I have been using a Kindle e-reader for about 3 1/2 years now and love them. Even though I have both a Kindle Fire and a Nook Color – if I had to choose one device only and my main focus was on reading – give me an e-ink e-reader any day.
Several people have asked me my recommendations, so I thought I would put it down in print.
Note: I have not used a Kindle 1st generation or Kindle DX – so will not be putting my thoughts down about them.
Kindle 2nd Generation
Although the Kindle 2nd Generation is not actively sold in stores, it is often found on e-bay, classified ads, pawn shops, etc. This was my very first Kindle and I used it exclusively for about 2 years. I love this device. It automatically came with 3G and did everything I wanted it to do. I could read books on it (and was thrilled when Collections were added), I could do minimal web browsing, play games and purchase and download books. It has an old-style 5-way with a raised joystick, a full physical keyboard, including a number row. It also has speakers and text-to-speech options. While not as fast as the new Kindles, it is an incredible machine and I still highly recommend it – especially if you don’t have the money to purchase a new Kindle.
Kindle Keyboard (aka Kindle 3)
Kindle Keyboard is always going to be known as Kindle 3 in my heart. It has a WiFi only version as well as a 3G option and can come with or without Special Offers. Kindle Keyboard (WiFi) with Special Offers is currently selling for $99 and then Kindle Keyboard with 3G/WiFi and no Special Offers sells for $189. There are variations in between. Again – this is a great device for reading, playing games and apps. It has a physical keyboard, except for some reason Amazon took away the numeric row. It also has speakers and text-to-speech options. The new style 5-way started on this device. Kindle Keyboard is faster than Kindle 2nd Generation and is plenty fast for me. It also has increased battery life over the 2nd Generation. This is probably my favorite Kindle. I think the physical keyboard is extremely useful if you take notes or use functionality apps on your Kindle or even play a lot of games. Unless your heart is set on the latest and the greatest – if you can only have one Kindle in your life – this is the one that I recommend. In my opinion – with Kindle Keyboard you can’t go wrong.
Kindle (aka Kindle 4)
Kindle is WiFi only and sells for $79 with Special Offers and $109 without Special Offers. This is often referred to by many users as the “Mindle” (although what they are calling it with Kindle Touch the same size is beyond me) and is referred to by me as “Kindle for Kids.” No physical keyboard. Much smaller in size. No speakers and no text-to-speech option. But the Kindle is very fast and reading on it is very easy – still has Previous Page and Next Page buttons on both sides. It takes getting used to not having the physical keyboard and only 5 buttons on the bottom (including the 5-way). I recommend this device for users that can’t afford the extra $20 to get Kindle Keyboard or if you are purchasing a Kindle for a child up to early teen. I also recommend this device if you speak a language that uses accents or other diacritics because the keyboard has special keyboard tabs to handle these. Typing on this device is mentally painful and very slow. Many apps/games have been rewritten for the Kindle – but not all of them and some might never be. Keep that in mind if gaming or functionality apps are important to you.
Kindle Touch has both WiFi and 3G versions with or without Special Offers and ranges from $99 up to $189. This is about the same size as Kindle, but includes speakers and text-to-speech options. I have been using it for about 2 weeks and I am not super impressed. The touch is quite fast when you are within books and turning pages, but I find it clunky and annoying when working through the menu pages or achived objects pages. The touch keyboard is better than the keyboard in the Kindle because it is easier to touch a letter than pretend you are playing a video game to type. Interestingly enough – this keyboard does not include the letters for additional foreign languages. Download speeds are fast. Still – I just don’t feel the love for this device that Amazon wants me to. Very few apps/games have been rewritten at this point for the Kindle Touch. Amazon is no longer requiring every app/game function on all Kindles, so there may be many that are never redone for the Kindle Touch because it is going to take a lot of work.
E-ink e-readers rock. You can use them in direct sunlight. You can buy a light to attach to them to read in the dark. They are light, tough and easy to use. As I mentioned earlier – if I had to choose between a tablet and an e-reader and could have only one – I would go with the e-reader every time. These are awesome devices. Do some research to see what is right for you. These are just my thoughts – but I have enough experience on each of them to be able to hopefully guide you in making the correct choice.
Filed under: Kindle Reviews