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UPDATE October 2012: This device is now discontinued, and I would strongly recommend the Kindle Paperwhite over it if given the option.

For my review, I'm going to focus it on the differences between the previous Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (which I'll refer to as the K3), and the Kindle Touch (KT)

USE - As far as the reading experience, I really like the touch compared to the physical buttons on the previous generation. At first I was worried that I would constantly be turning the page from accidentally touching the screen, but this didn't become much of an issue. The screen is broken up into mapped sections, so if you touch the far left side that covers about 1" of the left of the screen, it goes to the previous page. If you touch anywhere on the other 80% of the screen beside that, it goes forward. Touch the top 1" margin, and it will bring up the menu. There is also a physical button on the bottom of the touch that serves as the Home button and will take you straight to the Home menu. The area where I found the touch most useful is the dictionary. Previously, if I wanted to look up the definition of a word, I had to use the clunky joystick to navigate through the text. If a word was at the very bottom at the end of the sentence, sometimes I'd usually just ignore it rather than go through the trouble of pressing that joystick 15 times. With the Touch, I can simply touch the word and hold it down for about 1.5 seconds (so it knows I'm not trying to turn the page) to access the dictionary, which is incredibly useful and time-saving. Underlining phrases and highlighting works almost the same way. You hold down the first word in the sentence, then after two-three seconds it will recognize what you are doing, and then you drag your finger across the rest. I never used to do this before but now I do it all the time. The Kindle Fire actually handles the dictionary search much better. Though this is probably one of the only things the Fire does better than the Touch as far as ebooks. When you swipe your finger across the page or drag it down to change, the page changes just like it did with the Kindle Keyboard, in that it draws the next page. So there is a very short flash. It does not seamlessly and fluidly switch like it does with an iPad or what you would expect if you scrolled your mouse down a web site. This doesn't detract from it at all for me. There is a new X-Ray feature that you can click on to bring up more ideas and common features of the book, but it is apparently only available on select titles and none of my books had it so I couldn't try it out. The Kindle Touch does not allow you to switch the display to landscape mode like the basic Kindle does. I have no idea why but I would be surprised if they did not resolve this in a future firmware update.

Form Factor - Even though the changes are fairly small, they feel significant. The KT is only .1" less width, and a little over half an inch shorter than the K3, but after several hours of using it, I feel like I can hold it longer with one hand than with the K3. I think the main contributor to this is that this Kindle is one ounce lighter than the K3. This is a very noticeable difference from the K3. One ounce adds up after hours of holding it in front of you with one hand. I never had a real problem holding the previous version, but this one seems even easier.

Real Page Numbers - the K3 only displayed a percentage of the book completed or some weird "location" setting that I never understood. The KT displays the actual page number, regardless of what zoom setting you have it on. This is a big improvement for me, especially after I realized how difficult it is for them to be able to do this. This does not work on every book, but most of the popular books I have checked it with have it.

Book Lending - This is another huge improvement and just another reason to make the jump from regular books to a Kindle. You can finally lend your books to other people with Kindles. You can lend a book only once, and only for 14 days. I am okay with that because I understand the need to curb piracy. My only problem is that the book has to be eligible for this option and so far, most of the books in my collection aren't.

Display - Same as before on the K3, with a few improvements. The short flash that you get when turning the page (although I never really notice it) while the Kindle loads up the next page, occurs less frequently. This makes the Touch feel a lot more like a real book. Even though the display is monochrome, the KT delivers very crisp black and white images, and renders photos and images very well. I have tried out the Kindle Fire as well, but I still prefer the Kindle Touch due to E-Ink, which I think looks much better than backlit text, especially since I like to read for 4-5 hours at a time. Reading in the sunlight with E-Ink compared to a backlit screen is no contest. It is the difference between night and day (pun intended). Newspapers, magazines, and PDFs all look better on the Fire though (although with some limitations as you can see in my review for that product). If your main purpose of buying a Kindle is to read, I highly recommend the Kindle Touch over the Kindle Fire. Even though the E-ink on the touch is supposed to be improved over the K3, it must be very slight, because I noticed almost no difference. Even photos look pretty much the same across both devices. I have uploaded several photos into the image gallery so you can compare the two.

Wi-Fi - I originally ordered the 3G version of the Touch, then cancelled when I realized I almost never used it. If you travel a lot and are a voracious reader, it might be worth it. But if you have access to a computer it is so much easier to download a lot of books at once so you always have something available to read when you finish your current book. You can save a lot of money by foregoing the 3G option. If you don't have wireless, you can always transfer books through the USB. If you want to save even more money, make sure to order the Kindle with Special Offers. Not only do you save $40, but most people I have seen actually prefer it. The offers are very unobtrusive, and after a couple months with the regular Kindle, you will get sick of looking at that Agatha Christie screensaver over and over. The offers are even fairly useful and will pay for themselves. If Amazon added new screensavers every few weeks or let you add your own, it might not be so bad, but they get really boring after awhile. Trust me on this, and get the Special Offers version.

Battery - Advertised as 2 months. Battery life seems on par with the K3, which also advertised as 2 months. Be warned that if you add a lighted cover such as the Kindle Touch Lighted Leather Cover, Black your battery life is going to be diminished since it draws power from the device, however it is still going to be overwhelmingly sufficient for an electronic device. I use my Kindle Touch Lighted Leather Cover, Wine Purple during most of my reading and only have to charge my Touch about every three weeks.

Storage - Same 4gb storage as on the K3, which will hold roughly 3,000 books. The average 500 page book is around 500kb. Considering this device also comes with access to Amazon's cloud storage for saving backups, I think it's very unlikely anyone would ever need to store more than 3,000 books. If your device is getting full, just back up your old books to the cloud, and they're there if you ever want them again. 3,000 books on your Kindle makes things rather difficult to manage unless you have everything sorted into separate folders.

Text-to-Speech and Experimental Features - The Text-to-Speech option on the kindle is rather useless in my opinion. This is the same functionality as on the K3, and it is fairly difficult to listen to the automated (mostly) monotone voice reading your novels. I don't know many people who actually use this feature. Audiobooks are better, but I still think they're just too expensive for me. The experimental browser is nice to have in a pinch, but it is so slow and clunky to use (you can't really see anything unless you magnify certain sections of the screen), that I don't really see anyone using it either. The touch feature does make it much easier to use than the previous version, which required you to navigate through the links using a cursor and joystick, but the browser is still too slow to be of any use. I will look things up with Wikipedia occasionally but you can't do any real extended web browsing with it. If you really want this feature, you should look into the Kindle Fire. The MP3 Payer is back, and much improved since you can now see the artist and title of the song you're listening to on a visual display, although the Touch is definitely not to be confused with an actual music player. I use this feature sometimes as background music while I'm reading or when I go to sleep, since it uses very little battery.

Touch Capability - This is where the device shines. I originally thought it wouldn't be that much better than the previous version, however I have found the touch function is so intuitive and much more useful than I would have thought. I like to use the embedded dictionary a lot, and it is a bit of a pain to use the joystick from the K3 to scroll down to the word I want and look it up. With the Touch, I can just touch the word and have it jump straight to the dictionary. This is a GREAT feature. I have also found it useful when I read books like the Lone Wolf 1: Flight From the Dark series, which has you constantly using inline links to skip to different sections in the book. Navigating with the KT is so much faster and easier than with the previous generation. For anyone who reads a lot, I would say this is definitely worth an upgrade consideration. The built in touch keyboard is not as fast as the previous model, but it is extremely well designed and the buttons are spaced just right. I have no problems with the lack of a physical keyboard.

EXPERIMENTAL FEATURES - The MP3 Player is not designed to be a fully-functional music device. It was included because the capability to play audiobooks allowed it to be easily added. The MP3 player with the Kindle Touch is slightly improved from the K3, as you can now see a display that shows the artist and track while the MP3 is playing. This makes navigation much easier. I do use it occasionally to play classical music while reading or as an ad hoc music device while traveling, but don't expect much out of it. The nice thing about it is that it consumes very little battery life as compared to a traditional music player. The Web Browser included with the Kindle Touch is much better than the previous generation, however like the MP3 player, it is not designed to be a full-functioned browser. Don't plan on doing long periods of web surfing with it, but it does come in handy if you need it in a pinch for looking up more information. Pages display much better than the previous version's browser and load faster. If you're using the 3G version, please note that you can only access Amazon and Wikipedia with it. You will need to connect to wifi if you want to go anywhere else.

My one major problem with this new Kindle is that Amazon has decided not to include a power adapter with it. If you do not already own one, or have a computer, you cannot power this device! I don't know if they are trying to make more profit by getting people to purchase their Amazon Kindle US Power Adapter (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX) (which is what you need to connect it to an outlet) separately, but this is completely ridiculous. The Kindle Fire contained a power adapter and no USB cable. The Kindle Touch contains a USB cable and no power adapter. Who is in charge of this ridiculous decision? It would not have cost Amazon more than $2 to include the adapter. If you have a previous generation Kindle, that adapter will work with this device. But I am still very disappointed in Amazon for this. There will be thousands (millions?) of people searching their boxes for a missing adapter to charge this thing. And with more people using tablets and getting rid of their desktops, it makes this even more important. If you don't already have an adapter or computer to plug the USB into, add the Amazon Kindle US Power Adapter (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX) to your cart.

Overall, I definitely think that the Kindle Touch is an improvement over the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard). It is probably not a big enough improvement for me to recommend that people replace their previous generation Kindle with it unless they really use it a lot, however at such a cheap price tag, it's almost difficult not to.

UPDATE: February 2012 - Software Update Version 5.0.3 makes page turning as well as menu navigation noticeably faster. Most users should receive the update over wi-fi within the next couple weeks, or you can download it manually from Amazon (do a web search for "Kindle Software Updates"). Still no fix for landscape mode though.
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250250 comments|7,498 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 22, 2011
Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Picked this device up from Best Buy, because I couldn't wait even the two days it would take from Amazon--and my boyfriend thought I could wait until Christmas for this? Lol.

A lot of people have already written extensive overviews of the tech specs and basic features of this product, so I won't rehash them, but I will list some personal points I noticed.

1) CONTRAST. I'm pretty sure I know why a lot of people are saying the new generation Kindle screens has LESS contrast than Kindle Keyboard/3. When people think Kindle Keyboard, they think the graphite (read: black) version. When I compared the different Kindles side by side in the store, there was no question about it: the darker bezel of the Kindle Keyboard makes the screen look whiter than the lighter bezels of the Kindle 4 and Touch. In fact, when I blocked off the kindle touch's bezel with some black paper and whatnot, I saw the screen literally brighten before my eyes. I'm 25 years old, so my eyes aren't failing. Yep, the light does play tricks on people's eyes. I think Amazon did themselves a disservice by making this gen's kindles with lighter bezels.

2) TOUCHSCREEN/KEYBOARD RESPONSIVENESS. I do own an iPad 2, but I do not, by any means, intend to compare the Kindle Touch to the iPad. I merely mention it because I know that many people, including myself, will be approaching the touch screen of the kindle with a set expectations that comes from using Apple products. So here's what I think about it:

- The main event: Reading -
Touchscreen is GREAT for this! Being as how the sensors around the bezel (why the screen is indented, btw, not because Amazon hates you and wants to cast shadows on your kindle screen) detect WHERE you're touching the screen, not how, a very very light touch will do. Page turns are very fast and I notice barely any ghosting. When I use the browser though I notice a LOT of ghosting, but that's another story. Fingerprints have not been a problem. Really, common sense that one would use around ANY gadget would prevent any fingerprint problem on the screen. The matte screen feels really nice too!

I will say that I don't see how I can only hold this Kindle in one hand, as advertised, unless I hold it left-handed. I'm right-handed though. It's certainly small and light enough to be held comfortably in one hand, but perhaps because my hands are so small, I can't reach the left margin to page back. So it's fine if I hold it in my left hand or read and only page forward, but otherwise...

- Text-to-Speech -
I really like this function. Audiobooks are so expensive, plus I end up hating most voice actors' style anyway. Sad when I actually prefer the mechanical voice a lot of times! Okay the Kindle Touch doesn't have a set of surround sound stereo speakers but really what do we expect? I don't get why some professional reviewers have knocked this. It suits me just fine...I let it read to me in the car. Kindle apps on other devices don't have this feature!

-The keyboard-
Quite responsive, but alas, it is just as responsive when you hit the wrong key as when you hit the right ones! The keys are very small , so you still have to go really slowly. The especially frustrating thing is that the Backspace key is right on top of the Enter key. As you can imagine, this causes problems. And I have small hands too! My palm from wrist to middle finger is the exact same length as the Kindle Touch itself. I can actually type faster on a Kindle 2 (whose keyboard is very similar to kindle 3's) because it's like texting on a non-smart phone. Or even the Kindle 4, because the joystick controls are actually really snappy and I can be far more accurate on it. If you type something and notice that you made a mistake in the middle of the sentence, you have to delete the whole thing up to the mistake if you want to change it. No dropping the cursor right on the mistake itself.

-Touch screen -
Pinching and zooming is fine. Yes it's not fluid, but it's responsive enough so I don't mind. Also I discovered that you don't have to move your fingers far apart at all to trigger the zoom. So, to prevent the thing from zooming in and out several times with one pinch-in or pinch-out, keep the distance that your fingers are pinching very small.

Yes I mistakenly turn the page/touch the wrong thing a lot but so what? Touch screens will do that. I trigger the wrong thing on my iPad all. The. Time. But the screen is quick enough in both devices that a mistake is easily corrected (use and love the "back" arrow button on your kindle) and is not a problem. A "hold" key, to make it so that the device screen stays on but doesn't register your touches, is not necessary. The power button at the bottom work exactly like the iPad's lock button. One button press locks the screen and another single press turns it back on. Even iProduct owners are complaining about this on the Kindles? It's the same....

It has already frozen on me once though, less than an hour out of the box as I was setting up my collections. The home screen was frozen on a blank screen with only the Kindle Store top menu strip showing. Oddly enough everything else worked, the menu drop down , the search, I can still connect/disconnect from wifi...just nothing would show on the main part of the screen. Before I can fully plan for an angry trip back to Best Buy in the morning, I remembered from my Kindle 2 days that I can just PRESS AND HOLD DOWN POWER BUTTON FOR 20-30 SECS TO RESET. That fixed the problem.

-Browser responsiveness -
Ok, this one sucks on the Kindle Touch, far more painful than on the Kindle 2. While the Kindle store and books are very snappy, the browser is where I encountered 99% of the "ok I touched it, why isn't it doing anything" and the "here let me touch it again...still nothing" problem. Often it takes multiple touches in a text box before the keyboard would come up. I'm glad I got the wifi only version, because even if the 3G wasn't limited, I would not be using it much for the browser.

3) ADS (SPECIAL OFFERS). Haven't used any of the ads I saw yet, but honestly it doesn't bother me at all. Sometimes the screen registers your touch twice, so if you were touching something in the bottom of the screen it might trigger the special offers strip by mistake. But when people say that it's only on the sleep screen and at the bottom strip of your home page, they mean that it's ONLY there and nowhere else. In the books themselves there are no ads. If you go look at the list of books in a Collection, there are no ads at the bottom of that list.

TL; DR: I think this is a great device and a worthy upgrade over the Kindle 2. Normal people made this device, not Harry Potter--so, is it soooooo magical, it will take your breath away? No. The touch technology on this Kindle is first-gen, and sometimes it shows. But is it worth $99? ABSOLUTELY!
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on November 25, 2011
Being my first personal Kindle, I decided to go all out and get the top of the line Touch + 3G. I wouldn't call what I've got buyer's remorse, it is a quality device, but, in hindsight, I should have just grabbed two of the wi-fi only K4s, one for me and one for the wife, for only $10 more.

Some highlights:
- I've been doing a majority of my shopping with Amazon for several years at this point, so keeping my eReader platform "in the family" is a plus. I just don't do enough business with B&N to consider their otherwise capable eReaders an attractive choice.
- With the Lending Library, now my Prime sub goes even further.
- Since I get a lot of my ebooks from smashwords and direct from the author, the fact that Amazon doesn't partition storage space to overwhelmingly favor their content like B&N is a plus.

On why the Kindle Touch isn't a definite step up from the Kindle 4: The biggest flaw in the Kindle Touch's design was they abandoned the buttons, particularly the page turn buttons, that were implemented so well in the K4 and its predecessors. That omission changes the Kindle Touch from something that would have been the undisputed best Kindle into something that is a flawed device in between the Kindle Keyboard and the Kindle 4 while not necessarily superseding either of them. For those times you need to enter text, the on-screen touch keyboard works well. The ability to interact with the Kindle Store in a more intuitive manner or look up a word at a touch is also well done. However, reading navigation, where you will spend the majority of your time, is only acceptably done with notable flaws: The IR touch technology used simply doesn't handle it well enough for you to forget you're fiddling with an electronic device and you will frequently be dealing with misinterpreted touch input. For example, while using a single tap to change the page usually works, I've had the responses range from outright ignored to "four" taps that shot me ahead in the book. Similarly, since the IR technology reacts to, literally, anything in proximity of the screen, you've got to be conscientious to turn the screen off any time you're not using it or errant contact can send you who knows where in your book. Amazon should have aimed for a true hybrid based on the former Kindle design with touch input elements: Had they kept the basic page turn and menu buttons still present on the Kindle 4 but added the touch screen input for typing, highlighting, and browsing the Kindle Store, they'd have had a home run, but by giving us this touch only device, the flaws of the touch screen are made too prominent.

On why I think you should probably save your $50 and skip the 3G: At first I was amazed by the inclusion of free 3G for only $50 when compared to how Apple wants $139 just to include a 3G antenna with the iPad, but since I've actually been using the device I realize how much of a waste of money this was. The thing I failed to take into consideration was the storage capacity of the Kindle. The only time I'm going to be away from wi-fi long enough for it to possibly matter is on a family trip, and when you can easily "pack" a couple of hundred extra books, it's just not a big deal for the Kindle to be cut off (and as I've learned with other wi-fi devices, wi-fi access is just a visit to Starbucks or Panera visit away). Unless you travel extensively, you can apply the $50 the 3G costs much better elsewhere.

On why I think you should go for the "special offers" version: The ads do not get in your way and a large percentage of them are for Amazon deals you can't access otherwise. I've had my Kindle less than 2 weeks and already saved $10 on orders from Amazon. Considering ads are everywhere in your life, spending $40 extra and missing out on Amazon deals just to avoid a few more ads seems fiscally foolish.

On the Kindle in general:
- I have a hard time understanding why the interface of the Kindle is so archaic. You've got a device that can hold thousands of books at one time, but you've got an "organization" scheme better suited to only a dozen or so books and it still doesn't support series tags. Amazon had better be thankful that book readers in general really want e-ink over LCD based devices.
- There's no excuse for the device to not support the ePub format. Sure, it's relatively trivial to convert ePub books to mobipocket, but that's a step that those who choose the Kindle platform shouldn't be forced into taking.
- No clue why Amazon doesn't just build an LED light into the top bezel (beyond the obvious reason that they couldn't sell you a $60 lighted cover if they did).

Conclusion: As an e-ink based eReader, the Kindle Touch is a solid but flawed offering. If you're looking for an e-ink reader from Amazon, I would only automatically choose the Kindle Touch over the Kindle 4 for the following reasons:
- You need the extra storage (you get roughly 2GB extra available on the Kindle Touch over the Kindle 4)
- You want a keyboard-like experience for the limited times you enter text on a Kindle and want to avoid the size and weight increases of the Kindle Keyboard
- You want to use your Kindle to hold audiobooks and/or take advantage of the text to speech function of the Kindle Touch
- In spite of the sometimes faulty touch input for navigating books, this is still undeniably preferable to you over using buttons to turn pages and skip sections.

Otherwise, I argue you likely would have a similar if not better experience for less money with the Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

Update, Dec 10: Since publishing this I also bought the standard Kindle as a gift for my daughter. I put it through its paces to compare the two products to see how I thought they measured up. You can read my comparison in my reviews. Spoiler: I still have my Kindle Touch.
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on November 19, 2011
I owned both a first-generation Kindle Keyboard and Kindle DX for a short while, but returned them mainly because of what I considered undesirable aspects of the Kindle service model, not the devices (example complaint: couldn't lend, share or trade e-books). My complaints with the service have since been largely addressed, and the touchscreen model seemed like it would be worth getting for its great size. But it's not exactly to my taste, and I'm returning it and have ordered the latest Keyboard model for the reasons given below under CONs.

First, the PROs:

The touchscreen model is smaller and lighter than the KB. It's only slightly smaller and lighter, but I like this a lot.

It's a touchscreen, if you find that you prefer that to keys (I don't as a matter of fact, but it's still a PRO if you like that).

The single Home button at the bottom is really convenient and elegant.

The CONs:

NO LANDSCAPE MODE. I didn't realize this when I ordered it. I might've figured it out by a close reading of the KB and TS detailed info, or by reading the TS reviews, but honestly, it never occurred to me that Amazon would "downgrade" some pretty obvious capability. I really like landscape mode, especially for personal documents. This is probably my single biggest complaint.

WEB BROWSER DOESN'T WORK ON 3G. This was even less clear from the detailed info than no landscape mode. In fact, as far as I can tell, it's not mentioned anywhere at all. I mainly got a Kindle 3G instead of an iPad because of the global-free-for-life 3G, and not being able to use the browser on 3G diminished its usefulness significantly for me.

POWER ADAPTER IS NOT INCLUDED. The info says "system requirements: none, because ... no PC is required." Really none??? If I don't have a PC, where am I going to plug in that cute little charging cable? OK, I know I can get the charger for a couple of dollars, and yes, of course I have a PC and several other USB chargers, and yes, it was reasonably clear that the charger isn't included. But it's the nickel-dime principle of it. I'd prefer if the price were $10 higher with an option to delete the charger to bring it down to the same price as the KB model. I don't even mind that the total price with AC adapter is $10 higher than the Kindle Keyboard. I just don't like the way it's presented - it's just a little bit less straight-up-honest than I'd like to see from a top-class, no-shady-tricks company like Amazon (probably no company is completely clean in this regard, but Amazon is a cut way above most in my experience).

THE TOUCHSCREEN BEHAVIOR IS AWKWARD. There's a delay when you tap, as well as some impreciseness where I don't always manage to tap the exact right place. These two combine to make using it annoying. If I tap and nothing happens, I'm never sure whether I missed the exact spot or it's just taking a while. I either have to wait an inconveniently long time to make sure it's because I missed the spot, or I go ahead and tap again only to find that I didn't wait long enough. It's just clunky enough to be annoying a lot of the time. I've owned quite a few touchscreen devices, and almost all of them have been far easier to work with than this. My current iPhone 4 is total pleasure compared to the Kindle TS. I'm not a huge fan of touchscreens. Maybe that's why I'm not very forgiving of the Kindle's behavior.

But all of these annoyances don't really detract much, and I only deleted one star from a five-star rating. It's a marvelous piece of engineering and a wonderful device. And the Kindle service is now nearly perfect (if only my print NYTimes subscription would get me a free Kindle NYTimes subscription ...). I debated quite a bit about returning it, that's how much I like this smaller, lighter model. And the latest e-Ink technology is absolutely amazing. It's not quite exactly like reading a printed page, but it's an absolute pleasure. It's a wonderful device. I really don't see how anyone could be very unhappy with it. And with free global 3G (for Kindle content download, anyway), it has a real advantage over iPad.
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on November 15, 2011
I have been anxiously awaiting the Kindle Touch, looking forward to its smaller size and of course the touchscreen. I had a Kindle 3 and find that as expected the reading experience on the device continues to be first class. The e-ink display makes it so I feel as if I am reading a real paper-paged book and I do not get the same headache that I get when reading from my iPad.

Pros:
- Touchscreen is quick and surprisingly responsive - pages turn and keyboard entry occurs with the slightest amount of pressure.
- I like that you can either swipe for the page turn, or tap the screen.
- Touch interface is very intuitive - swipe up for previous chapter, down for next, pinch fingers together to shrink text, push fingers out to grow text.
- Continues all the great features from previous models - easy to buy books, manage library, etc.

So far my only complaints are the few features that I used on a regular basis and really miss....
- Status bar/ chapter markings: my previous Kindle had the great little bar across the bottom of the screen that let me know how far into the book I was and more importantly when the next chapter was coming! Knowing whether or not I had a long way to go before the end of the chapter, or just a little bit, was very helpful and something I really liked having.
- The ability to turn the display horizontal for reading a wider screen. All the settings for reading have transferred over from previous Kindles (changing font size, 3 font choices, line spacing and words per line) except for the ability to go landscape! I almost always read my kindle in landscape mode, so this is another lost feature as far as I am concerned.

Overall, I am very happy with the Kindle Touch and think it is a great product. I am sure that I will adjust tot he missing features, but I am surpsied that these two staple features did not make the transition. Who knows maybe a software update down the road will bring them back! :-)

Happy reading!
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on November 16, 2011
I've been using the Kindle since it first went on sale, buying every generation as it became available. My 3G KT arrived yesterday, and let me tell you, I was not impressed. Nothing worked in a way that seemed at all intuitively. It seemed awfully clunky. But I know me and knew I just get used to this version. It's a really good reader. Once you figure out how it works, it does become fairly intuitive and works well. I'm used to buttons, where they are, how hard to push, etc., so this was new for me, at least on a reader. It took very little time for it to become an extension of my hand.

If you already have the KK, you don't need this. You may like it a great deal, and think it's cool and all, but you don't need it. If you're coming from a K2, yeah, you kinda do.

Regarding not being able to use 3G to surf the web on this device. I don't care. The web on the Kindle has always been pretty awful, so less accessibility is meaningless to me. However, if it does to you and you have the KK, don't switch.

The one thing I really don't like is the fact you can no longer rotate your books to landscape or flip it upside down. When I'm in the middle of a book and running out of juice I flip it upside down with the plug on top and that's not doable with this. I'm sure that's something that will be addressed in one of their updates.

All in all, it's a really decent device, and super great looking, but lacks the spectacular awesomeness I'd decided it had without ever having actually seen it.
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on November 15, 2011
I bought the 3G/no ads.

I was amazed by the difference in quality between the Kindle 2 and the Kindle 3. The e-ink was crisper, the kindle itself was lighter, faster and had the double sets of buttons and the browser was quite zippy all things considered.

Although it has been through even more changes with the Touch, I find myself less pumped about it. That being said... I received it today in the mail at work and immediately ripped it open and have shown it to no less than 20 people and have had at least a dozen come by to play with it under my very rigid supervision.

Aesthetics:
Pros -
It's small and sleek. The balance on the device is excellent, it won't be tipping over. I believe that with the light it also won't cause that 'bright spot' due to the new color and the way the screen is further recessed. Because of the recessed screen with the black edging, it makes reading it an interesting experience, it actually draws your eye away from the edges a bit more.

Cons -
I honestly do not think the overall 'look' of the kindle is as classy as the Kindle 3. This is going to be subject to opinion, but the brushed grey exterior with the dark edging just looks like any other generic electronic device. The weight is also quite similar to my 3. The three little lines that designate the 'home' button on the front also aren't to my taste, but they get the job done and they are not reminiscent of any other tablet's 'home' button, so I guess it made the statement that Amazon was looking for.

Touchscreen:
Pros -
No more buttons. Hallelujah. I've been waiting for this and it does deliver quite well. The touch screen is relatively sensitive and seems to take 'gestures' as well as taps. They have made it a 'three zone' screen so that if you touch the top you get all the menu functions, the very left side is back and the right side and middle is forward. Sensible. Also I've noticed if you 'gesture' to the right or left it goes forwards and backwards accordingly. The menus are what I'm used to and they make it easy to get from place to place.

Cons -
Sometimes the touchscreen seems to stall. I'll tap and then wait and wonder if it took it or not and then tap again and both register and I end up further back or in the wrong menu. This did not happen to me with the buttons on the 2, 3 or DX. Other than that, I love it. If it keeps stalling that will become a problem.

Overall Function:
Pros -
I love the line spacing, text changing and ease of search in documents and amazon. The line spacing is great, I've always thought that there was too much space in the paragraphs and having less is excellent. I mean, EXCELLENT. I can fit so much more on and customize it with even more ease. The touchscreen does marvelously there. I also love the fact that we finally have new pictures! YAY! The huge menu is nice as well, I was a little worried they'd have it the same size as the 3 and that'd have a higher potential for a 'mistap', but they increased the menu size and the button areas.

Cons -
Not having 3G free for everything is sort of a bummer. Then again, offering free 3G - no monthly fee - for anything isn't a bad deal and I'm not really enraged on it, but it was an amazing feature. I have my cell phone and tablet (and soon Fire) for web browsing, but having it on my Kindle was pretty neat and impressed other people who were looking to possible purchase. As for the menu, that's fine, but I would really have liked perhaps the bottom menu to be accessible via a bottom tap or gesture. I suppose that there isn't enough screen space for that, though. One thing that may make people a little irritated is that the 'power' cable that comes with it is only the Kindle to USB section. It does not come with an actual plug anymore. All previous Kindle cables work with it, though.
Overall:

I love it. I love it like I have loved all my Kindles. I have no doubt that when the next version comes out, I'll get that as well. My Kindle Fire should be coming tomorrow or the day after and I know I'll love that as well. There are a lot of small things there that may cause annoyance, but I'll still use it, like I've used my others, every day. For me it was mainly small aesthetic things... I just didn't get my uber 'wow' factor this time. But I don't need 'uberwow' to say that I still love the Kindle.
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on December 1, 2011
To start, I'm going to do something I normally hate in product
reviews: evaluate a product based on a single, idiosyncratic, personal
problem that has nothing to do with the product itself. You know,
reviews like this:

> I bought this cat at the shelter and it turns out I'm ALLERGIC to
> cats! They should do blood tests BEFORE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GET A
> CAT!!! I'd give this cat 1/2 a star since it's incredibly cute, fun
> to play with and calming, but this site doesn't allow that. 1 star.
>
> EDIT: I wish I could change my rating, but the site doesn't allow
> that. Now that I've learned I can take allergy medication, I'd give
> this cat 2 stars. That medication makes me SLEEPY, so I guess the
> cat still only deserves 1 star. Gotta go: Puss-in-Boots needs his
> twice-hourly tummy rub and it's the best part of my day!

Anyway, the Kindle Touch is shipped from Amazon in a special box that
I'm still using until I can find a case or a sleeve for the it. But
it says ``kindle touch'' in big letters on the side and the person who
delivered it to our house put it on the doorstep with the words facing
the street so that anyone walking past our house could see there was a
brand new electronic device waiting to be picked up. And since my wife
always uses the garage, I was the first person to see it and I knew a
week in advance what my birthday present was going to be. She let me
open it that night, but the SURPRISE WAS RUINED!!! 1 star.

So the package looks great, but does a poor job of hiding what's
inside. What's inside turns out to be very-well-constructed, light
and elegant hardware. It's not the piece of art that an iPad is; the
Kindle says ``I'm functional,'' not ``I'm beautiful.'' When I put it
side-by-side with our iPod Touch, the Kindle looks a bit drab and,
well, gray. Conversely, when I pick them up, I feel like I'm spoiling
the iPod by putting fingerprints on the glass and chrome. The Kindle,
however, feels like it's finally in its proper place: my hands. You
grasp the wide, textured frame and rest the slightly-grippy back
surface on your palm. The touchscreen doesn't collect skin oil and
smudges wipe away cleanly. I can grasp a corner of the Kindle between
my thumb and forefinger and hold it for a minute or so without getting
too tired.

The Touch version only has a few physical interfaces: a power button,
a home button, USB micro-B port (you might already have a spare cable
from another camera, phone or, in my case, a universal remote), stereo
speakers, audio jacks, LED power indicator, and what appears to be
contacts for a docking station. All of this is clustered on the
bottom of the device and is mostly out of the way. I can see
accidentally turning it off since the power button is somewhat exposed
and I did have a problem with my headphones wiggling loose the first
time I used them. Even so, it's not hard to get used to the button
placement and it is hard to picture a better location. You gotta put
these things somewhere and somebody is going to have a problem with
every location you might try.

One annoyance, which could potentially be fixed in the software, is
that the home button does not wake up the device from sleep mode; only
the power button wakes up the Kindle. This is a valid design
decision, but if you've gotten used to an Apple product, you expect
the home button to get your tablet started. Not a deal-breaker, but it
would really be helpful if this were at least a configuration option.

Now the heart of the device is the E Ink display, which does an
excellent job of creating the illusion of a printed page on an
electronic device. All of the various tablets use either E Ink, which
is strictly gray-scale, or LCD, which is colorful. Personally, I find
reading books is much nicer with the Kindle's display compared to the
iPod Touch---even when you account for the size difference. Being
able to view the text from any angle in nearly all lighting conditions
more than makes up for the lower contrast and lack of colors. Plus,
the Kindle does not get warm and can go a long time between
recharging. It would be nice if the screen had a light so that I
could read in very low lighting conditions without a flashlight or if
the screen refresh upon turning the page were less noticeable.

All of this fades to the background (almost literally) when you start
reading an interesting book. The fact is, I haven't been able to read
anything substantial on a screen without getting distracted, but I
have been able to read extended passages on the Kindle even in the
short time I've had it. Perhaps the nondescript frame, colorless
screen and noticeable refresh actually encourage focusing on the
content of the book; I'm not so quickly distracted by other things.
Amazon seems to have optimized the device to make reading books really
easy and everything else a little bit difficult. To a reader, that's
a welcome philosophy.

So the hardware is great and it's the only device I've used that
facilitates reading, but I'm not totally pleased with the software.
Probably the biggest problem is how it formats the textblock. If you
have a book nearby, look at any random page and notice that the text
is arraigned in a neat rectangle. (Some books will leave the right
edge jagged, but that's the exception rather than the rule.) In a
really well designed book you can hold the text far enough away that
the textblock looks like a solid gray rectangle with sharp edges. The
Kindle does this (and does it well enough), but sometimes there's a
long word (say, ``neighborhood'') at the end of a line that is just too
long. What the Kindle software does with the paragraph is that it
moves the long word to the next line and shortens the previous line so
that the textblock has a ``notch" in it.

A printed book (or good typesetting software) will hyphenate the word
to make half of it fit in the first line and move the other half to
the next line. With a good dictionary, hyphenation is easy. What
frustrates me as a software developer is that the Kindle has
a good dictionary. Simply touching a word for a moment brings up its
definition and syllable breaks. Why can't the formatting code use
that information to hyphenate words? There are few things I can do to
avoid the issue: use the ``condensed'' font, maximize words to a line
and use a smallish fontsize. It's not enough; words ought to be
hyphenated instead.

The problem, which may not matter to you, bugs me enough that I prefer
to read PDF versions of documents when they are available. These tend
to look better, but have wide margins intended for paper. So readers
will want to zoom in. Unfortunately, the Kindle will let you either
navigate a PDF book or zoom in, but not both at once. Thus, the PDF
books require the following steps to turn a page: unzoom, flip the
page, rezoom, and readjust the window to find the text. Most of the
standard touchscreen gestures are supported, but not turning the page
while zoomed.

Amazon provides a conversion tool to reformat PDFs into native Kindle
documents. If you email a document in any supported format to your
Kindle (Amazon provides a dedicated email address) and put ``convert''
in the subject line, the document is delivered the next time you turn
on the Wi-Fi connection. My tests show some documents work and others
don't. For some reason, the documents that fail get absolutely
mangled. But for the documents that work, the results are worth the
cost (i.e., free).

Which brings us to another bright spot: Amazon knows how to maximize
the potential of the internet. When you buy a book, it's whisked off
to your device automatically. If you don't have Wi-Fi enabled, you
may immediately download the item and transfer it via the USB cable.
If you've installed the Kindle application on a PC or iOS device, you
can immediately read it there too. And when you switch from one
device to another, you'll automatically be placed at the furthest
point you've read and have access to all your notes, highlights and
bookmarks.

Amazon also developed some ``social media'' hooks. You can send a
highlighted passage to Facebook or Twitter, though the result is not
formatted ideally. You can make your highlighted passages public and
see the most popular highlighted sections of others. And there is an
X-Ray feature, which I believe is informed by Amazon's
shelfari.com website. None of these features are particularly
valuable to me at the moment, but I can easily see how they might be.

Rather more valuable is the Kindle's ability to hold many more books
than I could ever read. Amazon doesn't shy away from pointing out
public domain and other free texts from places like Project Gutenberg
and the Internet Archive, which are already formatted and ready to be
transferred to the device like any other purchased book. As a matter
of fact, a great many books are freely available from Amazon itself,
including classics you've checked out of the library and planned on
finally reading, but barely looked at before they were due. Now they
can sit on the Kindle and not be read. (I am however making progress
on ``The Old Curiosity Shop'' by Charles Dickens.)

And still, you can borrow books from your local library if it has
purchased digital copies. Or you can pay for an Amazon Prime
membership and borrow books from other members. (I haven't done this,
but it is now very tempting.) And of course you can simply buy books
directly from Amazon. Thankfully, digital versions cost less
than a physical copy. (Publishers seemed to be under the delusion
that they could charge more for a file that costs them less
to distribute than a dead-tree copy because you might print up any
number of copies or give the file away or some such nonsense. The
typical consumer has no desire to do these things and is unwilling to
pay extra for something that costs less to distribute.)

Sadly, the system for organizing a large library of books is somewhat
simplistic: you can put your books in a collection. Sorting is one of:
* Most Recent First
* Title
* Author
* Collections
Inside a collection listing, the options are the same except they lack
the final item. Thus it really behooves you to think carefully how to
create collections. Thankfully, you can put a book into multiple
collections so you don't have to guess whether you put ``The Song of
Hiawatha'' under ``Poetry,'' ``Fiction,'' ``Currently
Reading,'' or ``True Stories of the Native American Peoples.'' It's
essentially a flexible tagging system, but I'd like to have more
possible meta-data to sort by and search on. As far as I can tell,
there's no way to search within all the texts in your
collection---only within each text individually.

Finding items in the Kindle Store is also a bit difficult. The
user-interface seems quite rigid. If you happen to have an interest
in whatever items get placed on the front page, the store works
alright. But for most purchases, you are better off going directly to
Amazon's internet page. The same goes for the ads in the ``Special
Offers'' edition: they aren't as targeted as I'd expected. So far,
my offers have been for spa treatments, beauty supplies and chocolate,
which don't really interest me that much.

The device includes an experimental web browser that, in theory, would
be a better way to shop. My Kindle has crashed a few times when it
renders particular web pages, so the ``experimental'' label is
well-earned. Even when a page does load, the results are sub-par. I
prefer the iPod for light web-surfing in spite of its own set of
issues.

Other experimental features are a text-to-speech feature I imagine
will be mostly used by English literature students needing to cram for
a test, and an MP3 player that works in a pinch. I wouldn't recommend
either of these being considered as influences toward a purchase
decision; they are just extras.

In summary, I can highly recommend the Kindle Touch as an eBook reader
and can't if you want anything else in a tablet. Frankly, if you
don't already read for pleasure or if you prefer an LCD screen to E
Ink, I would suggest looking at some other device. But if you have
wanted to be able to carry a lifetime of books in a device that fits
in your backpack or a large coat pocket, there are no better options.
Mine has already changed my reading habit for the better.
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on November 29, 2011
I absolutely LOVE my Kindle Touch. I think the touchscreen is great; just what the Kindle needed. However there is one massive flaw that I just can't get over, the fact that the power button is on the bottom of the kindle. What does this mean? That it's awkward to hold, that you can't place it on a solid upright surface to read- because it either turns itself off, resets from the continued pressure of the button being pressed down, or leans to one side. It's a terrible design flaw. I get the impression the designers were trying way too hard to give it a sleek look and hide all the unsightly bits on the bottom, but this just does not work with what the Kindle is. It's still too heavy to hold it like the hand in the promo photo holds it. You need to hold it from the bottom- which means you need to constantly work around the power button.
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on December 7, 2011
I've been interested in getting a Kindle since the year it was first released. However, the expensive price tags have always deterred me, and I've generally been happy with print books. When the Kindle Touch was announced with it's $99 price point, I knew that I would finally grab one. There are, however, some issues with this device that could easily be improved. Overall, I'd say there are actually other better e-readers available based purely on the reading experience. If I were to rate just the hardware and the software of the Kindle, I would probably rate it 3/5 instead of 4, but Amazon has provided some perks that bumps the rating up a bit for me.

GRAPHICAL INTERFACE:
The display has not really been altered in any way, from what I can tell, from the previous non-touch Kindle devices. Barnes and Noble definitely utilized the touch capabilities with their graphical interface. The Kindle still relies solely on text-based lists, rather than e.g. book cover icons like the Nook has. The Nook has a text-based listing of your library as well, but provides nice clear lines above and below the titles to demarcate which areas you need to touch to access one. The Kindle lacks these lines. Settings on the Kindle are also text based (e.g. changing the spacing between lines) while the Nook again uses graphics. As a result of these shortcomings, the new touch capabilities almost seem like they were hastily included.

Additionally, Amazon really did not take advantage of their 'home' button, which only takes you to your library. To access the menu or different settings, you need to touch the top or the bottom of the screen. With that home button on the Nook, you can jump to your library, the store, search options, and social networking - all with one button. It's much simpler and far more intuitive. Again, the Nook does a better job than Kindle here.

The Kindle screen looks a bit grayer than other e-readers as well, particularly when compared to the Nook Simple Touch since the November software update. The Nook's background appears a bit whiter, and the text really pop-out against the background. Some have attributed this to the darker bezel on the Nook, but there's definitely a difference in the screens. The Nook has better contrast

ERGONOMICS:
The ergonomics of the new Kindle Touch aren't bad, but they could be improved. The bezel is a bit thin, and could be a problem for people with larger thumbs/hands. I don't have too much of an issue holding it, but it's not incredibly comfortable and it doesn't 'disappear' in my hand. The back has a nice rubberized feel to it, which helps though. The Nook, on the other hand, is entirely rubberized and the bezel is a bit wider. Additionally, it has a contoured back panel. This makes reading with one hand much more pleasurable, and the Nook really does "disappear" in your hand.

The Kindle Touch lacks page forward/reverse buttons, but I actually don't mind that. The new "easy-reach" function, which allows you to tape on something like 2/3 of the screen to make the page go forward. This makes reading with the left hand very easy. Going back is more difficult, since the area needed to tap is much smaller. I find swiping to be easier to go back a page. The Nook has the buttons, but they are really hard to press and hurt your thumbs if you use them too much.

WEB BROWSING AND MP3 CAPABILITIES:
The Kindle has a web browser, which the Nook does not. The Kindle also has a headphone jack and a speaker for listening to music, audiobooks, or text-to-speech functions. I mention these things because they are nice to have, however they don't really provide that much of a benefit for me personally. I already have an Android, which can do web browsing much better, and it's smaller so better for audiobooks or music (I also have an iPod which could fulfill this function). The text-to-speech is a bit robotic and is limited to certain books. I will also say that mp3 player support is weakened by the fact that there is no expandable memory. MP3s take up quite a bit of space, especially audiobooks.

One nice feature, though, is the forwarding of email to your Kindle. It is a bit nice to be able to read your emails in the e-ink.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Amazon is just far superior here compared to B&N. I've never had any problems returning items to Amazon, and they are quick about getting you replacements for defective items. Additionally, you are allowed to return ebooks to Amazon within 7 days of purchasing. You can't return any books to B&N.

KINDLE OWNERS' LIBRARY
Another perk. You can borrow one book a month from Amazon directly for free. Selection isn't fantastic, and leans quite a bit on free public-domain books, but there is still a nice selection of books to choose from. They also seem to be improving the selection already. Amazon Prime's streaming service originally was also very lackluster, but has steadily improved over time. I have a feeling this will be true with the Owners library.

PUBLIC LIBRARY SUPPORT!
Numerous libraries now support the Kindle format. You can also download the books with wireless internet, as opposed to loading books via USB like the Nook requires.

SPECIAL OFFERS:
Now, many people complain about the special offers, but you can actually get some good deals sometimes from Amazon. Often, they appear to be books discounted to 99 cents, but they also offer Amazon coupons for half off (e.g. $5 for a $10 gift card to Amazon) or discounts off of electronic devices on Amazon. Some of the deals are lackluster, but you can find some decent ones.

Based on the hardware and the software/graphical interface alone, I'd say that the Nook Simple Touch has the Kindle beat hands down. It's barely a competition, from my perspective. The Nook has better software with slightly better contrast, double the battery life (both promise 2 months, but the Amazon fudges it by saying "half an hour a day" while the Nook is "1 hour per day" of reading), and a more ergonomic design. However, Amazon offers some benefits to buying a Kindle which are hard to pass up, including the Owners Library, the Special Offers, and their superb customer service. If I could use a Nook Simple Touch through Amazon, I would do so in a heart beat. Still, the Kindle is a solid device. I don't think too many people will be disappointed with it.
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