Kindle 3 released with a proper UK variant

August 2nd, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last week Amazon released (a little earlier than everyone was expecting) a new Kindle model, the Kindle 3.  Not just is the device better in many ways (and cheaper!), but Amazon have also launched a UK Kindle Store, and a UK Kindle 3 directly using a UK mobile SIM.  Currently, a Kindle 2 International or Kindle DX International will have a US mobile SIM built into the device, and hence will roam onto the UK networks (although it could roam onto multiple networks, the Kindle does seem keen to stick with O2), whereas the Kindle 3 will have a UK Vodafone mobile SIM built into the device (which is still sealed, so there’s no access to the SIM or the battery).  What’s interesting is that with the release of the v2.5 firmware, all International Kindles in the UK have had access to the “full” internet experience (as opposed to the launch wikipedia-only access), so actually this internet access isn’t that different to the experience available to existing users.

So, what’s new and different with the new device…

  • Firstly, it’s available (from 27th August)
  • 21% smaller and 15% lighter, and has a 20% faster refresh of the e-Ink screen
  • There are two models, the Kindle 3 WiFi, and the Kindle 3 3G/WiFi, which uses Vodafone as already mentioned
  • The Kindle 3 WiFi will only come in Graphite, whereas the Kindle 3 3G will come in White or Graphite
  • The same 6″ screen size of the existing Kindle 2, but with the better contrast of the Kindle DX screen
  • Storage up to 4GB
  • Prices are £109 for Kindle WiFi and £149 for Kindle 3G, with neither having any ongoing costs
  • Minor changes to the keyboard (improving the 5 way cursor), and providing “previous page” buttons on both sides of the device
  • The buttons (especially the next / previous page buttons) are quieter
  • Updated web browser technology, to make every element faster
  • Whereas before numbers were accessible from the top row of keys, you can now use the Symbol feature (which doesn’t turn off after the selection of the first symbol).  There are rumours that you can also use Alt-Q (for 1) etc., although the numbers are not marked on the keys
  • Battery life now listed as 10 days for 3G version, and a month for the WiFi version
  • There’s a microphone at the bottom, marked as “for future use”

Another interesting feature; a light for reading at night! No, not included with the Kindle 3, but the all new leather cover from Amazon includes a built in light (and what’s more, it gets powered directly from the Kindle via contacts in the hinge mechanism); personally on my Kindle 2, I have an M-Edge case with the M-Edge e-Luminator light which works well, but building it into the case is even nicer (and cheaper).

The Kindle Case should be available in Black, Orange, Brown, Pink, Blue, Green and Red (do watch out, the case will also be available without the light!) for £49.99 in the UK.

So, what about the pricing?  The Kindle 2 was roughly £200 last Christmas, so the price of the WiFi version is nearly half that, and I think that will make the Kindle 3 WiFi a plausible Christmas present, and with devices like the 3 MiFi, there’s no need to pay extra for the 3G version.


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6 Responses to “Kindle 3 released with a proper UK variant”

  1. Matt Gibson Says:

    I did battle with the idea of getting the MiFi plus the WiFi Kindle, but eventually plumped for the simpler option of only having one thing to drag around. Presumably the MiFi is a better bet if you have other gadgets to justify the ongoing monthly fee.

    Oh, and presumably the equation’s different if you travel abroad a lot? I’m assuming the Kindle 3G’s “Global” connection will work for free in other countries, whereas the MiFi will presumably either not work, or just bankrupt you, as most roaming data thingies seem to do…

  2. UK Gadgeteer Says:

    Yes, if you have other devices (eg children with Nintendo DS / iPod Touch devices), the power of the MiFi does start to show, but good point about the Global nature of the Kindle 3G!

  3. Amanda S Says:

    I really wanted a white kindle 3 because I’m in love with this “Enamoured Owl” skin and the colour would go better with it than the graphite… but I can’t seem to purchase a white kindle 3 in the UK, not as a wifi or a wifi+3g… any idea WHY I can’t?

  4. UK Gadgeteer Says:

    You’ll need to be looking at the 3G + WiFi, as the WiFi only model is only available in Graphite. However, it’s true that at the moment you can only purchase the Graphite version in the UK, although I’m not sure why.

  5. Andy B Says:

    Do you know what the difference is between the US and UK versions of the Kindle? I may be able to get my brother to ship me a $79 (£50ish) kindle from US instead of an £89 version from over here. However if it isn’t going to work over here it would be better to pay an extra £30 than lose £50.

  6. UK Gadgeteer Says:

    One of the key differences with the new Kindle range is that the US version (at that price) includes ads, so you are not comparing like for like products. Warranty is a bit more difficult (needs to be sent back to the US, though Amazon are fairly good about this).

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