Which Kindle to Choose ? - Our 2012 Kindle Buyer's Guide
As of October 2012 there are four different models of Kindle eReader available, two of which are e-ink based displays and two Kindle Fire models which are tablet devices with colour LCD screen. All models have eReader functionality and are available in one or more variants. Deciding which Kindle is the right one for you will depend on a number of factors, but for now, a quick overview of the models.
The Kindle also known as the Kindle Wi-Fi 5th Generation (To simplify things, this will be referred to as the Kindle Wi-Fi)
This is the most basic model of Kindle which also makes it the smallest and lightest option for e-ink reading. It comes only with a Wi-Fi connection with no option for 3G and has push button controllers for navigation and input. It does not have a touch screen.
The Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi / 3G
The Kindle Paperwhite replaces the older Kindle Touch as the flagship e-ink Kindle. It is available in a Wi-Fi only or a Wi-Fi + 3G form and is the most advanced eReader available on the market. The screen features added lighting to ensure that the page and ink stay as readable as possible in full daylight or total dark. The screen is touch based and very responsive.
Additional advantages over the basic Kindle Wi-Fi are a higher density screen which makes text crisper and clearer, a touch based keyboard for text entry and also features to make more of your reading like x-ray (detailed character and scene information available with compatible books), a time left 'til the end of the book calculation based on reading speed.
To help you decide which Kindle is best to suit your needs, we'll now look at the main uses of the Kindle in detail
Both Kindle models have the same screen, a 6" e-ink pearl display.
The Kindle Wi-Fi :
- Smaller and lighter
- Has real, physical page turn buttons.
- Faster and smooth page turns.
- Needs a Wi-Fi connection or a PC to transfer or download new books
- Searching a book / searching the Kindle store is more tricky due to no physical keyboard
- Reading PDF files is fast and smoother
The Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi / 3G
- Slightly larger and heavier (but still very light)
- Built-in lighting for reading in any level of natural light.
- Sharper screen and fonts
- X-ray and other reading experience related features.
- 3G model can download books from over 100 countries without needing a Wi-Fi connection or PC
- Easier to search books and the Kindle store using the touch screen.
Common to both Kindles
- Built in dictionary
- Access to Amazon's entire Kindle library
- Access to any eBook in Kindle format (i.e. not restricted to only Amazon books)
Browsing the Web / Amazon
Both Kindles are capable of browsing the web and Amazon store via the built-in web browser
The Kindle Wi-Fi
- Tricky to input text via the 5-way pad and on-screen keyboard
- Smaller screen resolution.
- Scrolling web pages is quick.
- Browsing only available when connected to Wi-Fi
The Paperwhite Wi-Fi / 3G
- Text input is easy with the virtual keyboard
- Web browser can be slow to scroll through long pages
- Free 3G web browsing (3G model only) in over 100 countries, but possibly limited to Amazon.co.uk / Wikipedia (tbc)
Despite faster scrolling, the Kindle Wi-Fi is not as capable as the Kindle Paperwhite 3G which, with its tocuh keyboard it is far more practical to use for searching, browsing and even sending emails.
Overall Conclusion …
This decision is not as clear cut as it once was. Both models are excellent for reading and it really is impossible to fault either one. If you have the extra £40, the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi truly represents the best in terms of value for money, particularly if you need to read in dark conditions you would end up spending money on a lighted cover or external light of the Kindle Wi-Fi, whereas the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi already has lighting far superior to any external kind.
If you want to download books without Wi-Fi or are one the move a lot and not always near a hot-spot, then the Kindle Paperwhite 3G is the ideal choice, however this does come at a premium.
Made your decision?
Buy the Kindle Wi-Fi here
Buy the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi here
Buy the Kindle Paperwhite 3G here
- Kindle Comparison Chart 2012 - 2013
- Our review of the Kindle Paperwhitei
- 10 Reasons to buy a Kindle
- General Kindle FAQs - all about the e-ink screen and many other important questions