Update: The newest version of the Kindle (the Kindle Touch) offers limited browsing over 3G. The Kindle Touch can only access Wikipedia and the Amazon Market over 3G – when connected to WiFi, the experimental browser can access any site. People with the older Kindle Keyboard 3G are grandfathered into a plan with unlimited 3G browsing.
Wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about the web browsing experience on the Kindle 3 over 3G? (If the answer is no, you’re reading the wrong article.) I want to review my experience on some specific sites to let you know exactly what you should expect. This whole review is about the browsing experience over the 3G network, not over WiFi.
Facebook – The Kindle’s browser has a bookmark to Facebook Touch by default. The touch version works very well; it loads quickly and the picture viewer works. At the time I tested the only real problem was that you couldn’t like or comment on anything because the mouse wouldn’t jump to that button. You can also enter the URL for the full version of Facebook where everything but the chat works (chat doesn’t work on Facebook touch either). For some reason, the whole chat sidebar is missing.
Gmail – Gmail mobile is the slowest site I’ve found so far. It’s not that it takes the page a long time to load, but it take it a long time to render so you’re left with a blank white pages; when everything renders it all shows at the same time. Other than that it’s very responsive and you can send emails, check different mail folders, archive messages, etc.
Google Talk – GTalk works surprisingly well in the browser. Messages are sent and received almost instantly. You could have a whole conversation with someone (if you could type fast enough) and they would never know that you’re on a Kindle! The only issue is that Google Talk uses the Gray/Gree/Orange/Red circles to show whether or not a person is available, and they all look the same on the eInk screen. The only way to know if someone is online is if they appear out of alphabetical order (at the top of the contact list) or if they message you.
Google Maps – Google Maps works very nicely on the Kindle. You can move around the map, zoom in and out, etc. and the Kindle remains pretty responsive, all over the free 3G! Switch the Kindle into landscape mode (by using the text key) to see more of the screen. The only thing it can’t tell you is your location.
Google Music/Pandora/YouTube – You can’t stream music through Google Music, Pandora, or YouTube (even in HTML5 mode) on the Kindle 3G. On the bright side, you can read YouTube comments and look at the tracks you have available on Google Music.
Google Docs – I’ve had strange experiences with Google Docs on the Kindle, it works sometimes and it doesn’t work other times. I’ve had success editing a spreadsheet but couldn’t read a text document.
Dropbox – You can sign in to Dropbox with your Kindle and download files if they’re in AZW, PRC, MOBI, or TXT format, all over 3G.
Sparknotes – Sparknotes is great to get some chapter summaries and it works, but it is a heavy site and it does take a while to load.
Have another site you’d like me to test on the Kindle 3G? Leave a comment below and I’ll let you know how well it loads.