Kindle 3: A Consumer Review

With a lower price, a smaller size, and improved contrast and faster page turning, Amazon may be offering an irresistible temptation to those who have yet to jump onto the eReader bandwagon.

I’ve been a Kindle user for close to three years now.  I’ve had all the versions and noted the significant improvements Kindle 2 offered over the original.  But, now, Amazon has topped all other versions with the new Kindle 3.

What I Love:

  • The faster page turning.
  • The smaller size.
  • The easy to use navigation buttons that all but eliminate accidental page turns.
  • The improved contrast that makes an already user-friendly reader experience even friendlier.
  • The ease of buying books without having to connect to a computer.
  • The longer battery life – Amazon says up to one month.
  • Storage that Amazon says will handle up to 3,500 books.  Wow.

What I Don’t Love:

  • Lack of color and bare bones cover art.
  • The inability to easily share books.
  • The ease of buying books from Amazon is tempered by the difficulty in buying books elsewhere or to borrow from a library.

Amazon says that Kindle 3 offers a substantial improvement in contrast over Kindle 2  and a 50% better contrast than other eReaders and that rings true, based on my far from perfect bifocal-ed eyes.  They also say it weighs less than a paperback  and that also seems right to me.

As for what I don’t love, I’d like to get my cover art, please, when you can get around to it, Mr. Bezos.  And, while I love the Amazon book-buying experience, having only one easy source for books is never ideal.  Still, if I’m tied to any company, I’m happy it’s Amazon.  I’ve always had great service and eBook prices are consistently good.  In fact, I like knowing that Amazon would like them to be even better than they are.  Thanks, Agency Model Publishers, for nothing.

I’ve read complaints about the keyboard, but I honestly don’t use it enough for it to make much of a difference.  And, since the smaller keyboard is one of the reasons Kindle 3 is smaller than Kindle 2 while still having the same 6-inch screen size, I’m fine with it, considering my limited usage.

I always go back to the number one reason why I got my first Kindle: I was sick to death of Borders lazy and late shelving of romance.  Kindle and it’s 30-second delivery of books sold me – and it still does.  So, I’m an eReading enthusiast.

I don’t think some readers will ever be convinced to give up paper books for eBooks and, given the fact that publishers are still living in the Stone Age when it comes to eBook pricing, I can understand the attitude.  But if you’ve been on the fence, you may want to give Kindle 3 serious consideration in light of the lower price and the improved quality.

I know two Kindle users besides myself who’ve jumped at the new one and all three of us are ecstatic.  Reviews also seem to be overwhelmingly positive, with the New York Times calling Kindle 3 the best eReader currently available.

As for the wireless-only version or the 3G model, I went with 3G.  I like knowing I can buy books wherever I happen to be (back to that Borders thing, I guess), but, if you think you’d be okay with only buying books when you’re connected to a wireless network, then the wireless-only version would probably be fine. The price is certainly very attractive.

I’ve seen the case with the light and, again, if you think you’ll want an extra light, it’s an interesting solution.  I’m happy with the eInk technology and I’ve never once wished I had a light for any Kindle I’ve owned, so I didn’t get one. The light does add weight to the Kindle, but it’s a nice option if you think you’d need it.

A final note to AAR readers:  In the interest of full disclosure,  if you buy your Kindle 3 through the link in this blog or via the link in the box at the bottom of the home page, AAR will get a small commission from Amazon.  So, if you’re going to buy a Kindle and you enjoy our site, we hope you’ll consider using the link when you’re ready to buy.

– Sandy AAR

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33 Responses to Kindle 3: A Consumer Review

  1. Vol Fan says:

    I am hoping to get a Kindle for my birthday, or at least for Christmas. I have the Kindle on my PC. Do you know if I would be able to transfer those books from my PC to my regular Kindle?

    Thank you for posting this, because I’ve wondered how the “3″ was in comparison to the others.

  2. AAR Sandy says:

    Vol Fan, those books are kept in your Kindle archive at Amazon. When you get your Kindle it will already be set up with your name and account information and you can download books from your archive as you choose. It’s really easy.

  3. Vol Fan says:

    That is great! Thanks Sandy!

  4. Lea AAR says:

    I purchased the Kindle 1 three years ago and have been completely satisfied with the experience. I was tempted to buy the Kindle 2 (and my husband did) but my K1 was still more than adequate so I didn’t seriously consider upgrading. Then news of the K3 hit and I knew it was time. I don’t want to make the K1 sound antiquated or inadequate – it is still a wonderful reading device and my daughter is excited about using it. But, wow, the differences between the 1 and 3 – I totally agree with Sandy’s list of the things she loves.

    Since I never had a K2, I had never had the advantage of categorizing my eBooks and now I do – very exciting for a person with hundreds of eBooks. Also, as a person with sensitivity to light, the K3 is even kinder to the eyes and I thought the K1 pretty magnificent on that score. I will never be able to use an iPad for eBook reading – too much glare and backlighting.

    My husband and I compared my K1, his K2, and my new K3. There were many changes between the K1 and K2, and once again, significant changes between K2 and K3. But K1 to K3? Really good is now fantastic. I know that sounds like an ad but it is really just pure enthusiasm!

  5. Tinabelle says:

    Oh, you guys! I have had my K1 for a couple of years and am being seduced by the K3. Since I use my K solely for reading, I don’t care about the other functions so much, but the ability to categorize my books, well that is a real temptation. Since there is nothing wrong with my Klassic it is hard to justify a new one, but the price drop is very tempting. I know the life of electronic devices is not long so I expect my K1 will give up the ghost eventually. Do I let it run its course or take the plunge and buy the new K3? The more I hear about it the greater my lust!

  6. Victoria S says:

    I don’t have a Kindle….yet. I am one of those people who still cannot give up books in print. Cover art being of the most pressing reasons. But I did buy one for my sister for her birthday, as she is a real gadget gal. We went this weekend looking at other e-readers just to compare looks, weight and price and our conclusion…Kindle 3 wins hands down. I have just finished re-arranging the bookshelves in my living and bed rooms, and have come to the conclusion that a Kindle may be in my future sooner than I think. While I absolutely LOVE holding, looking at, and reading print books, space is finally becoming an issue. I may have to go with just a few beloved authors in print, and everyone else on a Kindle. Since I love this site, I will have no problem letting you get a commission when I finally take the plunge. OOPS! Here I go, plunging. Wish me luck :-)

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  8. Diana says:

    I had the K1 and LOVED it! When the K2 came out I treated myself and got it. I gave my K1 to my sister and she is still reading up a storm and loving it. Now the K3 is out and my hubby said if I really want it he’s OK with me getting the newest one. I’m so excited, that just waiting for the delivery is going to be a lesson in futility! haha

  9. Pat says:

    I love my Kindle 1 and even got a skin for it–nice blue Georgian from DecalGirl (–so that it’s distinctive. But now all of you are talking me into getting K3 since the one thing I’d really like to do is categorize my books. With over 30 pages of titles on my K1 homepage, this is a must now.

    But I’d have to reload my non-K books again. Oh, well. Now to convince my husband that this is a must have.

    Thanks for all the info!

  10. Christine says:

    I purchased the Kindle 2 and consider it one of the best things I have ever bought for myself. The convenience of being able to instantly buy a book at any time day or night is a reader’s dream come true. I find Amazon to be an outstanding company with great customer service. They have the best book selections at the lowest prices. I don’t miss the cover art as I also use the kindle applications to read on my iPad, phone and itouch so I get to see the color covers there (but oddly enough not the step back art).

    On my last trip I purchased a number of books for my Kindle while out of state and they were added to my Kindle immediately. The 3G worked great. Now my only dilemma is how to talk myself out of buying the Kindle 3!

  11. carol irvin says:

    Let me put in a vote for the ipad over the kindle. yes, it is more expensive but it takes every ebook format via the apps you can add to it. It also takes color, covers, magazines, etc., I can’t think of anything you wouldn’t be able to read on it.

    You can also listen to your audiobooks and music on it, watch your movies and/or netflix streaming, play games, write and read email, edit manuscripts, make art, view art, surf the web and on and on and on.

    I have the cheapest one at $500 with just a wifi connection and it is absolutely perfect. Go try one out at the Apple Store before spending half of its price on a kindle.

  12. Vi says:

    @Carol That’s exactly why I don’t want the iPad. I don’t need another multi-functional device to distract me from reading. I have the new iPhone with all of the reading apps on it. Reading on it is fine except that find my attention divided the net.  I’m having this debate right with my fri
    nd. iPad or Kindle? My answer to him is: what do you the primary function of your device to be. I chose Kindle (can’t wait to get my first e-reader , yay).   I can tell he’s seduced by the iPad. 

  13. Sandy C. says:

    I should receive my Kindle 3 tomorrow, and I’m so excited! Admittedly, I bought it to read Harlequin Presents without worrying how to dispose of them (hitting “delete” will work very well for me!); we don’t have any good used book stores here, and the library doesn’t want them either. I’m an HP addict even though I find maybe one book in fifty that’s a keeper these days. Amazon’s 1-click buy of $9.99 for six HPs was irresistable!

  14. carol irvin says:

    I like being to switch through various activities as the mood strikes me. I use the ipad for everything. plus i no longer need to carry my laptop around. if i put my iphone and ipad in my big bag, i need no other electronic equipment. Although I love to read, I also love listening to audiobooks, watching films, listening to music and so forth. i did have a sony reader and was never satisfied with it.

    • Xina says:

      carol irvin: I like being to switch through various activities as the mood strikes me.I use the ipad for i no longer need to carry my laptop around.if i put my iphone and ipad in my big bag, i need no other electronic equipment.Although I love to read, I also love listening to audiobooks, watching films, listening to music and so forth. i did have a sony reader and was never satisfied with it.

      I love my iPad too. I am using it for everything too. However, there is a big price difference between the iPad and the kindle. we gave my son the kinlde 2 for his birthday and he loves it.
      This is my first experience reading e-books and I was surprised as to how easy it was for me to read a book on a screen and really enjoy it. I still read paper, but mostly buy new from the kindle app on the ipad

  15. carol irvin says:

    There should be a big difference in the price as one provides multimedia support whereas the other provides support for only one medium. I am a former teacher at the community college level, a textbook writer for same and now someone who is creating educational materials over at Teachers Pay Teachers. In my opinion, the iPad has HUGE potential for anyone in education. For example, I just created flashcard sets on the Bill of Rights and landmark Supreme Court case on same for iPad. They look incredible on the iPad and are fabulous learning tools. I have an app which puts the federal rules on evidence right on my iPad as well plus another for objections in the courtroom. Then I have apps which cover various painters or movements in art. While I was waiting for a CT scan, I looked through Van Gogh’s art and it calmed me down greatly. I also can take a tour through the solar system with another app or make endless artistic variations to the formation of a tree. I could go on and on but for a person who likes to learn, the possibilities are endless.

    I was trying to talk my oncologist into getting one for his son. He objected that his son was only 5. I said “Perfect.” If you get a child on the ipad now, he or she will just zoom ahead on the learning curve. Christmas is coming. For any of you with children, you ought to seriously consider this. When I see 10 and 11 year olds on cell phones everywhere I go, I sure would like to wrench them right out of their hands and put an iPad in their hands instead. Unfortunately, the kids are imitating their elders on the cell phones and endlessly gabbing about nothing. I am sure there are some legitimate child cell phone calls but I am not seeing them (say at our condo’s outdoor pool this summer).

  16. AAR Sandy says:

    Carol, I am a certified Mac addict since the late 80s. I’ve never used a PC and I’m typing this now on my MacBook Pro.

    With that said, I think the iPad is a cool device, but not especially as an eReader. It’s not very portable. It’s got glare issues. And, like others, I don’t want the distraction when I’m reading.

    And, to be honest, I can do most everything you’re suggesting on my iPhone. Even read — though I prefer the Kindle.

    • xina says:

      AAR Sandy: Carol, I am a certified Mac addict since the late 80s. I’ve never used a PC and I’m typing this now on my MacBook Pro.With that said, I think the iPad is a cool device, but not especially as an eReader. It’s not very portable. It’s got glare issues. And, like others, I don’t want the distraction when I’m reading.And, to be honest, I can do most everything you’re suggesting on my iPhone. Even read — though I prefer the Kindle.

      It is true. It has a glare issue. I was trying to read during a car trip with my sunglasses on and I thought it wasn’t working. Almost impossible to read in the sunlight, but wonderful…outstanding in the dark.
      Also, it’s a bit heavy…much heavier than the Kindle.
      I do love it though. Am between laptops now and am trying to get by with the ipad.

  17. Vi says:

    @ Sandy, I am in complete agreement with you. I do the same with my iPhone. Can’t wait for the kindle to arrive!

  18. carol irvin says:

    One added factor you need to toss into the equation is age. I am 62. I am able to do everything on my iPad without using my glasses. I can adjust each app whichever way I want to maximize optimal viewing. For those of you who are much younger, this is not an issue yet. As you age, you will find it becomes the only issue.

    I don’t notice a glare problem but I don’t read in bright light. True, it wouldn’t work sitting out at the condo pool but then again, I don’t sit in the sun there anyway. However, where it really pays its way is up against my spouse who spends more time sleeping than I do. You can do everything on the ipad in a completely black room. He sleeps blissfully on. Many is the sleepless night when either a print or audio book has made a potentially horrible night worth enduring.

    I prefer my iphone for audio books and music and the ipad for print books and movies and tv. i also prefer going online on the ipad. Again though, my age may make a big difference. I have big fonts set on my iphone and I bet the rest of you are able to set them on normal.

    In sum, I think it all depends on what stage you find yourself in life and your needs in that stage.

  19. Lina says:

    Is it right that for kindle, we can only buy books from Amazon? I often get borders giftcards from my friens and I use it to buy e-books.
    If the answer is yes, kindle absolutely out of question. I will be grateful if somebody give me another idea of e-book readers. Thanks a lot.

  20. Pat says:

    Is it right that for kindle, we can only buy books from Amazon?

    No, Lina, you can buy books from anywhere that offers Mobi, PDF, and other formats. I have about 350 books on my Kindle. Of these, about a third were either purchased from another online seller or downloaded from another kind of free or pay website. I’ve even been sent books by online friends overseas and read the books they emailed me on my Kindle. The “You Can Only Read Amazon Books” is just another Kindle myth that seems to have a life of its own.

  21. TomTom GO910 says:

    Hi, This is definitely cool

  22. 離婚 says:

    The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  23. My Eyes says:

    Great post, I admire the writing style :) A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.

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