Kindle 4 Review: Is It the Perfect eReader?

September 30, 2011 · 10 comments

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I’ve had my new Kindle (the newest version of the basic Kindle) for two days and have logged several hours of quality reading time on it. It’s not a terribly complicated piece of equipment, so I can with confidence review the little guy.

The Kindle 4 (quarter not included)

The Kindle 4 (quarter not included)

[I also have a one-minute video review that you can watch here.]

Now, I’m not going to talk about its tech specs (you can see those on the Kindle’s page on Amazon), because that’s boring. Just know that it’ll hold more ebooks than you have. And though I’ll touch on it a bit, I’m not going to talk at length about how it compares to the Kindle 3 (I’ve done that in a previous post and video). I’m not going to talk about what’s included in the box (I do that in the unboxing video).

What I AM going to talk about is the overall reading experience. Because this IS an e-reader, after all.

Simply put, it’s hard to imagine a device better suited for just reading. It’s very small and light. The 6” screen is clear and easy to read. It seems just about the same as the screen on the third generation Kindle (now called the Kindle Keyboard). Page turning speed is about the same, too. In other words, the screen is clear, the text is easy to read, and the pages turn relatively quickly.

It’s a joy to read with. It does what it’s supposed to do perfectly.

But web browsing on it is a bit tedious because of the small screen, but it’s doable. Here’s a video (click here if you can’t see it):

As you can see in the video, typing anything on this Kindle is kind of a pain. While the keyboard on the K3 was big ugly, at least it was functional.

But the thing is… You don’t buy a Kindle so you can surf the web. You buy it so you can have a simple and enjoyable reading experience. Don’t buy this Kindle if you want to listen to music (it has no speakers or headphone jack), browse the web (the screen is too small), or write a novel (the on-screen keyboard isn’t the easiest thing in the world to use). Oh, and there currently is no 3G version of the Kindle 4, so if you buy a lot of ebooks while traveling in remote areas, this might not be for you. And despite what you see in this photo, it’s not really pocket-sized. Sure, it *can* fit in a pocket, but that doesn’t mean you *want* to have it in your pocket.

The screen looks great.

The screen looks great.

Do buy this Kindle if you want a cheap ($79 with special offers, $109 without), very functional, well-made, and even stylish ereader. The reading experience is wonderful. The biggest compliment I can give this thing is that it disappears while I read. I don’t notice that I’m holding a chunk of plastic and metal. I’m able to forget all about that and focus on the book.

Awesome.

If I want a media-rich experience, I’ll pull out my MacBook Air or wait till November 16 when my Kindle Fire gets here.

But now I’m facing a dilemma. I now have two Kindles, the Kindle 3 (officially called the Kindle Keyboard now) and the Kindle 4 (officially just called the Kindle). Do I sell one? If so, which one? Or do I keep both?

This is a tough one. I travel a lot, so I do like the 3G on my Kindle 3. It saved my butt when I lost my phone in the Nevada desert (but that’s a story for another time). Using the 3G (which is FREE, by the way!!), I bought, downloaded, and started reading a new book while on a long bus ride in Texas. Another time I checked my email on the rim of the Grand Canyon. That’s just plain cool.

But all of that aside, I think I’ll find myself reaching more often for the Kindle 4 when I want to read. It’s smaller, lighter, and sexier.

In other words, it’s the perfect e-reader.… As long as all you’re doing with it is reading.

Click here to check out the Kindle 4 on Amazon.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

PDF Guy October 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

How does the New Kindle 4 handle PDF’s … it would be great if you could do a video review on that.

Tristan October 1, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Sure thing. Here’s the video I made :D >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOhuIGIsqA4

PDF Guy October 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

Great video… thank you.

YH October 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

is new kindle able to view chinese ebook? eg. Can you try out a prc sample from following link : “http://www.haodoo.net/?M=book&P=55″?

Tristan October 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

The link didn’t work.

YH October 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

try this link for the ebook: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1486671/55a.prc
here is sample of screenshot when view under Kindle for PC: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1486671/sample.PNG

Tristan October 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Yes, it does read Chinese ebooks. I uploaded that file to my Kindle and recorded a video of it. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0JLrOKOBbY

YH October 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Great! Thanks for the video!

DSC November 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm

hows the battery life, I now it says a month on 30 min of reading a day but do you think that’s adequate? What are your thoughts

Tristan November 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Yeah, I definitely think it’s adequate. I mean, how often are you going to be away from a charger for a month at a time? Charging it is no big deal. Plug it in before you go to bed and it’s fully charged and ready for another month by the next morning.

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