Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard?
I'm looking at the Kindle Keyboard as my first Kindle but maybe my assumption of having a keyboard instead of touch is wrong. I don't see any advancements in the tech either, looks like the same eInk display in an uglier body.
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The Touch is very close in dimension and weight to the 4th gen, so if I had to choose between the Touch and the keyboard version, I would choose the Touch. However, I personally am annoyed that the Touch has no physical page turners like the latest Nook. I have greasy hands so I'm afraid of smudging the screen just from page flipping.
So the Kindle Touch is lighter by an ounce and shorter by three quarters of an inch. Less than I would have thought, though its still going to be visibly smaller.
Intuitively, Touch seems the better way to go - after all, keyboards and buttons wear out... but I have yet to see anyone post a problem with this. Also, the letters on keyboards eventually wear off - but again, no problems posted. As for navigation, it seems klunky on the KK - but it really isn't much better on the KT.
One quirk I noticed on the KT is that "turning" the first page is slower than subsequent pages, which I can't explain. I also had instances where the KT didn't register my touch so nothing happened... but then again sometimes it was too sensitive and turned multiple pages at once. I couldn't purposely recreate these phenomena - they just happened at random. Was that because I was using a store's display unit, or is it something all KT's will eventually start to do?
So that's issue #1 - asI read a lot, what's the bigger negative: the concern that the buttons and keyboard on a KK will start to wear out, or the fact that the KT's "touch" is sometimes a bit funky.
Issue #2: the speed of page turns and the distractions that go along with them. When it comes to reading, I'm an analog guy in a digital world - I want turning pages in my e-reader to be as close to turning pages in a physical book as possible - in other words, as seamless as possible.
In turning pages, I found the KT to be noticeably slower than the KK - if you want seamless reading, you'll have to train yourself to touch the screen when you're half way through the last line on a page. I also noticed that sometimes the KT leaves artifacts from the previous page that take a second to go away after the page turn - which is distracting. Oh, and if you thumb slips anywhere near the edge of the screen, you can turn a page without meaning to - though this, too, seemed to be random - when I tried, I couldn't do it on purpose.
On the other hand, though the KT turns a page about as fast as you can with a physical book, it has the infamous black flash of the screen refresh that happens with every page turn (KT only does this every five or six pages). Up front, I'm not a fan of the flash... but I have to wonder if that is sopmething I'd just get used to.
Then there is the voice of experience that says never buy the first generation / initial release of anything - let them get the bugs out first.
OK, as with all technology, I'm seeing that there is no perfect answer or perfect choice when it comes to Kindles. That said, when weighing all the pros and cons between KT and KK, as much as I want to say I'll go with the Touch (I loved the virtual keyboard, btw)... I am coming to realize that I am trying to talk myself into it. So, I'm thinking I may have to go with the Keyboard... for now, anyway. We'll see what KT II brings to the table in a year or two.
I heard that it was possible to turn off the flash on every page turn on the Kindle Keyboard (KK), but I have never tried to do so. If you were able to turn it off, then it would behave the same way as the Kindle Touch in terms of style of page turns.
Another consideration for the Kindle Keyboard... if you get the 3G version, the Kindle Keyboard comes with unlimited 3G for web browsing (3G or WiFi), while the Kindle Touch 3G does not allow web browsing over 3G (WiFi only, 3G is limited to the Kindle Store)
More playing with the two demonstrator units showed the navigation on the KT was somewhere between the same and a bit faster than the KK, simply because touch screen technology is faster than scrolling around on a page. And finally, there was the fact that after four months or so on display, several of the printed letters on the KK's keys were showing noticeable wear... leading me to believe that yes indeed, they would eventually wear off.
So - I changed my mind and went with the Touch. I haven't gotten to use it much yet, but what little reading I have done has gone just fine. If anything reinforces or changes that opinion as I go, I'll post an update - but so far, I'm very pleased with my Kindle Touch.
(BTW, regardless of model, if you want a screen protector for your Kindle, one of the few places I found one was on M-edge's web site. Apparently, a 6" diagonal protector is not all that common.)
That said, I assume its probably pretty good, and making the device smaller, lighter and cheaper is always a good idea. The touch interface allows for more options going forward as well--one device, multiple languages, even simple games or whatever are possibilities. The keyboard on the existing device is usable for typing book titles but that's about it. I'd go with the Touch given the same price.
If I were to buy a new kindle today, I would go with the simple one, without keyboard and touchscreen.
- Kindle over Sony because the latter can't get their software game together. Plus, Amazon now has library lending, so that's one less advantage for the competitors.
- I like free international web access (who doesn't?), and that's what Amazon gives the Keyboard 3G. Word on the new models is that this access is only available for Wikipedia and Amazon.com.
- For reason number 2, having a physical keyboard is a plus (e.g. composing an email at the hostel). I also don't think you get much in return for giving one up. The screen is the same size, so you're just getting a stubbier device. Kindle 3 is already plenty small for my purposes.
- The new feature where the screen only refreshes every six pages has not exactly been getting rave reviews. The artifacts from previous pages are visible, and the contrast is poorer. They even added an option to revert to the traditional behavior. This also seems like the kind of hack that somebody could implement on the Kindle 3.
Dealbreaker for me; i will be ordering the kb model.
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Worried that the keys in the keyboard might eventually wear out? Simple, cheap and thin plastic covers such as tinyurl.com/cvhgg3f will make it a no-issue.
If you want something like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you can't find a better substitute than Kindle Keyboard.