Amazon Kindle Fire tablet received all of the glory. But the company also has a new e-book reader that features a touchscreen. How does the Kindle Touch stack up, and what's the real story on the display quality of Amazon's fourth-gen Kindles?
When Amazon originally announced its new Kindle line up, the Fire tablet received the most attention. It was the long-rumored product that finally pit the commerce company against Apple. In the resulting comparisons between Fire and iPad, the new Kindles ended up getting ignored, which is unfortunate because many people still find that e-book readers are more practical mobile devices. They're cheap, to begin, and they boast much better battery life than tablets.
We already covered the fourth-gen Kindle in a previous article, but given concerns raised by many of our friends at MobileRead about screen quality, we felt it was important to extend our analysis. Plus, this gives us a chance to give some much-needed attention to the new touchscreen e-book.
How do the Kindle e-book readers fit into Amazon's portfolio? As you might expect, the Fire ends up competing against more expensive tablets as a platform able to support the company's new streaming video service. Meanwhile, the lower-end Kindles represent Amazon's continuing efforts to drive digital book sales.
The newest Kindles come in two flavors: touchscreen and non-touchscreen. Both have undergone drastic facelifts, which primarily center on aesthetics and usability. The silver color scheme and keyboard-less design are perhaps the most noticeable differences.
Again, we already picked apart the non-touchscreen e-book reader to a fair degree. So, now we turn our attention to the Kindle Touch.
|Kindle (Fourth-Gen) Wi-Fi||Kindle Touch Wi-Fi|
|Display||6" E Ink Pearl||6" E Ink Pearl|
|Dimensions||6.5" x 4.5" x 0.34"||6.8" x 4.7" x 0.40|
|5.9 ounces*||7.4 ounces*|
|Battery||Li-ion Polymer 890 mAh (3.7 V)||Li-ion Polymer 1420 mAh (3.7 V)|
|Text to Speech/MP3 Playback||N||Y|
|User Accessible Space||1.35 GiB||3.21 GiB|
|Price||$79 (special offers)|
|$99 (special offers)|
Physically, the differences are marginal. Both Kindles feel the same. They employ the same stiff ABS plastic case and rubberized plastic coating around back for scratch resistance. However, the Kindle Touch is slightly thicker and heavier. But it also features more storage space, text-to-speech functionality, and MP3 playback (as such, you end up with a headphone port).
Beyond that, the two devices employ slightly different interfaces. When Amazon designed the fourth-gen Kindle, it placed the Next Page buttons along a thinner beveled edge, making it a little less convenient to turn a page than on previous Kindles, since you go from pressing the surface of the Kindle to squeezing its side. That's not an issue on the Kindle Touch because you navigate it through the touchscreen exclusively.