There are currently four Kindles available to buy in the UK, the 3G and wi-fi enabled Kindle Touch, the wi-fi only Kindle Touch, the 3G and wi-fi Kindle keyboard (we used to call it the Kindle 3!) and the smaller, cheaper wi-fi only Kindle 4.
The Touch-screen Kindle was released in Britain at the end of March and looks set to completely over-shadow the old keyboard versions. Smaller, lighter, easier to use, but with the same awesome memory and battery life, why would anyone want a keyboard any more?
The key ways the new Kindle 4 differs from the old are detailed below:
Kindle 4 Compared to Kindle 3
In many respects the new ebook reader is identical to the old. They both have the same 6″ Pearl E-ink displays and access to the same ebooks. The differences are all more minor:
- The newer model has a slightly smaller battery so will last around a month between charges instead of two.
- It has a smaller memory so will store around 1400 books rather than 3500.
- It is significantly smaller and weighs only 170g rather than 247g.
- Comes only with wi-fi enabled – there is no 3G option.
- Comes with several language options (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Italian) rather than simply English with the 3G model.
- The price is £60 cheaper!
- Without a keyboard it looks a whole lot nicer (and comes in a cool silvery grey colour rather than the slightly dull “graphite”.
Kindle 4 V Kindle 3
So you might be wondering which is the “better” ebook reader; the third or fourth generation models? Well, it depends primarily how you use the devices. If you want to browse online a lot you might feel a keyboard is crucial (and it will make note taking a lot easier too). The 4th gen model has an on-screen keypad but navigating through that to do more than the most basic search is likely to be impractical.
As the majority of users probably order new ebooks when on a computer, and simply get them sent to the device automatically, the wi-fi model will probably suffice. It’s lightness, and smaller design is likely to make it even more comfortable to use too.
Personally, I have both models (one for me, and one for “him”). Because I don’t use the keyboard often at all, I prefer the 4th generation model. It is much more comfortable to use when reading in bed. I also like the page turning paddles as they are more difficult to hit by accident when using the device.
There is still no news about when the Kindle Touch will be made available. We suspect it will be sooner rather than later, but the Kindle Fire tablet looks more difficult. Because it uses Amazon’s cloud computing to provide web access there could be some issues with it falling foul of EU internet security rules.
Back to our original article detailing the 3rd generation specs:
The Kindle 3 is ready to buy in the UK. Read on to find out all about the latest Kindle Reader and why it is proving such a hit with British buyers. Still only available for online buyers from amazon (check the links above for current pricing).
At least now us Brits can get the Kindle Reader shipped from the UK to the UK with super speedy free delivery and no more worries about delays and customs charges. A quick note on upgrades. Because these are wireless readers that can connect to local wi-fi hot-spots Amazon will simply send out software or firmware upgrades wirelessly without you needing to do anything. So, your Kindle can keep on getting better whilst you use it, just like with the February 3.1 Update.
Great stuff, but what is all the fuss about? Why have people gone potty for the new Kindle? Today is the first day in around two months that there are even stocks of the reader available. Until now, orders have had to be made a few weeks before you actually want to see your cute new eReader.
Now the dust has settled a little, time for a proper look at the Kindle 6″ Readers available in the UK. No this is not a super geeky tech site. I don’t care about all the technical specifications of the Kindle. I just care about the bits that affect me, someone who loves to read and also has a bit of a thing about gadgets. So this is a user friendly guide to the Kindle 3:
Kindle 3 Spec
- The size is tiny at only 190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm, and weighing only 241 grams (or 8.5 oz if you are still going with Imperial). This means it is totally portable, and truly comfortable to hold.
- The display is still a decent 6″ on the diagonal, meaning you get the feeling of reading an ordinary small paperback.
- The Pearl e-Ink technology that drives the display is the thing that has really made the dedicated eBook Reader market take off. The short story is you have no back-lighting so it feels like reading paper. The improved definition and contrast mean that even if we actually get some sunshine you can read outside without any glare.
- 16 shades of grey are used to provide really crisp well defined images and text.
- Font sizes can be manipulated easily depending on your eyesight, plus if you wish you can change font types.
- Additional characters can now be displayed on the Kindle 3. Japanese, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Korean and Cyrillic. Also Latin and Greek scripts can now be displayed.
- The addition of wi-fi means that anyone with a home wireless network (or indeed anyone that visits a coffee shop or elsewhere with one, regularly, can download books quickly with ease.
- The option of a 3G enabled device means those without wi-fi access can use the widespread 3G mobile network to download new titles.
- An improved web browser makes searching online far better than with previous eBook Readers. There is also a built in system allowing you to share favourite passages quickly posting them to your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Do be realistic though. This is a monotone display designed specifically for text, so mobile and text based web pages will offer the best display.
- The display can be rotated for viewing in both landscape and portrait which is particularly useful when viewing large PDF or newspaper files.
- A full QWERTY keypad under the display allows you to search within your library or a particularly book, make annotations or look up words in the e-dictionary that is built in.
- Everything works straight out of the box. There is no need to connect to a computer to get your Kindle up and running.
- Every Kindle book you order from the Kindle store is backed up to a secure online library. So should the worst happen your purchases are always safe.
- You can synchronize your Kindle account so the library stores all your notes and bookmarks, even between different devices.
- The battery power is bonkers, and with the wifi switched off (you don’t need it on to read) your Kindle can survive for up to a month between charges.
- The flash memory is massive allowing you to store up to 3500 eBooks on the device itself. The memory cannot be expanded, but with an online back-up library and that kind of memory who cares?
- A built in MP3 player lets you listen to music or podcasts while you read, all on one device.
- A text to speach feature will read menus and books (occasionally publishers do block this feature) to you, though beware the voices are American!
- Improved PDF reader, should you wish to do any work on your Kindle.
- Instant, well okay one minute downloads of Kindle eBooks direct to your device.
Kindle 3 Basics – Why People Buy the Kindle UK
So those are some of the more technical aspects of this little gizmo. But here are the key reasons we buy the Kindle UK:
- Its a cheap eBook Reader, particularly if you don’t need the 3G option.
- Instant downloads of new Kindle eBooks. Order on your device and they are sent directly usually in under a minute.
- Built in wifi means many of us can browse the internet and buy new titles simply at home with our high speed internet connections. Failing that you can always do things the old fashioned way, and use your computer and then transfer files to the device with a cable!
- Largest selection of eBooks to buy in one place (with over 415,000 to date) available at the UK Kindle store. Yes I know the US store has over 700,000 Kindle books, but give them a chance, the UK is catching up!
- Free eBooks for the Kindle. Whilst the Kindle store itself offers a few thousand free out of copyright books, plus limited time offers of a few hundred free eBooks, another million or so are available online. Just look out for .mobi or .azw files and you can save them to your computer and then transfer them to your Kindle via the USB cable.
- Easy to use. No techy knowledge required. And, when new updates are developed Amazon send them wirelessly to your Kindle so you don’t have to do anything.
- Security of a back-up library online for all your Kindle Store ebooks purchased.
- Feels great in the hand. Super comfortable to hold no matter how long your novel. Page turn buttons are placed on either side so reading with either hand, or both feels comfortable and natural.
There are many more reasons why the UK Kindle 3 has been such a hit in the UK and elsewhere, but I am pretty sure we have got the primary concerns covered. That extra low price for the Kindle 3 wifi only version, and the still cheap price for the Kindle 3G + wifi option have got to be key though! Most of all though we love the fact you can now buy Kindle 3′s in the UK – it is about blooming time.