My first thoughts when opening the box were, “Wow, it’s so very thin and small!” Without the keyboard, this thing is tiny! I immediately went to plug it in and noticed that there was no wall plug. Not to worry, I’m a nerd and my house has USB ports in the electrical outlets. Turns out they no longer come with the power adapter, although you can purchase it for $19.99 or $9.99 if it’s on sale. Kind of lame, but heck, it keeps the price point down a bit.
As with the other Kindles, the setup is a breeze, and it walks you through each step. While going through this process I noticed how much sharper the new E Ink display is on this device. I thought it was great on my 2nd Gen Kindle, but there is really no comparison. In just a few moments, I had transferred the books from my old device.
It was during the setup that I noticed that it uses WiFi instead of the 3G Wireless that my 2nd Gen had, which didn’t require searching for WiFi hotspots and connecting to networks. It just did it all automagically. So far this isn’t a big deal as I get most of my books from the Library Website or Amazon via my desktop computer or iPad. I’ll come back and comment on this at a later date if I notice that it’s beginning to be a burden…just something to keep in mind.
With the setup out of the way, I decided to let it sleep and fully charge. That is when I noticed my screensaver. It wasn’t Jane Austin, it wasn’t James Joyce, no, it wasn’t even those fun fishies…it was an ad! Turns out that that $79 Kindle has advertisements as the screensaver as well as a small banner on the bottom of your home screen. At first I was a bit miffed that I fell for this, so I went online to see where I went wrong. Turns out the version without “special offers” is $109. Now, $109 is still pretty a pretty darn good price, but I’ve mentioned before that I’m a cheap S.O.B., so upon learning this I reassured myself that I did the right thing. After all, that extra $30 was pretty much what I spent on my cover, so it’s all good. Honestly, I’m so desensitized to being bombarded with online ads, that it really doesn’t bother me. As long as they don’t start putting their “special offers” within the books I’m reading, I’ll be fine.
It’s basically the same as the previous versions except it doesn’t have a keypad. Instead, if you need to use the keypad, there’s a button you press to deploy the on-screen keypad, and you use the 5-way controller to select letters. I hardly ever used the keypad, and so far, I don’t miss it. The page turning buttons are quite thin and located more on the edge of the device rather than on the front. At first this was awkward for me, but after reading a few chapters I got used to it.
Reading on it is still a little strange since it’s so thin and small, but each time I do, I notice the differences from my old Kindle less and less. I think once my cover arrives, it will give the device the sturdy feel that I’m used to.
One thing I love-Love-LOVE about this new Kindle is how symmetrical it is. Instead of reading “Amazon Kindle” on the top of the device, it just says, “kindle.” Directly below it are the four buttons—back, keypad, menu, and home—with the 5-way controller separating them. The page-turning buttons are located on the sides, a forward and backward button on both the left and right sides of the device. The sleek brushed metal color is also a nice touch.
Coming from the 2nd Gen, I am very happy with this purchase. It’s smaller, lighter, and the display is wonderful. I know it’s the same 6″ display, but I swear it looks bigger on this one! Must be my pride in the new device clouding my vision. I’d say that if you already have the 3rd Gen, or “Kindle Keyboard” as it’s referred to, you won’t notice that much of a difference—aside from the omitted keyboard. If you have a 1st or 2nd Gen Kindle and are looking for something smaller and lighter to carry around, this just might be for you. There is also the Kindle Touch, but that won’t be released until November 21st. If you buy one of these devices, keep in mind they have the option of coming with or without “Special Offers.”