The Kindle Touch: Back from the Dead – Now What Kindle to Buy?

Kindle TouchEvidently, a software upgrade was enough to bring the Kindle Touch (that hasn’t been sold new at Amazon in about 6 months) back from the dead.  The Touch has been available most of the last six months as refurbished, but not available new.

Last week, Amazon released a major update to the software for the Kindle Touch and today it is available, with new updated pictures and video showing the new user interface. Only the Wifi-only model is available.

So the question is What Kindle To buy? Should I buy a Kindle Touch, Kindle with Keyboard, Kindle Basic or Kindle Paperwhite?

Reasons to get a Kindle Touch – it is smaller than the Kindle with Keyboard, stil has text to speech, Audible support, whipersync for voice can be used without another device, and speakers.  Negative – the screen isn’t lighted, it isn’t quite as good as the paperwhite, does not have a 3G available and has smaller storage for books than the Kindle with Keyboard. The touch screen is also a different type than the paperwhite and has a slower response time than the paperwhite. Also no page turn buttons. The on-screen keyboard is noticeably slower than the Paperwhite on-screen keyboard.

Reasons to get Kindle With Keyboard – Largest storage size, both speakers and audio jack, text to speech. Audible and whisper sync for voice support, a physical keyboard, cheapest 3G option, an unlocked browser that can be used internationally, page turn buttons and the same eink screen as the Kindle Touch. Negative – The screen is an older model than the paperwhite and is not quite as sharp, the 3G model is more expensive than the wifi only Paperwhite or Touch, no lighted screen, heaviest and largest kindle.

Reasons to get a Basic Kindle – cheap, has page turn buttons. Smallest, lightest Kindle Negatives – no touchscreen or keyboard makes taking notes almost impossible and highlighting difficult. Screen is readable, but not the newest. No audio jack, speakers or text to speech. No lighted screen.

Reasons to get the Kindle Paperwhite – newest model, lighted screen, newest eink screen (a bit sharper), longest battery life, smallest physical size (but same weight as Touch). Negatives – no audio jack or speakers, no text to speech, smaller book storage than Kindle with Keyboard. 3G model is $60 more expensive.  It has whisper sync for voice support, but only with another device (like iphone or tablet).

Refurbished or New? The refurbished Paperwhite is only $104 ($5 more than the new Kindle Touch) with the same as new warranty.  The refurbished Touch is still $89, only $10 cheaper than the new model. In general, having purchased both new and refurbished kindles, there is no reason to buy new if a refurbished model is available.

My advice: 

  • If you do not have a smart phone and like audiobooks, then get either a Touch (if you don’t want 3G) or the Kindle with Keyboard (if you want 3G).
  • If you do not want audiobooks on the kindle, get a refurbished Paperwhite. (I love audiobooks, but listen to them on my iphone which has a better audiobook interface.)
  • If you read at night then get the Paperwhite. Its lighted screen is better than an external book light for any of the other models.
  • If you never read at night and are price conscious get a basic Kindle.
  • If you travel a lot, especially internationally consider the Kindle with Keyboard. It is not the newest model, but its unlocked 3G and (very basic) browser can work in a pinch.

Models Available (decreasing by price):
New Kindle Paperwhite 3G – $179
Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite 3G – $159
New Kindle with Keyboard 3G – $139
New Kindle Paperwhite Wifi Only – $119
Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite Wifi Only – $104
New Kindle Touch WiFi Only – $99
Refurbished Kindle Touch Wifi Only – $89
New Basic Kindle – $69
Refurbished Basic Kindle – $59


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