

Which Kindle – Reading Experience

One thing worth pointing out, especially if you are looking primarily for a reading device, is the core reading experience. My rough ranking would be:

Please Note: Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch are not out yet.

  1. Tie between Kindle 3 and Kindle Touch.
  2. All variants of Kindle 3 and Kindle Touch.
  3. Kindle 4 and variants. The lack of both keyboard and touch screen takes away from the reading experience.
  4. Kindle DX 2. The large size gets in the way.
  5. Kindle Fire. Equivalent to other reading tablets like Nook Color. Slightly better than general Tablets like iPad 2.

All Kindles have a very good core reading experience. Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2 and Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch have the same identical eInk Pearl screens with very minor improvements in the latest generation Kindles.

Kindle Fire’s LCD screen is neither optimized for reading (apart from the anti-glare treatment) nor is it easy on the eyes. It will still be fine for reading – just not as good as dedicated reading devices like the eInk Kindles.

Which Kindle – Closing Thoughts

The answer to Which Kindle? is –

  • Kindle Fire (if you want a Tablet that can do more than just read). Do compare with Nook Color 2.
  • Kindle Touch (best Kindle eReader with touch). Can’t go wrong with the $99 WiFi-only model with Ads.
  • Kindle 3 (best Kindle eReader with keyboard). Again, the $99 WiFi-only model with Ads is something you can’t go wrong with.

If you want a device dedicated to reading, you are pretty safe if you go with the Kindle 3 or Kindle Touch. Based on what Kindle 4 is like, and assuming that Kindle Touch will basically be Kindle 4 with a touchscreen, I’m pretty comfortable giving it a strong recommendation in advance of actual release. A touchscreen really would address most of the shortcomings of the Kindle 4 (apart from the lack of a physical keyboard).

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2

The arrival of the $189 Kindle 3 and the $139 Kindle WiFi creates an interesting situation. We now have to choose one of three new Kindle models (Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2) when in many ways they are very similar (Kindle ecosystem, Kindle Store, eInk Pearl screen).

This post will look at Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 and compare and contrast them. Please note that it’s based on just an hour with the new Kindle 3 and a month of owning the Kindle DX 2.

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Value for Money

Here’s how they stack up –

  1. Kindle WiFi for $139 is incredible value for money. It’s really a steal. You get access to Kindle Store, you get the new eInk Peal screen, you get a month of battery life with wireless off, the memory is double, and there are a lot of other benefits. It’s basically the Kindle 3 without the 3G.
  2. Kindle 3 for $189 is very good value for money. If you don’t need 3G then the WiFi is $50 cheaper and the obvious better option. Note that apart from 3G support and the WiFi being 0.2 ounces lighter there are no differences.
  3. Kindle DX 2 for $379  is a difficult choice. It definitely isn’t anywhere near Kindle WiFi in terms of value for money and it isn’t ‘do more than one thing’  like the iPad WiFi at $499. So it comes down to whether the Kindle DX 2 is a fit for you. The following sections should clear that up.

If your major concern is getting value for money then the Kindle WiFi is it. You aren’t going to be upset with Kindle 3 either. If your inclination is to always want the best value for money and to feel bad if you buy something that isn’t then the Kindle DX 2 is going to make you wonder whether it’s worth 2.7 Kindle WiFis (it’s not).

Kindle DX 2 or Kindle 3 or Kindle WiFi – Large Screen, Readability and PDFs, Newspapers, and Magazines

The reading experience on all 3 devices is very good. They all have the same eInk Pearl screen with excellent contrast.

The Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi have some additional tweaks which Kindle DX 2 doesn’t. However, the screen contrast on Kindle DX 2 is good enough that an additional 5% or 10% improvement isn’t going to be missed.

Far more important is the Kindle DX 2’s large size screen. The 9.7″ screen is 2.5 times as big as the 6″ Kindle 3 screen and adds in some ways –

  1. The Kindle DX 2 is really good if you like large screens to read on – there are a lot of words per page, you have to turn the page less often.
  2. There are larger font sizes on Kindle DX 2. The largest font size on the Kindle DX 2 is larger than the largest font size on the Kindle 2 and is almost certainly going to be larger than the largest font size on the Kindle 3.
  3. The Kindle DX 2 is also much better for PDFs because it’s closer to the size of an A4 sheet of paper. You can read most PDFs a page at a time though some PDFs need landscape mode or magnification even on the DX 2. Check out this post on Kindle DX 2 PDF support for photos and video.  
  4. The large screen of the Kindle DX 2 also makes it great for newspapers and magazines. Lots of Magazines are available online in PDF format so that’s a factor. For newspapers and magazines in the Kindle Store you can have more of the article on the screen.
  5. If you’re low vision or like the really big font sizes then the Kindle DX 2 allows that and also allows lots of words per screen even with the largest fonts. That’s invaluable.

The large screen is probably the biggest (and only?) advantage of the Kindle DX 2 – 2.5 times the screen size of the 6″ Kindle.

Kindle DX 2 vs iPad

It comes down to what’s important to you –

  1. If you want the best large screen reading device get the Kindle DX 2.
  2. If you want the best device that does more than just read then perhaps the iPad fits the bill.
  3. If you want some ethereal concept of higher value for money even though you want a device primarily for reading then don’t really know what to say. Basically, if you’re looking for a device for reading then it doesn’t make much sense to think – I can also do 50 other things on iPad in addition to reading so even though I want a device that’s great for reading I’ll get one that isn’t great for reading because it does something else.

Kindle DX 2 beats iPad thoroughly on reading and iPad beats Kindle DX 2 thoroughly on the perception of value for money and being able to do more than read.

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Portability and Weight

A big disadvantage of the Kindle DX 2 is that it weighs a lot and is quite large. Here are the specifics –

  1. Kindle DX 2 – 18.9 ounces. 10.4″ by 7.2″ by 0.38″.  
  2. Kindle 3 – 8.7 ounces. 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″.
  3. Kindle WiFi – 8.5 ounces. 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″.

Since its heavier the Kindle DX 2 is very unsuited to one-handed reading and even holding it with both hands can get tiring after a while. If you have weak hands you will have to read it while resting it on something (there’s a Jacket Case that can be propped up). Even with strong hands you’ll find that you prefer resting DX 2 on a table or on its side.

The larger size means the Kindle DX 2 won’t fit in your jacket pocket (like Kindle 3 will for larger jacket pockets) and it won’t fit in small bugs and purses. Carrying it in your hand is a bit awkward and also a little tiring. DX 2 is just not that portable.

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – new Kindle 3 features

Since the Kindle 3 is a newer release it has some features the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t.

This post on Kindle 3 improvements has details on which of the Kindle 3 additions are software based and which are hardware based. However, its reference point is Kindle 2.

Here’s how Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2 stack up –

They both have the new eInk Pearl screen. They both have the new graphite casing.  

Kindle 3 has lots of software improvements Kindle DX 2 doesn’t. DX 2 may get these down the line or it may not.  

  1. 3 Font Choices – Serif (Caecilia), Sans-Serif, and Condensed. 
  2. Support for CJK and Cyrillic fonts.
  3. Improved PDF support with ability to add highlights and notes and support for password protected PDFs.  
  4. WebKit Browser and Article Mode – The Kindle 3’s WebKit browser can support more sites. Kindle DX 2’s browser primarily supports mobile versions of sites. Also WiFi means Kindle 3’s browser can use WiFi which is much faster than 3G.
  5. Voice Guide – Kindle DX 2 doesn’t have the Voice Guide so it isn’t really accessible.

These will, hopefully, all arrive for the Kindle DX 2 – However, at the moment they’re missing.

Kindle 3  has lots of hardware improvements the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t and there’s no way it can get them –

  1. WiFi.
  2. New quieter page turn buttons and re-arranged keys. 
  3. The improved battery life might be hardware based. The improved screen contrast (over DX 2) involves tuning that may be hardware tuning or software tuning. The 20% faster page turns might be hardware based.

On the Kindle 3 product page there’s a chart comparing Kindle 3, Kindle WiFi, and Kindle DX 2 – it’s worth a look.

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Conclusion

The Kindle DX 2 is the right choice if you’re looking for a large screen eReader. It’s the best large screen eReader and the only one with the new eInk Pearl screen. If the value for money aspect is a concern then consider getting a $249 refurbished Kindle DX US – they are available sporadically. Keep in mind that you will miss out on the new eInk Pearl screen and on international 3G with the refurbished Kindle DX US.

The Kindle 3 and the Kindle WiFi are much better choices in nearly every other case. Amazon has made a ton of improvements and introduced them at really low prices. Combine that with the portability and light weight and they’re a great choice if you don’t need a large screen.

Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 is not really much of a comparison because Kindle DX 2 trails in value for money and it hasn’t yet gotten the software improvements introduced in Kindle 3. Amazon probably needs to sell more DX 2s before it can hit economies of scale and bring the price down to $250.