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November 29th 2011 5:21 pm

Why I chose the Kindle Touch over the Nook Simple Touch and Kobo Touch

I have seen a few reviews comparing these e-readers. Which one comes out on top depends on what the reviewer decided to focus on. I thought I'd share how I chose the Kindle Touch over competing touch screen e-readers:

Audio support

The Kindle supports audio books, text-to-speech, and music while you read. It's nice to be able to block out the world with some music while I read (without juggling multiple devices).

Wire-free library loans
The Kindle doesn't require sideloading files to get books from the public library onto the device--they are delivered wirelessly, just like purchased books. (You do need to be connected to Wi-Fi rather than 3G). If I want to read a book from the library, I just check it out online and it shows up on my Kindle. My local library has an excellent selection of Kindle books, so this is currently the main way I get content on the device.

Lighted covers
The Kindle contains a pair of contacts on the back that allow covers to use the Kindle's battery to power e.g. a book light. This is super for reading at night when someone is asleep nearby, or on camping trips. No other e-reader offers access to its juice.

Better touchscreen reading ergonomics
Like most long-form readers, I switch hands when I read and often read with my left hand even though I am right-handed. Most touch readers map only the right side of the screen to the "next page" gesture. However, the Kindle's "next page" tap zone is huge and covers most of the touch screen, making it very easy to hit when reading one-handed with either hand.

Touch-based Web browsing
The Kindle includes a Web browser built on Webkit, which is the same engine that powers Google Chrome and Apple's Safari browser. E-ink just isn't great for web browsing, but the browser will get you by in a pinch. (Literally--you can pinch to zoom. Hee hee!)

There's this great service called Instapaper. If you see an article online that you want to read later, you press a button in your web browser. Later (and again without wires), the article is delivered to your Kindle. This service uses a feature of the Kindle ecosystem that isn't available elsewhere (to the best of my knowledge): an e-mail address for the device that lets you send your personal documents to it.

Superior ecosystem
While it has some serious competition, the Kindle is the closest to being "the iPod of e-readers": it has the biggest store, the most accessories, excellent third-party software, and the backing of one of the world's largest retailers.

Some things from other E-readers that I wish the Kindle Touch had:
- Web browsing over 3G (available on the Kindle Keyboard models)
- Physical page turn buttons (available on the Nook Simple Touch)
- EPUB support (available on every other e-reader)

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