Pros Smaller than my old Kindle Keyboard in surface area. Faster than the outgoing model. Generally cleaner design. Touch screen works good. Battery life appears to be better. Touch screen is more intuitive in navigation and organization.
Cons Not a giant leap in technology, other than the touch screen and elimination of the keyboard. Very much thicker than the outgoing Kindle keyboard.
Summary OK. I'm a technology geek. I saw the new Kindle announced and I ordered it (3G version, touch) before even reading a review. I've had Nook envy for 8 months or so-- and I wanted this Kindle to level the playing field.
It does and it doesn't. This is a catch-up model to the Nook. Amazon is very late in reacting to the Nook touch (e-ink reader)-- and I confess I have had Nook envy for some time now. The rubberized, contoured back, with hardware buttons on the back of the device, as well as a touch screen-- I wanted one, but I'd been tied to Amazon because of all of the books I'd purchased, so I waited. And waited.
It's stunning at first glance. It's a much cleaner design than the outgoing Kindle Keyboard (Yes, Amazon still sells it, but let's face it-- it isn't going to be around forever). The smaller footprint is a welcomed reduction in form factor. Comparing to the old Kindle it's an inch shorter with the loss of keyboard, and slightly less wide. Good.
However the top bezel is actually wider than the Kindle Keyboard, and this is a surprise. Assuming they needed it for battery (more on that in a second), the Kindle touch has wider bezels at the top and bottom of the device-- with thinner bezels running down the sides. They placed the e-ink screen in the middle of the device. From a design standpoint I consider this a misstep. They should have evened out the bezels on top and sides, leaving a wider bezel at the bottom, where a lot of people hold it. Doing this would have made this device feel even smaller, and actually balanced the aesthetics a bit.
The silver bezel looks clean, but a darker bezel would have been a wiser choice from a reading standpoint. The screen gets lost in the bezel a bit, a darker bezel, would have made the screen pop more.
If you are looking for a jump in e-ink screen performance, don't bother. This screen is identical to the old one. No jump in contrast or sharpness or response. I would have liked to see Amazon make an incremental jump in e-ink. One new feature is that the screen will update for 6 pages before needing to do a complete refresh. But I found the screen gets annoying ghosting after just one page turn. You can see residual letters from the previous page-- very distracting-- and have since turned the feature off (there is a menu setting for this). It now refreshes on every page.
Another piece of good news is battery life. I seem to be getting even longer battery life out of the new Kindle than the old keyboard model. Though it could be that the new battery isn't a year and a half old.
Other niggles-- this Kindle is thicker than the keyboard version (a LOT thicker)-- almost twice as much. I'm not sure I understand why. The e-ink display is inset by an eighth of an inch-- this is wasted space. The only reason I can figure is they wanted it to be more difficult to accidentally brush the screen (which I still do anyway). So that's a bit disappointing.
It's also a bit heavier, though this isn't really that noticeable. The power button is now a push, instead of a slide, and yes, I have bumped it by mistake a few times. This may not happen as much once I get a case with a light. Amazon hasn't delivered it's case with the light built into it-- my favorite accessory from the old one.
Conclusion-- I still managed to get lost in what I was reading, which is good. But this Kindle update isn't a home run. It's more like a double to the gap. It does what Amazon needed to do, but nothing more. There are aspects of this Kindle-- particularly the lighter bezel color and inset screen which are actually worse than the old Kindle. I'm still on the fence about missing a hardware page advance.
Great that we now have a touch screen Kindle with a smaller footprint, but it doesn't grab my attention the way the Nook touch screen did almost a year ago. It's a decent update that doesn't surprise. If I were buying an e-ink e-reader, based only on the e-reader, I'd have purchased the Nook touch.
Pros Great design, price, portability
Cons CNet reviewer failed to mention that the Kindle Touch has no landscape mode, which makes viewing pdf's a pain. Also, touch responsiveness and contrast could be better when compared to Nook Simple Touch.
SummaryAnother Con: No progress bar at the bottom of the screen to indicate your location in a chapter. This feature was still in the Kindle 4 when it was released but for some reason, left out of the Kindle Touch.
Updated on Nov 17, 2011
Pros It's a Kindle, I love my keyboard Kindle. Special offers not a bother at all.
Cons No external storage, no hard page buttons.
Summary What about the fact that the B&N Simple Touch has external storage, the Amazon Kindle does not?
"Still torn"on by ruleofcuteness32
Pros size, weight
Cons bezel color, power button placement, library options
Summary I have been having trouble hitting the power button especially when storing it in a bag. Also, there are fewer library books available for Kindle than Nook, some publishers, like Penguin, don't have any Kindle versions available. An update to customize page turn areas would be fantastic.
Pros Light, easy to hold in one hand, easy to read
Cons Touch screen can be finicky, response can be sluggish.
Summary This is the first ebook reader I've ever owned and so far I've read two books on it, so take that for what it's worth as far as this review goes. I may update this later when I have a few more books read.
I think the main thing to say about it for anyone that's never tried an ebook reader is that I actually like reading from it better than a book. It is easier to hold than a fat paperback, is just as good as reading paper, and I like being able to change font sizes. That was my main curiosity before I got it - would I actually be able to stare at it for long periods like you can when reading a paper book? I downloaded a book sample and before I knew it I had read been reading for 20 minutes and that question had answered itself.
My only complaint is really the touch screen. I generally hate touch screens due to them being inexact, sluggish, and unresponsive. Unfortunately this touch screen can be all three, but it doesn't impact the reading experience too negatively. I think I would like at least one physical page turn button in addition to the touch screen. I have had some issues with a single page turn moving me many pages ahead, as well as some font sizes randomly changing between chapters but have read some reviews that certain books can be buggy, therefore I'm looking forward to trying a few others out to see if I consistently have those sort of issues.