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When I first saw the Kindle 3 (is that even the new name?) was going to be offered with WiFi, I thought that was cool.  Then when I saw the price (USD $139) I figured it was a no-brainer to explore.  I had bought my wife a Kindle 2 a while back ($249 when I purchased it) as she is a reader and I thought she’d like it.  She does.  It turns out though, so do I!  I’ve found myself reading a LOT more lately and I really like the versatility this provides me in switching between books.  (If you are interested in seeing what I’m reading or just finished you can see my list on goodreads.com.)

Anyway, back on to the Kindle 3.  I just got mine today and wanted to share my first impressions/comparisons.  By no means is this an exhaustive review, but I compared for my own edification and thought I would share.

First Impressions

Amazon’s packaging of the Kindle since their first versions are great.  The self-contained box is awesome…unzip the recyclable cardboard and there it is.  No additional box to open.  It’s simple, and puts the focus on the device.  The box includes 3 things: Kindle, power cord and a user guide (that I almost mistook for a Field Notes large notebook).  The new device is compact, well-designed and attractive.  My first impressions were very good.

Power-on experience and WiFi connectivity

I powered it on and was instantly ready to go.  The user guide popped up with some initial information.  Having had a Kindle before, I ignored it all of course.  The next screen encouraged me to register the device and change the device name.  Before I could do that I needed some level of connectivity.  My home has two stories and my wireless router is upstairs behind a structured wiring panel.  For my laptop, mobile devices, etc. this hasn’t been a problem.  It isn’t the strongest signal, but it has done well.

The Kindle saw the wireless network fine and showed an adequate representation of signal strength.  I entered my password (WPA2) and it failed to connect.  And then I entered it again and it failed.  And again.  Then I tried “manual” and essentially just verified the information and clicked connect (my WPA2 password was already filled in the manual registration based on previous attempts).  This time it connected.  My gut tells me that the WiFi antenna isn’t the strongest on the Kindle device, so keep that in mind where you plan on using it.  I don’t see this as a huge issue as generally when you’d use it you are likely to be in a good range.  But so far my experience is that the range is much less than normal for Kindle than for other traditional devices.

Transferring content

There was an option for “transfer” of existing data (email profile and data).  Since I was planning on keeping both of them I chose to skip that.  There was an option to transfer Collections created from another device.  It showed me my device list, I selected it and the collections were transferred.  Simple.

Hardware

The hardware is physically smaller than the Kindle 2:

If you look at the second picture above you’ll see how they were able to reduce some width and height.  NOTE: While I’m sure there are some millimeter measurement differences in the thickness, I found it to be negligible…the blind eye wouldn’t notice much of any difference.

I tried to line up the screens (which is the same size) so you could see where the reduction is.  The keyboard keys are spaced the same amount apart (again maybe millimeter closer), but notice the removal of the numbered keys.  That eliminated an entire row from the keyboard.  On the width side of things, the next/previous page buttons are no longer labeled and are much thinner – this is noticeable, and welcomed.  There is now matching next/prev buttons on both sides of the Kindle so no matter how you hold it. 

The home, menu and back buttons are moved into the keyboard area along with a d-pad like replacement of the Kindle 2’s knob, again a welcome replacement in design and usability for me.

The Kindle 3 also seems to weigh a slight bit less and I think this is due to a more plastic design than the metal backing on the Kindle 2.  I like the new Kindle material as it feels a little less industrial and more stylish. 

Be sure to protect your Kindle with a case. Caseable has a good set of them and allows you to create custom Kindle cases

Software

One of my nags about the Kindle is not in the reading responsiveness, but rather in interacting with the menu system, the store, and navigating the device.  I was pleasantly surprised on the new Kindle 3 at the speed and responsiveness in everything I interacted with.  For me, this was very noticeable improvement on my previous experience.  The Kindle 2 isn’t bad, but it’s like driving a 200 horsepower engine after just driving a 550 horsepower engine.  The former isn’t bad and is adequate, but now that you’ve had more power, it’s hard to enjoy the adequacy. 

I think that this will greatly improve my overall experience on the device and for others.  The knob on the Kindle 2 may actually be the issue as I’ve always felt a delay in response after issuing a command.  Not so on Kindle 3 as interaction with the d-bad/arrows has been immediate for me.  Page turning comparisons between Kindle 2 and 3 is about the same in my book.  I want to believe the new one is faster, but honestly I can’t tell much of a difference.  It wasn’t bad for me before.

The software on the Kindle 3 reads “3.0” whereas my Kindle 2 is 2.5.6 right now so understandably there are some differences.  Perhaps the Kindle 2 will get an update that results in better responsiveness.

Browser

This was the biggest surprise to me.  The browser (which is actually in the “experimental” area of the Kindle OS) on the Kindle 2 sucks.  It barely works.  Lynx is a better browsing experience.  Seriously.  Knowing this I fired it up on the Kindle 3.  Wow.  I was impressed.  Here is Amazon’s home page on Kindle 2:

and on Kindle 3:

Most other sites are able to render well also.  Sure it is still monochromatic, but I don’t expect to be watching Hulu or anything on my e-reader.  It’s a primary-purpose device for me with ancillary benefits…and a MUCH better browser is a welcome experience for the few times I’ve actually wanted/needed to use it.  Bravo Amazon, bravo.

Wireless connectivity

Now the Kindle 2 always came with “3G” connectivity…that was the only wireless option.  The Kindle 3 offered a new option, WiFi only (in addition to WiFi+3G for a larger price).  I chose the WiFi only one because the times I’ve actually used the wireless connectivity (to buy a new book and to sync pages for my other reading devices) has been in areas where I would have had WiFi anyway.  The cost savings made it even easier of a decision.

The WiFi seems adequate speeds when connected to an access point in good range.  Again, this isn’t as big of deal for me because I don’t use it that much.  My Kindle 2 sucked down battery like crazy when I kept wireless on.  I’m keeping WiFi on my Kindle 3 initially to see the battery life.  Honestly though, unless I’m actually interacting with connectivity, I turn it off anyway…there isn’t a need for it on otherwise in my opinion.

Summary

If you’ve been holding back on getting a Kindle, the $139 WiFi only version just released should remove most, if not all, barriers in your decision.  For what you are getting on that price in an e-reader is amazing.  Sure I can get an iPad for 3x the cost and have Kindle on that, but I’m not sure it would make a good e-reader as a primary purpose device.  Also, take a look at this comparison of quality for reading purposes between iPad and Kindle.

UPDATE: Look at the microscope comparison of quality from Kindle 2 to Kindle 3

My initial impressions of Kindle 3 as a previous Kindle user are awesome.  I’m impressed above the existing device I have and would recommend Kindle 3 to anyone on the fence about getting one.  If you think it is an iPad competitor, then you won’t be happy with it, but compared to other reader-specific devices out there, the price, the design and the available library of books is unmatched.  Go buy it now.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.


8/30/2010 10:18 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Ryan - I've been reading both kindle's at night with a light, so I am not sure I have a good read (no pun intended) on this yet. I saw the reports of significantly better resolution, etc. If I *had* to put a better number on it, I'd say probably 6-7. I didn't turn it on and say "WOW!" but it does feel a bit better.
8/31/2010 10:09 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
@Jarda You can use the mobile version of Google Reader http://www.google.com/reader/m but it's not particularly good. There is a better version for the iPhone http://www.google.com/reader/i but it doesn't work on Kindle 2 due to the lack of tab stops in the page (I don't know whether this is still the case for Kindle 3).

Does anyone else know of any good blog readers for the Kindle?
8/31/2010 12:49 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Jason/Jarda - on Kindle 3 Google Reader renders fairly well. Interaction with it isn't ideal entirely though (amount of navigation). I'll have to check the iPad version.
9/1/2010 8:28 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Good and useful review, thank you. Do you happen to know if interactive text fields in a PDF can be accessed on the Kindle 3?
9/1/2010 10:16 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I am trying to find out one thing that I know I use a lot when I'm reading technical books. Can I highlight and make notes and "save" them? I know I can make those things on the kindle but don't know if I can save them and transfer those notes to a PC or email the PDF to myself. Is this possible? Can you comment?
9/1/2010 1:03 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
It's a nice looking device, no doubt about it. However, I'm I don't like the keypad (takes up too much space), nor the lack of ePub support. The WiFi or 3G has no interest for me - I prefer not to buy things on a whim. I think that I'll stick with my Sony Touch eReader for now. Thanks for the great review.
9/6/2010 7:53 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I have purchased the new Kindle, but I have a question. Would a speed reading class help me read even faster with my Kindle?
9/9/2010 8:57 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I can't see anything on the 3 vs 2 that would inspire me to purchase a new unit in regard to just reading books. However....I can't get a handle on how good the WiFi is. Can you use it as a laptop replacement (ie email, airline, hotel, etc) when traveling? I know there is no color...but what about speed and content? The 2 WiFi is worthless.
9/30/2010 10:20 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Hi, I am Jarvis from Hong Kong, I found you on the kinde fan page. I have a number of amazon gift cards , more than I and my friends can ever use them all. So I would like to cash out them by helping you to buy kindle books with 50% price off.

I know it's too good to be true, but it's absolutely real. You just need to send the book link (any book on amazon), I can download the book/extract out it as *.mobi file , and then have it sent to your email (yes that also means you can share the books with anyone for many many times).
You pay me after receiving it. It's zero risk for you, but of course we need to have some chatting, b/c I need to make sure you won't just walk away after getting the book :) So if you're a frequent reader, I guess it will save you lots of money.

for any question regarding this issue, please email via [email protected]
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10/1/2010 7:31 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
@Jarvis, how about if I do the same thing for you. You only need to pay me 25% of the cost of the book and I'll mail the mobi format out to you WITHOUT DRM. You name the book and I shall sent it out to you. And like your, you can pay me after you have recd. the book. I have heaps and heaps of Amazon coupons too.
10/31/2010 2:57 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Hi, I am looking into my first Kindle3 . . . but my main read is pdfs. Do you know how I transfer / convert? Is it easy to do and do you think they are as "readable" as books meant for the kingle? Thanks
11/14/2010 7:35 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
First of all, great review! I got my Kindle 3 two days ago, and I'm loving it. This is after upgrading from a Kindle 1. I had stayed away from the Kindle 2 because of lack of external storage or a removable battery, but the increase in contrast and lower price point (I bought the wifi-only version) made it worth it for me.

@Andrew: You should be able to loan books out by the end of the year on a Kindle 3. The limits are 1) two weeks per lend, 2) you can only lend each book out once, and 3) publishers will decide if the books are lendable. But to be clear, that's not the fault of Amazon, really. The publishers demanded those limits on the lending -- the same as they demanded for the Nook.
11/15/2010 2:59 PM | # kindle2
hey dose thie kindle 2 have light like a comuter
11/18/2010 7:20 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I disagree strongly with your review.

After coveting my daughter's Kindle 2 for a year, I received a Kindle 3 for my birthday. I hate to say it but I am very disappointed. Although my primary use of the Kindle is to read books and listen to audio books, the ability to check my gmail and Facebook account are essential to me. I find that on the K3 that is really not realistic. First the webbrowser is buggy. It hangs often. When you are typing the body of the text you have a text cursor and then "mouse" cursor doesn't become active until you are out of the text box. Which often means that you have to pad letter by letter out of the large text box and with the new direction buttons that is almost impossible to do without mistakenly hitting the Enter or Back buttons.

The bottom line is that, is that while the new browser may look better in a simplistic side by side screen shot like you have, it is much less usable.
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12/4/2010 2:49 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Thank you SO much for your review. I am having a hard time because I bought a k2 on ebay not realizing it was not the newest version. I want to give it as a gift but now I feel like I should buy the newer one instead. I can't afford to and would have to sell the k2. I would love to hear from others which they like better. Thanks to Btown as well for stating your preference for the k2.
12/5/2010 8:10 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
please this is very essential. Reading on Kindle does it require online connectivity? Can i read my books offline? is the online faclilty all about downloading new books if i care? what is the USB interface like as regards PC/laptop communication. Is it plug and play facility. Can i simply copy file unto my kindle and enjoy the device like any other PC. Can it assess islo books,dvju forts msreader etc. Thanks
12/14/2010 7:03 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–does this suport simple pdf files
hellow, i want to purchase this ereader, but ihave some doubts in my mind regarding the support of pdf file. i mean , Am i will be able just to trasfer my pdf books to kindle from my computer, and it will be avalible to read it. i need the answer.
12/26/2010 1:37 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Just got a new kindle with the tiny little key board on the bottom. I hate this device. The low-contrast grey background makes reading it worse than reading an old newspaper with coffee spilled on it. There is nothing good about this device except the ease with which you can buy books etc over what is essentially a cellular network.
12/29/2010 1:43 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
@ Mark... That's quite a grumpy comment. Why would you even purchase an eReader if you feel this way? Of course, it could have been a gift so, if you really do hate it, give it someone who would appreciate it. As a new owner of a Kindle 3 (Christmas present from my wonderful husband), I am enthralled. I fare poorly with technology, but I am handling this device pretty well, all considered. As for igbodike's question, once you download your books, you can read anywhere you want, no wireless connection required. And if the other reviews are accurate, your battery life can be as much as a month before requiring a charge. My only problem with that is the fear I may misplace the charging cable in the interim. ;-)

As for our dear author of this blog article... thank you. You addressed questions I didn't even realize I had. :-)
1/12/2011 2:50 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I love my new Kindle 3 but i am having a few problems too. The keyboard letters are SMALL for seeing and to the touch. I don't really like the symbol key for numbers etc. I got my Kindle 3 for Christmas and after a week of use, I sent it back...it's the black one. The letters on the keyboard, the "E" plus three others were wearing off. I played Scrabble and other word games alot. The return operation was immediate,generous & painless. Top-notch customer service. Now I am already seeing wear on my NEW keyboard, the "E" key and others. Isn't anyone else having this problem?? My friend has had a WHITE Kindle DX since this summer and all her keys show NO wear. The problem seems to be solved with WHITE-keyboard technology. They need to use the same tech on the black wifi kindle 3. I am so disappointed because i love all the other features.. Thanks for listening....
2/6/2011 2:56 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
I love everything about my new kindle 3. I got it as a gift at Christmas after a lot of hinting and have read 4 books already. It is fast reading, especailly when you change the font. I have a hint for Donna. Use the eraser on a pencil to punch the keys. It works great! And for Mark, if you use large font, you don't even notice the background. One of the best features, and it has many, is when I read in the sun, there is no glare. I love it! I love it! I love it!!
5/10/2011 1:00 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
he decidido comprarme un kindle, pero no se si comprar el 2 o el 3, cual se supone es mejor......el 2 se conecta a wi fi ??????
5/14/2011 10:59 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Came across this article and love the review! One of the problems I have had when reading was increasing my reading speed. I tried some speed reading programs and came across online speed reading and absolutely love it. I cannot wait to use with the Kindle
7/9/2011 1:30 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
a abdiel; no, 2 no esta conectado a wifi. 2 es inalámbrica 3G para que pueda comprar los libros en cualquier lugar, pero 3 tiene la opción de tener wifi junto con la tecnología inalámbrica 3G. yo diría que de lo que he leído que el 3 es mejor porque tiene mayor duración y es más pequeño y más ligero que el 2. tengo 2 pero se separó de dejarlo caer, así que estoy mirando a ver si yo debería tener el mismo o lleve a la 3, y estoy más inclinado hacia el 3 debido a la duración de la batería, que es más pequeño, y que es más rápido de 2.
to the author; I liked how you compared the 2 kindles because, as i said above, i am trying to decide wether or not im going to get the kindle 2 or 3. I have the kindle 2, but it was dropped and the screen doesn't completely work anymore, so I was looking at if the kindle 3 was better, and I think it is because it is more advanced technology. My grandma and aunt both got one for Christmas and they both love it. I used theirs for about 10 minutes and it seems easier to use than the kindle 2 because they replaced the joystick with the 5-way keys. I'm pretty convinced the 3 is better than 2, but that's just my opinion.
10/20/2011 2:53 PM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Have you tried the read-to-me feature?
4/10/2012 8:06 AM | # re: My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2
Hey guys i want to buy my first kindle and what the cheaper one out of the 2 but is the extra bit you pay worth it?

 
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