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on September 12, 2012
I got my first Kindle. This is a nice ebook reader. I'm going to jump right in and tell you what I found to be its Pros and Cons. Then I'm going to tell how it compares to its biggest competitor, the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch.

Kindle's Pros:

Great Screen: Many people do not find LCDs hard to read on (e.g. smartphones, tablets, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, etc.), but virtually everyone will find E-Ink easier to read, any time of day. Especially the newest E-Ink Pearl displays. They simply look like paper and ink. I have never experienced any eye strain reading E-Ink book readers, but I have with LCD based phone/tablet screens.

Thin and Lightweight: This Kindle is thinner than any paperback and lighter too. This makes it very easy to hold in a sitting position, and for long periods too. It also makes it easy to transport in a purse, backpack, or messenger bag (or in luggage for traveling). Many people like to take a few books when travelling, and this Kindle lets you take as many as you want and adds virtually nothing to your travel burden.

Good Value: Even without a touchscreen, the Kindle is a good value. It is a well-made product, it offers cloud storage of your books (and well it should, since it offers no ability to expand storage capacity with an add-in microSD card), the screen is excellent, Amazon is a dogged competitor in book pricing. The Kindle 4 is the best value of Amazon's E-Ink readers. Some may be tempted to get the version with the built-in light. If you can afford it, sure, go ahead. But let me point out you don't have to spend $20 for a fancy-schmancy book light. Your local dollar store has them for ... wait for it ... a buck. They work perfectly well to light the screen, don't suck down your Kindle's battery, and best of all, don't add $50 to the price of the Kindle.

Amazon Customer Support: I've dealt with Amazon for years, and they have always done the right thing in terms of customer service when I have had issues with products or deliveries.

Kindle Lending Library for Prime Members: Prime members get their own library. That's a great benefit to them. I'm an "adjunct" Prime member, though, so I don't get to benefit from it, but it's great for primary Prime members.

Library Support: I was happy to see Amazon join the program for Overdrive and public library ebook lending. This is such a huge benefit to everyone who has ebook readers. Especially people on fixed incomes, who like ebook readers for the ability to change font sizes, and love them for the ability to borrow library books.

MicroUSB Port for USB Charging: Good call for Amazon to support the universal USB standard for charging. You can charge from a computer USB port, an AC adapter, car charger, etc. Don't worry about buying one: if you have a smartphone (other than apple) or Bluetooth device that came with a microUSB cable charger, it will do the job.

Parental Controls: Another good choice for Amazon to implement parental controls, where they can restrict access to the Kindle's web browser, store, and archived items.

Long Battery Life: I couldn't even put a dent in the battery gauge using the Kindle for several days, for several hours a day.

Excellent Highlighting and Notes Features: I really liked the highlighting and notation capabilities, and that I can access the highlights both in book and from the home screen. You can also choose to show highlights and notes by other users (general population), or by a selection of Amazon users you follow.


No Touchscreen: Yes, I know they offer a touchscreen model. But they charge a bunch more for it. Their main competitor offers touchscreen in their most basic model, for only a few dollars more (don't let the $99 list price fool you ... the Simple Touch is usually available for 10 bux more than the Kindle).

No Expandable Storage: Personally, I like to add free books from Project Gutenberg to my ebook reader. I can add thousands, with graphics, if I can add a microSD card for storage. However, Amazon chooses not to include that feature.

Not Easy to Hold Laying Down: For those of you who like to read in bed (that's where I do all my book reading), the Kindle 4 is not very easy to hold and be able to turn pages. The front bezel is slippery plastic and thin, so it's hard to grip one-handed. But if you manage to, it's nigh impossible to hit the page turn buttons. Most of the time, I found I had to let the bottom edge rest on my belly, hold it upright with one hand, and reach down with the other hand to turn pages. Sometimes I think products are designed and tested by people who just sit in their cubicles and never try the products in real-life situations. The ads show people sitting on the beach reading. Sure, pretty easy to hold the thing in that position. But try laying down! That's how real people read!

Button Design: Have they always been like this? I found the buttons prone to inadvertent presses whenever I held the Kindle. I prefer to hold it one-handed, and it seems that the button size and location makes it hard to grip the thing without accidentally hitting a page forward or back button.

Proprietary Format: Amazon's use of its proprietary format for ebooks means you have only one source of contemporary books: Amazon. Now, Amazon is a fine company, but personally, I find choice - being able to shop for the best deal - to be a benefit.

Kindle vs. Nook:

I have used Nook ebook readers for a couple of years, so I am very experienced with B&N's products and services.

Here are the winners and losers in various areas:


* E-Ink screens are equal quality
* Battery Life: really long for both
* Page Turns: both used to be pretty slow, both are now acceptably fast
* Book Prices: whenever I've checked, Amazon has better prices sometimes, Barnes & Noble has better prices other times, and they're very close a lot of times

Nook Wins:

* Touchscreen
* Use your own screensaver and wallpaper
* In store reading for free
* Expandable Storage
* Comes with charger (EDIT: 1/14/13: some commenters report that B&N now charges for the charger; be sure to check before you buy!)
* More universal book file format (epub) vs. proprietary Kindle format
* Fonts: more fonts, more sizes, more margin selections, more leading (line spacing) selections
* Easier to navigate: the user interface is just more logical and it's easier to find what you're looking for
* Better ergonomics: Nook is easier to hold, sitting OR laying down. The buttons don't get in the way of fingers. The touchscreen give alternative options to page turning (touch edge or swipe). The Nook Simple Touch and the Glowlight version have a large dimpled back that make it easier to hold.

Kindle Wins:

* Highlighting and Notes: much easier to use and access with Kindle
* Kindle Lending Library: this may be Amazon's answer to B&N's in store free reading
* Device is Lighter and Smaller: easier to transport, though the smaller size and lighter weight do not make it easier to handle
* Support: Amazon's product support is legend, in my book. B&N released a software update for Nook Simple Touch once that broke Wi-Fi, they refused to acknowledge the problem for many weeks, and took over 2 months to fix it. Inexcusable.

Bottom Line:

For me, Nook Simple Touch is the superior ebook reader. Comparatively, Amazon has few advantages in design or use. Nook is easier to hold and has better ergonomics and navigation, has expandable memory, has more display adjustments, uses a more universal ebook format, lets you read books for free in their store, and has a touchscreen. Kindle has the Lending Library for Prime Members as an advantage, it's a little lighter and smaller, has better product support, and a better highlighting/notation function. Now, with that said ... the Kindle is an excellent ebook reader too. When I choose Nook as superior, it does not negate that Kindle is a great product. And if you have a compelling reason to go with Amazon's product, then by all means do so. You will love it and enjoy it, almost surely.
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on September 25, 2012
I have owned a Kindle for several years now. I have had the 2nd generation Kindle and I have had the Kindle Keyboard. When my mom expressed interest in getting a Kindle I decided to give her my Kindle Keyboard because she doesnt have Wifi in her house and my older Kindle Keyboard had 3G, which is what she needed. And I decided to buy the Basic Kindle for myself because (1) I didnt want to wait for the Paperwhite to come out and (2) I just needed Wifi and (3)and most importantly I JUST WANT TO READ A BOOK, not listen to text-to-speach, or go shopping on Amazon, or listen to music, etc. All I want to do is read a book...thats it! This Kindle is perfect for that. Its smaller and lighter, the pages turn faster than the Keyboard version, it basically has everything I need to download a book and read a book with a much better price than the Paperwhite or Keyboard. Yes, you have to navigate through the keyboard on this kindle with a 5-way controller, but I rarely use the keyboard anyway. To download a book, I just search and buy books on my computer and send them to my Kindle...which is much quicker no matter what version of Kindle you have. So if you dont need, want, or use all the extras then I would definitely recommend the Basic Kindle for $69 with special offers, because who really pays attention to the screen savers anyway.
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on September 6, 2012
I travel for work. More and more, I find myself leaving the Kindle Fire at home and traveling with just an e-ink Kindle. So when I broke my Kindle 3, I decided to replace it with this entry level Kindle (without special offers).

What's good:
* Smallest, lightest e-ink Kindle available.
* Still has the page turn buttons!
* Like all the e-ink Kindles, this thing has amazing battery life.

What's just OK:
* Only 2GB memory. More is better. Then again, after two years of buying books I'm nowhere near filling this thing up.
* Text entry using the 5-way switch works, but that's about all. I'm surprised it works well enough that I can't consider it a negative.

What's not so good:
* The lighted cover costs nearly as much as the Kindle! Anyone thinking of picking up this Kindle and the lighted cover should look at the new paper white models with integrated frontlight.

The new Kindles look awesome. But they don't take anything away from this Kindle. It may not have some of the bells and whistles of the other models but it also costs quite a bit less. The Kindle is exactly what I need for traveling. It works wonderfully as a basic, no-frills e-reader. Reviewing it as such, I have to give it five stars.
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on September 7, 2012
I bought the first Kindle when it came out and, while I liked it, I didn't use it that much because the page turn buttons could be too easily triggered, and the cover was somewhat clumsy to use. The second generation Kindle was a lot better, but I still preferred to read physical books with the Kindle being a solution for being able to have books available without taking up any more space (I still buy physical books, but most are donated to the local library, Salvation Army, etc. after I've read them).

Next, about a year after it came out, I bought what Amazon called the "Kindle Keyboard" and was hooked! I began using the Kindle as a preferred reading medium over physical books and thought that the Kindle Keyboard couldn't be improved upon (I've since given a couple as gifts). I liked the storage capacity, the 3G capability and thought I wouldn't want to be without the keyboard. After reading more than seventy books on it I couldn't imagine trying a Kindle with less memory and only Wi-fi.

I was wrong.

I ordered this "4th Generation" Kindle earlier this year, thinking I'd have it for a backup to my Kindle Keyboard. Instead, it has become my much-preferred device. Storage room? With the cloud, it's really not an issue. I keep a few reference books on both of my current Kindles (the Keyboard and this one) as well as what I'm currently reading. I haven't had any problem with coming close to exceeding the storage capacity. While it would be nice to have 3G, it's not a deal-killer at all. I've already read close to 50 books on this Kindle and I've only found myself without easy access to Wi-fi once. When I'm close to finishing a book, I plan ahead and download a new one (or two) so that I'm ready wherever I happen to be.

I also thought the cover for the Kindle Keyboard was better, but have found that I like the (Amazon official) cover for this one every bit as much or better. I don't need an elastic band to hold it closed (thought I wanted this, but it is really a non-issue). I flip it open, flip it closed, leave it folded back and just generally don't worry about it. That's what a cover should be - unobtrusive.

The thing that makes this Kindle a real winner is its size and simplicity. It's easy to read one handed in any of the chairs in our house, at the island in the kitchen, at a restaurant at lunch or while lying in bed. It fits easily in my pants pocket, in a briefcase, laptop case, accordion file, sportcoat pocket, etc.

The battery life (with "airplane mode" on - meaning Wi-fi off) is fantastic. I read anywhere from a couple of hours to as many as seven or eight hours per day and I generally can go three weeks (never less than two) between charges. I turn on Wi-fi (or turn off "Airplane Mode") to download new books or to allow sync'ing with other devices (I'll still use the Kindle app on the iPad when reading in the dark), and unless I forget and leave it on, the battery life is just fantastic. I also like the fact that charging just involves hooking it to a USB port on my laptop or desktop. I wouldn't mind having a way to know the percentage of battery life left, but estimating from the icon I'd say that I have at least 20% battery life and I've read several books since the last recharge going on three weeks ago now. Oh, and the time to re-charge from a depleted battery is only a couple of hours at most.

Will I try the new "Paperwhite" with 3G? Probably. Will I miss the page turn buttons? Maybe. Maybe not. I thought the 2nd gen Kindle was where I'd stop (I even thought about buying a second one because I "liked it best"). The same was true with the Kindle Keyboard. Again, I thought it was the best version and wouldn't be improved upon (and once again considered buying a backup in that version). Today, I'm on this product page because the announcement of the Paperwhite made me think that maybe I should buy another one of the "Kindle 4" devices as a backup.

Then I remembered the other two times I considered stocking up on the "tested and true" versions and decided to write this review instead. Maybe this will end up being my favorite Kindle. But if it doesn't, if the Paperwhite or even one of the Kindle Fires becomes a new favorite, I'll have paid my due respects to a device that has given me a great deal of pleasure.

I recommend this Kindle without reservation.

UPDATE: I've uploaded a video showing the Kindle being used one-handed. It's a little shaky (using the other hand to try to hold the camera), but shows the Kindle being used left-handed to "turn" the pages. From the other reviews I've read this doesn't suit everyone - I guess it's a matter of the size and shape of each person's hands. The video also gives some sense of the page refresh. I've uploaded a couple of still shots in the photo section at the top of the page that provide an idea of the resolution.
review image review image
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on November 13, 2012
I purchased this for my fiance, and it's great overall, considering we live in a place with no bookstore and having to pay for shipping costs every time we wanted to read something was getting too much. With the Kindle we can download a book in no time.

What I don't like is that when searching for books under certain categories, there is no way to navigate to the end of the list any quicker. If I purchased all the books under the list on the first 5 pages, lets say, of comedy, and I'm ready to buy another I still have to manually go through all the pages of the list again, there's no way to skip ahead. But if we know what book we want, then it's worth it.

Also, the cost of some of the downloads are just as expensive as buying the books themselves. I thought that maybe it would cost less since there would be no costs for the print, paper, ink etc.
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on January 22, 2013
I honestly read almost every review for this Kindle making sure I was making the right choice. I have the Kindle App for my iPad, but as amazing as the "retina display" is, you're still reading a computer screen. Short term is fine, if you enjoy reading at 20 min intervals. My dilemma was; do I rebuy the hard copy of the book, or go all in and get a Kindle. Regular or paperwhite? So many things to consider! That being said, this is why I chose just the 6" E-ink display.

All I want to do is read, simple. If I were to have a book, I would need sufficient light anyway. So why pay extra for one built in? Plus the reviews on paperwhite are terrible. Built in light = another thing that can go wrong.

I own an iPhone and an iPad, why do I need another device to touch? Buttons are just as good. All you're doing is turning a page, and navigating what you want to read or highlight. Obviously if you're the kind of person that likes to take a lot of notes, this Kindle is not for you. And of course, this is something I'll be reading off of, I have to worry about cleaning the screen all the time? No thank you.

Price. $69 dollars is just too good to pass up. But, if you're like me and live in Canada, we need to pay a little extra in order to get it here. Big deal. DO NOT worry about getting one "without special offers" we don't get them regardless. We get to enjoy the multitude of screensavers without having to pay more. So "with special offers is fine".

The display is wonderful. Half the time, while reading, I'm in disbelief of how the display just looks like paper. The text is very clear, and you're able to change the size, how the words are spaced, etc. Please don't get sucked into the Paperwhite hype. Unless you really want the light and/or the "convenience" of a touch screen. It's your Kindle, and your decision. I'm just here to help.

Another one of my issues was weather or not I should buy a Kindle or Kobo (Indigo, Chapters). I know people who have them and love them. But because I already had Kindle books, there was no point getting a Kobo. Amazon strictly makes their e-books readable on a Kindle. Keep in mind that Kobo and for American friends, Nook, are able to read a host of different e-book files. Some people don't want to be held down.

Overall, I'm loving the Kindle. It got here super quick which was a bonus. But Amazon as always been good for delivery. The device itself is super light and thin. I have a case for mine, the one that wraps around with the strap, and it still doesn't matter. I recommend the case, especially if you're taking it with you when you go out.

There are many reviews about how long this lasts. 1.5 years seemed to be the average length of time it went before "going blank" or the display somehow crapping out, but I guess I'll find out for myself.

I hope you've been serious enough to read this review. I take reviews so seriously when making any kind of electronic purchases that sometimes it's disheartening to see so many negative reviews. If, after you've read this you've made the decision to buy it, Congratulations! You will LOVE it!
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I am writing this from the perspective of being a long-time experienced Kindle user vs. someone brand new. From an overall perspective, considering the pricing of the Kindle with Special Offers ("KSO") at $69 vs. higher amounts for the different flavors of Kindle available today, this one is a hands-down bargain. If you have wanted to get your kids a Kindle to encourage reading as well as sharing of books but hesitated because $139 to $400+ is a lot of money to risk with a child, maybe at $69 this is your price point.

From a size standpoint, the reading screen is the exact same size as the other e-Ink Kindles (with the larger Kindle DX as an exception). It is the same thickness as a Kindle Keyboard, but 1 inch less in length and 0.3 of an inch less in width than my Kindle 3 / Kindle Keyboard with ("K3G") I've had for about two years now.

While noticeably smaller than the K3G it is also significantly lighter than my K3G - 31% lighter at 5.98 ounces. This feels like a feather in your hands.

Opening up the box, the only thing that is included is the KSO, a USB cord that hooks up to your computer or a power plug (but no plug to plug into an electrical socket), and a one-fourth page instruction sheet that shows you what the various buttons do. It is a little annoying the included USB cord does not include an adapter plug to charge it into a wall socket: you either supply that yourself or plug it up, for example, into your computer to charge. I guess they had to cut 25 cents out of the manufacturing costs somewhere, and that was one of the places.

The right and left page turn buttons are on both sides of the Kindle which is pretty handy, and the only other buttons you have are the five way controller, back, menu, home, and a "keyboard" button to activate the keyboard.

In comparison to my K3G, the previous version of Kindle, a Kindle Touch, and a Kindle DX the letters on the screen are much, much darker and easier to read: the display is super-crisp and dark. Looking at the display side-by-side in the same location of an eBook against my K3G, the previous version of Kindle, a Kindle Touch, and a Kindle DX, the text on the KSO is much darker and reads a lot better. Each new version of the Kindle gets better and better with the fonts and screen display and this one is pretty darn good - you want to be able to read what you're supposed to, right?

As mentioned above, you press a special key to activate the keyboard. To change letters or numbers, you need to move the 5-way controller and individually pick your letters and numbers. I find that to be a little bit of a pain in the neck as you click a bunch of times to pick, for example the letter "l" then click a bunch more times to pick the letter "a." I don't use the keyboard very much, but that may bother some people who use the keyboard frequently. With this method, however, you run away from the graphite K3G issue of letters constantly being rubbed off and not being visible. I don't know why, maybe because of the lack of a keyboard, but you can't use the interactive games like Scrabble on this KSO like you can with the K3G - I am glad I cured my Scrabble addiction or I would be a little bummed.

If you like the text-to-speech feature of previous Kindle models or listened to music with your previous Kindle, please be aware there are no speakers nor is there a plug for headphones.

Web surfing speed with the wireless only on with my K3G is about the same as with the KSO - my usual test of the connectivity on a Kindle was hitting the main pages of the mobile websites of Fox News, CNN, and Google. I pushed "go" or "enter" buttons / icons at the same time on each and did not see a visible difference in the load speeds start to finish: I was about 50 yards away from my wireless router with a couple of walls in the way for the wireless test. I did try to check one of my Google email accounts on both but it crashed on both - that is a continuing problem checking email with your Kindle for over a year now, so much so that I really don't try to do it anymore (besides, I can do that on my other devices).

In comparison the previous version of Kindle this one is replacing, other than the crisper text / fonts from the improved screen display, and the $10 reduction in price to just $69, this new version of Kindle has the same technical specifications of the previous Kindle: same battery life, same size, same internal memory (2 gig). If you had a precious version of the Kindle this version is replacing, that means you can use the same cover as the previous version.

As a parent whose children can be hard on electronics I love this version, and think with this new $69 price point it will help to continue to explode the eBook revolution even faster as they get in more people's hands. If you have not purchased a Kindle before due to price, or maybe a relative or a friend has hesitated to get one this one is in your price zone, I would strongly recommend this one!
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on May 10, 2013
I have to start out saying I really like this little electro-reader. Small, compact, easy to use (and read), I was a fan from the get-go. I had not read much for a few years, and began to read more after I got this really neat device. In that regard, it was well worth the money.

However, just a little over two years later I must say I am not a very happy with the "secret" behind this low-cost reader.

The "secret"? You cannot get a new battery for this device. Ever. Anywhere. It is a disposable reader - a one time use, and then you toss it into a drawer. The battery, depending on use, appears to last about 2.5-4 years. After that, you have to buy a new device. Simple as that.

Is this little Kindle reader nice and easy to use? Yes.

Is it eco-friendly and will be used for MANY years? No.

So, if you don't mind the fact you will only be to use it for a maximum of about 4 years, buy it. During its battery life it's a really cool little reader- nothing fancy, but cool.
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on May 30, 2014
I love to read and have NEVER wanted a reader because I like the feel of a book in my hand. But I finally broke down and bought this and to my surprise I love it. So easy to access books, so lightweight and I like knowing there is always a new book waiting for me =.
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on November 5, 2013
While I love the Kindle, there appears to be a manufacturing defect that results in the pixels in the screen "dying." We've had two Kindles and each lasted about 6 months before the pixels "died." The result was that part of the screen was frozen (looks a bit like permanent lines on the screen). The remaining pixels continue to function normally.

This is a defect in some of the screens that needs to be corrected.
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