Kindle 3G Review

Update: This is a review of the Kindle 3G Keyboard – the review was written when the device was called the Kindle 3G.

I’ve been playing around with a Kindle 3G and now I’m writing a detailed review to help you decide if you’d like to own one. I’ve noticed that some other reviews only lightly touch on the Kindle’s extra features and this is what I want to focus on. In this review I will go over performance, web browsing, MP3 listening, image viewing, and ebook reading.

Performance

The main advantage of the Kindle over some other ebook readers and tablets is the eInk screen. This technology gives is an amazingly clear, easy to read display and extremely long battery life. The display is so realistic that when you first receive the kindle it actually looks like there’s a sticker on the screen (and it’s actually the real screen). The refresh rate isn’t as fast as an LCD screen but it hasn’t bothered me; you can see how fast it is on video reviews.

Web Browsing

The Kindle 3G has free 3G connectivity in over 100 countries, and this one of it’s greatest features. 3G is provided by AT&T and allows unlimited web browsing. The Kindle has an experimental WebKit-based browser that has exceeded my expectations. You can use it for basic browsing – reading the news and wikipedia, but you can also go beyond that. You can use it to send emails, browse Facebook, and even use Google Maps! It even works perfectly with Google Talk.

However, I couldn’t find a way to work Facebook chat, and it won’t load flash so you can’t listen to Pandora or Google Music, and you can’t watch YouTube videos (although you can read through the comments). I tried YouTube through their experimental HTML5 but it still wouldn’t work.

The web browsing is still impressive; and  you can’t beat free 3G! I tried two different  javascript-based speed tests for the 3G and it averages at about 400 kbps.

Music

The Kindle 3 can play MP3s as well as an iPod shuffle. You don’t see song names or music information. You can start or stop the music and skip a song. MP3s can’t be downloaded over the browser so you need to paste them into the Music folder over USB.

Images

You can actually look through images pretty well. I browsed around Facebook picture albums over 3G and pictures would load almost instantly in great quality. A Kindle isn’t the best device to view pictures on but it works.

eBooks

Every other Kindle review will tell you how nice it is to read books in direct sunlight and before going to bed. I want to touch on the text-to-speech feature. You can get the Kindle to read to you so you can just follow along. It has a text-to-speech engine that has room for improvement but is bearable. In English you can choose between a male or a female voice, with a reading speed of slower, default, or faster.

At the bottom of the screen you’ll get a percent of how much of the book you’ve finished. You’ll also see popular highlights (this is great if you want to see the important quotes to analyze, but it can also be disabled in the settings).

Kindle 3G Keyboard
Reviewed by w3techie.
Rating: 5

  1. Mike Bowman08-03-2011

    The Kindle 3G is awesome! I haven’t used it for music, but it’s perfect for books and light web browsing. The text-to-speech feature is a little weird to me, though. It’s still not an extremely accurate technology. Better than a Speak N Spell 😛 And I also heard what “Guest” has already mentioned, that the next Kindle is going to be LCD… I really hope that’s not true! The eInk was the biggest selling point for me!

  2. George P.08-11-2011

    I’m a proud owner of Kindle 3G. Seriously, I didn’t expect this much of this device. The 3G free access is outstanding. I mostly use it for book reading and listening to music, loving the female voice!

    The price is not a deal breaker so this is a no-brainer in my humble opinion.

  3. rositta08-11-2011

    I got my Kindle two days before leaving for Greece. The book reading feature works to my expectation, the 3G not so much. I find it tediously slow and have been unable to load some web pages, importantly Facebook. It just keeps telling me it can’t load right now. That kind of sucks and not being a techie I’m not able to find a solution.

    • Techie08-11-2011

      Does it say 3G at the top or does is it using something slower? Sometimes on an Edge connection it times out.

  4. Haven1108-16-2011

    Hi. Can I confirm the 3G (free) is usable in Japan? will be spending a lot of time in Jpn, hence wanted to use w/o paying for data plan in Asia.

    • Techie08-16-2011

      It’s free everywhere else around the world :) If you really want to make sure for Japan you could ask on a live chat with Amazon. I really think that the Kindle would have free 3G browsing in Japan.

  5. Chris11-09-2011

    does it allow you to read books that have been downloaded from websites, and not from amazon

    • Techie11-09-2011

      Yeah, you can load books onto its memory manually and they function perfectly, they just don’t sync to the Amazon Cloud so they won’t show up on different devices that are linked to your account.

  6. Anne11-23-2011

    I am thinking of buying the Kindle 3G, wi-fi & keyboard. I am in Ireland and want to know if Internet Access will be available to me. I see from the comment above that it is but when i asked in my local PC World outlet they said that Internet Access was not possible?

    • Techie11-23-2011

      Don’t ask a local PC place, just chat with Amazon directly. Most local PC places are just there to fix computers and they won’t have any idea who Amazon is partnered with. My best guess would be that you will have free 3G internet because I’ve seen that most of the western European countries do.

      When you get one and it does have internet you could go to that PC World and ask them why they told you no. :)

  7. SuperStarKaren11-27-2011

    This is a great review. I bought the kindle 3g with keyboard as a Black Friday deal. I had done my research and read reviews about the kindle fire and compared it to the other kindle models. The one major drawback to the kindle fire is that it only offers the wifi access to the internet with no 3g, which in my opinion, is working backward instead of moving forward. I have yet to open the box because I still wasn’t sure of whether I would keep it as I thought maybe the 3g was limited to a direct link to Amazon with no other browsing allowed. Unfortunately, no other review could tell me. And then I stumbled upon this review this morning. Thank you so much for this review, as it was a complete review and far more useful than any other I have read.

  8. kindleuser12-30-2011

    iam messaging you on m kindle! does the amazon cloud cost and why can we listen to webbased music because shouldnt it be different if we upload adobe flash. one more question when you sign up for things you cant see the security numbers to prove you are human or not a spammer and when you click enable images will it mess up the kindle? Thanks for the help!

    • Techie12-30-2011

      1) What do you mean, does the “Amazon Cloud” cost? It depends on which one of their cloud services you’re talking about.
      2) You cannot stream music because there’s no way to get the web browser to stream anything and even if it could, it still doesn’t have power over the speakers.
      3) I can see the captchas. I don’t know why you can’t – but enabling images shouldn’t ever “mess up the Kindle.”

  9. Hagar 101-04-2012

    Thanks ever so much for this review and the answers to the queries. I was unsure which kindle to buy now I know I will be getting the 3g keyboard version!

  10. John02-23-2012

    Hi, this sounds just the thing I’m looking for. Going on a long (3 month) cycle tour of western europe, Iguess I could store maps & guides on here and access google maps when lost. great review.

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