Amazon Kindle 3G Review

Amazon Kindle 3G has no wireless setup requirement; you can just shop, buy, and read straight out of the box. The same wireless signals that cell phones use is built-in Free with 3G; however, you don’t to pay monthly fees or commit.

Kindle’s 3G wireless connectivity is paid for by Amazon. 3G is very convenient because it lets you download books anywhere, at any time. You can use it on the go, even if you can’t find a Wi-Fi hotspot connection. Kindle 3G is great for travelers because it has wireless coverage in more than a hundred countries.

Amazon Kindle 3G Review The Bottom Line
Basically, Kindle 2 is good, but at $189, Amazon Kindle 3G is better. This eReader has a number of fine features, such as an improved display, high speed, social sharing features, and good ergonomics. Adding Wi-Fi to its features makes this even more appealing. We do approve of the fact that the unit that is lighter and thinner, though some of the design changes by Amazon were not to our liking. It would be better if it had a more open platform similar to the Barnes & Noble Nook. This unit only costs $10 more: $199 for 3G + Wi-Fi, $149 for Wi-Fi only. Borders’ Kobo for Wi-Fi only is just $139. Nonetheless, Amazon has good readers, and the Kindle 3G is surely one of the best available today.

Design 
There are a few significant design changes in Amazon’s Kindle 3G, as well as a graphite paint job. Generally, thinner, lighter and smaller footprint describe the new generation. It is about the same size as the Kobo Reader- 7.5 x 4.8 x 0.34 inches and 8.7 ounces. This is quite a change over the previous model, which was 8.0 x 5.3 x 0.36 inches and 10.2 ounces. Another thing Kindle has in common with Kobo is that the back of the device has been changed from metal to a soft-touch coating.

It seems that Amazon had to move around a few internal components in order to make a thinner unit. The On/Sleep/Off slider is now located on the bottom. This is not quite as convenient as before. Also on the bottom are the volume toggle, the headphone jack, and the microUSB port. Buttons along the sides and lower part of the front of the device are better arranged and, for some of them, smaller.

In the past, Kindle had a joystick. Now it has a directional pad that can be found beside the keyboard rather than below the page turning buttons, which are located on the right hand side. The arrow keys are quite narrow, so we are not happy with this change. Sometimes we accidentally hit the BACK button or the MENU button because they have been moved down on the keyboard area. So has the HOME key.

While the keyboard is still usable, we don’t understand why Amazon removed the number row. If you want to use numbers, you must first press the SYM button. Then you must select using the D-pad. It can get tiresome fast when inputting Wi-Fi passwords or location numbers in books.

Display and Reading Experience 
Amazon states that its eInk screen on Amazon Kindle 3G has fifty percent greater contrast than previous offerings. With a side-by-side comparison, the 3G’s text is darker, which makes it easier to read. Images, such as book covers, are improved by this. The cover for NK Jemisin’s “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” has more detail on 3G and is crisper. Thanks to good contrast, you can read outdoors easily.

Users can better control how the text appears on the screen. In addition to the 8 font sizes previously included, you can now choose from 3 typefaces: sans serif, condensed, and regular. More text can fit on a page by making the space between words shorter and condensing the line spacing. It would have been better if there was an option that let us adjust the space by at least one notch. It is possible to change the screen in all 4 directions manually; however, there is not a built-in accelerometer as you would find on the Kindle DX.

It is a little faster to turn pages on 3G than on Kindle 2. It takes a little less than a second.

Wireless and Whispernet 
Kindle 3G offers Wireless and Whispernet via 3G connectivity and AT&T. With Whispernet, you can now get free access to AT&T hot-spots nationwide as well as 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Whispernet works globally, just like Kindle 2; therefore, world travelers can enjoy taking it along. The device uses a 3G connection by default; however, when users connect to a wireless hotspot, Kindle switches automatically while in range.

The Amazon Kindle 3G was found to be speedier than the Kindle 2 during our wireless tests. Here are a few download times as an example:
– How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (443KB) downloaded in 10 seconds.
– The Federations Anthology (717KB) downloaded in 15 seconds.
– The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (545KB) downloaded in 16 seconds.

Log into your Amazon.com account to manage your Kindle 3G remotely. Besides adding subscriptions there, you can retransmit books to your device(s) as well as access notes and highlights through kindle.amazon.com. With Whispersync, your last page read, notes, bookmarks and books are synchronized along with your phone/tablet applications.

Content 
There is extensive content available for the Amazon Kindle 3G – 700,000 books that include over ninety percent of the bestsellers listed with the NY Times. Amazon Kindle 3G is unable to read ePub files, unlike the majority of other recent eReaders. Amazon has a very large catalog; however, the fact that Kindle is limited to it can be problematic. There are a few exceptions, such as some eBook stores that market non-DRM.mobi files. For this reason, users are unable to compare prices at popular book sites. You won’t be able to transfer your books from Amazon if you decide you want to get a different e-reading device.

It is enjoyable to read magazine content on the Amazon Kindle 3G, even though the screen is not as big as that found on the DX. Now you can get newspapers and magazines as single issues or by subscription. There are 134 newspapers and 65 magazines available. Once purchased, you have two weeks to cancel your subscription. With a subscription, you will automatically receive new editions overnight or each time you activate Whispernet.

Now there are almost 10,000 blogs you can select with subscriptions starting at 99 cents. That’s a bargain, however free is best, so you probably want to use Kindle’s web browser, which is currently Webkit based and an upgrade from the old version.

Sharing, Searching, and Notes 
The full keyboard and D-pad make it very easy to use Wikipedia or Google to search a book’s text for definitions. By moving the cursor, you will be able to access brief word definitions automatically. You can also search more complete definitions with just a couple of clicks.

It’s easy to make notes and highlights, and you can also share them on FaceBook and Twitter. Amazon includes a link, and the contents of the note become the text of the status update. Be aware that when sharing notes, you must limit yourself to a hundred characters to fit Twitter. This is minus characters necessary for URL & hashtag. There is no character limit to highlighted passages. A link will be included in the status update on your friends page at kindle.amazon.com.

There is not a simple way to export notes from an individual book; however, users can find all highlights and notes using the My Clippings file on Kindle and online using a variety of applications. It would be a good idea if Amazon had a way to put all of the info, included in the text file as well as all the group notes pertaining to a specific book, together rather than listing them chronologically. However, being able to Clip and save an entire magazine article is great, specifically if you are doing research.

Documents 
Just like previous Kindles, this version is capable of reading a number of different document formats such as RTF, TXT, HTML, DOC/.DOCX, PDF & Word. PDF documents are supported natively by this device; however, word processing documents and some other types of files must be converted.

In the past, if users wanted to convert documents, they had to email them to their Kindle for a fee of 15 cents per megabyte. Then they could have wireless delivery via 3G. If you want to convert your files, you have to send them to @free.kindle.com and then wait for the file to come back as an email. Then you can side-load it. When Kindle is connected to Wi-Fi, users can download files from @free.kindle.com for free.

You will only be able to access the My Clippings file online, even though notes and highlights do work in most documents, including PDF.

Software & Ecosystem 
Amazon does not utilize an open format for books; however, users are not just stuck with reading on Kindle. Apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry are provided by the manufacturer. They work on smart phones as well as on tablets, such as the iPad or the soon to be released Samsung Galaxy Tab and Blackberry PlayBook. Desktop software for PC and Mac are available.

In the newer versions of these applications and programs, notes can be created, edited and highlighted. While this is a good option for students, it really doesn’t add much to the reading experience. Users are unable to create and manage collections, nor can they ad notes to social networking sites, since these are most likely features only available on the Kindle.

The most recent versions of these programs and applications will allow for creating, editing and syncing highlights and notes. The functionality should be particularly useful for students.

The applications and programs don’t offer many extras other than adding notes and reading. It is not possible to share to social networks via the desktop software (as it is with Kindle). As it seems to be a function for Kindle only, creating or managing collections cannot be done here.

Web Surfing 
When surfing the web, you are sure to find that the WebKit browser improves on older versions; however, it still isn’t like iPad. Users still need to push Next Page to move down the page, which isn’t practical. Nonetheless, if you are viewing sites like NationalGeographic.com that are heavy on media, you will get an accurate view. Even the rotating features refresh regularly and the complex style sheet is appropriately rendered. Still, it doesn’t seem likely that this browser would be good for anything other than quick searches, regardless of the fact that the speed has been increased.

Options and Accessories 
Two colors are available for the Amazon Kindle 3G: white or graphite. Kindle Wi-Fi is lower priced at $139. It has similar features to the  Amazon Kindle 3G; however, its connection is just 802.11b/g.

There are 2 covers available for this generation of Kindle. One is a standard burgundy cover. The other is a black leather case that includes a light. The light is made of plastic. It is thin and slides into the case for storage when not in use. It will only turn on when it is fully extended. Here is another nice addition. The light, which is powered by Kindle, will not burn if the reader is in sleep mode. It only functions when Kindle is turned on. This case weighs as much as the eReader (8 oz.) however, it does feel like it could protect the reader in any event.

Battery Life 
According to Amazon, the  Amazon Kindle 3G can operate for a month on just one battery charge without wireless. If you are using wireless, it can last as long as ten days. We used this device for over 4 days with wireless turned on, and the battery was not even decreased by half. However, two days with the wireless off, the battery meter barely budged.

I hope you enjoyed the Amazon Kindle 3G review, have a good day.