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.

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?