With choices galore, choosing an eReader is no more a simple affair. It does not get any easier, even when you have decided to go for a kindle, hence this Kindle Comparison to help you choose the best Kindle. (See Kindle Vs Nook Vs Kobo).
Landing on Amazon’s Kindle Page, visitors are greeted with Kindle family comprising of 5 different models. To add more variety and confusion, Kindle comes in 3G and WiFi versions and also in ‘Ad‘ and no ‘Ad‘ supported versions.
With so much to choose from, first time buyers are often left wondering:-
Whether to Buy Kindle 3G or WiFi?
Both WiFi and 3G models of Kindle are basically the same as far as hardware and other features are concerned. The only difference between Kindle 3G and Kindle WiFi is in the way these two devices connect to the Internet.
The WiFi model of Kindle is able to connect to the Internet when there is a WiFi network nearby, such as at your home (router) or WiFi hotspots as available at Airports and Public libraries.
Here is why you might want to go for Kindle WiFi
- Kindle WiFi models cost less than 3G models.
- There is no need for your kindle to be connected to the Internet at all times.
- Internet connection is required only while downloading books, this is easily available through your home WiFi.
- Even without a WiFi network you can download books on your computer and transfer to Kindle through a USB cable.
The 3G model of Kindle can connect to the internet using the 3G network just like your cell phone. Kindle 3G can also use the WiFi network whenever there is a WiFi connection available.
Here is why you might be willing to pay extra dollars for Kindle 3G:-
- 3G service on Kindle 3G is free (Amazon pays for it!)
- Kindle 3G works globally in over 100 countries.
- Kindle 3G provides instant on the go connectivity, there is no need to hunt for a WiFi hotspot.
- In the absence of a phone, Kindle 3G becomes handy for checking email, twitter and Facebook updates.
Whether to Buy Kindle with Ads or Without Ads?
While buying Kindle WiFi can save money, you can knock off another $30 by going for Kindle WiFi with ‘Ads’ or “Kindle with special offers” as Amazon calls it.
There is really nothing to worry, in case you are thinking that Amazon will be bombarding with Ads.
The Ads appear on the home screen and also while scrolling through your library of book titles. These are smaller Ads that are in the form of 1/2 inch strips that appear at the bottom of the home page.
Larger Ads appear in the form of a screen savers when Kindle goes to sleep. You may actually like these ads compared to pictures of authors that appear as screen savers on Kindle without Ads.
To further clarify, there are absolutely no Ads within the text of the books that you are reading and no annoying pop-up or pop-under ads that you can find on the internet.
Amazon even lets you switch to Kindle without ads when you pay the difference between the two models ($30.)
- Just Go to “Manage Your Devices” page at Amazon and de-register the ads. You will be paying about $30 and you’re done.
Here is a Kindle Comparison table that provides a side by side listing of prices for all available Kindle models. The suffix ‘S’ stands for Kindle with special offers and ‘R’ stands for regular Kindle without ‘Ads’
|Model||WiFi (S)||WiFi (R)||3G (S)||3G (R)|
Once you are clear about 3G and WiFi versions of Kindle, Kindle with special offers and Kindle without ‘Ads’, it is time to take a look at different models of kindle and decide on which model really suits your needs.
Amazon calls this 4th generation Kindle as ‘Kindle‘, just Kindle without any prefix or a suffix. This is the cheapest and the lightest model of Kindle that is great for introducing your kids to eReading and also for gifting.
Kindle 4 only supports WiFi network and does not have a touch screen or a physical keyboard. There are buttons on the left and right side of the device that allow you to move back and forth through the pages.
As you can see from the picture, there are four more buttons and a direction square just below the screen for interacting with Kindle 4, typing in your password and notes while reading.
Typing words using the navigation buttons of Kindle 4 is not the most comfortable experience.
However, typing in your password or book names while searching for books is quite manageable and you will get used to it.
This is the lightest model of Kindle and also the cheapest one, available for $109 without ‘Ads’ and for just $79 in case you do not mind having Screen savers in the form of ‘Ads’.
Go for Kindle 4 in case you are looking for a quality e-Reader which is light on your purse, stylish, and easy to carry.
- Kindle 4 with ‘Ads’ – $79
- Kindle 4 Without ‘Ads’ – $109
As the name suggests, this model of Kindle supports touch screen technology and is available both in WiFi and 3G versions.
In case you are wondering, Kindle Touch retains all the good qualities that have propelled Kindle to become the best selling eReader and the best selling device on Amazon.
The user interface on Kindle Touch is entirely controlled by touch (taps and swipes).
Swiping your finger right to left takes you to the next page, while swiping in the opposite direction (left to right) takes you back by a page. Swiping upwards takes you to the next chapter while swiping downwards takes you to the previous chapter.
The on-screen keyboard on Kindle Touch works quite well and allows you to type at normal speed, you will not miss the physical Keyboard.
Tapping on a single word allows you to highlight the word, brings up the Oxford Dictionary definition and also lets you look up any word on Wikipedia from the same pop-up menu.
In terms of display, the screen of Kindle Touch appears a bit darker compared to the lower priced Kindle, this actually results in more contrast and sharper display.
- Kindle Touch WiFi – $109~99
- Kindle Touch 3G – $189~149
Kindle Keyboard is larger than other models of Kindle due to its Qwerty Keyboard that sits below the screen.
The screen of Kindle Keyboard is rated as providing a marginally better contrast and reading experience compared to the less expensive 4th generation Kindle 4.
Those who go for this model of Kindle like its physical Keyboard and find it far more natural and easier to turn pages using keys on the left and right side of the device, compared to tapping on a touch screen.
It is a matter of preference, some go for the latest and find the touch screen cool, and there are those who go for what they believe suits them the best.
- Kindle Keyboard 3G with special offers – $139
- Kindle Keyboard 3G without Ads – $189
Reading on Kindle DX actually feels more or less like reading a magazine, while reading on a regular 6″ Kindle is comparable to reading a book.
Compared to a regular models of kindle, Kindle DX is a better choice for reading textbooks containing charts, graphs and diagrams.
On the negative side, Kindle DX is pricey and not the most comfortable device to hold in one hand, due to its large size and weight compared to a regular Kindle (see comparison table below).
- Kindle DX 3G – $379
Do not confuse Kindle Fire as an eReader in color. Although you can read books on Kindle Fire, it is not the same as reading on a regular Kindle.
While some people are comfortable reading for extended periods on a LCD screen, most find the paper like e-ink display on regular Kindle as being more comfortable to read and less tiring for the eyes.
Another drawback of the LCD screen is the drain on battery life. Unlike the e-ink screens found on dedicated e-Readers, LCD screens as used in tablets consume more power resulting in a lower battery life.
On the positive side, Kindle Fire is a quality tablet that performs almost all the functions that you can expect from higher priced tablets like iPad (see Kindle Fire Vs iPad).
In combination with Amazon’s digital content, Kindle Fire becomes an entertainment powerhouse that can provide you with hours and hours of entertainment – movies, TV programs, music videos, Apps, magazines, web browsing, and games.
Finally, here are comparison tables providing a side by side comparison of technical specifications of different Kindle Models.
Kindle 4 vs Keyboard vs Touch
|Features||Kindle 4||Kindle Keyboard||Kindle Touch|
|Size||6.5″ x 4.5″||7.5″ x 4.8″||6.8″ x 4.7″|
|Weight||5.98 Ounces||8.5 Ounces||7.5 Ounces|
|Display||E-ink Pearl||E-ink Pearl||E-ink Pearl|
|Storage||1,400 Books||3,500 Books||3,000 Books|
|Battery Life||1 Month||2 Months||2 Months|
|Network||WiFi||3G Plus WiFi||WiFi & 3G|
Kindle Touch vs Kindle Fire vs Kindle DX
|Features||Kindle Touch||Kindle Fire||Kindle DX|
|Size||6.8″ x 4.7″||7.5″ x 4.7″||10.4″ x 7.2″|
|Weight||7.5 Ounces||14.6 Ounces||18.9 Ounces|
|Display||E-ink Pearl||LCD, Color||E-ink Pearl|
|Storage||3,000 Books||6,000 Books||3,500 Books|
|Battery Life||2 Month||7.5 Hours||3 Weeks|
|Network||WiFi & 3G||WiFi||WiFi & 3G|
Recommended reading for Canadians and those living outside USA :-