KINDLE TOUCH 3G
Amazon, $189 amazon.com ★★★★
IT’S not a tablet, but it borrows tablet features. Amazon’s most advanced e-book reader ditches buttons, throws away its keyboard and delivers a touchscreen instead.
The Kindle Touch 3G, the fourth to reach Australia, has further tricks up its sleeve. It is 11 per cent smaller and 8 per cent lighter than its predecessor, has a clearer Electronic Ink screen and can be used right out of the box. Those diving into its menus will appreciate a new speaker that lets the Kindle read to them, and Wikipedia and Google searches.
While this Kindle has received a technological overhaul, it doesn’t feel too different and its 220g will go unnoticed in your hand during long reading sessions or in your bag.
Turn it on, however, and old users may need help to navigate that new touchscreen.
Its screen is split into three touchy areas: one large landing pad on right side, a small column down the left, and a bar up top. Users tap the right area to turn a page, the left to turn back and the top area to get its menu. A ‘‘ home’’ button shows its list of books. This new touchy-feely approach makes it very easy to navigate books and Amazon’s virtual bookstore, although menu options can be confusing at first.
The touchscreen can also be used to look up words in its dictionary (by holding a finger on a word), to engage text-to-speech that reads books out loud, to change the font or font size, and to perform web searches using its included 3G internet connection.
Despite these extras, its battery will still run for up to two months with 3G off.
Unfortunately, Australians don’t get the discounts afforded by Amazon’s sponsored Kindles and face a more limited e-book range. But the device delivers a simple and comfortable way to read large tomes.