Amazon Kindle 3 Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 26, 2010


Amazon-Kindle-3

The Amazon Kindle 3 was launched in September 2010 after a media frenzy following the unveiling of the ebook reader many months before.

The big question is, does the Amazon Kindle have what it takes to be the ebook reader of choice this year?

Overview

The Amazon Kindle 3 is available in two flavours:

Kindle WiFi: £109/$139

Kindle 3G: £149/$189

And these can only be bought direct from www.amazon.co.ukwww.amazon.com

These price points are really attractive, and seriously undercuts the competition making the Kindle 3G and Wifi not only more affordable than its closest competitors, but it adds features such as free 3G connectivity available around the world.

Connectivity

The WIFI and 3G connectivity enables you to buy and download ebooks straight from your kindle, using a simple one click purchase process. The engineers at Amazon have really worked hard to make this a no brainer, and it means you don’t actually need to own a computer to use the Amazon Kindle. (at the time of writing only the Bebook neo has access to a bookstore from the ebook reader itself)

I found this to be really useful whilst waiting for my flight from Bangkok for example, where I had just finished a novel, and the airport book store was charging 200% more than list price for some English paperbacks!

Screen Quality

In terms of technology, the Kindle 3 uses the latest Pearl high contrast E-Ink screen, which provides 16 shades of grey for a really comfortable reading experience (this is comparable to the screens used in the Sony PRS 350 and PRS650).

The 6 inch screen is crisp and clear, and is readable in most conditions including bright sunlight. This is one of the problems with the previous Sony PRS600 and the Apple Ipad, whereby their screens make it difficult to read in direct sunlight.

Another advantage of the new Pearl E-Ink screen is that text read from it will look as sharp as reading printed copy. A big gripe I have with reading books on my Apple Ipad for example, is that I get eye strain from reading from the backlit reflective screen. Thankfully this isn’t the case with my Kindle, which lets me read for hours, just like reading a real book.

Design

In terms of aesthetics the Kindle 3 is really attractive, featuring a nice matte graphite exterior, a super thin design, and an elegant design. In my opinion the previous Kindle readers had too much of a retro look to them, and this latest reader is just perfect.

The Kindle 3 and the Sony PRS350/PRS 650 are my favourites in terms of product design, the Sony ebook readers get a slight edge because of their metal alloy frame which makes them feel really solid. But the Amazon Kindle also looks great, and always gets compliments on the tube or train.

Because it’s so light you can hold it for hours without getting tired, and keep it in your coat pocket without having any unsightly bulges!

Battery Life

The Kindle has a new Li-Polymer 1750mAh battery which gives you up to 1 month of reading time if you turn off the 3G/Wifi settings (10 days with 3G wireless on, 3 weeks with Wifi). In my tests I found that I can get around 2-3 weeks of “normal” usage with 3G on before having to charge it up.

Charging takes an hour or so, and you get a proper charger included with your Kindle (Other ebook readers like the Sony PRS series only provide a usb cable for charging).

Ebook Compatibility & The Kindle Store

In a way this is the Amazon Kindle’s Achiles heel, as the Kindle only supports Kindle (Azw) and non DRM Mobi/Pdf files natively. You can also send .txt, audible,  .doc, html,and image files through your amazon email which loads them onto your device too.

What this means is that you will be restricted to buying ebooks from the Kindle store only (you won’t be able to use Waterstones, WHSmith, Diesel Ebooks, Kobo etc).

But on the flip side, you get access to one of the biggest ebook stores in the world, with some of the most competitive prices around.

I regularly check prices of ebooks across the main ebook stores and Amazon usually matches other prices or is 10-25% cheaper. Plus you can buy books straight from the device and be reading within minutes.

If you own an Iphone, or Ipad you can also install the Amazon Kindle reader app, and get access to all your purchased books too for free.

Features Unique To Kindle 3

The Amazon Kindle differentiates itself from the crowd mainly because of its free 3G connectivity, which enables you to buy books whilst travelling.

You also get text to speech built in, which makes your books sound like a cross between Stephen Hawking and an actual American lady/ or man. This is great for accessibility, especially until the library of audiobooks expands to cover all books available.

Amazon are also experimenting with new features, and you get access to a beta web browser too, which you can use to browse the web for free. In theory it’s a great idea, in practice it’s a slow and awkward process. But you can’t really complain with free web access can you?

Pricing

The Amazon Kindle 3 is priced at £109/$139 for the Wifi version, and £149/$189 for the 3G version.

In comparison, the closest competitors in terms of features are the Sony PRS 650 available for £199/$229 and the BeBook Neo available for £229/$350.

The Kindle 3 is therefore great value, as you’re not only getting more features, but its around £50/ $40 cheaper than the competition.

We recommend getting the 3G version as it makes getting new ebooks really easy and convenient, especially for non technical users.

The Technical Bits

You can read about the technical specifications and compare the Kindle 3 to the leading ebook readers using our 6″ ebook reader comparison table here.

The Verdict

Amazon have a real winner on their hands this year with the Kindle 3 ebook readers. Not only are they priced very competitively, but they make purchasing and reading books easy, and convenient.

The 3G connectivity and direct access to one of the largest ebook, newspaper and magazine stores in the world means you are literally a few button presses away from nearly any book, wherever you are.

This range of ebook readers are ideal for non techie types too, as getting to grips with the device literally takes minutes and doesn’t require any computer. Just buy from amazon and the device will come pre-registered with your Amazon ID, ready for you to charge up and use.

Where To Buy

The only place to buy your Kindle is direct at Amazon.
For UK orders go to www.amazon.co.uk
For US/World orders go to www.amazon.com


{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diane 11.27.10 at 4:49 am

Are there any books already loaded on the Kindle when you buy it or is the E-Book empty till you buy some books because this book is a gift and would like to have at least 1-2 books on there when given for a gift. Thank you Diane Jacobson

2 Owen Wells 11.27.10 at 11:23 am

what an excellent summary THANK YOU. I got to this site by googling “ereaders uk” – up until then I was getting US sites. After reading this I am almost certainly going to get this for my wife for Christmas 2010.

3 Helen 11.29.10 at 7:07 pm

Hi Diane, the Kindle doesn’t have any ebooks pre-loaded. If you want to give a kindle as a gift I would suggest loading the Kindle for PC software on your computer. Login as the recipient (using their amazon login details), buy the kindle ebooks. When the recipient will turns on their kindle the books will appear automatically.

Otherwise you can send the recipient an Amazon gift card, or open the package and add a few free kindle ebooks using the device.

4 helen harbi 11.30.10 at 12:41 pm

I would just like to thank you for helping me make up my mind on which e reader to buy. It was a choice between the sony 350 and the kindle 3.I was very impressed with the write up and knowing I don’t have to keep going to my computer to download books is a great advantage. I am not very good with the computer so using one item is better than two. This is a gift to myself so I am looking forward to learning how to use it and of course enjoing reading my books. many thanks.

5 Pat Rothery 12.01.10 at 5:13 pm

Hi, I also want one and have more or less decided, but would like to know can only Amazon books be downloaded or can you download from the free sites.

Thanks

6 Ebook Doctor 12.02.10 at 2:42 pm

Hi Pat,
Yes – You can get free ebooks from the Amazon Kindle store, and upload free ebooks from project gutenberg in PDF format.

7 Hannah 12.02.10 at 11:02 pm

Hi, I am thinking that this would be a perfect gift for my boyfriend this Christmas as he is a huge book worm but does he need to have an Amazon account or something?! Slightly confused because I have never used anything like this before! Please advise

8 Ebook Doctor 12.03.10 at 4:21 pm

@Hannah

When you buy it from Amazon, I think it will register the Kindle to your amazon account.

But you can de-register it (on amazon.com go to YOUR ACCOUNT. Click on MANAGE YOUR KINDLE. Click on DEREGISTER)

The recipient of the Kindle will need an amazon account (take 5 mins to register on Amazon), and he will need to register the Kindle to his account (on amazon.com he will need to go to YOUR ACCOUNT. Click on MANAGE YOUR KINDLE. Click on REGISTER)

9 Carol Yap 12.04.10 at 7:06 am

Very impress with yr introduction on Kindle 3 now my question is how i can purchase it frm West Malaysia.

10 Stan 12.08.10 at 9:44 pm

Reading in the bath. Obviously I wouldn’t fully immerse this in the water but would it get damaged by regular reading in room full of condensation?

11 catherine wingle 12.08.10 at 10:53 pm

hi considering buying the kindle for my husband. how much do the books cost to download ?

12 David 12.09.10 at 2:24 pm

Hi folks.
Between the Kindle and the Sony which is the better machine for enlarging the print. Also iss the sound quality when reading from the text better on either of them.

Thanks.An oldie

13 Ebook Doctor 12.09.10 at 7:09 pm

@Carol – Depends if Amazon ship to west malaysia, if not you might need to wait until they do.

@Stan – Haven’t tried reading in the bath, but I wouldn’t suggest reading in a room full of steam as condensation will build up on the screen.

@Catherine – Ebooks tend to cost from £0/$0 to £10/$15 (and are usually 20-60% off the retail price)

@David – Both the Sony PRS650 and the Kindle have the same screen, so both would display the same. The Sony can’t do text to audio though, only the Kindle can do that.
If you are not technical, I would recommend the Kindle over the Sony ereaders.

14 Will 12.09.10 at 8:56 pm

How does the range of books available between the Kindle and the Sony compare in variety and volume.

15 Ian 12.09.10 at 9:10 pm

can the kindle connect to my pc so i can upload books from my pc to the device?

16 Keith 12.12.10 at 9:47 pm

1.When you purchase books on Amazon do they actually reside permanently on the Kindle( until deleted)? If Amazon ceased to exist would your books remain on the Kindle?
2. If you have lots of books on Kindle how are they catalogued/indexed?
3.Does the Kindle have a lifespan or should it last forever?
4. Are there any running costs apart from new book purchases?

17 Martine 12.13.10 at 3:29 pm

Keith
1 – Yes, the books stay on your Kindle till deleted. If purchased from Amazon, the deleted books stay on your “Kindle Library” accessible from Amazon so you can re-download them. If Amazon ceased to exist, your Kindle wouldn’t be affected but it’s a good idea to keep a copy of your books on your own PC (then maybe burn them to a DVD).
2 – I don’t know. I have done a lot of research but I’m still waiting for Santa to bring my Kindle!
3 – Obviously nothing lasts for ever. Hopefully, it will last for many years.
4 – Just a little bit of electricity unless you get the 3G version which only lets you connect to Amazon. You might be able to connect to other sites but there will be a charge. Also, if you want your daily newspaper sent to your Kindle, they (the paper) will charge you quite a bit (also copies are deleted after a few days).
This is all I found out so far but anyone is very welcome to correct me if I’m wrong.

18 Jan Taylor 12.15.10 at 12:34 pm

We have a 10GB monthly limit from our broadband provider, approximately how much would each book use?

19 Lulu 12.16.10 at 6:27 pm

I was wondering about durability. I would really like to get an e-reader, and I have been the most impressed by the Kindle3, but I am worried by a few reviews I have read, about Kindles being flimsy, breaking easily, and having lots of glitches, such as freezing, and blank screen. What do you know about this. I know technology can fail, but if I am going to put so much money into a device, as well as the books I purchase, I want to make sure it is going to be durable, as well as reliable.

20 Rog J 12.17.10 at 2:15 pm

How quickly do you think prices will tumble for e-book readers? It looks to me that Amazon has started a price-war with Sony (and others) and the result will be good for consumers.

21 Ebook Doctor 12.18.10 at 1:18 am

@ Jan – If you opt for the 3G you can buy/download as many ebooks as you want. Otherwise, each ebook is usually a 0.3-10 mb in size.

@Lulu – I’ve been using my Kindle 3G daily and have not noticed any flimsyness, or freezes. Its a rock solid device.

@Rog – I don’t know if prices will “tumble” , but as the E-Ink technology becomes cheaper to produce, more people will be able to afford ebook readers. The Kindles are really good value, I think Amazon are probably selling their ebook readers at near cost with a view to recuperating some profit by selling ebooks.

22 Peter 12.18.10 at 4:37 pm

Hi,maybe a silly question,i was thinking of buying my young boy one,but are there many kids books to be downloaded.Thanks

23 richard tsang 12.19.10 at 3:14 am

I am an English learner. I would like to know if I could load an Oxford or other label dictionary on this Kindle 3 or any other ereader; also if any techie publication be loaded on any of these ereaders. Many thanks.

24 John 12.23.10 at 7:50 pm

Can I use a Kindle to read large .PDF and .DOC files of e-journals which I already have on my PC or can a Kindle only display books downloaded from amazon?

25 azim 12.24.10 at 6:02 pm

Hi Everybod,
I read in the review that: In a way this is the Amazon Kindle’s Achiles heel, as the Kindle only supports Kindle (Azw) and non DRM Mobi/Pdf files nativel,,,

does it mean the Kindle can not read pdf files, because I already have some pdf books and would like to move them when i buy it?

26 Ron 12.25.10 at 7:54 pm

If I buy the current Kindle will I be able to transfer my books when a new model is introduced? What restrictions, if any, are there on other eBooks?

Thanks

27 Tracy Jones 12.26.10 at 1:05 pm

I had my Kindle for xmas off my lovely husband and I am really happy with it.As a arthritis sufferer it is light weigth and just ideal for me.

28 Lily 12.31.10 at 6:12 am

I live in Toronto. Will there be download charges if I buy books from a kindle 3 3 G version ?

29 John 01.02.11 at 9:49 pm

Nice review. I especially like the new price of the Kindle. I liked the idea when it first came out but I was shocked at the high price tag. This new Kindle puts the iPad to shame.

30 Jenny 01.08.11 at 10:03 am

I am considering buying a kindle for my boyfriend but was wondering if you can play music from it as with the sony devices?

31 Jeff 01.16.11 at 9:21 am

I’m taking college courses online and I’m wondering if I can download the books that are posted within my classroom to the Kindle3? I’m thinking the Kindle might be a better way to read my books without being online.

Also, what is the difference in the Kindle with wifi or 3G? How do you download books from your pc? Is it by usb?

Can I put music or pics on it?

32 Danny 01.19.11 at 8:13 am

Hi I am thinking of getting a Kindle for both my wife and I. My wife is Norwegian do amazon provide a large selection of non-english language books for instance in Norwegian Bokmal

Thanks

33 Norman 02.01.11 at 6:44 pm

Is it possible to share ebooks between kindles?

34 Tony R 02.18.11 at 6:39 pm

I am completely new to ebooks and would like to know, Iregularly get national book vouchers as presents, can I use these to buy ebooks from Amazon or other ebook suppliers?

35 Hamish 02.20.11 at 4:15 pm

I got the Kindle 2.0 shipped from the States to the UK just under a year ago. I absolutely love it – it took about a week to arrive. When Amazon opened the UK Kindle store last Autumn it was really easy to change it over from Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk.

I want the Kindle 3 – but I said I would keep the current one for at least twelve months before I upgrade. That will be next month!

On the other hand, I could wait for the Kindle 4 – which based on previous release dates should be out just before or just after Xmas 2011. Decisions, decisions.

36 Margaret 03.12.11 at 3:14 pm

My library has started “lending” e books,can i use a kindle to download these for free?

37 blindside10 03.15.11 at 2:03 am

Just a small problem that is not usually told to people before they buy a Kindle… The screen contrast is rather dark and CANNOT be changed at all, making it difficult to read sometimes in murky or less than good light conditions.. This is the main reason that most people return their Kindles back to Amazon.. Also some people find that their battery life is much, much shorter than the Month that is talked about..This is easily remedied by pushing the sleep/open button to the right for 20 seconds, this resets the Kindle and changes the battery life to the set parameters that are advertised.
You can….(if you are naughty enough) download thousands of books of the mobi kind on the internet and side-load them on your Kindle and they work perfectly….

38 Nigel 03.16.11 at 11:52 pm

Hi my wife bought me a kindle for my birthday, got to say it is one of the best presents i have had. So quick and easy to use and set up. I don’t care about only getting books from kindle as the amount of books from kindle is enormouse and you can get books for free from kindle. I am told there is away of loaning books on the kindle but as of yet have not tried this. Also there is a great book club for the kindle run by volunteers for free.

39 Dael 03.25.11 at 8:00 am

I am heading overseas on April 15th from Australia to Europe. What is the delivery time please if ordered next week. Today is the 25th March 2011. Thanks

40 Jake 03.31.11 at 10:44 am

Please note: you won’t be able to download e-books from your library using a Kindle. The main reason I don’t have one.

41 Valerie Goh 04.01.11 at 10:38 pm

great review. If I had read your review earlier, I might consider getting a Kindle instead of an Android.

42 David Chapman 04.13.11 at 10:15 am

Can I read pdf files containing Hebrew text on Kindle?

43 Johannah 04.17.11 at 7:31 pm

I have a Kindle which i bought in February 2011 and I have read 37 books already!!! As you can guess I love reading and I believe it is a very useful bit of technology as once you have finished a book you can go on the Amazon site and download books that are FREE. Excellent product A++++++++++

44 malcolm 07.16.11 at 9:12 pm

how many books can a 3g kindle store

45 Norman 09.02.11 at 4:28 pm

don’t forget Google is your friend : IE: you can download Calibre which can convert your books for you then put them on your Kindle , you can also download free drm strippers which take the protection away 🙂 download you books by computer then do a little work and add them to kindle , it’s free, how cheap do you want it. my only bug bear is that you can’t see some of the glorious covers in color as it goes straight to chapter one

46 Elaine 10.16.11 at 11:38 pm

Thank you for review. Not a techie/computer user so think the 3G may be my way to go. Can children’s books, illustrated books and specialist academic books be bought for the Kindle? Also some commentators have mentioned saving books as disks – is this difficult? how would one get the book for Kindle to disk?
This will be mt first e-reader – how does it compare honestly to feel/ thrill of reading paper book?

47 John 10.24.11 at 3:51 pm

I am an English speaker; live in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland and I do not understand German. Amazon does not allow me to purchase a Kindle in the UK as I am living in Switzerland. I am obliged to purchase Kinle products and e-books through their German website. The only information in English is just basics about Amazon. The detailed information about the product or the books is in German. Should you purchase or receive a Kindle as a gift from the country of your choice when you leave that country Amazon will ultimately stop you purchasing through that Kindle store of your choice You will automatically be re-directed to the site of their choice based on your location independent of whether or not you understand the local language. Kindle is not a good choice for anyone who works outside their linguistic zone for long periods.
It is a better choice to have a reader that allows you to purchase e-books in your own language where and when you like.

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