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Kindle Touch Review

Kindle Touch is as good as any touch reader out there, but there’s nothing particularly exceptional about it…

With the Kindle Touch now becoming available in South Africa on bidorbuy and through various importers, I just had to get my hands on one to test it against my Kindle 4. So if you’re considering buying a Kindle Touch, hopefully the review below will answer some of your questions.

At first glance, it’s clear that Amazon didn’t do any large changes to the design of the Kindle Touch when compared to the forth-gen Kindle. In fact, the only immediate change that’s apparent is the change to the navigational buttons below the screen – on the Kindle Touch these are replaced with a single home button that comes in the shape of 4 small horizontal bars.

The Kindle Touch does away with the page-turn buttons on the left and right hand side of screen and instead relies solely on touch to navigate between pages. Initially, this might seem to make sense, but after having used the Kindle Touch, I found that I missed the physical buttons quite often – especially when you’re reading single-handedly or for those times where the touch-screen navigation acts up.

The only other button on the device is the power-on button, which is located along the bottom edge, next to the micro-USB and headphone jack. Whilst the headphone jack had disappeared between the update from third to fourth-gen Kindle, it’s now back with the Kindle Touch to support the device’s MP3 player, text-to-speech functionality and the ability to play audio books.

Next let’s take a look at the display. In terms of specs it is the pretty standard 600 x 800 resolution, 16-level grey scale Pearl E Ink display that’s also found on the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle 4. The screen is crisp and clear, and won’t cause any fatigue to the eyes when used for extended periods of time. The only main difference to the Kindle’s display is – you guessed it – the updated touch navigation.

So how does it work? Whilst the basic reading experience and layout is very similar to the Kindle 4, the touch navigation does result in some updated “zoning” on the device’s interface. The top third of the screen is used to pull up the menu, the majority of the right hand side is dedicated to turning the pages forward whilst a smaller section on the left lets you navigate back a page. You can swipe or tap to turn pages, and both worked flawlessly for me.

An additional feature of the Kindle Touch is the support for dual-touch functionality which basically let’s you pinch to zoom in and out – particularly handy when viewing pdfs. The text automatically adjusts and the reader offers up a window with the eight different possible font sizes. There’s also a touch screen keyboard which can be used to jot down a couple of note or to search for titles and authors. I generally found it much easier to enter text with the touch screen keyboard, even when compared to Kindle Keyboard. Unfortunately, the touch screen keyboard doesn’t provide auto-correct options, which makes it a bit more difficult to type without any spelling errors.

So how does the Kindle Touch compare to the other Kindles? To be honest, the entire experience is somewhat under-whelming. Whilst the touch navigation does add some interesting elements – most notably the ability to easily zoom in and out of pdfs – it did little to enhance the overall reading experience. Instead of using the thumb to click the page-turn buttons on the Kindle 4, I used it to tap on the screen to turn pages – not really much of a difference.

So to wrap it up – the Kindle Touch is as good as any touch reader out there, but there’s nothing particularly exceptional about it. Especially once you consider that the Kindle Touch is quite a bit more expensive than the entry level Kindle 4.

So if you don’t absolutely need touch navigation and are ok with losing the audio playback, I would strongly suggest the new Kindle 4 over the Kindle Touch.

Buy Kindle Touch in South Africa

Whilst the Kindle Touch isn’t as yet officially available in South Africa, you can get them now from re-sellers on BidOrBuy.co.za from about R 2000 depending on whether it’s the 3G or WiFi only device.

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