There are now even more Kindle Readers to choose from; the cheap Kindle 4, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire Tablet (in 4 versions including HD 7″, HD 8.9″ and 4G HD 8.9″), the Kindle 3 Keyboard and the Kindle DX 3G, plus of course a few older models that you may still be able to get your hands on; the Wireless Kindle 2 (there were two versions, a US and an International one) and the old DX.

Below is a brief introduction to each.  For more detailed specifications check out the individual product pages on the Kindle eBook Reader site.

4th Generation Kindles

The 4th Generation Kindles were announced to the world in September 2011. A surprise for many, the range includes an entry level tablet as well as touch-screen readers and a basic cheap Kindle too.

Kindle 4

kindle 4The lowest price Kindle to date offers anyone who simply wants to read, the perfect choice of ebook reader. There is no keyboard (only a virtual one on screen if an when required), and no touch-screen navigation or audio output. There also isn’t any 3G option. But what you do get is virtually instant downloads via wi-fi, the same 6″ Pearl E-ink display used in the rest of the range, a 5 way controller plus menu buttons and the same paddle side controls we saw on the Kindle 3.

The 4th gen Kindle is available with sponsored ads, or without (the price difference is $30. Since the ads only show on the home page and as screen-savers we feel it is really worth taking advantage of this special discounted version.

Read all about the Kindle 4 in our full review.

Touchscreen Kindle Paperwhite

The touch-screen Kindle has had a complete makeover. Now we’re offered the Kindle Paperwhite, with much better contrast and definition. Add in an awesome total display light function and it seems that amazon really have produced the ultimate ebook reader! Don’t worry about any glare or too much contrast either since you can tone down the white paperlike display to a contrast that suits you and your current environment.

Oh there are some other cool features too, such as calculating how long it will take you to reach the end of your current chapter, and instant access to author profile information, useful info on any part of the story plus a whole lot more.

The Paperwhite comes with 3G and wi-fi or just wi-fi, and both have the option of making savings on the purchase price by choosing the ad sponsored model.

Kindle Touch Reader

Please note this model has been discontinued though you still may find refurbished models available…

The Kindle Touch reader comes in 4 versions. Choose wi-fi, or 3G+wi-fi and then decide whether you want the cheaper price off-set by discounts and special offers.

All are about an inch shorter than the keyboard model, and an ounce lighter. There are no buttons, as you use the multi touch display for all navigation. The device has the same 6″ Pearl E-ink display as the rest of the range, but is proving popular as people respond so well to touch-screen devices nowadays.

Internally it is the same as the 3rd gen model, with the same battery life and memory, text to speech and basic web browser.

For now the keyboard models are still available, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them phased out is sales of the touch-screen model do as well as expected. You can read all about the Kindle Touch in our more detailed review.

Kindle Fire Tablet

Kindle Fire TabletAdding a back-lit tablet to the Kindle range might have seen a little risky. But giving it a price-tag under $200, and a wealth of content readily (and easily) available has shown that it can work.

Hooked up to Amazon’s cloud computing network there is so much content on offer that buyers seem to be falling over themselves to order the 7″ color touch-screen tablet. And at less than half the price of an iPad (even if it lacks Apple’s size or cameras) it is hardly surprising.

You can read more about the Kindle Fire Tablet in our review article.

Update: As of Sept 2012 the tablet market just got a whole lot more competitive. As well as an upgraded (faster processor, longer battery life and heaps more memory) version of the original Kindle Fire, there are now 3 additional models to choose from. An HD 7″ version, plus 2 8.9″ HD models (one with 4G). All the new tablets come with 10 point multifunction touchscreens making them far easier (and more intuitive) to actually use. And none of them even come close to the hefty price-tag of an iPad!

3rd Generation Kindle Readers:

These are the third generation Kindles.  Incorporating a QWERTY keypad these are for those that want to type in a more traditional manner when adding notes or browsing the Kindle book store.

Kindle 3G + Wifi

Kindle 3G Reader

Perhaps the most well known Kindle at the moment is the latest, most advanced version of their popular six inch reading device.  Available in the traditional white, or a graphite gray color, it takes the good bits about the Kindle 2 and then just keeps on getting better and better. Key changes involved the speed of refresh, huge improvements to clarity and definition on the display plus a boost to both memory and battery life.  Oh and whilst keeping the screen the same size they managed to make the whole thing smaller, lighter and thinner!  Features include:

  • 6″ (on diagonal) paper-like screen.
  • 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″ in size.
  • Weighs 8.7 oz.
  • Stores up to 3500 books.
  • International wireless coverage in 100 countries using 3G mobile networks.
  • 60 second downloads in wireless areas.
  • Wi-fi capability too, so if you have an internet wireless router you can use the wi-fi signal for all internet access as well as free hotspots around the world.
  • New Pearl e-ink display that has 50% better contrast and the sharpest text.
  • Ability to display non Roman fonts including Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Russian.
  • Battery life up to one month.
  • Improvements in Read to Me, Basic Web Browsing and MP3 player (Experimental Features).

Find out all about the great new Kindle 3 in our more detailed article.

Kindle 3 Wi-Fi Reader

Kindle 3 wifi readerThe Kindle 3 Wifi reader is exactly the same as the model above.  The only difference is that you cannot buy it in the white color option, and it has no 3G capability.

Fear not though, it is currently $50 cheaper than the model above and can still get you one minute downloads using its wi-fi capacity.  Simply access the Kindle book store using a wi-fi hotspot at home or away and you will hardly notice a difference.  For secure wi-fi connections you will need to tell the Kindle reader the correct password.  But once accessed initially, the reader remembers passwords for all the internet connections you use.  If you have regular wi-fi hot-spot access such as by having your own wireless internet router at home this is by far the most obvious choice Kindle to buy since it comes with that excellent price saving.

You can find out more about deciding on whether the Kindle wifi or 3G are is the best option in our more detailed article.

Kindle With Special Offers (Ad Supported)

Kindle with special offersThis is the Kindle 3 available in both wi-fi only, or 3G and wi-fi versions.  But it costs you less than normal because it is ad supported.  This means the screen-savers are not iconic authors as for the other ad free Kindles. Instead you get advertisements.  But since these only appear when the device is idle (and also at the foot of the home-screen) they shouldn’t get in the way, and may prove a useful way to bag a bargain priced Kindle.

Released in May 2011 for US customers only initially, we can only wait and see if these become available internationally too.

The Admash program will also allow users to rate the ads and presumably you will eventually get more targeted ads as well as special offers and promotions you may be interested in.

Kindle DX Reader – Global 3G – Graphite

Kindle DX ReaderFor those that want a 3G connection that works for free all around the globe (well in over 100 countries so far) and wants a massive 9.7″ display, the Kindle DX 3G is the one.  These are rather more pricey than the six inch models, but for work, study, newspapers and image displays that larger screen might be important enough to you, for the price not to matter.  The latest DX has a better display and more stylish design than the old version, but is still not quite as new and improved as the six inch Kindle 3′s mentioned above.  This one comes in the cool graphite color only.  Here’s what you get:

  • 9.7″ (on diagonal) paper-like screen (with 50% better contrast than previous models).
  • 10.4″ x 7.2″ x 0.38″ in size.
  • Weighs 18.9 oz.
  • Stores up to 3500 books.
  • 3G wireless coverage globally in over 100 countries.
  • 60 second downloads in wireless areas.
  • Read to Me, Basic Web Browsing and Listen to Music or Podcasts (Experimental Features).
  • Auto Rotating Screen allows you to read in landscape or portrait mode.
  • Built in PDF reader.

For most of us the smaller ebook readers are more desirable, as we want something to take the place of a paperback novel.  But the large format of the Kindle DX does have its place, and devoted fans of course.

Previous Generations of Kindle Reader:

The following have all been updated.  However from time to time some may be bought refurbished, second hand or on special discount sales such as the Kindle 2 Black Friday 2010 deal.  They were all great at the time, but have really been outdone by the latest versions.  Unless you can an extremely good deal on an older model,  I would stick to the current generation Kindles instead.   But, I wouldn’t upgrade for the sake of it either.  If you are enjoying your older version without any problem I see no reason to buy a newer model unless one of the later features will improve you reading experience considerably.

The Kindle 2 Global Ebook Reader

This is the Kindle Ebook Reader you must choose if living outside the United States as it is the only model that may currently be shipped internationally.  It offers one of the most favorably reviewed electronic reading devices today.  Features include:

  • 6″ (on diagonal) paper-like screen.
  • 8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″ in size.
  • Weighs 10.2 oz.
  • Stores over 1500 books.
  • International wireless coverage in 100 countries.
  • 60 second downloads in wireless areas.

More detailed benefits of the Kindle 2 can be seen in our previous article.

The Amazon DX US Wireless Reading Device

The Amazon DX is a larger version of the Kindle 2, with bigger screen and improved memory.  The Kindle DX is now available with international wireless capability and delivery is possible to over one hundred countries world-wide.  Features of the Amazon DX include:

  • 9.7″ (on diagonal) paper-like screen.
  • 10.4″ x 7.2″ x 0.38″ in size.
  • Weighs 18.9 oz.
  • Stores up to 3500 books.
  • 3G wireless coverage across the United States.
  • 60 second downloads in wireless areas.
  • Read to Me, Basic Web Browsing and Listen to Music or Podcasts (Experimental Features).
  • Auto Rotating Screen allows you to read in landscape or portrait mode.

The DX is a particularly popular reading device for those interested in newspapers and journals as the large display makes these particularly easy to enjoy.  At the moment though, if you want wireless downloads outside of the United States you will need the back up of the Kindle 2 International model.

No more!  The Kindle DX is now available with all the wireless capability world-wide as the Kindle 2 – Fast downloads from all around the world, delivery and support to over 100 countries!

The Kindle 2 US Edition

This is the 2nd Generation Kindle Wireless Reading Device available only for delivery to US based customers. It uses the free and extremely fast Whispernet system through the Sprint 3G network to allow fast, free downloads right across the United States. This model is currently (Nov 09) $50 cheaper than the Global Wireless version but of course will not offer the facility for American travellers abroad to download new material direct to their reader like that one would. Features include:

  • 6″ (on diagonal) paper-like screen.
  • 8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″ in size.
  • Weighs 10.2 oz.
  • Stores over 1500 books.
  • 3G wireless coverage across the United States.
  • 60 second downloads in wireless areas.
  • Beta or experimental features including Speak to Me (audio feature), PDF conversion, basic web browser plus listen to music and podcasts on your Kindle 2 as you read.

It seems likely that amazon.com will phase out the US Wireless Edition of the Kindle 2, simplifying matters with just one Kindle Global product.  Finding out where to buy a Kindle is pretty simple too.  Only one site will ship any Kindle product to your door!  And, for international customers they now supply chargers for your region, rather than the old US ones that used to be sent to all buyers no matter where they were.

Kindle eBook Readers

So if you are looking to get an electronic reading device, these are the choices of Kindle eBook Reader to Buy.  There is more detailed information regarding benefits and specifications that apply to all models on the Kindle eBook Reader site.  Hopefully this article will have explained some of the differences to allow you to choose the right Kindle for you.  Since the latest generations tend to be far better in terms of speed and display we really don’t see much point in buying an old one unless you can get a very good deal on it.

  52 Responses to “Kindle eBook Reader Types”

  1. I figured out there’s three kinds of folks who enjoy their technology toys; those who like to communicate, those who like to play games and those who like to savor a good read. The Kindle is great for the latter group. I can read articles in the NYT, a biography of Martha Summerhayes (Vanished Arizona), the Opinionated Weekly newsmagazine, almost anything electronically available! No matter if I’m waiting for my truck to get fixed at the dealer, or waiting for a road crew, passing the time at lunch breaks or waiting for my boyfriend while he’s picking up something while I wait in the truck for him, I now whip out my Kindle and I’m a happy camper. And for the icing on the cake, I can get online banking, news, market news, radar and a weather report on the road when it’s crucial. Don’t have to tether myself to anything! Total freedom, love it! The Kindle goes with me everywhere.

  2. Hello,
    My name is muktar aminu kano
    from kano state,
    Nigeria.
    Pls i like to know if the 3G can work in
    Nigeria.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Mukta, Unfortunately at the moment Kindles are not being shipped to Nigeria and content cannot be downloaded to there either.

      • In addition to that, i think Mukhtar can simply download kindle contents to a PC and then transfer same to his kindle via USB cable, isn’t it so?

  3. Hello, I have a 3G Kindle and would like to pass it onto my dad who lives in Nigeria. Would he be able to download books from Amazon Books as I do here in the UK.

    Thanks

    • Helena, No the Kindle store is only accessible from certain regions, and Nigeria is not one of them. He would need to download books to a PC and then transfer them via a USB cable as Ahamd says. You would need to keep the Kindle device registered in the UK.

  4. Can the Kindle use Microsoft Word or Macromedia? I really don’t know but I need to know for school so could you please respond?

  5. Can u use the Kindle if you are not wireless? Is there a plug that goes directly into your computer ?

    • @ Arlene – yes you don’t have to use the wireless technology. You can order a Kindle book on your computer and then transfer it with the USB cable that is supplied.

  6. I have limited bits available on my internet service and if I download an average book on kindle, what kind of room does it use to download.

  7. I would want to know if I can use the Kindle 3G in Nigeria now. I see that the question was asked and answered early this year. Just to know if there have been any changes.

    Rose

  8. Does any of the kindle comes in color display screen. And can you use headphones to have books read out.
    Janice

    • Janice, there is no Kindle touchscreen yet, or a headphone jack, though the Kindle has a speaker which can read to you.

  9. Hi there, I will like to know if I can use the Kindle 3 Wifi (AD supported version currently on sale in US) in Nigeria? Am aware I have to first download books onto my PC before transfer to a computer. I am happy to keep it registered in the US

  10. pls do you have screen touch kindles available at the moment?

  11. hi, can a kindle use local sim cards to connect to network that is around my country say kenya, like gprs networks or is it restricted to only wifi?

    • @ Peter – you can only use the 3G in countries that support the Kindle – Kenya is now one of these. The wi-fi will work anywhere you have access to a network. There is no facility to swap sim cards.

  12. Do you have a kindle that can read the book out loud for the blind, for use inUK

    • @ Joyce – the Kindle 3 can read books out loud. You can either use the “text to speech” function that simply gets a computer generated voice to read ordinary Kindle ebooks. Or sign up to audible.co.uk and order true audio books read by authors. You will need to connect your Kindle to your computer initially to install the Audible software and then you can buy audio books to listen to on your ebook reader, PC, or mobile device.

  13. i have bought a amozon kindle from a person on craigs list not thinking it had to be registered to purchase books how could i get it registered in my name

    • @ Sheila – you will need to create an account on amazon.com for full details. You can do it from the device but will probably first need to de-register it from the previous owner. All the details are on that link.

  14. hello, im on holiday in the UK and would like to buy the kindle wi-fi with 3G option. will i be able to use it in Ghana when i get back home?

    • @ Naa – the device itself will work but it will depend on your 3G coverage there whether that works. If you have access to wi-fi networks just use the wi-fi to download new books instead.

  15. Hello,

    Is it possible to print some pages off the Kindle?

    Also, does Amazon support School OverDrive system in the UK or is it only available in the USA?

    Thanks.

  16. Hi,
    I want to buy the kindle for my sons so they can use in Nigeria,at home we use a network called swift 4g they are eleven and ten years each which type can I buy?

    • @ Dot – Kindles and Kindle books cannot be delivered to Nigeria. So there would be no point in spending extra for 3G since it would not work there. The wi-fi version would save you money, but it would need to be delivered (and registered) to a UK address.

  17. Yes right now I am in the u.k on holiday with my boys that is why I want you to please let me know the exact name of the type to buy ,the swift network is wireless so I am assuming we can buy books online ? I want to know so I can buy today,thank you.

    • You would need to use a wi-fi network like that provided by home internet wireless routers, or in coffee shops. But you would need the device to be registered to a UK address. The 3G Kindle won’t work with your swift network. If you don’t have a home wi-fi network you would need to order books onto a computer and then transfer them to the device using a cable.

      However, officially you cannot order Kindle ebooks in Nigeria.

  18. I have a new Kindle 3g. I had read about 30% of a book. I recharged the Kindle and when i went back to continue readng it implies that I finished the book and do I want to share it. If I tap the screen the green light goes out and it goes back to the face page of the Kindle. How do I get back to my place in the book?

    • @ Janice – that sounds very strange. It should automatically take you to the furthest point reached in the book. Do you share your Kindle account with someone else who has finished the book? If you have your Kindle account set to “synchronise” that would explain it.

  19. Can Kindle Fire, works with Universal 3g network in Nigeria? What about the registration? Because most sellers in Nigeria don’t have answers to this quest thanks.

    • @ Sammy – the Kindle Fire is only wi-fi and it is only available for delivery to the United States.

      • But it is sold here in Nigeria now. I wonder if the sellers don’t educate the buyers. I asked of of the sellers in Lagos just now about the possibility of using the internet services here in Nigeria e said there a universal 3g dt works with it kindly confirm tanks.

        • I don’t think it can be a Kindle Fire since they really do only come with wi-fi. There are no 3G tablet Kindles yet. Any Kindles used in Nigeria will need to be registered to an address overseas since the Kindle Store will not sell the devices themselves or the ebooks to a Nigerian address.

          • Well I will not drag this with u, am telling u the truth I was almost buying Kindle Fire 2day in Lagos, I have d dealer info if you doubt me. I think the buyer has to do d registration himself to any address of his choice. The same US specs if what they ar selling in Nigeria believe me that is y am wondering if there s a way dey can integrate it 2 our network here in Nigeria

          • If they are the same US specs there will not be 3G since the Fire only comes with wi-fi.

  20. Does anybody know and kindle dealers in Kenya? I’ve searched the net and haven’t found any useful information. I’d appreciate if someone would help me out.

  21. Hi,I really want to get a kindle and I leave in Kenya. Is there a way I can get it delivered to me??

  22. please can one type word documents on kindle fire and how soon are you going to make your service available in nigeria

    • @ Kehinde – you can view word docs on the Kindle fire, but to edit or create them you will need to download the OfficeSuite Pro 5 App. We have no idea when or if the Fire tablet will be made available in Nigeria sorry.

  23. Which kindle is best suited in Singapore for reading and maybe games and surfing the net ?

    Tks.

  24. I really want a kindle that has no keypad and can download books that is simple in somewhat cheap can u give me a name of a kindle I should get

    • Hi Carl, The cheapest ordinary Kindle is all you need. It’s easy to use and has no keypad. If you’re in the US and want to make it even more economical buy the model with sponsored ads.

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