Amazon Kindle Touch review
|Review: September 2012|
In a nutshell: The Kindle Touch has all the benefits of the original Kindle, but with an intuitive touchscreen interface, stereo speakers, more memory and twice the battery life.
Easy to use
The Kindle Touch is an advanced version of the original Amazon Kindle e-reader. Instead of the button controls of the original, the Kindle Touch has a touchscreen, so you can scroll up and down pages by dragging your finger across the screen. Just tap on the screen to turn a page. The user interface has been carefully designed to let you read single-handedly.
Like a book, but better
The Kindle Touch uses the same e-ink technology that made the original Kindle the best tablet available for reading e-books. Unlike conventional LCD screens, the Kindle Touch uses e-ink for a realistic ink-on-paper experience. High contrast, a matte finish, custom-designed fonts and no glare make reading a Kindle screen just as easy on the eyes as reading from a book. And features like adjustable font sizes and zooming in on text and illustrations can make it easier for anyone of a certain age who finds reading tiring. Even in bright sunlight, you won't find any difficulty reading the text.
Downloading & reading
There's a wealth of books, magazines and newspapers available for the Kindle, including over a million free classic books. You can access the Kindle store on Amazon using Wi-Fi, so as long as you have access to a wireless network, you can browse, buy and download directly to your Kindle without any need for a PC or laptop. Downloads normally take a minute or less. You can also access Kindle material you've downloaded on other mobile devices like smartphones, iPads, etc.
You'll find a range of features in the device to enhance the reading experience. Tap on a word to look up its meaning in the built-in New Oxford English Dictionary or on Wikipedia. Use the virtual keyboard to make annotations, notes or search the web. You can also share your thoughts with other Kindle users, share quotations on social media, and find out what other readers think about what you're reading.
As well as having a touchscreen user interface, the Kindle Touch has built-in stereo speakers. This allows it to convert text-to-speech as well as offering audiobook and mp3 support.
More expensive and heavier
You do pay a price for this though. The Kindle Touch costs £40 more than the basic Kindle, and it's also bulkier and heavier. It's still much lighter than rival tablets though, so don't let this fact put you off unduly. The Kindle Touch can certainly be held one-handedly and the design of the touchscreen user interface makes it easy to use in this way.
The Kindle Touch comes with twice as much memory as the original, so you can store up to 3,000 books. For all practical purposes, however, the 1,400 book capacity of the original Kindle is going to be more than enough for 99% of users.
Longer battery life
Battery life is also doubled compared with the original. Because the e-ink screen uses much less power than an LCD display, and because the functionality of the device is limited, the battery life is far greater than typical tablets or even mobile phones. With Wi-Fi switched off you should be able to get up to two months' use between charges if you read for an average of 30 minutes per day. The device is easily recharged using the supplied USB cable.
Conclusion - the best Kindle?
The Kindle Touch extends the capabilities of the original Kindle. You get sound and a touchscreen interface. Many people find the touchscreen interface easier and more intuitive, especially if you use any of the advanced interactive features - it's much easier to look up a word in the dictionary if you can simply tap on it, for example. The extra weight is not huge, but could be a factor for some. It's really a question of whether the extra features are worth the extra money, and only you can decide that.
Amazon Kindle Touch features include:
- Display: 6 inch e-ink Pearl display with optimised fonts, 600 x 800 pixels, 167 ppi, 16-level grey scale
- Memory: 4 GB internal (approximately 3 GB available for user content - enough for up to 3,000 books)
- Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), USB 2.0 (used for charging)
- Web browser
- USB cable included
- Formats supported: Kindle (AZW), Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced(AA,AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion
- Size: 172 x 120 x 10.1 mm
- Weight: 213g
- Battery life: up to 2 months with Wi-Fi off and 30 minutes of reading per day
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