Unboxing the New Amazon Kindle 3

Yesterday, I received my Kindle 3. It was all I could do to keep from opening the box. However, I wanted to share the “unboxing experience” with you, so I waited until I got home so Gail, my wife, could video tape the whole thing. (I did the same thing with Kindle 2.)

This is now the third Kindle I have bought. You’d think Amazon would send these free (hint, hint) to major publishers, but they don’t. The good news is that my Kindle library migrates effortlessly from device to device. In fact, I can even read my Kindle books on my iPhone, my iPad, and my Mac.

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I have been using the iPad for the past few months, but, frankly, I don’t think it is the best device for pure reading. While multiple apps and multi-tasking sound good initially, I found them distracting after a few weeks use.

This is where the Kindle shines. It is pretty much a single app machine. As a result, the reading experience is immersive and much less distracting. I find that it is easier to keep reading and stay focused.

Although I discuss my raw, unfiltered impressions in the video, I have included them here in case you would rather read that watch. Compared to the Kindle 2, the Kindle 3 is a significant step forward:

  1. It is much smaller and lighter. The body is 21% smaller while keeping the exact same screen size as the Kindle 2. It is only 1/3 of an inch thick—thinner than the iPhone. At less than 9 ounces, it weighs less than a paperback. It makes the iPad feel really, really heavy.
  2. The screen is much better. Amazon says it has a 50% better screen contrast than any other e-reader. It is a noticeable improvement from the Kindle 2. It also boasts new, crisper fonts. You quickly forget that you are reading an e-reader.
  3. It has more storage. Amazon doubled the capacity. It can hold up to 3,500 books. No, I am not kidding. Most people don’t have this many volumes in their entire personal library. It will also hold a charge for up to one month with wireless turned off and 10 days with it on.
  4. It is available in both wireless and 3G models. I bought both. The 3G is free, though you pay $50 more for the 3G device. Still, at $189.00, I think it is a bargain. You can download books in less than 60 seconds. It’s essentially a bookstore in your hand.
  5. It has a better user-interface. The first thing I notices is that page turns are much faster. The annoying flicker and delay inherent in e-ink technology is almost (though not quite) gone. The selector is better, too. (I still wish the Kindle had a touch screen.) The 3G model is also available in two colors: graphite (grey) and white. I got the white one, and it is really handsome.
  6. It provides an enhanced PDF reader. I haven’t tried this yet, but it might be good for manuscripts and other business documents. It has dictionary lookup, notes, and highlights. As in previous versions, to get your documents on the Kindle, you simply email them to your Kindle email address, which is automatically assigned to you when you buy the device.

Assuming you are a serious reader, the biggest advantage of the Kindle is the massive selection of books available. Amazon provides over 670,000 books, including nearly all of the New York Times bestsellers. (At Thomas Nelson, we have more than 80% of our books available for sale now on the Kindle.)

In addition, there are 1.8 million free, public domain books available. This is the single most frustrating thing with Apple’s iBooks store. I often find that the books I want aren’t available.

All the same features are still there in the Kindle 3, including the Whispersync technology that syncs the last place you read in each book across all your devices, the read-to-me, text-to-speech, technology, and free book samples.

I plan to post again on the Kindle 3, once I have had a chance to use it for a couple of weeks.

Question: Do you plan to get a Kindle 3? If so, why? If not, why?
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  • http://twitter.com/BlogKindle @BlogKindle

    I popped mine open and found a larger 1750 mAh battery inside. I also tried to measure screen contrast objectively and Kindle 3 indeed has better contrast than any other eReader that I've measured – Kindle 3 Screen Review

  • http://www.couldushoulduwouldu.com Matt Church

    Thanks for the review. I have looked at them for sometime. Just have not been compelled to purchase any of the previous models until now. I understand they are back ordered but I am planning on getting mine. Biggest selling point for me…… It's not an apple.

  • http://twitter.com/philrothschild @philrothschild

    Thanks Mike. I could see Gail was tempted early on to get Nelson into the picture. She resisted, then came back at the end. : ) Nice touch. Phil

  • http://twitter.com/alisahope @alisahope

    This was fun to watch, and I liked the intimate feel!

  • http://www.aslegal.com Jefferson

    Gret review, thanks for sharing.
    I'll be the contrarian here: I have NO intention of buying a digital reader of any kind.

    I like the "feel" of a book.
    I like turning pages.
    I like doggie-ear-ing a page I particulalrly like.
    I like sharing books with my friends…expecially by handing the book to them and looking at the look on their face when I know it was something they wanted to read.
    I like the look of books on a bookshelf…the different color, sizes and font types.

    I have always wanted my own library (which I am slowly building!) and a digital reader just takes the art out of collecting books. Conveneince is nice, but if a picture says 1000 words, a picture of a bookshelf filled with books says a million-billion words. I'll stay with the printed word…

  • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

    Michael, I read this post with some hesitation. :) The last time I watched you unpack a Kindle, I bought one several days later. Nevertheless, I watched this video. Hmmm. This Kindle 3 looks very, very nice! Impressed with some of the features that you pointed out.

    Thanks for doing this (as well as the comparison chart). Very helpful!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I should issue a disclaimer: follow my example at your own risk!

  • http://www.davidsbucket.com David Alexander


    I previously had a Kindle 2, currently own an iPad, and I am considering the Kindle 3. I like the highlighting/note taking function of the Kindle app on the iPad because of the ability to simply tap wherever I wanted. I really hated the five way buttons on the Kindle 2, particular the center button which not only clicked by moved the cursor. [Sometimes when clicking, you ended up moving the cursor, etc]

    In using the Kindle 3, do you find that function has improved? That is really the only thing keeping me from the purchase.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s definitely better, but it isn’t as elegant as the iPad touch system, for sure.

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  • Hector

    I have had my eye on the Kindle for while now and with the new price I can't help myself and get one. I already placed my order and am waiting for a shipping date.

    I like the idea of being able to have my Bible, The Open Bible, on it and being able to make notes as I read. I also expect to make a lot of use of the PDF functionality.

  • http://homespunhonolulu.com Evelyn

    I've got my eye on that $139 Kindle since I saw the extreme price drop. Whoa! I was so excited! Of course family just thinks I'm a nerd so I'm alone with that. :) But, I have to admit that I am not ready to let go of the published, hard-cover books that I've loved all my life. I can't imagine life without my Borders being close by. Sigh.

    How do you do, by the way! :)

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  • http://www.suspensenovelist.blogspot.com Peg Brantley

    Even though I covet an iPad for the glitz, I do plan on getting a Kindle 3 as my eReader, and gifting my Kindle 2 to my 'less geeky' husband. I'm sort of hoping I will create a monster, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Thanks for all of the helpful posts relating to new technology and the publishing industry. My leadership days are behind me, but I still peruse those posts every now and then.

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  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    One is sitting at my house right now, waiting for me to open on Christmas day. I can’t wait!

  • Michelle Sarabia

    Just in time! So any thoughts on the Nook before I say “yes” to the Kindle?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t tried it, but you could go to a Barnes & Noble and see one. Thanks.

  • Sarah Sumpolec

    Nelson is so adorable! The Kindle 3 was nice to see too, of course…

  • http://twitter.com/brockhenning Brock S. Henning

    I’ve already asked Santa for a Kindle 3 for Christmas. I’ve held off on buying an eReader until now. The technology looks good enough on the Kindle 3 to take the plunge.

    All the usual reasons for me concerning choosing the Kindle 3 over other eReaders. Best readability (no eye strain), I want 3G and wi-fi capability to buy magazines, check major blogs, and buy books when a wifi hotspot is not available. The improved size and lightweight of the Kindle 3. And of course, the price. Dear Santa, please bring me a Kindle 3 for Christmas. :)

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  • Guest

    Love the Kindle 3, but I think Nelson steels the show!!!

  • Ekaddie

    I have a product that protects the Kindle 3 with a built in handle that also tilts the Kindle at a 30 degree angle on flat surfaces. It’s called the “eKaddie” and it’s available on my website at http://www.ekaddiellc.com. I’m a new extremely small business and can’t afford a lot of advertising, but if you read the comments of my customers I think you will get a good idea of how good this product is and it definitely protects the screen.  Also visit the link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about my “eKaddie.”

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