The Kindle 3 is the latest entrant into the already crowded e-reader market, and if you believe the hype from some quarters of the Web – we certainly do – this sleek gray machine is the best electronic reading device Amazon has ever manufactured. But how does the Kindle 3 stack up against the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Borders Kobo, or even the Apple iPad? Let's take a look at the scorecards.
Over at PC World, the Kindle 3 gets a rave review for its slim profile. "For the first time, I could comfortably hold a Kindle e-reader in one hand," notes reporter Melissa J. Perenson. "At 246 grams, the Kindle is not the lightest such device on the market – the Kobo eReader, which also has a 6-inch display, is about 28 grams lighter; and the Bookeen Cybook Opus is lighter still, at 150 grams."
Still, Perenson continues, the new Kindle is much lighter than its predecessor. "[B]etween its lighter weight and its more compact design, I could immediately tell that using the third-generation Kindle would be a more pleasing experience than with earlier models," Perenson notes. "The unit felt very balanced in the hand, and the buttons felt like they were in convenient, ergonomic places."
The newest Amazon e-reader – technically, the device is just called the Kindle, but most of the tech press has dubbed it the "Kindle 3," if only for the sake of convenience – ships in two versions: $189 for a Kindle 3 with 3G support, and a Wi-Fi-only version for a very reasonable $139. Both editions are winning high praise for their displays, which reviewers say is exceptionally easy on the eyes.
"[T]he thing that grabs your attention most is the screen. Yes, it's the same size as prior Kindle's but the e-ink is clearer, with Amazon bringing an all-new ink solution to the device," writes Marc Chacksfield of Tech Radar. "It's of a higher contrast and even under the brightest sunlight, it looks brilliantly clear. The fonts have also been tweaked to be easier on the eye and pages turn that little bit faster."
The resident critics at PC Advisor, meanwhile, love the rejiggered navigation on the Kindle 3, which moves the home button to the bottom of the keyboard, and replaces the joystick on the Kindle 2 with a five-way navigation square. "We found this organization easy to adapt to, and certainly better than the comparatively stiff joystick," the PC Advisor reviewers write.
Their conclusion: "[The] solid build quality, improved design, integrated store, and cross-platform transportability (books are usable on any Kindle reader app, including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and PC) all add up to a winner poised to top the pack."