My Kindle Touch is Here – Review Attached

The following is the review I just posted on the Kindle Touch’s web page on the Amazon website – if you think this review is helpful (or not), I would appreciate a “Yes” or “No” vote on the helpfulness of the review on the Amazon website.  You can see the review if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/touchreview into your computer’s web browser; the voting buttons are at the bottom of the review.

I am writing this review from the perspective of being a long-time Kindle user vs. someone brand new to the Kindle experience.

From an overall experience, and considering the price of a Kindle with free 3G, WiFi capabilities, and a touch screen, this Kindle Touch Screen (“KTS”) is a pretty good bargain.  From a size standpoint, it is obviously not as long as my Kindle Keyboard model (“KKB”), but you wouldn’t expect it to be because – ahem – there is no keyboard!

I was in for a surprise when I opened up the box: in the little space carved out to hold the micro-USB cable, which you need to charge the unit, had nothing in it.  In other words, no power cord to get the thing running.  A quick phone call to Amazon’s excellent customer support, and a friendly agent named Mary Ann, has a replacement on its way to me.  Seeing as I have way too many Kindles in my household, I found a power cord and put it on the charger for about an hour before playing with it.

First, let’s talk about the “pros” of the KTS model:

The display is much crisper and darker than the KKB model.  I put a page of the same book on both the KTS and the KKB side-by-side and not in a cover (didn’t want the cover to give an optical illusion or anything), and this model’s text is much better.  I also placed these two models against a Kindle 2, and you can see the improvement in the screen quality with each new model (and the KKB is still darker than the K2 two years into it).

Web surfing speed with the WiFi feature on the KTS is a little faster than the KKB.  Doing a side-by-side test I tried the mobile websites of Fox News and CNN and they popped right up, maybe a half second faster on the KTS model.  Trying the mobile websites of MSNBC and the Houston Chronicle were slower than Christmas, but that is usually the case in my experiences with most mobile devices trying to hit those two websites.  I’m not much of a web surfer with my Kindle, so that feature is really hard for me to evaluate.  When I have my Kindle, I usually want to read a book vs. surf the web or check email.

The on/off button is not a slider like previous versions of Kindles, but is a push-button.  You have to make a deliberate “push” with the button to make it go to sleep vs. sometimes my KKB model will bump against my shirt or jeans and hit the sleep mode in the middle of the page.  I think this is an improvement.

Now for the “cons” of the KTS model:

I really don’t care for the touchscreen.  I thought I would, actually I thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread, but it is a pain in the neck.  I also have man fingers – which means my finger pads are larger than most women and children – and  there have been many times with my short experience with the KTS I meant to touch one thing and ended up going somewhere else entirely because a link right next to the one I wanted was pressed first.  I even pulled out a ballpoint pen top to try to “tap” the right thing, but I had the same problem.

There are no page turn buttons – besides the on / off button I mentioned above there are no buttons at all.  To turn a page forward, you need to tap the right-hand side of the screen.  To page back, you guessed it, you need to tap the left-hand side of the screen.  After using a Kindle for over three years now, I’ve already been “trained” by Amazon on how to turn pages.  Sometimes you think the page forward didn’t register, so you tap it again only to find out it did but there was a delay; now you’re one page ahead of where you wanted to be.  I didn’t figure that out until about the third time when I was thinking the author of a short story just wasn’t making sense.  When I’m reading a book, I get rather absorbed in the process, and “tapping” to page turn gets me distracted (let alone jumping pages ahead of where I want to be).  I wonder how much tapping the screen can physically take before the screens start breaking?

Navigation is rather cumbersome.  If you’re in the middle of a book or web page, for example, and want to go back to your home screen (or to a different book), you don’t just push the home screen: you have to activate the menu bar by pressing and holding near the top of the screen, then start pressing the back arrow buttons.  I would think most people expect to see a “Home” choice if you push the “Menu” button, but I guess it didn’t make the cut.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I’m not too impressed with the KTS model.  It seems as there were a lot of shortcuts taken to get the price down lower, and the method of operation is much different than what I am used to – I realize that had to be done primarily because there are no buttons.  However, when I’m reading, I want to escape and not have to remember too many specific motions and steps: I just want to read!  I hope, however, this new and improved screen is put into all models of Kindle (except the Fire) as it is much superior.

If you’re happy with your “button” versions of the Kindle, I’d stick with them!

My two cents-

Michael

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6 Comments

Filed under Kindle Tips, Misc. and Random Stuff

6 responses to “My Kindle Touch is Here – Review Attached

  1. Tracy

    How is the screen as far as showing fingerprints? That’s been a concern of mine since Amazon announced the touch screen models. I love my K3, but just mildly brushing a piece of dust from the screen with my fingertip can leave a smudge or print (and yes, I do wash my hands quite frequently :-)). It’s easy enough to clean off with a microfiber cloth, but I have the feeling I’d be constantly wiping the touch screen off.

    • Michael Gallagher

      Fingerprints aren’t that much of a problem for me – I got one of the plastic screen protectors. I’d get one if I were you as they are easy to clean, and help protect your Kindle screen from scratches, etc.

  2. “If you’re in the middle of a book or web page, for example, and want to go back to your home screen (or to a different book), you don’t just push the home screen: you have to activate the menu bar by pressing and holding near the top of the screen, then start pressing the back arrow buttons”

    Why wouldn’t you just push the physical home button located on the bottom of the device?

  3. Heather

    If you sweep your finger to the right or left, it also will turn the page forward or backward. I switch back and forth between tapping and swiping. Also, there is a home button. It looks like a speaker but its actually a button and pressing that will take you back to the page with all your books. The only feature I have missed from my Kindle 2 is when want to look up a word in a book that I am unfamiliar with. I can no longer tap my cursor over to the word and see the definition at the bottom. Perhaps there is an easier way that I don’t know about yet? I discovered the swiping to turn pages on accident!

  4. Kevin

    Hi Michael,
    The Kindle Touch does have a home button. It is that four-bar button below the center of the screen. There is no need to touch the top most portion of the screen to get back to the home screen.

  5. kat

    in response to your problem with accidently touching the wrong thing you might try useing a ds/dsi/3ds styles

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