Customer Review

7,473 of 7,634 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Successor to the Kindle Keyboard, November 14, 2011
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This review is from: Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (Electronics)
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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Comments

Tracked by 30 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 250 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2011 9:44:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 9:45:02 AM PST
A. Tyagi says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 9:46:22 AM PST
Just Peachy says:
Were you able to test the x-ray feature?

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 10:21:37 AM PST
Brian Klein says:
One thing to mention is that you can't use the web browser over 3G with the touch, but you can with the keyboard. Thats also a pretty substantial reason not to get the 3G version.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 10:25:28 AM PST
COZ07 says:
You mentioned the battery life is the same as the K3 at 2 months. I believe the K3 was rated at 1 month so I'm interested to see how long the KT lasts. Thanks for the review.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 10:27:52 AM PST
Trysta says:
I don't know how you got a kindle touch so early but THANK YOU!

Today I saw all these tech sites have reviews up of the kindle touch (which I am very interested in). But none of them focused on the primary usage of the device...reading!

Your review was hands-down the most helpful I've read and much better than those posted by the tech journalists. I also appreciated that you were comparing to the K3 which I also have.

My main reason for wanting to upgrade to the touch is that I read in bed a lot and I find that in bed reaching the turn-page buttons is often a bit awkward. I was hoping the kindle touch would allow easier reading in these awkward position scenarios. Do you find that to be the case?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 10:56:12 AM PST
A. Tyagi says:
Check out engadget's review of the kindle touch. It's pretty neat. and they talk about the X-ray feature too.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 11:09:42 AM PST
Madcatimages says:
Hello,
I was thinking about buying this version. I was wondering how smudgy does the screen get? It's a plastic screen right? So, I can only imagine how bad it might get.

Thank you!

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 11:36:23 AM PST
Bibliophile says:
I didn't think the Touch was out until the 21st? Is this a real review or one made to be like an ad for the Touch??

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 12:08:00 PM PST
Can someone please throw some light on the 'dictionary' feature? do we need to have internet access to look up for any word?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 12:18:16 PM PST
Just Peachy says:
You do not need internet access to look up a word in the dictionary.
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Scott
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