Kindle 3G Review – first impressions


Despite knowing that ‘free 3G’ is a trap I still ordered a Kindle 3G. There was nobody home when the postman came yesterday, so I had to pick it up from the depot this morning before rushing for my train (depot opens at 0800, train leaves at 0803, I just made it).

This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive review, but there are plenty of those out there already. Here, some first impressions after less than a days use:

I like

  • That I didn’t need to charge it for 12 hours or anything silly like that. It works straight out of the box.
  • The screen – which really does need to be seen to be believed.
  • The size and weight. Small enough to hold and use in one hand, but not so small that it compromises the screen size.
  • That all of my O’Reilly DRM free eBooks work so well; and the Cory Doctorow stuff.
  • The hidden games (shift alt M).

I don’t like

  • Having to use the Sym button and sub menu to put in numbers. Why doesn’t the guide just tell you that alt+top row gives you 1-0?
  • That the AudioBook player can’t sync with my iPod (but I saw that one coming). Worse still it only offers +/- chapter or +/- 30s for navigation. That’s going to be VERY annoying if I listen to half a chapter on something else.
  • It sometimes seems to lock up if I press the back page button repeatedly.
  • That I can’t eject it when connected by USB to my Windows 7 Tablet, so it can’t be charged and used at the same time (apparently this isn’t a problem with XP machines). Update 1 Oct The Kindle can be charged and used at the same time if you eject the removable drive from Windows Explorer rather than ejecting the device from Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Devices.

The browser

I expected it to be rubbish, and I’ve not been disappointed. It will certainly do for emergency email checking and maps, but I’m not sure that I want to use Google Reader on it for much time. I’ve heard from one happy yachtsman who likes it for weather reports, lets hope that the ‘free 3G’ holds out a little longer for him (or that at least roaming data isn’t too pricey when the dark day comes).

I’ve not tried yet

  • Reading a PDF
  • Buying an ebook from the Kindle store.


So far I’m pretty happy that I bought it. More to follow later once I’ve put a few miles on the clock.

16 Responses to “Kindle 3G Review – first impressions”

  1. Tip! Use Instapaper! It works perfectly.

    • This comment so nearly ended up being SPAMed :-0

      I did however take a look at Instapaper, and I can see why people would find it useful.

      For me I can’t see it replacing how I use

      Ultimately though the problem is much bigger than web pages. It’s about keeping all types of media consumption in sync across all types of consumption devices. I can see examples of how this works within proprietary ecosystems (like Kindle and iBooks), but there are examples where even that doesn’t fly (like Audible).

  2. 3 John

    Can I run all my iPad apps on it?

    How about Java, what version does it run?

    I think your camera’s broken, it only turned out in black and white, still it must be great for watching films on the tube :-)


    • It’s not an iPad, which is why it’s £149 rather than £529, and the battery lasts 3 weeks rather than 10 hrs. Horses for courses.

      Also the screen isn’t shiny, so you can use it on the beach.

      • No shit sherlock – your Kindle obsession is disturbing.

        When will a colour version be released? Graphics & tables in educational books are either missing or of poor quality… regardless of being on the beach or not.

      • Text books probably need a bigger screen (like the DX) and colour. The displays from Plastic Logic are worth keeping an eye on as a way to facilitate this.

  3. 7 CATiffany

    alt-qwertyuiiop for numbers!

  4. Thanks for the link through, I liked your review.

    One thing I thought was odd is that you can change the text size (great for people with poor eyesight), but the keys are tiny to do it with!

  5. 9 Ganesh Vijayakumar

    How does google maps work on this? Specifically, does the maps part work? I’ve heard text based directions work just fine.

    Best Buy got the demo versions at their stores this thanksgiving. However they wouldn’t let me try out the experimental features?

  6. 10 Gavin Edward

    Just read your review – very timely. Wonder if Mrs E will appreciate the technology?

  7. Chris,
    is the 3G free ? browsing outside the US ?
    i havent seen any payment options or checking how much megas it has been used.
    how do they charge ? can u clarify this for me. i bought for this free browsing at least for now.
    im traveling a lot and having it its nice to check mails quick and the keyboard makes easier life

    • I have a UK Kindle Keyboard 3G, which gives me free (if somewhat slow and clunky) browsing wherever I travel. My understanding is that the US models are the same (e.g. I got a US Kindle DX for my son, which seems to work fine on 3G in the UK).

      Amazon changed the Ts&Cs for 3G browsing on the newer Kindle 4, so all you can get to when roaming is the Amazon store and Wikipedia – nowhere near as useful. That’s why I’ve been encouraging those that want free 3G browsing to get the Kindle Keyboard 3G whilst it’s still available.

  8. 14 hernan

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I have

    Two questions

    1-Have you tried PDF reading? (I want to put my stuff in the device)
    2-Is it possible to disable 3G? (I don’t want Amazon reading my stuff)

    • PDF reading is OK, but not great. The trouble is that most PDF docs are formatted for paper, and the Kindle screen is much smaller (unless you have a DX).
      It’s possible to turn the 3G (and WiFi) off, but that kind of defeats the point. Amazon hasn’t (yet) been caught out dipping into people’s private content. The wireless connection is for downloading books (and web browsing etc.). It’s also used for syncing stuff like which page you’re on.

  1. 1 Kindle 3G – it’s a trap « Chris Swan's Weblog

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