Kindle 3G Web Browsing

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.


I am Techie, the webmaster and main author for the w3techie blog.

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30 Responses

  1. James says:

    My real interest is how does the web experience hold up in monochrome? I have a HTC smartphone that lets me browse wirelessly, in color, but the screen is small and requires a good deal of “pinch and zoom” to effectively use the web. The Kindle, with it’s larger screen, should theoretically provide a better experience due to enlarged screen real estate, but does the lack of color negatively impact the browsing experience to the point where I might as well just use my smartphone?

    • Techie says:

      The lack of color doesn’t affect it. However, you’d be much better off browsing on your smartphone. The experience will be much nicer; it’ll take longer to get to an article on a Kindle than on an Android phone. The only way you’d rather use a Kindle instead of your phone is if you don’t have a data plan and want to browse everywhere.

      If you’re only interested in web browsing I’d suggest getting a tablet like the HP TouchPad.

  2. Erik Johnson says:

    Thanks for the great information on the web browsing experience on the Kindle 3 over 3G. I am very disappointed on the inability to stream music. I am sure that will be a feature that is addressed on the the next generations. I pretty much use the Kindle for just reading. SO I guess I can not have it all. If I wanted it all I would just buy and iPAD!

    • Techie says:

      The thing is streaming music would take up so much bandwidth that Amazon would have to re-negotiate data deals and the Kindle would be a lot more expensive or would lose free data.

  3. Rob says:

    Do you know if there are any decent sites which allow you to actually write and publish a blog, all through the Kindle 3G? I’m using but I don’t believe it is particularly user-friendly to blog on the Kindle with it.

    Suggestions appreciated!

    • Techie says:

      Well I don’t think it’s user-friendly to blog through the Kindle anyway. You could try mobile versions of blogging platforms to submit posts but nothing is made to be Kidnle-friendly.

      • Rob says:

        Actually, after a bit of fiddling around I’ve found a combination of Blogger and updating posts by emailing them via Yahoo mobile mail will do the job on the Kindle!

  4. John Hinsley says:

    Yahoo mail doesn’t work at all on Kindle 3G. Tellingly, there’s a default bookmark for Yahoo mail on the wifi version of the browser but not on the 3G version; and when you laboriously type in the Yahoo mobile mail URL into the 3G browser, it doesn’t work. Since this is the only reason I bought the 3G kindle (today) rather than the wifi version, it’s going back to the store tomorrow…

    • Techie says:

      Are you in the 3G coverage area or is it showing that it’s on an edge connection? Yahoo Mail standard should work.

    • Ryan says:

      you actually can use yahoo on the 3G kindle i use ahoo mobile and it works very well sometimes you have to fight to log in but once your loged in i never have any problems

  5. Bill says:

    Yahoo mail (mobile version found at has stopped working on my 3 month old Kindle 3G. It worked fine on 3G until early August. Then it mysteriously stopped with either “Your Kindle is unable to load the requested page” or “There was an error encountered while processing your request”. Funny thing is it still works fine when I access on WiFi. But it does not access anywhere I have tried 3G since August.

  6. Tim says:

    Hi: One of my main reasons for wanting a 3G kindle would be to go on ebay and look at completed listings. Have you ever done this? If so, how well / poorly did it work?

    • Techie says:

      I just visited eBay over the 3G and loaded some listings and they’re loading just fine. All the pictures show and the formatting is alright 🙂 You should have no problem checking the listings.

  7. happycrimper says:

    I’ve heard that amazon are withdrawing the 3G ‘experimental’ web browsing on kindle – does anyone know if this has already happened, or if it just applies to the new kindle models or if it applies to new users of the old versions? Thanks!

  8. Richard says:

    Hi, thanks for the valuable information! But I have some questions about the Kindle and 3G.

    Are there only certain Kindle models that allow free web browsing via 3G? I’ve heard that the newer Kindle Touch 3G only allows you to go to wikipedia and the amazon book store. However, I know the Kindle Keyboard 3G allows web browsing to any website which is great.

    Are there other models that offer free web browsing via 3G?


    • Techie says:

      I haven’t been reading up on a lot of the newer Kindles, but it looks like only the 3G with the keyboard can access any site over 3G for free for now.

  9. C says:

    How about the mobile version of facebook ( Maybe it would better then the full version at Kindle…

  10. kindleuser says:

    Facebook chat does work ive tried and there must be way to listen to music online why cant we?

  11. christopher says:

    i have also been able to chat on facebook when i first got my kindle 3g. i lost my charger and dint use it for a while.when i finally found my charger months later i could still use chat but the messages would not go through to the recipient. i am posting this from my kindle right now. another thing you can do with a kindle is send and receive text messages for free with google voice. it is kind of a pain, but it works.

  12. Roonie says:

    Hello, you seem to know alot about the kindle 3G thanks for all of the info. I have searched the web and your site is the closest I could find to answering my question, but not completely. My question is – can the Kindle 3G (either Keyboard or Touch version), access my music in Amazon Cloud in 3G mode? Thank you for any help.

  13. Marita says:

    I’m considering purchasing a Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display can I get:
    1.) the weather channel hourly. I’m not looking for their animatied radar?
    2.) drive directions. Either yahoo or google?
    3.) movie description and show times. I’m not looking to watch the streaming video of the trailers?

    Thank you.


  14. sid says:

    How do I know whether Kindle touch is 3g supported or not?
    Is there any word or letters on the gadget indicating it’s Kindle 3g

  15. diane says:


    I have a Kindle 3G and I have been using it to access Facebook for several months already. Just recently, I can no longer access using my K3. I tried and it works; however, I can’t type a message nor a comment. I can browse and click “like”.

    Have you too been experiencing this lately? Is there a solution for this?


    • Diane says:

      It worked after about a week. Maybe that was due to Facebook mobile update. All is well now. 🙂

  16. Ellie says:

    Hi. I have a kindle 3g… recently used it all over the world for facebooking purposes. All was great. I came home to Oz and now fb wont work. Diane it sounds similar to your issue. Did u do anything in particular to fix it or to trigger the update that u mentioned.

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