A little while back when Amazon released Kindle 2, I personally thought that the only way to make this it better would be to make it smaller and quicker. In hindsight I probably should have pitched this idea to Amazon before they thought of it, because this is exactly what they have done with their new flagship, the Kindle 3. In this review on Kindle 3 I will provide you with my honest and unbiased opinion on what I think of it. I have one myself and use it every day, so this review is written by a long-time user of several eReaders with a wide perspective on what makes a good and a not so good eReader.
First things first. What are the improvements from Kindle 2 to Kindle 3? Well, first of all it is more compact being 17% lighter, only 1/3 of an inch thin and weights about 8.5 ounces, whilst still managing to keep the 6' screen size. The placement of the buttons on Kindle 3 makes it easier the use than its predecessor and the buttons are better placed and much more quiet. Should you be in a hurry it will turn pages about 20% faster. That said, I had no problem with the turn speed on the old Kindle, but I guess it adds to the complete impression of a better product.
Another thing that I love about the new Kindle 3 is the ability to make the fonts sharper and you can also change them if you so prefer. It supports non-English fonts including Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Cyrillic. The increased memory will now hold over 3500 books and the PDF reader has been greatly enhanced. With the new PDF reader you can highlight text, insert notes and look up definitions of words in the in-built dictionary.
The Kindle 3 has inbuilt WiFi, with an optional 3G paid for by Amazon, so you can buy a book and start reading the first paragraph in less than 60 seconds. 3G access is currently available in the US plus about 100 other countries.
To me, the best improvement from the old Kindle 2 is the quality of the screen and the improved battery life. The new screen is just fantastic with 50% improved contrast and can be read without glare anywhere you like, even in bright sunlight. You can be sitting on the beach and still see the screen as if you were holding the actual book. With the increased memory you can read your favorite books for about a month without recharging, however if your WiFi is on the month quickly shrinks to about 18-20 days. The great thing about this is that you can go on extended holidays without thinking about bringing the charger.
For those with any vision impairment or the plain lazy, the Kindle 3 comes with a "Read-To-Me" function where the device will read any content out loud to you, as long as it is in English.
For you convenience I've created a Pro's and Con's list below so you can determine if the Kindle 3 is for you:
1. All of the above. Simply put, all of the new features and enhancements mentioned above are truly pro's of the Kindle 3. They all make it just that little bit better than the old one, which is why Amazon are selling them like crazy. In addition, there are a few more that I still haven't mentioned
2. Price. With prices starting at $139 for the base model without 3G and $189 with 3G, this eReader truly is a steal. In my opinion, no other eReader on the market today in the same price category comes close to having the same features and functionality.
3. Automatic back-up. Should be unlucky and lose or damage you Kindle, Amazon will have all of your purchased books on file and all you have to do is re-download them, free of charge.
4. Supports cross-platform sharing. This means that you can read your book not only on the Kindle 3, but also on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android or a Blackberry.
5. Free Audio books. With the new Kindle 3 you can download audio books directly to you device for free.
6. Read in the Dark. This new feature allows you to take your favorite book to bed, turn the light off and still enjoy it.
1. Closely arranged keys. As a result of making the Kindle 3 smaller and more compact the keys have been put very closely together. For those with big fingers this may take some time getting used to.
2. No Touch Screen. I really wanted a touch screen with the new Kindle, but they still managed to make it functional without.
3. Only made for reading. Pretty much all you can do with a Kindle 3 is reading. If that is all you want, it is the perfect choice, however if you want an eReader that also has games, video etc. you may opt-in for something else. Keep in mind though, that these eReaders will cost you considerably more and if this is what you are after you might as well get an iPad.
4. Does not support ePub, sharing or library books. The Kindle 3 does not allow you to use ePublisher or share your books with others.
5. No SD expansion slot. That said, if you need the room for more than 3500 books you would have already spent thousands of $$$ at Amazon and I am sure you can afford to buy another Kindle.
Ask yourself these questions: Why is the Kindle 3 Amazon's #1 selling product and they are shipping them out like hotcakes? Why does the Kindle 3 currently have 14000 five star reviews (out of 20000), the most of any product on Amazon? Because it is a fantastic eReader. Plain and simple. 14000 people that have bought and tried it couldn't possibly be wrong. If what you want is an eReader that does the job properly and easily for a very long time without any hick-ups, I would not choose anything else.
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