Look and feel
The thick border is a little strange, giving the Kindle Touch a photo-frame feel, but it’s a comfortably light e-reader and compact enough to slip into almost any bag
Ease of use
Touching the screen makes it easy to highlight text and skipping through chapters is now refreshingly simple, while reading in direct sunlight poses no problem. Shopping for new titles is also easy via the store, thanks to the Kindle Touch’s built-in Wi-Fi support
You can still download samples and full books from the market (through the Kindle itself), read PDFs and listen to audio books or music. You can also translate passages and conduct quick Wikipedia searches
The virtual keyboard is a little slow, but the Kindle Touch is responsive in every other way
You’ll get a month’s use from the Kindle Touch, as with previous models, despite the new touch-screen display
The Amazon Kindle Touch is one of the dinkiest ebook readers yet, weighing just a shade over 200g, and introduces something so far unheard of in a standard reader – a touch-screen display. That gives it the convenient control of a tablet, while retaining a battery that literally lasts weeks between charges. But how does it stack up against previous Kindles and other ereaders?
It may be small, but the six-inch Kindle Touch is still quite chunky. We felt like we were holding a picture frame, as the bezel stands about 4mm from the screen. Still, at 10.1mm it’ll still slide effortlessly into a bag, making it perfect for the daily commute or taking on our holidays. The power/standby button is on the bottom as usual, along with a Micro USB port and a 3.5mm jack for listening to audio books or music.
Build your collection
Before you get stuck into an entire library’s worth of books (you can carry around thousands on the 4GB built-in storage), you have to actually get them onto the Kindle Touch. You can do this either by hooking up to a PC and copying them over, or by downloading them direct from Amazon’s Kindle store using a Wi-Fi connection. The store is easy to navigate, separating books into genres and giving you the option to browse bestsellers and cheap titles, as well as offering up Editors’ Picks. With millions of books available, you shouldn’t struggle to find something to read – although we’re still bitter that the latest ebooks can cost as much as a proper paperback.
To change the page you can either tap at the left or right edges or swipe in either direction, so flicking through a book one-handed is as simple as it was with the old models. You can also now skip entire chapters by swiping up or down the screen, or change the font size by pinching and spreading your fingers (the same way you zoom on a tablet). However, the real benefits come when highlighting text and making notes. Instead of guiding a cursor to the correct spots, you simply hold your fingertip at the start/end of the section you wish to highlight, then drag over the text. You can then add a note or even share over Twitter and Facebook.
While the first Kindles had physical keyboards, the more recent models shunned these bulky boards for a more slender build. This made typing out notes a painfully slow experience, as you had to skip around a virtual keyboard instead using the directional pad. However, the Kindle Touch solves this problem with its touch-screen controls. Now you can prod the virtual buttons, as you would on a phone or tablet. You can’t type fast as each key press takes half a second or so to register, but it’s more than adequate for typing out a couple of sentences when making notes.
The Kindle Touch introduces a handful of other new features that aren’t found in earlier Kindles. For instance, you can highlight a section to translate into other languages, from Danish and Dutch to Chinese and Korean. You can also search Wikipedia for information on specific characters and places, which is a great way to gain insight into unfamiliar places, or jog your memory on something.
However, if you already own a Kindle, is it worth splashing out over a hundred bucks to own the Kindle Touch? We’d have to say no. The touch-screen controls are the only major upgrade, so unless you’re constantly taking notes and are desperate to get hands-on and shun the old directional pad, you won’t really notice the benefit.
With the excellent note-taking facility, boosted by the well-implemented touch controls, we reckon this Kindle is the best yet for students and anyone who takes their reading seriously. If you already own a Kindle then it’s not worth your cash upgrading, but newcomers to the wonderful world of ebooks should definitely start here.