The Kindle 3 is here and I am amazed at what all Amazon has done to it in just a few years. The unit is lighter, thinner and has much higher contrast. The battery runs for up to 30 days of reading, and it is easy to carry around. Available in Wi-Fi only and 3G+Wi-Fi models, the e-book reader features a full qwerty keyboard, a D-pad to navigate the menu, micro USB port to connect to a charger (it can play MP3 files, but does not have a memory card slot), 3.5 mm jack for external headphones and good quality built-in stereo speakers.
The new Kindle, which many are calling Kindle 3, now supports pdf files natively. You can also read your pdf documents by emailing them to your Kindle email id (at [email protected]). Though e-paper technology is not ideal for web browsing, also included is the WebKit browser.
The good part about file transfers using Wi-Fi is that you are not charged any fee by Amazon. However, in case you have the 3G+Wi-Fi model and Wi-Fi is not available, you will have to pay a charge of $0.99 per MB of data, and all that can add up.
Newspapers and magazines for Kindle are still more expensive than their print variants, and books have to be bought from the Amazon store in the US. Also remember, if a copy of a particular book costs Rs 300 in India, it would be $10 or above on Amazon.
I ordered the Kindle online and it took about two weeks to reach me, even though Indian Customs took only two days to clear it. The unit’s cost was $139, but after paying for shipping, duties, etcetera, I paid about $210 for it—roughly Rs 10,000. The 3G+Wi-Fi unit is priced at $189.
Amazon has reduced the size of the page turn buttons, which are now on both sides of the device, and moved the D-pad into the tight keyboard space, which makes a lot of sense. The unit looks smaller because of this and is easier to carry around.