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New $79 Kindle versus Kindle Keyboard: Differences That Might Matter to You,
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This review is from: Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers (Graphite) (Electronics)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 Audibles.com) 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 "firstname.lastname@example.org" 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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Showing 71-80 of 100 posts in this discussion
Posted on Oct 4, 2011 2:59:36 PM PDT
A. Reich says:
EXCELLENT Review! Don't apologize for the length - what you say really helped me. I needed everything you said1 Good job! Very helpful!
Posted on Oct 4, 2011 10:06:14 PM PDT
J. DeCenzo says:
this is a great review. im new to kindle and am buying 1 for my boyfriend. thank you so much for your input. im very glad to see it wasn't short and said: "this one is great...get it". thanks again!
Posted on Oct 4, 2011 11:51:34 PM PDT
Min Cheol Kim says:
i have both, received new one today.
I noticed that new kindle E-ink screen is darker than K3
has anyone seen this?
Posted on Oct 5, 2011 8:33:17 AM PDT
D. Figueroa says:
Wow, what a terrific review!
A dear friend has offered to buy me a new Kindle to replace my dearly departed (lol) K3 3G/wifi for my birthday. I just couldn't decide between the Mindle and the Wifi Keyboard SO.
Price is very much an issue, but I already have a SimpleLight, which won't fit the Mindle.
Thank you so much for taking the time to go into such depth in your review, it made it much easier for me to make a choice.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2011 8:34:07 AM PDT
D. Figueroa says:
She said that the eink is exactly the same. There is no difference from one to the other. The displays have not updated yet.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2011 10:34:47 AM PDT
Terry Doyle says:
There are non-Amazon lights and covers that sell for 1/4 Azon's prices: check ebay or google. My wife is perfectly happy with hers, even likes the non-Azon cover better.
Posted on Oct 5, 2011 11:11:20 AM PDT
Angela L. Murphy says:
Great review! Thank you for taking the time!
Posted on Oct 5, 2011 1:31:41 PM PDT
You appear to be on top of this review, making recent updates, so I'll ask my question here. Does the Kindle (any version) allow you to transfer PDF files and/or text documents from your computer instead of just buying e-books, some of which (like college textbooks) may have a "rental expiration" to them? How flexible is it as far a file types go?
Posted on Oct 5, 2011 8:10:32 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2011 9:33:40 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 5, 2011 9:35:24 PM PDT]