Update: The Kindle 4 is ready to buy now. The lowest priced Kindle Reader yet, it is available both with or without sponsored ads and screensavers. Pictured on the right the new sleeker design is also adopted by the new Kindle Touch Reader.
kindle 4

Kindle 4 Hands On Review

Well I’ve been playing with my new Kindles for a while now, and I have to say I am never going back to the keyboard model! Of course you can read the more technical details of the ebook readers below. But if you would like a completely unscientific look at why I think this is the best Kindle yet, here we go:

Kindle 4 Plus Points

  • Well the price is pretty amazing, but then I’m not paying for things I personally don’t need (but others might use).
  • No ugly keyboard! Just a simple 5 way controller and 4 buttons for things like the home screen. It’s really easy to use.
  • Improved paddles for page turning (I used to knock them somehow on the 3rd generation model).
  • Unbelievably light and small – it makes the older models feel huge!
  • Totally intuitive to use immediately.

The Potential Down-side

  • No audio – I never use it so not an issue for me.
  • Only comes with wi-fi (there isn’t a 3G option) which is fine so long as you have a wireless home router or spend lots of time at Starbucks!
  • Half the memory (2GB) of other models. But you still have unlimited online storage for Kindle books so this isn’t a biggie for most of us.
  • Smaller battery (part of the reason its so small and light) means you’ll have to find the charger every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Typing is a bit of a chore using a virtual keypad and arrows, but then I found it a nightmare on the tiny old keyboard and am happier to save all my typing needs for when the laptop is on!

Kindle 4 Verdict?

Well, you can probably tell I personally love the latest dinky little ebook reader. But, I do understand it isn’t for everyone. If you need 3G or you love typing on your Kindle this probably isn’t the best one for you.

But at the price, it is exactly what it should be; a dedicated eBook Reader that excels at being just that and doesn’t waste time trying to be much more!

The Kindle 4 Announcement:

It was a relative surprise announcement that more than one new reader would be introduced in the autumn of 2011. We were expecting a tablet, but not to get a whole range of new e-ink based products too.

All the new Kindles come without the traditional keypad used on earlier models. Some will love this, but others that do order content, or surf directly on their current ebook reader might not be quite so comfortable using the on screen keypad included in the new models.

New Kindle 4 Specification

Well the latest line of ebook readers are smaller, lighter and faster than the previous models. The same Pearl E-ink is being used for the displays so don’t expect any difference to how great text looks on these little beauties. The key points that most of us will want to know are:

1 Kindle 4 Details

This is smaller than ever with a size of 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″ and a weight of only 5.98 ounces. The storage capacity is less than previous models but still good enough for most of us at around 2GB or 1400 books. The battery is smaller (and lighter) too, so this will only last around a month.

There is no keypad, instead you use the five way controller for everything. An on screen keypad which you will need to navigate with the controller can be used for notes etc. For those of us that really do simply want to read on their Kindle this is not an issue, and personally I think it is worth it to do away with the extra space the keypad takes up.

The very best bit is that the 4th generation Kindle is cheap, really cheap. On release they are priced at $79 for one with sponsored ads and special offers, or $109 for the ad-free model.

This is a nice little package, it comes with wi-fi only and has smoother, faster page turns than previous models.

The perfect budget Kindle for those that love to read.

It doesn’t have any audio, unlike the rest of the ebook reader range.

2. Kindle Touch Details

Also released on 28th Sept was the Kindle Touch Reader. You can pre-order now and shipping is scheduled to begin around 21st November. This makes it pretty likely to be something of a panic buy for Christmas since we don’t know just how much stock will be available then. No surprise then that lots of people are ordering very early in deed!

Anyway, what do we want to know about this then?

Well, firstly this has the same battery, display and storage as the Kindle 3 (now called the Kindle Keyboard). Where it differs is in size, look and navigation. The whole thing is smaller at 6.8″ x 4.7″ x 0.40″ and only 7.5 (wi-fi) or 7.8 (wi-fi + 3G) ounces.

There are actually four versions available. They are all pretty much identical. A version with only wi-fi comes with or without sponsored ads, and a version with both 3G and wi-fi comes in the two choices as well.

The big change is the use of touch-screen technology. The keypad is gone and there are no external controls, everything is done with touch. Because IR touch technology is used there is no extra layer on the display so moving to touch-screen has no impact in the clarity of the view.

Kindle 4 – Better Than the Old Ones?

This is difficult. If you love keypads you won’t like the new models! But don’t panic as the keyboard models are still being sold anyway. Personally I think the smaller and lighter feel more than makes up for the loss of a keyboard. Plus you get X-ray technology that lets you find out tons of cool information about whatever you’re reading.

The actual displays are still 6″ but you get to hold a lighter even more portable gadget which I think makes the Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch better than the rest. But, I don’t type on my reader! :)

And now back to our original article…

We just love the Kindle here.  But, we also love new things, advances in technology and the chance for a gadget that is already great, to become even more fantastic.  That’s why we’re already wondering about the Kindle 4.  What will we be offered next by the world’s best selling ebook reader?

Kindle 4 Possibilities

Well of course Amazon aren’t going to let on yet, as to what their next generation reader will be like.  But, based on consumer likes, market trends, and some cool advances in the technology behind these electronic reading devices, we can make a few educated guesses as to what it will be like:

  1. Full color Kindle?  Until recently this seemed like something only likely in the far distant future.  But since the guys that make e-ink have now created a full color version of their display technology (e-ink Triton) this is perhaps not so unrealistic.  In fact Hanvon are already set to give the world the first color e-Reader based on this technology late in 2011.
  2. Kindle Touch Screen?  The world, it seems has yet to get over its fascination with touch screen technology.  In fact, one of the things that people now tend to do when given a new gadget with a relatively large display, is to touch it.  We find touch technology really easy to navigate and are demanding it for more and more of our personal electronics.  Since rumours began in Jan 2010 that Amazon had bought out a touchscreen display technology company, it seems like this advancement is bound to come sooner or later.
  3. A 7″ Kindle?  With the tablet pc growing more popular by the day, and the Nook Color giving us a slightly larger ebook reader it might make sense for Amazon to do the same.  If a new seven inch Kindle display version were released it might provide a good vehicle for offering the more costly options of touch-screen and full color, without eliminating the great Kindle 3 and its super low price-tag.  It might also prove to be a far more popular “larger” Kindle Reader than the nearly dead in the water DX.

Would We Buy the Kindle 4?

We know what is possible for the next generation reader, but would any of us actually want these options?

With regards to the Kindle in Color?  Well, to be honest I am pretty sure that the majority of current Kindle owners are more than happy with monochrome displays since they are primarily reading fiction.  But that isn’t to say that a color option might improve take up with young families as it would really bring the bed-time story into the digital age.

And, a Kindle Touch?  Well this advancement I believe simply has to come if Amazon expect to keep their customer base away from more slick, touchy-feely tablets.  Plus it would mean they could do away with the keypad, modernising the design with the option to make the whole thing smaller (yet keep the same 6″ display), or keep it the same size and give us a slightly larger display.  You can see how much can be shaved off the size with the same display if you move to touchscreens by comparing the latest Sony Reader against the current Kindle 3.

And a 7″ Kindle Reader?  This one, I am not so sure about.  It does make sense to perhaps add a new reader to the range.  One that is a little larger (yet not so bulky as the DX) and give it color.  This would be far more useful for those wanting to view images, graphs and charts, magazine subscriptions, or children’s story books.

For my personal reading habits, the current six inch monochrome is just perfect, but I would consider a touch-screen a and doing away with the keypad a great move.  I can see others being tempted by something a little larger and in full color too.

Kindle 4 Release Date

The official release date of the Kindle 4 is 28th September. The Touch Screen Kindle will start shipping around 21st November, but is available from 28th September.

This is What Our Readers Wanted From the 4th Generation Kindle:

What would you like from the Kindle 4?

  • Full color display (66%, 1,438 Votes)
  • Touch-screen (63%, 1,365 Votes)
  • Expandable memory (34%, 743 Votes)
  • Bigger screen (34%, 734 Votes)
  • User replaceable battery (22%, 485 Votes)
  • Better foreign character support (13%, 282 Votes)
  • Something else - tell us in the comments! (4%, 77 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,172

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  90 Responses to “Kindle 4”

  1. Would love a touch screen, smaller size (with being able to lose the keyboard), light weight.
    Would LOVE to know release date, since I was thinking of buying one soon :)
    Thanks!

  2. I read a LOT of books on my kindle, but would really like to read Manga / comic books as well, and this is where a colour version would be great. Even if the colours are muted, it would still be awesome :-)

  3. I would also like to see a backlight for night reading!

  4. I’d like to see lights going down the sides of the screen. NOT back lit, because that screws with the reading in sunlight, but if you recessed the screen just 1/8 on an inch more and then added side lighting, you could still read in the dark. Obviously, users would need to be able to turn them on and off. Also, I’d like to see the ability to download real audiobooks, instead of the terrible text to speech function…although it would be great if they could improve that, because I drive a lot and it would be great not to have to buy ebooks and audiobooks. However, I think audiobooks are probably more realistic.

  5. Would love an ergonomic groove or trough around the perimeter of the screen to rest the thumb in to make it easier to hold. The text to speach could be linked to the dictionary cursor to provide a pronunciation of individual words. I would also like to see a way to know how many pages in typical hard back publication a book is and page numbers so I can relate to how big a book is. The % bar graph is useful but you can’t rally tell how much book you are reading.

  6. instead of paying 7 bucks (or so) for an electronic copy of a book… why not allow us to simply borrow books for a very small monthly fee? lets say… $1 a month and we can borrow any book in their library, one book at a time. if they did that, i would buy one immediately.
    color e-ink technology looks pretty cool too. but being able to borrow books instead of paying 8 or even 10 bucks would be simply amazing.

  7. - better PDF navigation
    - ability to zoom text-embedded images (eg in textbooks)
    - better image resolution (again, very important for textbook reading)
    - an option to rent books for a smaller fee compared to the purchase price, or some system similar to Netflix, where the customer pays for a data plan and can read several dozens of books per month without having to purchase every single one
    - real page numbers
    - more and nicer fonts

  8. I would like native support for the international EPUB ebook standard, both DRM and non-DRM EPUB. This is the only thing that currently holding me back from buying a kindle.

  9. I am registered blind, and would really like to have a decent voice synphasiser on the Kindle. The ‘tinny’ american one that there is at the moment is awful

  10. Page number display and maybe a slightly larger screen without enlarging the overall size of the casing,also a key lock (Like the on on the iPad) which leaves page turn buttons active but locks the keyboard functions so you can rest your thumb without bringing up the menu.

  11. It would be great to have a touch screen, where you could highlight like with a pen on paper.

  12. Would like to know when its going to be released!

  13. What I really want is the ability to read .epub files. It doesn’t have to support DRM protected ones, just standard epubs. Its an open format, so no licencing issues. Almost a no-brainer, because the .mobi format used by Kindles is getting left behind.

  14. I was thinking of buying one soon. I Would LOVE to know release date!!!!
    Thanks!

    • I read a lot of tech books and magazines and they tend to come in pdf format, so it be nice to see the next kindle display them correctly in a readable font size.

  15. I expect larger screen, definitelly 7′ display to see more text at once. Or with current dimension even 8′ would be from corner to corner. No sh..ty keypad needed. Definitelly not touchscreen, I want to have clear view, without fingerprints all over.

  16. A Pixel QI screen, surely! All the benefits of e-ink style screen and an LCD combined.

  17. With touchscreen kindle I suppose it would be awsome to use it as sketch pad but that would
    require better screen technology than the eink at the moment

  18. -> an ability to manage subfolders and navigation from my computer.
    -> an ability to upgrade the software.
    -> my own screen saver imaes.
    -> improve the text to speach.
    -> some sort of street map program (no need for interactive GPS).
    -> more formats (epub, djvu…)

  19. I’d like a moderately larger screen with much better resolution: width increased to between 800 and 1200 ‘pixels’ from the current 600.

    PDF viewing needs an intelligent zoom function which whilst leaving just minimal margins around the text will fit the page to screen width or height – irrespective of the margins set in the pdf.

    No desire for a touchscreen, but a marginally better keyboard would be appreciated.

  20. Would like to know when it will be available. I’m iinterested in buying a Kindle but holding off until the latest and greatest comes out to make a decision.

  21. I currently own a kindle 3G “6, Some of things I would like :

    FULL COLOR DISPLAY
    TOUCH SCREEN
    MORE MEMORY
    PERM WEB BROWSER
    KINDLE WITH ANDROID FEATURES
    MORE POPULAR MAGAZINES
    READ TECH BOOKS
    READ MANGA/COMICS
    READ .EPUB FILES

  22. I would love to see WPA2 (AES) encryption option in the new Kindle. Currently it does not support it, which makes it impossible to connect to some WiFi networks that support only WPA2 and none of the old standards (like WEP and WPA). Keep in mind that over time, more and more access points switch to the new encryption.

  23. You can bet that whatever Kindle 4 is going to look like, it is going to be aimed at taking down the best that Nook has
    to offer. I am deleriously happy with my kindle 3, and I don’t go anywhere without it. In my mind, I would like to see a
    color DX. I went with the wifi version instead because I live in an area where 3G coverage is slower. Just how slow it is
    I don’t know. I want the larger screen, but not at the cost of sacrificing the speed of wifi. The touch screen is not so important
    to me. I just want a color version DX with wifi instead of 3G and then I could die a happy man. Can anyone tell me if the
    3G coverage is really slow in the rural areas?

    • I live in a rural area of Norfolk…3G coverage for my Kindle is not a problem. Downloading and uploading is fairly fast…the system searches for other network providers if 3G is not available.

  24. Tell me when it will be released!

  25. I cannot see the advantage of colour for an ebook display…no books have colour print and few have pictures…better to have an SD memory slot so that the owner can categorise their library on to separate cards rather than search through the “index” system if the Kindle itself. This would also increase greatly the available books one can acquire…It may also make more internal memory available for other functions…
    A touch screen would enable a bigger reader screen, a stylus would be needed though to access an alpha numeric display to input notes (some people have “dumpy” fingers).
    It would also be an advantage to alter some of the text and be able to upload these corrections….I have noticed that a lot of converted texts have poor conversion of some words/letters and it make reading a bit of a problem…pdf ebooks could be converted to a more user friendly system in the downloading to a Kindle…many pdf pages are difficult to read and expanding the page makes reading difficult…

  26. Can hardly wait to get one. Hope it comes out soon.

  27. It would be useful to have a separate keyboard with a pointer device on it available for the versions one, which could be plugged into the usb port. In addition, if the connection for this keyboard incorporated another usb port, the Kindle could be charged whilst using they keyboard. This would be very useful if you wanted to browse the internet in a Wi-Fi spot. A pointer would be especially useful.

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