Friday, June 8, 2012

Kindle Komparison

If the market for tablets and e-readers was not confusing enough, Amazon has been nice enough to throw out half a dozen Kindle models to choose from. There are enough choices to make your head spin and the choices provide just enough doubt to wonder if you are buying the right device for you.

In this blog post, I am going to look at the bare basics of the four major models (Kindle, Touch, DX, Fire). There are, obviously, 3G and wireless models for the Touch and the Kindle DX and Kindle Keyboard mirror each other with the DX simply being slightly bigger.

First, let’s check out the basics:

Kindle Touch
Kindle DX
Kindle Fire
Screen Size (in)
Screen Type
eInk Pearl
eInk Pearl
eInk Pearl
Color IPS
Weight (ounces)
Size (in)
Battery Life (hr)
Internal Storage (GB)
WiFi only
Wifi or 3G
Free 3G wireless
Wifi only

Looking at the above table, there are a few differences that may be the make or break properties before getting to any deeper issues.

Price is, obviously, the big factor. Simple basic e-readers can be found with the basic Kindle and Touch. You are not getting any fancy do-dads and there are no frills. This is not to say that the other options are not cost effective. You need to realize that each device is solving a slightly different niche. People that want just books in a small device can save a noticeable amount of money compared to other available tablets. Yet, even when considering the Kindle Fire, if a tablet is what you are looking for (more functionality than an e-reader), then $200 is a great deal. The DX gives you a much bigger screen in a heavier device. Easier to read and more to handle at the expense of battery life. Considering the price, you may be turned off by such a trade-off.

The second set of distinctions are connected, battery life and screen type. The eInk Pearl screen is the standard e-reader screen. It is only black and white and you will need a light to read in the dark. However, there is no glare similar to other tablets (Fire, iPad). The eInk Pearl screen type can be used outside with ease and does not strain the eyes to the extent of a computer screen. For the purpose of reading, they function flawlessly. If you want more than just an e-reader, then the Kindle Fire’s color screen is where you need to go. The color screen does cause the massive battery loses and the glare makes outdoor usage a struggle, at times. But, with the added media functionality, a color tablet may be what you are looking to buy.

Personally, connectivity issues are secondary to the above factors. Looking for an e-reader vs a tablet or having color/B&W or several other factors play a big role before deciding on how to get your software. But, it is still important to review the mobility options since these are, well, mobile devices. The basic Kindle is limited to wifi, as is the Kindle Fire. As an owner of a Kindle Fire, I first thought the WiFi only ability would be quite limiting. But, the usage around the house and replacement of computer usage really surprised me. Do not discount WiFi only as a reasonable solution to your problem. Spend some time to determine locations of usage and go from there. If you really cannot be limited to WiFi, then there are 3G versions of the Touch and the DX which provide 3G wireless globally. Whether it will replace a laptop at home or be the book on a bus, there is an option for you.

A final purchasing decision would come down to personal preference connected to usage combined with the above hardware differences.

If you want a barebones e-reader, then the basic Kindle will solve all your problems. It has a simple 5 button control and is a library in your hand. There is not much to talk about beyond that. With the Touch and DX, you are getting the same capabilities with slightly improved functionality. The Kindle Touch is, of course, a touch screen while the DX is a Kindle Keyboard on steroids. And, finally, those looking for a tablet alternative to the expensive iPad and Galaxy Tab, you have the Kindle Fire. A color screen and the ability to play countless audio and video filetypes (while the others struggle) make the Fire an economy tablet for those looking for some functionality and some price savings.

Yes, there are countless versions and, when first looking at it, you may not be able to decide which way to go. However, the differences are stark between the devices and you can quickly determine what fits for you. Your budget, your usage preferences, and even your hand/eye comfort will help to push you in the right direction.  However, if you really don't have the time, or the patience, to compare, Kardon Technology offers a New Computer Consulting and Purchasing service, which can also be used for mobile devices.  We can compare the Kindle with countless other options based on your answers to a simple questionnaire.  Contact Us for more details.

In the next blog post, we will compare the Kindle e-readers and Kindle tablet (Fire) with other e-readers and available tablets in the marketplace. You probably determined which Kindle is the Kindle for you, but is there another device out there that does the job better?

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