Update: This is a review of the Kindle 3G Keyboard – the review was written when the device was called the Kindle 3G.
I’ve been playing around with a Kindle 3G and now I’m writing a detailed review to help you decide if you’d like to own one. I’ve noticed that some other reviews only lightly touch on the Kindle’s extra features and this is what I want to focus on. In this review I will go over performance, web browsing, MP3 listening, image viewing, and ebook reading.
The main advantage of the Kindle over some other ebook readers and tablets is the eInk screen. This technology gives is an amazingly clear, easy to read display and extremely long battery life. The display is so realistic that when you first receive the kindle it actually looks like there’s a sticker on the screen (and it’s actually the real screen). The refresh rate isn’t as fast as an LCD screen but it hasn’t bothered me; you can see how fast it is on video reviews.
The Kindle 3G has free 3G connectivity in over 100 countries, and this one of it’s greatest features. 3G is provided by AT&T and allows unlimited web browsing. The Kindle has an experimental WebKit-based browser that has exceeded my expectations. You can use it for basic browsing – reading the news and wikipedia, but you can also go beyond that. You can use it to send emails, browse Facebook, and even use Google Maps! It even works perfectly with Google Talk.
However, I couldn’t find a way to work Facebook chat, and it won’t load flash so you can’t listen to Pandora or Google Music, and you can’t watch YouTube videos (although you can read through the comments). I tried YouTube through their experimental HTML5 but it still wouldn’t work.
The Kindle 3 can play MP3s as well as an iPod shuffle. You don’t see song names or music information. You can start or stop the music and skip a song. MP3s can’t be downloaded over the browser so you need to paste them into the Music folder over USB.
You can actually look through images pretty well. I browsed around Facebook picture albums over 3G and pictures would load almost instantly in great quality. A Kindle isn’t the best device to view pictures on but it works.
Every other Kindle review will tell you how nice it is to read books in direct sunlight and before going to bed. I want to touch on the text-to-speech feature. You can get the Kindle to read to you so you can just follow along. It has a text-to-speech engine that has room for improvement but is bearable. In English you can choose between a male or a female voice, with a reading speed of slower, default, or faster.
At the bottom of the screen you’ll get a percent of how much of the book you’ve finished. You’ll also see popular highlights (this is great if you want to see the important quotes to analyze, but it can also be disabled in the settings).
Reviewed by w3techie.