Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2012 Contents eREADERS
The Kindle Touch 3G gives eReader fans a great E Ink screen,
an innovative X-Ray feature, and more ways to get free books.
Amazon’s Kindle family finally includes an eReader
with a touch screen. The Kindle Touch 3G uses infrared
sensors to enable finger input on a crisp E Ink display
and includes new features such as a Lending Library
for Amazon Prime members and X-Ray.
Simple would be the best word to describe the
Kindle Touch 3G’s design. Its gray face is a shade
lighter than the non-touch Kindle, which we found
kept our eyes better focused on the screen.
What makes the Kindle Touch 3G truly differ-
ent than its Kindle cousins is the lack of physical
buttons in favor of an IR-based touch interface.
Two thin sensors sit along the sides of the screen,
and when your finger interrupts the infrared
beams, the device registers a touch. Other than
the physical home button, everything is done via
touch, including device navigation, page turns,
note taking, and searches.
Within books, the navigation system, called
EasyReach, separates the screen into three basic
regions. Tapping the top of the display launches
tool bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
Tapping the far left of the display turns to the
previous page, while tapping anywhere else
moves the content forward.
Once we understood how EasyReach worked, we
found it responsive and easy to use, but we had to
read the user guide first. We would have preferred
to have physical buttons as an additional option.
There are a ton of hidden features in the Kindle
Touch. For instance, long-pressing on a title on the
home screen displays a thumbnail of the cover and
a menu of options, including sorting that book into
a collection, jumping to a specific spot in the book,
and viewing notes.
Reading books, even in direct sunlight, is a
pleasure on the Kindle’s screen. The 6-inch E Ink
Pearl display, with a 800 x 600-pixel resolution
at 167 ppi, is comparable to what’s found on the
Nook. Cartoons in The New Yorker were
reproduced well. However, illustrations of
warriors on horseback in Sun Tzu’s A rt of
War weren’t as crisp as we’d like.
With 4GB of internal storage, the Touch
3G can hold up to 3,000 books. Amazon
boasts more than 1 million titles with
800,000 for less than $9.99.
Amazon lets anyone download and read
the first chapters of a book for free. But if
you subscribe to the Prime membership
service (one-month free trial followed by
$79 per year), you can borrow from among
5,000 books. You only get access to one
book per month, but there are no due dates.
Some big-name options include Kitchen
Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and The
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Amazon, like Barnes & Noble, lets users
lend some Kindle books to other Kindle
or Kindle app users. Eligible books—
those marked as Lending Enabled on
the product details page—can be lent
for up to 14 days.
One of our favoritesources for free eBooks,
the public library, is now accessible from
the Kindle Touch 3G. eBooks from 11,000
local institutions retain Kindle features such
as notes and highlights.
The Share feature connects to your social
networks, allowing you to link to a passage within
the book. In Twitter, the service automatically
adds the hashtag #Kindle to the message, and
in Facebook it pulls up a thumbnail image of the
It might not have the buzz of the Fire, but
Amazon’s other touch-enabled eReader has
plenty going for it, too. The $149 Touch 3G has
anywhere connectivity, a great E Ink screen, and
innovative features such as X-Ray. Still, we prefer
the Barnes & Noble Nook Touch, which has a more
intuitive interface and physical page-turn buttons
(though it lacks a headphone jack). But if you
believe that touch and 3G access is the way to
go, the Kindle Touch 3G is the eReader for you.
— Anna Attkisson
It was easy to
type on the
as long as we
Display Size/Resolution: 6 inches/800 x 600
Touchscreen: Yes Storage: 4GB Wireless:
3G, 802.11b/g/n Ports: microUSB, heapdhone
eBook Formats: AZW, PDF, unprotected MOBI,
PRC natively Document Formats: DOC, DOCX,
HTML, TXT Battery Life: 8 weeks Size: 6.8 x
4.7 x 0.4 inches Weight: 7.8 ounces
Crisp E Ink screen
Free books through Amazon
Multiple book-lending features
Social networking sharing
Interface requires learning curve
No physical page-turn buttons
Laptop | February 2012
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