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TOP 50 REVIEWERon September 29, 2011
Having been a little overwhelmed by the choices between all the new Kindles and which one to get, I ordered this new basic $79 Kindle first to take for a spin. So far, I like what I see. I also own a Kindle 3 so that's the only device I can really compare it to at this time (I think a comparison between other tablets and this Kindle is meaningless, this device is all about content and delivery):

1. Form-factor - Compared to the Kindle 3, this Kindle feels more compact, lighter and easier to hold. My hands wrap around this better than K3. Reading books for a few hours at a stretch will be easier on this device compared to the K3. It is the lightest such device I have used compared to all previous Kindles and other tablets.

2. Screen - I personally like the fact that there are no keys on the device and that keys come up on the screen when you need them. Delivers a better overall reading experience. However, navigating through the on-screen keyboard with the 5-way controller can be taxing if you need to do a lot of searching, and you might miss the full physical keyboard. I hardly search on the Kindle itself, I search for books on my laptop so this is a non-issue.

3. Price! - At $79, you can't go wrong. Compared to buying paperback or hardcover editions, you will recover the cost of this in a matter of a few months because most Kindle content is priced cheaper than print editions (and you get it instantly, and can access it wherever you are). Not to mention all the free Kindle downloads available in the catalog.

4. Display - almost the same E-ink display at the K3. No glare no reflection. You can sit in bright sunlight and read it just like a book. Page turns seem a lot faster on this compared to the K3. Screen size of the Kindle 3, this new Kindle, and the Touch is exactly the same in size.

5. Wi-Fi - this can be a pro or a con (no 3G) depending on a user's personal preference. If you travel often and would like to be able to download content anywhere without worrying about getting a wi-fi connection, you're better off sticking with the K3 or waiting for the Touch/Fire. For me, 3G is not a major issue.

6. Text to Speech and Audiobooks - These two features are lacking in this device. I personally have never used these features on my K3. If you listen to audiobooks or TTS or music on your Kindle, again the K3/Touch/Fire might be better options.

7. Storage - this device can store 2GB which they claim is approximately 1400 books. For me, that's a massive storage capacity and it will be years before I get close to that capacity. Again, if you download books occasionally and have a moderate Kindle downloaded content on your device, 2GB is plenty. Of course, think ahead and see how much you would expect to download in the coming 2 years (I am assuming the device will be outdated and replaced within this time-frame).

8. Battery life - too early to tell but Kindle battery life tends to be great. Specs state that the battery life of this device is 1 month compared to 2 months for the Touch or K3. 1 month is plenty (Android phones need to be charged every hour!). At least I know that if I'm going on a long flight, this device won't need charging if I charge it up in advance.

9. Power adapter - this Kindle does not come with a power adapter, only a USB charging cable. You can either buy it separately for $8-10, or use your existing USB power adapter. Any USB adapter would work with the charging cable (previous Kindle versions, Apple's portable devices, and most HTC phones, come with a standard USB power adapter that would work for this device). There are also plenty of $2-3 adapters available here if you search for USB chargers.

Bottom line - the choice between this basic Kindle, the K3 Keyboard, the Touch, and the Fire is really a personal preference. This device itself is meant for the minimalist Kindle user who, like me, reads say a 2-3 books a month, wants a device comfortable to hold, and doesn't need any fancy bells and whistles on the device. I guess it depends on what you use your Kindle for. If it's just the basics, this is the perfect device to get.

In my humble opinion, the choices:

(i) If you have a DX or an old Kindle version, or if you don't have a Kindle yet and are an average book-reader, this is definitely the one to get - baseline model that is affordable and is a pure e-reader.

(ii) If you have Kindle 3 and don't really need an upgrade, I recommend sticking with the K3, it's a better device than this one in terms of features. If you do need to upgrade, the Touch is probably a better option because of all the additional features, at a small incremental cost.

(iii) If you're looking for the loaded full-on Amazon content experience with access to all the apps, streaming audio and video, and playing the "strangely therapeutic" Fruit Ninja, wait for the Fire!

I sincerely hope this review helps you decide whether this Kindle is right for you. If you are still unable to make a decision, it may be worthwhile to wait for the Touch and Fire to be released, and see the reviews on those devices before making a final decision.
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on September 29, 2011
First off, I received my new Kindle this morning. I previously owned the Kindle Keyboard, but actually really didn't like the keyboard or the way the buttons were pressed together. I'm not a fan of touch screens so I bought this one.

There are a few things to know about this particular Kindle that can help you decide if it's right for you...

Here is a list of things to know about this Kindle.

1. You'll be using an onscreen keyboard with the 5-Way Controller. This is not a problem for setting up WiFi and a little writing but if you are an avid note-taker or do a lot of writing with your Kindle, you might want to opt for the Kindle Keyboard.
2. NO AUDIO - If you are planning on listening to audiobooks, Mp3s, or Text to Speech on your Kindle, this is not the device for you. There is not even a headphone jack, so there is absolutely no audio support.
3. 2GB! This device has 2GB of storage, which is half of all the others... if you seriously need to keep over 1,400 books or so on your Kindle, you should opt for one of the others, all of which have 4GB. I only keep a hundred or so books on mine and the rest are up in the Amazon Cloud waiting for convenient download.
4. There's no 3G version but the WiFi works just fine.
5. There is a shorter battery life. Amazon reports the battery life is only one month of reading, compared with the others that clock in at two months. If you are going to be away from electricity for over a month, first of all RESPECT!, second of all, you may want a Kindle that has the 2 month battery life.
6. It's lighter than all the other versions. It weighs in at just under 6oz (170g). The closest competition is the Kindle Touch which is about 7.5oz.
7. It has 5 buttons on the face at the bottom. In the middle is the big 5-Way Controller button as found on other Kindles. There are two small buttons on either side of this. On the left side, from left to right are the "Back" button and the "Keyboard" button. The "Back" button is the same as on other Kindles. The "Keyboard" button calls the onscreen keyboard onto the screen. On the right side of the 5-Way Controller are (again, from left to right) the "Menu" button, and the "Home" button. The "Next Page" and "Previous Page" buttons are the same as on other Kindles.
8. Because of the above 5 buttons, I find it much easier to use than the Kindle Keyboard. On the Kindle Keyboard, the "Back" button was right below the 5-Way Controller, and I accidentally hit it on more than one occasion.
9. On the bottom there is only the mini-USB port, the charging light, and the On-Off Button.
10. There are not a whole lot of covers available for this Kindle yet. (Amazon's won't be available until the end of October.)

As for reading, and as a pure reading device. It is awesome... in fact, without the keyboard, audio, and other features I don't need. This is actually the best one for someone like me who just wants to read.

I've already successfully transferred my library, downloaded books over WiFi, and borrowed library books through the Overdrive Library eBooks System. My only small point of dissatisfaction is that there are so few good covers and accessories right now (though there ARE some available that look pretty good).

All in all, I believe this is the BEST of all the Kindles currently available. Only consider others if you:
a. Really want the touch screen version.
b. Need audio.
c. Need 4GB
d. Need a big Kindle DX.
e. Take a lot of notes or do a lot of writing that requires a keyboard.
f. Prefer the design of another version.
g. Need more than a month's battery power.

Hope this helps someone make a good decision!

(Brief update: I love this Kindle, but right now the scarcity of good, inexpensive covers for it is a little troubling. The Amazon made leather one with light won't be available until November or so and there are currently no inexpensive ones to use in the interim. I'll just have to use it gently for a month or so.)

Update on cases:
I mentioned this in the comments section, but I'll repeat it here for people who can't yet find a good case -

Checking the specifications for the Kindle, Nook Touch, and Kobo:
Nook Touch
6.5 x 5 x 0.5 inches
Kobo Reader
6.5 X 4.5 inches
Kindle (4th Generation)
6.5 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches

It looks like the Kobo is about exactly the same size and the Nook Touch is slightly longer. If you need a case but can't find one that you like yet, it may be worth a little hunting to see if a nook or kobo case or cover might fit the bill.
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UPDATE: December 12, 2012: I had purchased the new Kindle Paperwhite thinking it would be a vast improvement over this Kindle. Well I had mixed opinions on it. You might want to read my review of the Paperwhite here:
Bottom line is that the Kindle 6" E-ink Display is for the money an amazing product. Unless you really do a lot of reading in bed or in dark rooms, you don't need the Paperwhite at nearly twice the cost. I actually returned my Paperwhite due to all the screen issues. My review of the Paperwhite describes all you need to know.

UPDATE: September 17, 2012: New firmware is available for the Kindle. It is version 4.1.0 as I write this. It brings some notable improvements to the Kindle experience...

New features in this update include:

-Improved reading font that is higher contrast and crisper so that you can enjoy a paper-like reading experience.

-Parental Controls that allow you to restrict access to the Experimental Web Browser, Archived Items, and the Kindle Store.

-Support for books with complex layouts and formats with Kindle Format 8.

-Support for children's books with Kindle Text Pop-Up and comic books with Kindle Panel View (which allows you to read a comic book panel by panel). Books that support these features will be available in the Kindle store over the next few weeks.

-Dictionaries grouped into a collection in Home and Archived Items called "Dictionaries" for better organization.
Improved table and image viewing (panning and zooming) on supported titles.

The update is available from the Kindle Support area on amazon web site.

And now, back to my original review...


I was thrilled to receive my new Kindle. I ordered it Sep 28, chose overnight shipping and it arrived (Sep 29) just a few minutes ago. Usually I use a device for a while before reviewing it. In this case, I felt it was important to do a quick review right away because if it can help you in your purchasing decision, so much the better.

If you are a little perplexed with all the various Kindle models and are wondering if this Is the Kindle for you, here are a few questions for you to consider...

1. Do you need text to speech capability or have the desire to listen to mp3's on your Kindle? If you can live without that, then proceed. This Kindle does not have a speaker thus is not capable of text to speech or playing sounds of any kind including mp3's.

2. Is color important to you? This is not a color Kindle, it is gray-scale. If you are mostly wanting to read books then this will work for you exceedingly well. The e-ink screen is gorgeous, sharp and provides the ability to change font size, font face and line spacing. It even displays photos quite nicely, but in gray-scale. And you can even zoom in on images.

3. Is a physical keyboard a necessity for you? If you like to make notes and annotations while reading, you may want to look at another model Kindle that has a physical keyboard. Although this Kindle has a screen-based keyboard, it is tedious to type more than a few words or URL's. It works very well for minimal typing but it's not for you if you need more than that.

4. Is compact size important for you? Then this is the one to get. It's thin, light and diminutive in size. Slips easily into a purse, pocket or inside pocket. It is so light which makes holding and reading with one hand for longer periods of time very easy.

5. Do you want to be able to occasionally use a web browser to access a web site? Well surprise surprise, you can do that on this Kindle. It's an "experimental" feature but it works quite well. It's been experimental for years, so I'm not quite sure why it's still labeled experimental. But in any case you can visit websites, save bookmarks and it works.

I also own the original Kindle with the SD card slot. Compared to the original Kindle, this new one is svelte. Thinner, lighter and notably, the e-ink on this new Kindle is vastly improved. In low interior lighting with gray overcast lighting outside, I'm able to easily read the Kindle. It is amazing how the screen almost glows, as if it were backlit. Of course it is not backlit and in fact will not work in the dark. But if you have a small reading light, that solves that problem. Otherwise in most other situations you will pleased with the excellent sharpness and clarity of the Kindle text.

Page "turning" was very snappy to me especially when compared to my old Kindle. The black page flash that occurs on every page turn on the old Kindle does not occur nearly as frequently with the new Kindle. It now occurs after every 5 page turns.

The fact that there is no physical keyboard means that this Kindle is absolutely the easiest to carry Kindle ever. Fits nicely in the hand and the slightly grippy surface makes you feel secure in holding it... it will not easily slip out of your hand.

Setup was a breeze. The Kindle immediately identified my Wi-Fi network and as soon as I entered my password using the onscreen keyboard, I was good to go. Signal strength indicated very high on the Kindle and I did not notice any degradation in signal no matter how I handled it.

As concerns the onscreen keyboard, it was easy and intuitive to use. I don't expect to have to use it very often and for me I'd rather have no physical keyboard because that makes the Kindle smaller and easier to pack and go.

You still get the typical Kindle tools, such as Highlighting, Notes, Annotations, Public Notes and a few others. You can upload PDF and TXT files and view them. You can easily transfer prior Kindle purchases to your new Kindle. You have the ability to create "collections" Once you've created a collection, you add items to it and this is a great way to organize many books.

I have not had this model long enough to comment on battery life, but I'm sure that based on my previous Kindle and the specifications that it will excel. I believe that reading 1/2 hour a day will let you go a month before needing a charge if Wi-Fi is off. That's pretty awesome. It is charged via the included USB cable and that can be from your computer or via an AC to USB power adapter, or in-car power port USB adapter.

And don't worry that the memory has decreased in this Kindle. There is still more than enough memory to hold well over 1000 books. And you archive books too which means they are just a click and a few seconds away from being downloaded back to your Kindle from the Amazon Cloud.

Regarding the ads... they are not objectionable. In fact (don't tell this to the advertisers) I didn't even notice that there was an advertisement on the home screen until I deliberately looked for it. It takes up just a small portion of the bottom of the screen and is no taller than an inch in height. I don't know for sure whether all ads are the same size but the one I'm looking at is very unobtrusive. The screensaver ads are full page and don't bother me at all. And of course, you may just end up getting a good deal on something. I LIKE the ads. Just today I got a couple from an ad that saves me $5 on a $10 Amazon purchase in addition to my choice of a selected list of Mystery/Thriller books for only $1. Love the deals!

I think Amazon has another winner on its hands with this ad-supported Kindle. You just can't beat it for reading and I'm so glad I got it.

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

UPDATE: 10/16/2011 - I had the opportunity to compare the display of my new Kindle with that of a friends who had a Kindle with keyboard. I'm not sure how old his is, but his display actually had a somewhat lighter colored background which made the legibility slightly better in my opinion. I was quite happy with the clarity, sharpness and contrast of my new Kindle until I compared with him. Now I'm a little conflicted. It's still great, don't get me wrong, But it's not an improvement necessarily over the previous generation as far as I can tell. It's also possible that there are variations in the e-ink display depending on the luck of the draw. I may question Amazon about this and will report back here if I do. I'd still get this in a heartbeat, but just wanted to let you know about the contrast issue.

UPDATE: 10/17/2011 - There is a new firmware update for the Kindle that addresses the page refresh issue. The new version is 4.0.1 If installed, you will see an additional option in the Settings panel on page 3 called "Page Refresh." This allows you to have the Kindle refresh the page at each page turn (the screen flashes black briefly.) Otherwise the Kindle will not refresh the page until after each 5 page turns.

UPDATE: 10/19/2011 - I called Amazon Kindle Support to discuss the screen darkness issue I mentioned above. They said they'd send a replacement which I've just received. I'm happy to say that the screen background is in fact -slightly- lighter in color on the new Kindle I just received. I'm happy and probably would have still been happy had I not replaced it. But at least I am psychologically satisfied now. The difference in background color was extremely subtle so I wouldn't worry at all about it if you are happy with your newly purchased $79 Kindle. However there do seem to be some circulating that are more obviously darker and if yours is one of those, then contact Amazon.

UPDATE: 12/6/2011 - Wow, the way these specials offers are going, this Kindle is going to end up being free. I just got another $10 Amazon gift card for $5 the other day. Plus a free Audible Audiobook and 50% off a Kindle cover. Loving the special offers.
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on September 30, 2011
I received mine this morning... I have a K3 (Kindle Keyboard), and LOVE it! Best feature: fabulous screen. I wear glasses and can read on it for hours. I also enjoy a number of the games available on the K3. I ordered this Kindle owing to the weight, and the fact that I was told that it was the same screen and same clarity as my K3. My intent was to use the new device simply when I'm running around, since the K3 is somewhat cumbersome for that.

Here's what I see on the new one:


The screen appears to be more reflective, and "glare-y". This surprised me. I was in my office earlier today, and unless I positioned the device correctly, the overhead lights obliterated the screen (as in it couldn't be read at all in that position). I've never had this issue with my K3.

The contrast between the letters and background is not as sharp to me as the K3. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to live with this. Many reviewers have commented on the infrequent "screen refresh" which appears to speed up the page turns. I also think the letters appear to fade with each page turn prior to the refresh. ** Update: I just spent some time looking at this... the background of the screen on the K3 appears lighter than the new screen, so the contrast is not as crisp on the new screen. I often read the K3 at night in a dark room with an MEdge booklight. I don't think I can do so on the new one. **

*** Update 10/3/11: After a few days of use, I've noticed lots of "ghosting" on the screen. When certain screensavers come on, you can see the letters on the screen from the page you just read through the screensaver image. I've shown this to two people who stated that it looked like the letters were burned into the screen. Also, within a page of a book, there are lines of text which appear lighter than the others (in one case, three lines in the middle of the page appeared faded...I believe this to also be a ghosting effect). In addition, some of the text appears to have faded tops, and "pixelated" images, appearing to be dotty. All in all, there is no comparison to the K3 screen.... the K3 is far superior. (By the way, this is after the software update which enabled screen refresh on each page).***

Also, font size has been changed in places where you cannot fix it (home page), and in some cases it is really tiny (like percent of the book read when you are reading).

If vision is an issue to you, heads up.


I called and asked before I purchased. I was told they would all transfer. NOT TRUE. In fact, the ONLY games which work are the ones provided by Amazon. Here's what you should do if this is an issue to you:

Look at your account through your Manage Your Kindle screen. Scroll down and see how many of your games are labeled "Amazon Digital Services". IF NOT, they will not download to this Kindle. Only 2 of my 15 games would download.


The keyboard is well designed and quick, however, it is a pain if you have to type anything, regardless of how short. Too cumbersome, and too many keystrokes involved.

The 5 way in my opinion is in the wrong place. Without a keyboard, this is "the key" for many functions. I have large hands, and have to stretch my thumb to reach it. After just sitting in Starbucks for 15 minutes registering my Kindle, my thumb was literally hurting from the reach and the constant pressing. You now need it for simple things like bookmarks: to bookmark, you have to press the menu key, scroll with the 5 way, press to add a bookmark.


Great. I throw this in my purse in a neoprene sleeve, and you don't feel the weight.


I didn't care, since my intent was only to use this device for running around. However, I only downloaded 25 items (of approx 300 on my device), and I noticed that I only have 1,295M remaining on the device (so .7G is already gone... not sure where!)


Wasn't sure I'd like them. I'm OK with it on the screen saver.... not so much on the home page. I do find it distracting, and it did increase the length of my list (The device moved 2 entries per page to the next page to make room for the banner).

BUT: I just used my first offer and got a $9.00 mystery from an author I like for $1.00. Guess I'm going to live with the special offers.

The new screen savers were beautiful, though. I hated to lose them in favor of the special offers! (it would be nice to be able to rotate both!.... just a thought!)


I purchased this simply for running around, and the weight/size is great. The screen and the position of the 5 way will be the two deciding issues. If I find that I fatigue reading it, then it will have to go back. I'm also disappointed by the game issue. This should be disclosed, and I specifically called and asked before I purchased the device and was given incorrect information.

Kindle Light? Yes, very.

Kindle Lite? Yes, very, particularly with the game issue!
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on October 12, 2011
As a rabid kindle person, this new model is BETTER than the K3 (now "kindle keyboard") with 3G/no ads that I've had for a year. Keep in mind I use my eReader with one purpose: reading - not audio or anything else. I won't touch upon everything, but here's a general list of why it's better:

1. YOU DON'T NEED 3G. I barely used the 3G on my K3 and I'm convinced it's not needed. Just plan ahead load up before your trip! Besides, even if you forget to load your kindle, most places have wifi now anyway. I wasted $50 on my K3 getting 3G. Clearly, many other reviewers agree.

2. SIZE, WEIGHT , COMFORT. I don't care what anyone says, the K3 became uncomfortable to hold pretty quickly, leading to constant hand switching and adjusting. This model is much lighter, smaller, and comfortable - the lightest available.

3. MEMORY NOT AN ISSUE. Do you really need more than 1400 books on your device at one time?? I never understood that. After I finish a novel, why am I going to need it on the device? If I need a book from the past, I can download it again from "manage my kindle" on the Amazon site. I read about 50 books/year so it would take 28 years for me to fill it up!

4. PRICE/VALUE. At $79 plus tax, this is a tremendous value and Amazon has very agressively priced it presumably to compete with the Nook equivalent from B & N. How can anyone NOT try it for that price? There are CASES AND COVERS that are only $20 cheaper!

5. SPECIAL OFFERS. At first this seemed prohibitive to me, but they do NOT display during reading. They're only shown on the homepage (who cares?) and on the screensaver (Again, who cares - it's in the case at that point). If they appeared on the bottom during reading (like a free iPhone app) that would be a different story.

6. ABOUT THE KINDLE TOUCH. As I write this it hasn't been released yet, but I don't like the idea of a touch screen for an eReader, which is why I am not waiting for it. We're not talking about an iPhone or iPad. I want a nice, clean screen for my dedicated reader. With a touch screen, I now have to worry about, dirt, smudges, fingerprints, and the like. Upon scouring these reviews, I see others agree with me.

I hope this helps with your decision. As opposed to many of the book reviews, most of the reviews for this product are very good, thorough and well thought out. I encourage you to read them. They helped shape my decision and I hope I have done the same for you.
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I am writing this from the perspective of being a long-time Kindle user vs. someone brand new, and have updated this review on October 9, 2011, after using this version of the Kindle for a little over one week.

From an overall perspective, considering the pricing at $79 vs. close to $200 for the "regular" Kindle with 3G ("K3G"), this Kindle with Special Offers ("KSO") 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 $200 is a lot of money to risk with a child, maybe at $79 this is your price point. From a size standpoint, it is 1/3 of an inch less in width and 1 inch less in length than my K3G I've had for about a year now, and while noticeably thinner than the K3G I can't tell you how much as I can't see the well enough to count the millimeter lines - take my word for it, it is noticeably thinner: I believe the dimensions as listed on each product page say they are the same, maybe it is because of the tapered edges on the end of the KSO. And lighter.

Opening up the box, the only thing that is included is the KSO, a USB cord, and a one-page instruction sheet that shows you what the various buttons do. One noticeable difference I like (so far) is the on/off control is a button vs. a switch. Let's see how that holds up for durability. 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 new "keyboard" button to activate the keyboard. One thing that is a little annoying is with the included USB cord - there is no 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 display is crisp and dark. Looking at the display side-by-side in the same location of an eBook against my K3G, the text on the KSO is much darker. Considering the K3G after a year of use is still darker than my Kindle 2, I think that is saying something - 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 test was hitting the main pages of the mobile websites of Fox News, CNN, and Google. I pushed "go" or "enter" at the same time on each and did not see a visible difference in the load speeds start to finish. I did try to check one of my Google email accounts on both but it crashed on both - that has been a continuing problem checking email with your Kindle for some time now.

One last thing to point out - if you order one (or have ordered one), you probably saw the option to add a cover. The "official" Amazon cover is not available for about a month, but there are some available from third parties. I didn't order one because of the ship date, but I sure would like one as I like the feeling of thinking I am actually holding a book.

Reading over this review, it might seem a little negative - that is not my intention at all, but more of a comparison of what I am used to vs. what we have with this version of the Kindle. I actually love it, and think it will help explode the ebook revolution even further as they get in more people's hands. If you have not purchased a Kindle before due to price, and this one is in your price zone, I would strongly recommend this one!
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on September 29, 2011
I received my new $79 kindle today. I had a 2nd generation kindle that I was using, but also used my wife's 3rd generation kindle extensively.

The new kindle has the same screen as the last generation that makes it an instant upgrade over the 1st or 2nd generation kindle. In fact, if you own either, I recommend spending the money to upgrade. I know it's hard, but the 3rd generation that was out until very recently has a much brighter screen, with much clearer text than all previous kindles. That alone is worth the price if you read on it more than an hour or two a month.

Pros of New Kindle:

* Feather Light - it feels so much lighter than my previous Kindle. It's the lightest kindle out there, and believe me, when you are holding it, you WILL feel the difference over one hour.
* Navigation is simplified and perfect - I don't type a lot on the kindle. I buy most of my purchases online on my computer, and so almost the only time I need to enter text is for wifi passwords. So I am SO glad they removed the keyboard. Buttons are much better and more intuitive, including power, back, forward, home page, etc.
* Color - I just like the color. Simple and elegant and doesn't distract you from what you are reading.


* No 3G - of course that's a choice, and I gladly made it to keep cost down. 3G is nice for two reasons, and people don't often think about both of them. First and most obvious, if you just finished a book in a series and let's say you are overseas and want to download the next book, it takes 5 minutes and costs you nothing. Or if you are on a bus. Or anywhere. That's nice. The SECOND reason, perhaps used more frequently, is if you have two devices and want to synchronize. Perhaps you have an iPad that you read on sometimes, and a Kindle othertimes. The problem is that if you read on two devices, if they don't either automatically synchronize or at least report up to the Amazon server your progress, when you open up the second device it's in the wrong spot, and you have to flip through pages to find where you let off. This can be highly annoying. With 3G, they pretty much talk in the background and you don't have this problem.
* 1/2 the battery life - slightly annoying, but if you turn off your wifi except when you specifically want to download something, then really, 1 month of battery is more than adequate.
* Ads - I was really torn on this. But the ads are very non-obtrusive. The screensavers on most kindles are boring and repetitive, so I actually like that these change it up. And they are kind of interesting ads. Because they don't flash or change frequently, you hardly notice them. And the little ad at the bottom of the home page is almost not even noticeable. Frankly, I can't imagine paying even $30 extra to avoid these ads.

In summary:

* Absolutely outstanding value.
* Worth upgrading if you have any first or second generation kindle due to the crispness of the text.
* Because it is the smallest and the lightest (same screen size, just talking about the "frame", even if you can afford a more expensive Kindle, I think this is still the best buy.

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on September 28, 2011
I own a 3rd generation Kindle 3G with keyboard (now called Kindle Keyboard) and also have the NEW $79 KSO Kindle. Here are the main differences I see between the two models with some personal comments and thoughts at the end.

AUDIO: New $79 Kindle has NO Speakers Or Audio Jack. The Kindle Keyboard has a 3.5mm stereo audio jack & rear-mounted stereo speakers.
The new Kindle has no text-to-speech option or audio capability for audio books(think or music. Kindle Keyboard has these features and at least gives you the OPTION to listen to audio books if you choose. If audio doesn't matter to you this is no real disadvantage for the $79 Kindle.

PAGE TURNS: The Kindle Keyboard has SLOWER page turns and refreshes the screen with every page turn so you get more flashing and black-outs while reading. This can be a little annoying at times, at least for me. The new Kindle has FASTER page turns(due to a faster processor according to Amazon) and refreshes the screen ONLY every 6 pages so you get some ghosting but less black-outs while reading.

PAGE TURN BUTTONS: The page turn buttons on both Kindles are on the sides. On the new $79 Kindle the buttons do not extend quite as far onto the front of the unit(only about half as far), but they work the same way as the previous models. You press DOWN to flip pages. Page turning does feel a little different on the new Kindle because the buttons are beveled. I have no problem with it and like that it will not longer accidently turn pages when held on the sides. My husband doesn't like the smaller buttons because it forces him to hold it with his thumb closer to the edge. This is going to be a deal breaker for a small group of people, but not for most.

MEMORY: $79 Kindle has 2GB internal memory (1.25GB available for user content) & stores up to 1400 books. Kindle Keyboard has 4GB internal (approximately 3GB available for user content) & stores up to 3000 books.
With only half the storage space of the Kindle Keyboard you may not be able to carry your entire library with you(if it is huge), but if you just want to store an average size collection of books, the 2GB will be more than adequate.

KEYBOARD: The $79 Kindle has NO External Keyboard, just an Virtual On-Screen Keyboard. Kindle Keyboard HAS an external keyboard.
With no external keyboard on the new Kindle you must use the 5-way controller at the bottom of the device to highlight letters to write with the keyboard that appears on the screen. This is time consuming and tedious to use if you need to write anything very long or access the internet. It does, however, have a dedicated button that brings up the virtual keyboard which has letter, numbers & symbols COMBINED on one screen so you don't have to keep switching between screens to type something like "" as you must do on the Kindle Keyboard. For those who use Kindles just to read books and rarely use the keyboard the new Kindle is a cleaner, sleeker design. Not having a keyboard gets you around the problem some black Kindle Keyboards have with the letters wearing off the keys.

5-WAY CONTROLLER PLACEMENT: On the Kindle Keyboard the controller was on the bottom right between the "Menu" and "Back" buttons, making it easy to use while gripping the lower corner of the device. Sometimes I accidently hit the "Back" button by mistake because it's pretty close. On the new Kindle the square controller has been moved to the center of the device. Aesthetically this looks great, but it does require a different hand positioning or a bigger stretch of your thumb to use.(at least with one hand)

SIDE BEZEL WIDTH: The width of the side bezels on the new Kindle is quite small(about 7/16 of an inch) compared to the Kindle Keyboard. On the Kindle Keyboard the bezel is wider and it is very comfortable to hold the device with one hand and turn pages for nearly everyone. My hands are average size and I found the new Kindle just as easy to hold. My husband who has large hands and wider fingers tried the new Kindle and though it was harder to wrap his hand around and hold comfortably with one hand and found his thumb partially on the screen some of the time or slipping off the side when he turned pages. This may be a deal breaker for some people with larger hands unless they find a different way to hold the Kindle; a cover may be a simple remedy.

BATTERY LIFE: 1 month for $79 Kindle, 2 months for Kindle Keyboard; with minimal daily use(30 minutes) and Wi-Fi turned off.
Due to a 50% smaller battery, the new Kindle has only half the battery life of the Kindle Keyboard. Shorter battery life is never a good thing in an electronics product, but 1 month on the Kindle is still acceptable.

POWER ADAPTER: The $79 Kindle DOES NOT INCLUDE a power adapter to plug into the wall to charge it. Kindle Keyboard INCLUDES a power adapter.
With the new Kindle you must purchase a $10 power adapter separately like the Amazon Kindle US Power Adapter (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX) which is 50% off right now. If you just want to charge it in a USB port on your computer you don't need this. Also, if you already own a last model Kindle you won't need this as you already have one that will work with this Kindle. The Kindle Keyboard INCLUDES a power adapter so you won't have to pay extra for one.

INTERNET CONNECTION: Both models support Wi-Fi and access at AT&T hotspots.
The new Kindle does not have a 3G wireless option like the Kindle Keyboard.

TURNING ON/OFF: The $79 Kindle has a dedicated button at the bottom edge that you press to turn the unit on/off with a green indicator light. The Kindle Keyboard has a slider switch bar. Having an actual button to press on the new Kindle is nice. I like it better than fiddling with a slider. The new Kindle boots up faster than the Kindle Keyboard. Whether the button or the slider will work out better in the long run, well we'll just have to wait and see.

E INK: Both Kindles have the same resolution and use the SAME latest pearl E Ink technology which is crisp and clear. I did not notice any significant difference between the two models. I have read that the E Ink technology cycle runs every two years so we should not expect an upgrade from "Pearl" until June-September of 2012.

COLOR: New $79 Kindle is silver (not a real glossy silver but kind of a medium matte grey). The Kindle Keyboard comes in white or black(graphite). Color choice is very subjective and a matter of personal taste. The silver color may bother some people with sensitive eyes.

WEIGHT: $79 Kindle is 5.98 ounces, Kindle Keyboard is 8.5 ounces
Being 2.52 ounces lighter is a nice plus if you want to read for a long time and hold the Kindle in your hand.

DIMENSIONS: $79 Kindle is 6.5" x 4.5" x 0.34", Kindle Keyboard is 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335"
New Kindle is 18% smaller with same 6" screen. Should fit better in pockets and take up less space in any bag/purse/briefcase.

PRICE: New Kindle KSO is $79 or $109 with No Ads. Kindle Keyboard KSO is $99 or $139 with No Ads.
The $79 KSO Kindle is $20 cheaper & KSO is a money saver if you shop a lot on Amazon and don't mind the ads. No Ads version is $30 cheaper.
Note: KSO or Kindle with Special Ads take up about 1 inch of the screen on the Home page and appear as the screensaver. They do not interfere with your reading experience in a book at all.

KINDLE COVER: You're probably going to want a lighted cover for the new Kindle. The new Amazon cover is priced at $59.99 which is 75% of the cost of the device itself and $10 MORE than the cover for the Kindle Keyboard ($49.99). Do the math, the difference in price between the two models with a cover is now down to only $10. New Kindle ($79 + $60 cover=$139). Kindle Keyboard ($99 + $50 cover = $149). Deal or No Deal? Consider instead a cheaper cover for around $10 and something like a very light Verso clip-on light combo.

CONCLUSION: The New $79 KSO and $109 No Ads Kindle is targeted for those people who just want to buy some books and read them. It is a very minimalist e-reader that anyone can use. It will do more, but that is not what it is designed to do easily. It has the same nice rubberized feel of the Kindle Keyboard, is easy to hold with one hand for most people, and is solidly built. I think it's going to be a big hit and please lots of people.

My personal preference between these two would be to keep using my 3rd Generation Kindle Keyboard 3G(black). I like to listen to audio books and this model doesn't provide that capability which doesn't make me very happy, but it may not matter to you. I like the option of 3G wireless if I'm not near a hotspot. I preferred the black(graphite) color of the Kindle Keyboard to the lighter grey of the new Kindle because it is easier on my eyes, but this will not matter to most people. If you already own a recent model Kindle Keyboard, this is no upgrade. It is rather inferior even if you just consider the reduced battery life. If you really like having an external keyboard you won't be happy with all the extra "click right, click right, click right, click down, select" iterations you have to go through to use the virtual keyboard. However, if you want an extra Kindle JUST for reading or for the kids, this is a Good Choice at a Good Price.

If you have never owned a Kindle you certainly don't have an excuse for not getting one now. If you only have about $79 to spend this is an excellent first purchase. That is unless you want to use it to access the internet a lot, which is clumsy on this model because it doesn't have an external keyboard. Surprisingly it is pretty zippy at highlighting and selecting letters/symbols, but it will not be good for taking lots of notes. If you JUST plan to buy books and read them it should be VERY GOOD.

In my humble opinion, first time purchasers who can spend more and want some versatility in an e-reader would be better off paying a little more.
1) For an extra $20+ consider either one of the new Touch Kindles--IF you like touch screens, don't mind that the side page turn buttons are GONE replaced by a tap to the screen, and the text quality/clarity turns out to be as good as this Kindle.

2) Consider the newly REDUCED $99 Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi KSO (3G version if you need it) to have the same E Ink quality, keep the larger side page turn buttons, audio, better battery life, more memory & 3G option or pay yet a little more for one with No Ads(if that bothers you).

While the new Kindle Fire looks amazing, it is in essence a Tablet for entertainment, not an E-reader. Of course it can be used as a casual e-reader, but it does not use the pearl E Ink technology that has made the Kindles so popular with serious readers because it reduces eye fatigue. The Kindle Fire has a backlit IPS LCD screen instead and no 3G wireless. I just mention this because I know people are trying to digest a lot of new information about the differences between the new Kindles in a short period of time so they know what order.

I apologize for the length of this review. It just seems there are so many things to evaluate that I wanted to be as thorough as possible.
(I am currently updating this review periodically with anything new that presents itself as I spend more time using the new Kindles.)

UPDATE 10-2-11: There is a software update to 4.0.1 for the Kindle which will allow you to refresh the screen with every page like on the Kindle Keyboard.
As is, the new Kindle ghosts with every page turn for 5 pages and then on the 6th page does a black-out and refresh. If you switch it to refresh the E Ink with every page turn it does a black-out and refresh with each page turn. Neither option is perfect, but at least you get a choice.
(The link for the software update is on page 6 of the comment section of this review.)

UPDATE 10-3-11: You are able to choose the dictionary of your choice to be YOUR default dictionary(of course you have to buy it). The new Kindle has two free dictionaries, the Oxford Dictionary of English and The New Oxford American Dictionary. There are also free dictionaries in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and German and you can choose a default dictionary for each language.

UPDATE 10-4-11: Warning: the small size, light weight and sleek look of this new Kindle will make some people giddy with delight to the point where you will have difficulty prying it out of their hands.

UPDATE 10-6-11: The new Kindle just like it's predecessors still does NOT natively support the popular and widely used ePub book format. It sports a fast 800MHz processor but has a battery half the size of the Kindle Keyboard (which uses a 532MHz processor).

UPDATE 10-8-11: Contrast, Readability and Glare Issues Reported.
Despite the fact that the new Kindle and the Kindle Keyboard are supposed to be using the same E Ink and screen, a number of people are reporting that the contrast and crispness/darkness of text on the new Kindle screen is inferior to the Kindle Keyboard. The implication is that Amazon has either gone with a cheaper screen on this model -or- bad ones are being sent out due to poor quality control. I have so far counted 8+ people in either reviews or comments under this product description mentioning this--a fairly small percentage.

Some people have commented that the screen has too much glare or is too reflective. A roughly equal percentage feel the screen is remarkable glare-free.

Comment #1: The text on my new Kindle is crisp, sharp, and dark. If yours is not I suggest that it is defective and should be returned for a new unit ASAP.

Comment #2: The background on my Kindle is ever so slightly darker(greyer) than on my Kindle Keyboard. For me this is offset by the text being darker so, in effect, proper contrast is maintained. The light grey color of the new Kindle itself, which more closely matches the background color of the screen, may create the illusion of lessened contrast for some people. This would make the contrast of the Kindle Keyboard look better, surrounded as it is by a black bezel. Note: some external websites have also reported the new Kindle as having a slightly darker screen.

Comment #3: One person who returned their Kindle for a replacement due to these issues reported that the replacement was "SIGNIFICANTLY better" with "better contrast" and not "nearly as much glare either". He felt that getting a good or bad one might just be the "luck of the draw"---from comment by A. Kan

UPDATE 11-20-11: I highly recommend the Kindles with Special Ads, on any Kindle you buy. They do not interfere with your reading experience and will provide you with some nice discounts on Kindle books every month or so and if you shop a lot on Amazom you will be able to save $$ on other things as well.

UPDATE 11-21-11: If you don't want to spend $60 on the Kindle Lighted Leather Cover, Black consider something like a combo of a $10 or less Poetic PU Leather Folio Case(not endorsing this, just using it as an example) and a separate clip-on light like the Verso. Just keep it LIGHT to take advantage of the new Kindles 5.98 oz. weight.

UPDATE 2-25-12: The special deals on the Kindles with Special Ads are no longer anywhere as good as when Amazon first started them. Now the best you can hope for is an e-book(from a select list) for $1, maybe once a month. There are a lot more local offers that may not interest most people. I don't even check my Special Offers anymore. That's how bad I feel they're gotten.

UPDATE 2-26-12: In the past few months we have owned the Kindle $79/$109, the Kindle Touch and the Fire. The Fire is very nice and I kept it, but not as a primary e-book reader, just for entertainment and it sure is entertaining, but too hard on the eyes for lots of reading. Despite what I said in my earlier review, I have since extensively compared the quality of the e-ink displays(on multiple units) of the Kindle Keyboard, Kindle, and Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard definitely has the better quality screen. I have since returned the Kindle Touch. The keyboard on the Kindle Keyboard was a nuisance to me but it has proven to be so much the better reader that we have purchased another to add to the family's reading arsenal. My kids really like the new $79 Kindle because it is simple to use, but for older and more critical eyes the Kindle Keyboard was and remains Amazon's crowning achievement in e-readers.(at least in my humble opinion).
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2011
I received my new Kindle just a couple hours ago, and I absolutely love it. I can't believe how small and lightweight it is. I've owned both the K2 and K3...this little guy is definitely the best of the bunch (I purchased the one without ads).

I debated for some time whether to go with this product, or with the Kindle touch. I decided on this for a few reasons...

1. I like turning the page with the buttons. I read while holding this in one hand and I can easily hit the button without moving my hand. I wasn't crazy about the swipe page turning on the Touch. I'm sure you can still do it using one hand, but I just prefer the buttons. Also, I read on a couple review sites that every 6 pages or so the Touch needs to 'refresh', which can take a little longer for the next page to load. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but it would definitely annoy me if it is.

2. I use this STRICTLY for reading. I don't make notes or annotations. I don't search for new books on the Kindle itself (I have a Wish List that I pull my books from and send them to my Kindle from, so a touch keyboard was just not necessary for me. Now...if you DO make a lot of notes or search for all your books in the Kindle store from the device itself, then I do NOT recommend this. I absolutely recommend going with the Kindle Touch. Typing out words on this is much like typing out your name on a video game. You use the 5-way controller to peck out one letter at a time.

3. This device does NOT have text-to-speech. I like that. It was a useless feature on my K2 and K3 (for me at least) and I'm happy to have it gone.

The only thing I wasn't crazy about was losing the 3G. I wish they offered it on this model, but no such luck. I rarely needed it, but it was nice to have for camping. I'll just have to make sure that I stock up on books before we head out since I'm not likely to get free wi-fi at many campgrounds. Obviously if you require 3G, then skip'll want the Touch.

Overall though, this device is pretty much exactly the same as my K2 just smaller, thanks to the missing keyboard, and lighter. I have always said, no matter which device I was using at the time, that in a fire I would save 1st my son, 2nd my Kindle. I LOVE how easy and enjoyable the Kindle has made reading (and I was already an extremely avid reader), and I can't imagine ever going back to lugging around a bunch of heavy library books. If you've read the features of this particular model and basically just want a simple e-ink e-reader, then this is for you. If you're looking for a little more out of your reader, then go with the Touch. Either way you can't go wrong with a matter the model.
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on October 2, 2011
A brief video showing the Kindle and Kindle Keyboard operating side by side. This Keyboard was ordered on Sept. 9, 2011, so it is a recent model. In this video you can see the page turns and the difference in the screen refresh (Keyboard redraws every time, new Kindle only 5-6 pages). I'll be returning the Keyboard, so far I'm happy with the new Kindle and won't miss the lack of keyboard or audio port since I didn't use them. I took off one star since unprotected .mobi files aren't working out of the box right now like they did on the Keyboard (file transfers but does not show up). [Update: See comments, this was a minor issue with the Kindle not putting the files in the right folder, easily corrected manually but this should get corrected.]
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