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Amazon Kindle Touch
What's hot: Touch screen with improved ease of use.
What's not: UI is still largely text-based.
Reviewed November 16, 2011 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
The Kindle Touch is Amazon's first touch screen E Ink reader. Sure, they're the last to the party with the popular Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch, Kobo Touch and a slew of Sony Readers including the latest Sony PRS-T1 preceding it. But we're glad it's here with the same IR touch sensors and clear Pearl E-Ink display as the rest of the pack.
The Kindle Touch looks much like its $20 cheaper sibling, the Kindle (or Kindle 4 if you find the simple name Kindle too simple). The design is basic without the slim and stylish look of the Kindle with Keyboard, but for $99 with offers (ads on the home screen and at the bottom of your book listing page) and $139 without ads, how much style can you get?
The screen is as sharp and clear as its non-touch companions in the current Kindle E Ink lineup, and touch is responsive. This is a 6" eBook reader with the usual 800 x 600 resolution and 16 shades of gray. The user interface hasn't changed much from the non-touch Kindle, and that's a shame since Amazon's competitors developed a touch UI that's more graphical and rich. You see a text-based listing of books and periodicals, and use the menu button to access standard Kindle style menu of a additional functions.
Top to bottom: Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard and the Kindle Fire.
The eReader has speakers, headphone jack and a basic MP3 player that can also handle Audible books. There's the usual text-to-speech feature (if allowed by the publisher), the new X-Ray feature (though not many books yet support this feature) and WhisperSync over WiFi. If you purchase the 3G model you can download and sync content over AT&T's 3G network as well (at no additional charge, but the 3G model is more expensive).The 3G version costs $149 with ads and $189 without ads. 3G is provided by AT&T and AT&T also includes free use of the WiFi Hotspots that are available across the US.
Amazon is still allergic to the ePub format, so you're still looking at .Azw and .mobi formats only, plus non-DRM PDFs. PDFs are a bit awkward since the Kindle Touch oddly lacks landscape mode.