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Kindle Touch review

Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Other, Reviews

A year or so ago, my sister and I were able to get our hands on a Kindle (gen 3). We posted a review of it, on our sites. Now I’m in a position to compare the Kindle 3 to Kindle Touch (and also iPod Touch/iPhone and iPad 2).

Kindle Touch iPod Touch



Excuse the poor quality of the first photo. I really should learn to do it a little better (or get a real camera).

First of all, I’d like to say, though I hesitate to even make the comparison, for reasons I’ll get into later, that I very much prefer to read a printed book. That goes without saying. Or – I suppose I should say that if someone forced me to choose, I’d always go for the printed books. Fortunately, that’s not how it is. I can, and will read both and enjoy both types of book, if not exactly equally, then quite close enough.

I should also mention that I’ve decided, at least for the moment, never to pay for an e-book, unless the online bookstores should start to offer package deals. If so, I’d gladly pay a little more to get the same title in both formats.

Now back to the Kindle. When I tried the Kindle 3, I found it easy to use and pleasant to read from, though, in all fairness I’ve never really had any problem reading from a computer screen or smart phone display either.

When I found myself able to get a Kindle myself, only the Kindle 3G Keyboard and Kindle (4) were available. Strangely enough, only a day or so after I began to consider buying my e-reader I found that the Kindle Touch was now on offer as well.

So I ordered mine and waited. Kindle 3 arrived after barely two days, all the way from the US. Kindle Touch took a bit longer(about a week), but that wasn’t too bad.


In some ways the two Kindles are more or less exactly the same, at least as far as ease of use is concerned. Of course, there were more superficial differences. Kindle Touch is a little sturdier, not as thin and I think, a bit smaller overall, than Kindle 3. That extra weight is absolutely no problem. In fact, if anything, Kindle Touch is even easier to hold in your hand. The touch interface is a little different, but other than that, it feels the same as the older Kindle.

File transfer

Dowloading books is just as easy as on the older Kindle. You just log on to your Amazon account (or find the book you want on Gutenberg or other free classics site, then click to download. If you turn the wifi on, the book will download automatically. If you’d rather not waste battery (though unless you download dozens of books every day, you’ll hardly notice the drain), or if wifi isn’t available, you can just plug your usb cable into your computer and drag and drop the file. At least that works with Gutenberg. I haven’t tried it from Amazon or any other site yet. In the past I’ve read free classics on the computer or on my iPod Touch. On the Kindle the book looks a lot better. In all honesty, a printed book looks even better, but it’s a step in the right direction.


As for free books – there are plenty available. Above all, you can get thousands of free classics, mainly in English, but also in other languages – for instance, Jules Verne’s classical sf stories are available on Project Gutenberg. Sadly, I must say that the selection of Swedish books is pathetic.

There are also, again mainly in English, plenty of new books available for free on Amazon or other sites. Admittedly, many of those are of a somewhat lower quality than the ones you pay for, though not always. If you’re lucky you can find temporary offers. Books that normally cost 5 dollars or more will for a limited time cost nothing. If you keep an eye on Amazon’s site you’ll find a couple of those freebies every day.

One my complaints when it comes to the iPod Touch/iPhone is that the display is too small to comfortably read. It’s not the size of the font that bothers me, though if it does bother you, it’s easy to adjust the text size (you can do that on the Kindle as well). It’s just that you have to turn pages so many times. At a guess, I’d say at least twice as many time for books of comparable size. On the other hand, I’ve also tried the iPad 2 and that’s too big and heavy to comfortably read a book on.

I’m not big on reading news – with a few exceptions, I mostly just scan the headlines – but when I’ve tried it on IOS I’d say that the iPad is pretty much ideal. In many countries you should also be able to watch videos and movies (as well as tv) on the iPad. Of course you can also do it on the iPod Touch/iPhone, and it works up to a point, but just imagine watching more than a clip or short movie on something the size of your palm. If that’s all you have (like on a trip), then sure, you can do it, but at least I wouldn’t choose to do it for long. I have also tried reading Tintin on the iPad, and that’s almost as good as reading a printed comic book – in some ways better.

Color or not?

Unlike on the i-devices, on the Kindle Touch you don’t get color. When it comes to most fiction for grownups and older kids and many types of textbooks that’s fine, but like I said, for news sites, comic books, tv/movies, you need something in color and something a bit bigger. So I guess it depends on what you want to do with your device. If money isn’t a problem – or you’re like me who never upgrades a gadget until I have to, and will happily hold on to stuff older than five years old, if they just continue to work, you could go for two or more devices but if you’re like most people, you’ll have to decide which is more important to you – text or images. If it is text then I’d suggest the Kindle in some form.

Battery and storage space

The Kindle Touch has about the same (excellent) battery time as the older Kindles and about the same storage space. The new Kindle 4 has a lot less of both, but should still be a good deal for you if the price consideration is most important. If you hardly ever read fiction and/or you’re a student of other disciplines than art/humanities and social sciences, then you might want to consider something in color, like the iPad, Kindle Fire or one of the other tablets and e-readers available.

Of course, cheapest of all would be to read on your iPhone or other smart phone, since most people need some kind of phone. A bit off topic, but at least related: you can get a bunch of free books for your IOS device too. Just search the iBooks bookstore. In the past weeks I’ve read a number of excellent and a few not so good sf, fantasy and crime novels (and quite a few short stories/novellas). Some of those might end up on my book reviews page later on.

Library books

I’ve been told that there’s an application that converts epub books into mobi format, which means you could read library books on your Kindle. I haven’t tried that myself yet, but when/if I do, I’ll comment on it here on the blog.

In any case, if you want to read library books, an IOS device would be simpler. Here in Sweden it’s easy to download free library books to your computer, then if you have a dropbox or similar file storage app, you can open the book in some book app (I use Bluefire). Usually, there are some limitations on how many e-books you’re allowed to borrow in a given time and also a time limit for how long you get to keep the book before it disappears from your device. Here it’s three books per week (and you can keep them up to three weeks).

Audio books

I’m not that much into audio books, but the Kindle and (I think) the IOS devices can handle those too. My mother is keen on audio books, and when we’ve got her some, I’ll see if I can persuade her to share her experiences here. At least I’ll interview her and post about it later.

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