Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device

Buy From Amazon
Amazon's latest refresh of its popular Kindle eBook reader is leaner, meaner, and now less than $200. For just $189, the Kindle 3G offers improved battery life, display technology, and can connect over Wi-Fi as well as 3G. In almost every way, Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology is an improvement over the previous generation, with a few minor exceptions. Regardless, bookworms will find the Kindle 3G to be one of the best eReaders on the market.


Aside from the graphite paint job, Amazon also brought some significant design changes in the Kindle 3G. Overall, this new generation is thinner and lighter and has a smaller footprint. At just 7.5 x 4.8 x 0.34 inches and 8.7 ounces (compared to 8.0 x 5.3 x 0.36 inches and 10.2 ounces for the previous model ), it's almost as small and light as the Kobo Reader. The Kindle shares one other similarity to the Kobo: The back of the device, which used to be metallic, now has a soft-touch coating.
In making the unit thinner, it looks like Amazon had to shuffle some internal components around. Now the On/Sleep/Off slider is on the bottom--less convenient, but only a minor annoyance--along with the microUSB port, headphone jack, and volume toggle. The buttons on the sides and lower portion of the device's face are more streamlined and, in some cases, smaller.
The page turn buttons are one of the more obvious changes, being only 0.16 inches thick instead of the 0.4-inch thickness on the Kindle 2. We had feared that the narrower buttons would affect ease of use, but all four are easy to press, yet firm, making for good feedback and a sturdy feel. There are now both Next and Previous Page buttons on both sides, so both left and right-handed readers can use their dominant hand. Plus, the Next Page buttons remain the same length as before, allowing users to rest their thumbs comfortably on them no matter what size hand they have. We had no trouble keeping our thumb in place and our eyes on the display as we read.The joystick of Kindles past has been replaced with a directional pad that sits next to the keyboard instead of under the page turn buttons on the right side. We're not fans of this change, as the arrow keys here are very narrow, and occasionally caused us to accidentally hit the Menu and Back buttons, which have moved down to the keyboard area along with Home.The keyboard remains usable, but we're not sure why Amazon got rid of the number row. To access numbers, users have to press the SYM button, then use the D-pad to select. When entering Wi-Fi passwords or location numbers in books, this quickly becomes tedious.

Display and Reading Experience

Amazon claims that the e-Ink screen on the Kindle 3G has 50 percent more contrast than the previous generation. Comparing the two side by side, text on the 3G is darker, which makes reading easier. Images benefit from this improvement as well: The cover for N. K. Jemisin's "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" is crisper on the 3G, and slightly more detail is visible. The greater contrast also makes reading outdoors easier and more pleasurable.
Users have more control over how the text looks on screen. As before, there are eight font sizes to choose from, but now you can also choose between three typefaces: regular, condensed, and sans serif. Users can also fit more text on a page by shortening the space between words, as well as condensing the amount of space between the lines. We would have appreciated an option that allowed us to increase the space at least one notch as well. There's no built-in accelerometer as with the Kindle DX, but you can manually change the screen orientation in all four directions.
Page turns on the 3G are a hair faster than the Kindle 2, coming in at just under a second.


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