Conclusions

This new, low-end Kindle isn’t necessarily designed to be anyone’s first Kindle or anyone’s only Kindle, though its impulse-buy price will ensure that it is purchased as one or both. For that, I would look to the Kindle Touch, which will offer up much simpler and more intuitive navigation, roughly double the storage space, audio support, and a slightly cleaner look for just $20 more. Serious travellers may find the Kindle Touch 3G’s ubiquitous connectivity worth the extra $50 on top of that. For many, the advantages to having a touchscreen on a device like this (for text entry, navigation, and the purchasing of books) are too many to dismiss, and the low-end Kindle’s biggest problem is that the Kindle Touch gets you quite a bit for that extra $20.

To my mind, this Kindle is aimed primarily at two groups: the first is people for whom money is an overriding concern (and you can include many educational institutions in this category), and the second is individuals who already have an e-reader, whether that be a smartphone, an iPad, or even another Kindle. It’s ideal as a secondary Kindle, or as a present for a child who you might not trust with $500 worth of gadget just yet. It may not appeal so much to our tech-savvy audience here at AnandTech, but it still fills an important entry-level position in Amazon’s new Kindle lineup.

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  • TerdFerguson - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Good call!! I'm forever wiping the surface of my iPhone down. I don't /think/ I'm a particularly greasy person, but I'm very sensitive to smudges. I /do/ wish that the page turn buttons on the kindle were a little closer to the base of the device, but it's a trivially minor annoyance for me and may not be an issue for anyone else.

    I suspect, too, that the Amazon devices have better third-party support for cases. My cheap case can fold out into a triangle to hold the book upright while I eat or into a steady form against my leg or chest, and it's wonderful.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Well as the Touch / Touch 3G is only available in the states it does warrant a review. Would have love to see a Kindle Touch for worldwide distribution though with on screen keyboard in landscape view/mode and an improved browser as it's an excellent reading device. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I'd gladly pay more for the Kindle 4 over the touch. Touch screens are rather lousy for page turns compared to physical buttons. Reply
  • connor4312 - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    On the contrary, I consider myself quite tech-savvy, and I love my kindle. Instead of taking a large book (or a couple of books for extended vacations) I can buy a $6 book, pop the 6 oz device in my backpack, and hit the plane. Reply
  • BPB - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    I am getting a couple Kindles for the kids. The problem for me is most books we want actually cost more in Kindle format than paperback or hardcover, especially if you are willing to buy used. Reply
  • ockky - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    this is the whole reason why i've not swapped over to a kindle. i can buy used books and have them shipped to me for less than what i can pay for an e-book. you'd think the prices for e-books would be cheaper than paperback. i'd be willing to pay 'more' for an e-book...if they were cheaper than a new paperback Reply
  • BPB - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    My Kindle order is for the new $99 Touch, so I may yet cancel as they don't ship till next month. I keep going back and forth, trying to decide if I want to pay more for books just to make it easier for the kids to read them. I'm looking at one book for the kids, it's $5 new in paperback, $5.50 used (like new) in hardcover, and $11 new in hardcover. Yet it is $10 in Kindle format. That's crazy to me. The only benny the Kindle gives is not having to use up space to store the books somewhere. But, the kids keep begging, so maybe we borrow from the library? Reply
  • drgigolo - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    I just bought this on launch day, as it was the only one available for me in Norway. I don't see any downsides to this product. I NEVER have to type with it, and seeing as I just want to use it for reading, a touch screen, MP3-support, a good webbrowser... all of it would just be distractions from reading. The only thing I find myself doing once in a while, is check the clock through the meny while reading late at night.

    If you want time off from everything else, from being online everywhere and just relax and read a book, the Kindle is awesome. The screen is fantastic for reading, the weight is good and the battery is equally good.
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I have the WiFi-only gen 3 Kindle and am perfectly happy with it. When it needs to be replaced, I will replace it with something like this device. I use it daily. Battery lasts for weeks. Over the summer, I read several books on the beach in the blazing Florida sun with wet and sandy hands and had no trouble whatsoever. Try that with an LCD screen! Quite frankly, I do not want a touchscreen when a simple button is more robust. I don't need 3G, as I rarely am anywhere where WiFi is not available. After all, one only needs WiFi for a couple of minutes to get enough material to read for hours and hours. I have found that for e-readers, the cheapest Kindle available is far and away the superior device. Reply
  • KLC - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Why should a simple button necessarily be more robust than a touchscreen? There's no evidence that is true and in a bare bones $79 product I would assume the buttons would not be high quality. It may be that repetitive use would break that single button much faster than a touchscreen. Reply

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