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Not Very Impressed - Keyboard Version is Still Superior,
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This review is from: Kindle Touch 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (Electronics)I am writing this review from the perspective of being a long-time Kindle user vs. someone brand new to the Kindle experience.
From an overall experience, and considering the price of a Kindle with free 3G, WiFi capabilities, and a touch screen, this Kindle Touch Screen ("KTS") is a pretty good bargain. From a size standpoint, it is obviously not as long as my Kindle Keyboard model ("KKB"), but you wouldn't expect it to be because - ahem - there is no keyboard!
I was in for a surprise when I opened up the box: in the little space carved out to hold the micro-USB cable, which you need to charge the unit, had nothing in it. In other words, no power cord to get the thing running. A quick phone call to Amazon's excellent customer support, and a friendly agent named Mary Ann, has a replacement on its way to me. Seeing as I have way too many Kindles in my household, I found a power cord and put it on the charger for about an hour before playing with it.
First, let's talk about the "pros" of the KTS model:
The display is much crisper and darker than the KKB model. I put a page of the same book on both the KTS and the KKB side-by-side and not in a cover (didn't want the cover to give an optical illusion or anything), and this model's text is much better. I also placed these two models against a Kindle 2, and you can see the improvement in the screen quality with each new model (and the KKB is still darker than the K2 two years into it).
Web surfing speed with the WiFi feature on the KTS is a little faster than the KKB. Doing a side-by-side test I tried the mobile websites of Fox News and CNN and they popped right up, maybe a half second faster on the KTS model. Trying the mobile websites of MSNBC and the Houston Chronicle were slower than Christmas, but that is usually the case in my experiences with most mobile devices trying to hit those two websites. I'm not much of a web surfer with my Kindle, so that feature is really hard for me to evaluate. When I have my Kindle, I usually want to read a book vs. surf the web or check email.
The on/off button is not a slider like previous versions of Kindles, but is a push-button. You have to make a deliberate "push" with the button to make it go to sleep vs. sometimes my KKB model will bump against my shirt or jeans and hit the sleep mode in the middle of the page. I think this is an improvement.
Now for the "cons" of the KTS model:
I really don't care for the touchscreen. I thought I would, actually I thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread, but it is a pain in the neck. I also have man fingers - which means my finger pads are larger than most women and children - and there have been many times with my short experience with the KTS I meant to touch one thing and ended up going somewhere else entirely because a link right next to the one I wanted was pressed first. I even pulled out a ballpoint pen top to try to "tap" the right thing, but I had the same problem.
There are no page turn buttons - besides the on / off button I mentioned above there are really no buttons at all. To turn a page forward, you need to tap the right-hand side of the screen. To page back, you guessed it, you need to tap the left-hand side of the screen. After using a Kindle for over three years now, I've already been "trained" by Amazon on how to turn pages. Sometimes you think the page forward didn't register, so you tap it again only to find out it did but there was a delay; now you're one page ahead of where you wanted to be. I didn't figure that out until about the third time when I was thinking the author of a short story just wasn't making sense. When I'm reading a book, I get rather absorbed in the process, and "tapping" to page turn gets me distracted (let alone jumping pages ahead of where I want to be). I wonder how much tapping the screen can physically take before the screens start breaking?
Navigation is rather cumbersome. If you're in the middle of a book or web page, for example, and want to go back to your home screen (or to a different book), I initially thought you had to activate the menu bar by pressing and holding near the top of the screen, then start pressing the back arrow buttons. I would think most people expect to see a "Home" choice if you push the "Menu" button. There is a "home" key but you would never know it: it looks like 4 horizontal unlabeled lines that I initially took for air exhaust vents (they are actually buttons). It would have been helpful to have a label on next to it or, Heaven forbid, a quick start paper menu to get you up and running.
Overall, if you couldn't tell, I'm not too impressed with the KTS model. It seems as there were a lot of shortcuts taken to get the price down lower, and the method of operation is much different than what I am used to - I realize that had to be done primarily because there are no buttons. However, when I'm reading, I want to escape and not have to remember too many specific motions and steps: I just want to read! I hope, however, this new and improved screen is put into all models of Kindle (except the Fire) as it is much superior.
If you're happy with your "button" versions of the Kindle, I'd stick with them!
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Showing 1-10 of 249 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 15, 2011 10:36:30 PM PST
There is no "Home" button? So if your on page 200....you just keep hitting "back"? I have my Kindle Touch on order and it hasn't shipped yet.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 12:53:07 AM PST
Victor A. Buttaro says:
Yes there is a home "button". That row of lines under the screen is what you press to go "Home" There are two buttons on the Kindle touch; power and home.
As for the original review. Did you not understand the concept of a touch screen before purchasing the thing? I can understand not liking a having to use a JUST touch screen; but how can the whole notion of a touch screen be a "con" on a touch screen device.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 4:21:34 AM PST
I really appreciate this honest review. I have a Kindle Keyboard Model (KKB) right now and I was wondering if I would like the Kindle Touch or not. I really like holding the KKB with my left hand and navigating with the buttons on that side to advance pages and read one-handed. I also really like the size and I'm not sure if I will like a square size versus the rectangular size. I've been really hesitant to have a kindle without a keyboard. I really like my e-ink display as well. Now reading this review I'm convinced that I wouldn't like the Kindle Touch. I got a little laugh out of you skipping three pages in your story and wondering why it didn't make sense - it's totally something I would do... especially after being so used to the iPhone. I am getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas as a gift but I will use that for browsing web, etc and keep my KKB for reading! Overall it was a VERY informative review!
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 5:27:12 AM PST
Ernest F. Beckley says:
I was thinking of getting the "KTS" and giving my "KKB" to my son. After reading your review, I've changed my mind. I'd wondered how the touchscreen would be, and your review answered my questions. Maybe I'll wait to see how the Fire pans out and get one of those.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 5:45:02 AM PST
Great review. You "touched" (ha! no pun intended) on all the issues that I was worried about.
1. I think its RIDICULOUS that they aren't giving you a charger with this device. I literally cannot believe it.
2. As a long time K3 user, I too, really like the side page turner buttons instead of having to touch or swipe the screen. This allows me to read with one hand and not reach into and touch the screen. I feel with the touch design you almost have to use two hands again.
3. The buttons. While I am not totally sold on my K3 keyboard, it sounds like the touch keyboard and navigations are way more cumbersome then using the old keyboard. Plus, it sounds like it takes up more room on the screen when it comes up. Not cool enough for me to upgrade.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 7:06:37 AM PST
W. Sheaffer says:
Thanks Michael, Good review. I have not wanted a touch screen for exactly the reasons that you discussed in your "cons" portion of the review.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 7:37:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2011 2:58:44 PM PST
Great review Michael. While I do prefer the Touch to the Keyboard, you make some very good points and I will be interested to see what the general opinion is of this device is after a month and more reviews come in. At first, I also missed the physical buttons on the Touch for page turning, but the way I hold my kindle used to cause me to always hit that button on accident. I noticed you mentioned that "If you're in the middle of a book or web page, for example, and want to go back to your home screen (or to a different book), you don't just push the home screen: you have to activate the menu bar by pressing and holding near the top of the screen, then start pressing the back arrow buttons. I would think most people expect to see a "Home" choice if you push the "Menu" button, but I guess it didn't make the cut." This confused me, because the Home button is a physical button located on the bottom of the Touch. If I am in the middle of a book and press that button, it takes me right to the home screen.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 7:54:16 AM PST
Good review, not a biased one.
I'm very happy with the Kindle 3G with keyboard. Your comments made me think twice about getting the touch version.
I think that the keyboard makes the Kindle bigger and heavier but the advantages of typing faster and better, overcome the size and cosmetic limitations. I also believe the extra space on the bottom helps the reading experience, like when you're on the bed reading and the device is resting on your chest or tummy.
I 'm still interested, but maybe I will wait and check my myself on a physical store 1st, like Target or BB.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 8:06:57 AM PST
Good Review Mike. Not all new technology is an improvement on the existing concept or necessarily for everyone. I have a K2 and have been lusting after a K3 for the last year because of the smaller form factor. For the last couple of months I have been waiting to see the pix & reviews of the KTS and thought that would be my next reader. But the more I have read about it and continue to enjoy my K2 I can see many benefits to the existing readers. Most importantly for the user experience...a new user can pick up a K3 or KKB and immediately know what to do and how to navigate. In the past many of my less techno-savy friends have very easily adapted to reading e-books because of the Kindle's design and interface. As more people ask my opinion about the new Kindles I think about this...most of them would be frustrated by having to learn where to press, how to press and the various menus. For most users an e-reader is not a computer, it's for reading. Most of them just want to read and not have to learn anything new....users don't want the experience be any more complicated than opening a book. For me...I'll probably buy the KTS (still too close to call), but a lot of people will be better off with the KKB.
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 8:48:57 AM PST
James D. Schaeffer says:
I also wanted to thank you for this review. I purchased the K3G about 3 weeks ago with the lighted cover. Like many, I do sometimes inadvertently hit the page forward or back button, but it really is no big deal. I suspect having to move a finger to touch the screen would also become 2nd nature, but does not really seem to be necessary. In addition, the lack of a lighted cover right now would be a deal breaker as I really enjoy and NEED the Amazon lighted cover for mine.