Customer Reviews: Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers (Graphite)
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on September 30, 2011
Before I write anything about the new Kindle, I have to say that it is my first one. Not only have I never used one, I did not even have one in my hands. Think of my review as an outsider's point of view.

1) The screen - it met all my expectations and then some. I have already spent several hours reading on it and my eyes are just fine. I also have an iPad, which I use, among other functions, to read all newspapers and magazines. It's perfect for those, but as a ebook reader it just does not work that well due to the backlit display. Kindle has no such problem.

2) The form - it is perhaps the quality I am most impressed by. It weights practically nothing, you can put it in a pocket or a backpack without a problem. If I want to take a walk and stop by in a park to read for a while I do not need to take a backpack with me anymore, and that's a huge improvement. Also, it's actually easier to read using the new Kindle than it is to hold a book in your hands.

3) The buttons - my friend and I had a lengthy discussion about the virtues of touch for a Kindle. My opinion is still that touch is completely unnecessary unless you plan to browse the web, highlight a lot or make plenty of notes. If, just like me, you want to read a book - go with this model. It's cheeper and, more importantly, lighter. I had to use the buttons to type anything once - when I was connecting to Wi-Fi. I'll buy books through my iPad/Mac and they will be sent directly to Kindle. Lack of physical keyboard is a great design decision.

4) The storage - let's face it, 1,400 books is much more than almost anyone will ever need to have in his pocket. At this point it would not make a smaller difference if it had capacity to hold 1,400 or million books. I'll probably never reach that limit anyway. To do it in 10 years one would need to buy 140 books per year, which is roughly a book per 2.5 days. The truth is we will all move on to newer Kindles before we even fill half of the capacity.

5) The ads - I was a little afraid about it, but it is not a problem. Does not interrupt your reading and is barely noticeable.

6) The price - $79 is cheap. That's a huge plus for two reasons. The first one is that by the time you finish using this Kindle you will probably save way more than $79 on cheaper digital books you purchase instead of the traditional paperbacks. But the more important consequence of the $79 price tag is that I will not be afraid to take with me to the beach, for a walk, a trip - you name it. Even if it does break, it's not the end of the world. Meanwhile you have a peace of mind since you do not have to worry about your precious device all the time.

Overall, I am satisfied so far. If you have not tried a Kindle before and you are an avid reader - give it a try.
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on October 16, 2011
I have been a kindle owner for years and currently own the Kindle with Keyboard. I thought replacing the KwK for the new $79 version would be a no-brainer but after having lived with the $79 model for a few weeks I am returning it. Here's why:

I won't go into all the positives since there are plenty of positive reviews already, but for me the best things about this model was its light weight and price.

The negatives that led me to return it are these:

1) Lack of 3G. I use my kindle for newspapers and so it needs to update every day. And true, most places have internet but I have been in several hotels recently that don't have wireless so it is a pain to have to pull out the laptop and do a manual transfer. Also, when I visit friends or relatives for the weekend, I want to get my newspapers but I don't want to bug them for their wireless password and spend the time setting it up. So the KwK's free 3G was a huge part of the decision.

2) Button placement: I am right-handed and the KwK's square button is located right where my thumb naturally sits. Made for easy reading and navigation. With the $79 model's button located in the middle, I have to stretch my hand and/or turn the kindle at an angle to comfortably change pages. It makes a big difference when reading a newspaper which requires more button pushing than when reading just a book.

3) Page turning buttons: The KwK has flat tabs on either side of the Kindle. Very comfortable to press. I settled in to read last night with the $79 kindle and its page turning buttons (which are more of a "corner" instead of a tab) made my fingers a little sore after a couple hours of reading. Also, they require a little more pressure to press than the KwK which is a little distracting.

4) Keyboard. From a functional perspective, the lack of keyboard didn't bother me at all. I was able to shop and search with the $79's virtual keyboard just fine but the KwK's keyboard does make it a little easier to type in my searches. BUT... the kwk's keyboard adds an extra inch to the length of the kindle so when I lay on my bed with the kindle on my chest, that extra space props up the kindle to the perfect height for easy reading. The $79 model is so small (which is great in its own way) but requires that I sit it on a pillow on my chest to prop it up to the right height for easy reading. LOL- I know it sounds weird but when I settle in to read for a few hours, I like to be comfy! :)

A few non-issues:

I thought the ads would be annoying but they ended up being more interesting than the same old Agatha Cristies on the KwK. I took advantage of a few of them during the couple weeks I owned the $79 model and if I replace my KwK, I'll get the ad version with no hesitation.

I don't use the Kindle for notes or any of the social networking features.

I never used any of the audio features on either model so they played no part in my decision.

I thought storage space would matter but even when I loaded up a few hundred books, they barely took up much space on either model. I don't use it for pdfs or personal docs so that didn't matter either.

Oh - one thing that surprised me was that it seems like the more books you load, the more sluggish the screen refreshes. I saw this on both models. It seemed to help when I put books into collections but when I initially loaded all the books and had 73 pages to flip thru, performance was noticeably sluggish. (PS - I wish we could manage our collections on a computer... it is a pain to slog through screen after screen adding books to collections using the kindle interface.)

Anyway, I love my kindle... even though I have an ipad, I still prefer to read on the kindle. Keep up the great work! :)

Quick update:
I forgot to mention that I did like the lack of flashing during page turns on the $79 kindle but it wasn't enough of a benefit to keep it in place of the KwK. Also, upgrading to version 3.3 seems to have boosted overall kwk speed and fixed the sluggishness I mentioned earlier.
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on September 29, 2011
I received the new Kindle today. I wasn't sure if I would like it but took a chance on it - there is something about Amazon and compulsive shopping! In some ways this is a step down from the Kindle 3, since I have the Kindle 3 model with 3G and utilize that much more than the Wi-Fi, which was also included. The Kindle 2 that I had also had 3G. As far as I can tell, that will be the only negative for me. And, with the lack of always on 3G, I'll have to be more aware of syncing my books across devices (iPhone, PC, Kindle). The lack of keyboard won't bother me, since I thought the response on the keyboard was slow anyway.

When comparing the two side-by-side, the new Kindle is about an inch shorter and slightly less wide. The body of the device, in my opinion, appears to be well constructed and better so than the Kindle 3. On my Kindle 3, the plastic along the back on the top flexes if pressed; the new Kindle has no flex to it and seems very solid.

The page turns are indeed quicker, probably because the screen isn't "blinking" everytime the page turns. It is as if it swaps out the words without completely refreshing the whole screen. Upon futher review, it seems to do a complete page refresh (as the Kindle 3 does) every several pages. I assume this is to prevent ghosting, although I did not notice any when turning the pages on the new Kindle.

The navigation controller on the bottom is the same and there are 4 other buttons for the home page, menu, "back" and to activate the keyboard. All of these buttons seem very solid. The power/sleep button is also much more responsive than the slider on all of the previous models - it comes out of sleep mode almost instantaneously.

While I would have liked to have 3G with this model (and couldn't wait 2 months for the Touch), I am indeed going to keep it and feel it is an upgrade in many ways over the Kindle 3. If you need audio, the keyboard and 3G, then clearly you'd wouldn't like this model.

I highly recommend it.
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on September 28, 2011
First I would like to say that this is a review from someone who has actually held and used this $79 kindle. I love the Kindle in its purest form, that of an eBook reader. The Kindle was made to be just a reader and not a Swiss army knife and that is why I really like this version of the Kindle. There is no keyboard to get in the way and the fact that it is not a touch screen is a plus in my book. When I picked up this Kindle the first time I thought it was just a non-working demo because of the display and how light it is and then I pressed a button and my second thought was "wow, this is the real deal".
This device is for the minimalist who wants to download some books and read them. That's it! I don't care about sharing on Facebook or twitter and I don't need to make any notes about the book. If you want to use the kindle as a social device or a way to surf the net then this is not for you, and that's fine because there are other Kindles that will do that. If you want a solid device that you can read anywhere, than the $79 Kindle is your device.
* light and small physical footprint
* Inexpensive
* Wi-Fi
* Great display with no problems reading in sunlight.
* Easy to hold I think the current Kindle with keyboard is kind of awkward to hold because I have large hands and I can't find a comfortable place to put my thumb on the Kindle 3rd Gen)
* No touch (not needed)
* No sound / TTS (never used it on my K2 or K3)
* No keyboard (I Always shop for books on the website and have it sent to my device but I can see where it may be a pain if you do a lot of shopping on the Kindle itself)
* No 3G wireless (you can have up to 1400 books on the device at ones. A little preplanning and this is no issue.)
As a person who likes choices I think that this is the perfect device for me but if you need the other features then I hope you find the device that is right for you.
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on October 3, 2011
Background: I have owned every generation of the Kindle (except for the DX series), both 3G and WiFi models. This Kindle WiFi replaces a Kindle 3 Wifi (with offers) that was only a few months old.

Even if the full measurements have been public for a week, I was not prepared for the shock of seeing this device side by side my current Kindle 3. Amazon did a really good job shrinking the footprint of the device to what seems to be as small as it will ever get. Right now it is almost identical in size to the cover of a pocket paperback novel. The thickness is pretty much identical to the K3.

Operation: The device feels at home to a long time Kindle user except for the obvious lack of keyboard and having the directional pad centered on the bottom of the device instead of on the bottom right corner. The available margins to grab it are definitely smaller, but that didn't stop me from quickly finding a comfortable position to hold it. I am actually glad that the lighted cover wasn't available at order time, because this thing feels pretty much weightless.

Visually I am having a hard time telling the screens apart. There is a tiny bit of ghosting, it looks exactly like a cheap paperback page, except it is dull gray instead of dull yellow. The ghosting goes away after every few page turns. Except for this tiny amount of ghosting, and the virtual keyboard, it looks exactly like my former K3.

In terms of hardware, it doesn't look like a cheap piece of electronics, it looks like something that could easily be sold under the Sony brand. The bezel around the screen is silver and it is too early to judge if the color will hold. The page turn buttons are on the edges, this is probably to try to avoid accidental page turns when holding it. This used to be a problem for the Kindle 2, but starting with the Kindle 3 page turns took a bit of a more decisive click so it was harder to turn the pages by accident. Now there is no way to turn a page simply by holding it by the bezel, you would need to press the edges in order for the buttons to click. I also noticed two metallic contacts on the lower rear of the device, these are obviously the contacts for the lighted covers, which means there is no longer the danger of breaking the Kindle body by holding the cover the wrong way. Of course, now the danger is that the Kindle may fall off the new case design, I have not seen specifics of its retaining mechanism, only the light so there is no way for me to judge if the device will be secured properly.

As for the virtual keyboard, I HATE that the Kindle 3 keyboard does NOT have a numbers row, which means every time you want to jump to a location by number you have to use the SYM key. The virtual keyboard may be slower, but at least it shows a row of numbers atop so you can enter letters and digits from the same screen.

The four buttons on the bottom of the front of the device could have used more distinct icons for the menu and keyboard, the return and home icons are fine.

Setup: the device arrived pre-authorized for my account, so all I had to do was plug it in, power up, enter my wireless access point password and I was ready to read. There is no AC plug, but at least it uses standard micro USB charging, so your cell phone chargers should work too (I have tried this with LG and Samsung chargers for Android phones).

If all you care is about reading, and the lack of 3G and keyboard are a non-issue to you, then this is a great device. I have been reading off it for a couple of hours since it arrived and it feels very natural. The special offers are a non-issue, I got a $20 Amazon gift card for $10 within days of buying my K3 with offers, and a couple book sales so I am more than happy to surrender the screen saver and that tiny bit of the bottom of the home screen for these ads.

Cons: none, really as long as you can live without the physical keyboard and the lack of a headphone jack.

I will update this review after I have completed a few books.

Update (10/10/2011): I have now completed two books on this device, a little over 1200 paperback pages. Battery life is really good, even leaving WiFi turned on. The partial refreshes are a non-issue, the pages look exactly like a paperback and the page turn blinks less. I actually installed version 4.0.1 which allows you to turn this feature off and I didn't like it, so I am back on partial refreshes. The lack of a keyboard is very subjective, if all you do is highlight or the occasional search, the keyboard won't be missed. If you need to do heavy typing then this is not your Kindle.

Hint: if you have lots of collections, it is much easier and faster to use Calibre (free and open source, runs in Windows, Mac and Linux) to manage the collections. Just remember that after doing this you have to reboot the device, it is not enough to just eject it.

I am about to purchase a second unit for my wife, and at least one long time Kindle user I know has already purchased one.

I am being less paranoid about not having the lighted leather cover (out of stock) in terms of the protection for the device, but I do miss having the light and this is going to be a problem when I order the unit for my wife since she likes to read in the dark.
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on October 7, 2011
*Kindle Without Special Offers *

A lot of these reviewes are saying the Kindle doesn't have enough special features. But I think that this is what is so attractive about the product. No extra features you never use, draining battery life and increasing the size of the product. This Kindle is a reading device, and nothing else, and that is what a Kindle is supposed to be.

Personally, all the extra bells and whistles I have on my phone, so I don't need a Kindle with it. I want a device that does one thing - to replace all my books. I have my ipod to listen to music, the kindle to read and my android phone to do pretty much everything else.

I love the size of this kindle. It is perfect - not too big, not to small. It is very light and easy to hold in your hands. I love that the page turning buttons are on either side of the Kindle so you can read from any angle you like. It really does fit in my back jeans pocket!! It fits in my purse, so that is one of the most important things. The text is really lovely to read and the fact that it flashes every 6-10 pages or so really creates a smooth reading experience and the Kindle really does disapper when I'm reading.

I also love how quickly the books download. Less than 10 seconds with my 4-bar WiFi. Incredibly easy to navigate. The on-screen keyboard doesn't bother me that much.

It turns off and on so quickly, unlike my phone which takes ages, and that is what I love. Click the on button and it automatically takes you to the book you were reading before you turned it off. The battery life is also excellent - my android phone has to be charged up several times during the day and so far I've read two books and the battery is 3/4 full.

The only negative I would have to say is the arrows on the four way controller are really quite small and difficult to press sometimes, but other than that I give this device 100%. I LOVE IT! If you are looking for a device to read on and at a good price, BUY THIS KINDLE! Would recommend it to anyone. 5 stars.

Oh, and I am in Australia and I still have access to millions of books. I would love for some of the libraries here to start doing Kindle books, that would really enhance the Kindle experience.
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on September 30, 2011
This review is about the $79 Kindle that Amazon recently released. I'm not going to compare it to other Kindles since this is the first Kindle I've owned. Until now, I've read Kindle edition books, either on my computer or Android phone, but I've wanted a reader I could sit outside and read with, that had sufficient battery life to meet my needs.

This Kindle is it. It is a size that is easily held with a screen size that doesn't have me changing pages every 5 seconds (as I had to do on my phone). I can use it outside on a sunny day and find it perfectly readable. It is also perfectly readable indoors under normal room lighting conditions. Navigation, menus, etc. are intuitive and easy to use. The virual keyboard used with the 5-way controller is a bit clunky to use, but not difficult. When I want to shop for new books, I use my computer, in any event, so it is no drawback for me, at all.

Page turns are fast, storage capacity is more than I actually need, and the battery life is more than I'll ever need in a day. I plug it in at night, just like I do with my phone, and in the morning, I'm fully charged and ready to go.

If your interests are solely reading books, magazines, newspapers, etc., and have no need of text to speech, this is a very economical choice. If you travel a lot and are not near free hot spots, you might want to consider one of the models with 3G service.

BTW, for those who are turned off by the idea of special offers and ads, please note that these NEVER appear while you are reading. They only appear on the home screen (where they occupy the lowest portion of the screen and are fairly unobtrusive, and on the screen saver, which, since it is only there when you aren't using your Kindle, who cares.
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on September 30, 2011
Well, i got my $79 Kindle yesterday, as well as one i bought for a friend. We spent the evening having a grand old time figuring it out, and moving over a ton of books. I forgot about that part, it's the most annoying part of getting a new Kindle. :D

I like it. It's small, sleek, and once you play with it, not at all difficult to use the text input. My biggest problem will be adjusting to the buttons, since they are totally different from any other Kindle that has been released (we've gotten them all). The K4 weighs virtually nothing, really does fit in a pocket, and the screen is the exact same size as the K3. I'll be using it as my primary reader at the gym and for around-town trips. The K3 will be reserved for longer trips and night time reading, since it's in a lighted case. I think i'm going to cancel the case i have on order for this little guy, and just keep him naked.

I like the side buttons, very small and unobtrusive. There is just enough "thumb space" to hold it comfortably with no worries of hitting the side bars and changing the page, which i still do occasionally on my K3. The power button is "push" rather than "slide", and otherwise operates exactly the same as on the K3. Micro-USB port accepts my HTC phone charger, and the included micro-USB to full USB cable looks just like the old one, just doesn't include the plug attachment for the wall. It *can* be connected to the computer to side load documents, just like the K3. I never use TTS or listen to music on my Kindle, so i'm not going to miss those options on this little guy.

The usual status indicators are found at the top of the home screen - power, wireless mode, activity ring. Setup was quick and painless, even entering network info. And i hardly notice the special offers banner on the home page, haven't seen one of the full-size screensaver ads yet. The functionality for adding clippings, bookmarks, notes, etc, is still in place, just uses a different input method.
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on September 29, 2011
Compared to previous Kindles, the new Kindle is a delight to take along: it is pleasantly smaller, lighter, and has clearer navigation buttons. Setup is quick. Once connected to wi-fi, my mini-Kindle was ready to go. A wi-fi connection is necessary for initial setup.

The box contains the Kindle and a Kindle-to-USB cord, but does not contain the power adapter piece that is needed to charge the Kindle using an electric outlet. I have another from older Kindles, and did use an iPhone charger cube successfully. There was an offer for an adapter and cord at 50% off that appeared below the home screen and as a screensaver. There is a button to request an offer code to be sent by email. I requested, and the email appeared.

Though I did not see this in the description, this Kindle does come with the "special offers" screensavers. They seem unobtrusive to me, but your interest in avoiding advertising might differ from mine.

I remember what Kindles cost a few years ago. At $79, plus another $10 for the adapter, this is great progress!

Caution: (1) Wi-fi is needed for setup, and (2) the adapter to charge using an electrical outlet is an additional purchase.
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on September 29, 2011
This little new kindle provides me the best reading experience among all kindles I have owned. Simplest operation method and best e-ink screen so far.

Check out details in my video.
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