Too many Kindles to choose from?

Are you struggling over whether to buy an Amazon Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) or a Kindle Touch? At the same $99 price they are very similar in features; yet, they are different enough that knowing what kind of reader you tend to be will help you make the right decision.


The screens on these two devices (as well as all the current eInk Kindles) are identical. There is no reason to choose one over the other based on newer screen technology that you might think would be in the new device. They seem to have the same easy-to-read screens.

While the Kindle Touch does not have a physical keyboard, it has an on-screen keyboard that is just as good as the one on the Kindle Keyboard.

Amazon Kindle TouchCredit:

There are two main differences between the two models: touch screen and keyboard.
Because the new device has a touchscreen it makes the overall size narrower than the Kindle Keyboard; but only by .1 inches. The reason for this is that there is less space taken up to put the physical buttons on the hardware. Page turns are done by touching the screen instead of pushing a button.

The touchscreen also makes the Kindle Touch shorter because it has eliminated the physical keyboard. Don't despair if you need a keyboard to take notes though; the Kindle Touch has an on-screen keyboard for notes and other input needs.

While you would not want to write notes with a pen on any ebook reader's screen, you might want to follow along with your finger to keep your place while reading or point out a particular word or passage to a friend. By choosing the Touch version you will give up that ability since a screen press will advance the page.

The physical keyboard adds .7 inches to the height of the Kindle Keyboard. If you are not using the keyboard much, then there is no reason to waste all that space. However, if you are the type of reader who likes to take notes, or you are reading for the purpose of gathering research material, then having the physical keyboard is convenient.

Amazon Kindle KeyboardCredit: of the concerns for people who are not familiar with the screens on the Kindles are fingerprints and smudges. Fortunately, the Kindle screen does not show fingerprints like a smooth-glass smart phone does.

There are some software differences between the two devices. The Kindle Touch has a feature they call x-ray. It pre-loads Wikipedia, Shelfari and possibly other source information that may be helpful when reading a book. Amazon has said it won't be available for non-touch devices. At this point that means it is available for the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. This is a feature that sounds good on a demo, but seems doubtful that people would decide on which ebook reader to buy because of it.

What Type of Reader Are You?

Neither one of these ebook readers is just like holding a paper book that you can mark up and dog ear. But there are so many advantages to having a Kindle that it seems silly to even say one is worse than the other. I think you will be more pleased with one over the other based on the type of reader you are. Here are a couple of generalities to help you make your decision. You may disagree, but hopefully these thoughts will give you some things to think about when you go to buy your new friend.

If you read mostly fiction and won't be taking many notes, then the Kindle Touch may be the ebook reader for you. You are less likely to be reading weighty material that will require a finger on the screen to keep your place while you ponder the content. Reading in bed will be quieter too. Even though the Kindle Keyboard is quieter than previous versions of the Kindle, the page turn buttons are still fairly loud. The same can be said for the keyboard buttons.

As a non-fiction reader, I am very thankful for the fact that my Kindle Keyboard does not have a touchscreen. I am able to point out passages to friends and use my finger to guide me when I need to think about the words on the screen. I like having the keyboard because I do take notes often in the books I am reading. While the on-screen keyboard is not inconvenient, being able to jot a note without any extra button presses makes note taking more enjoyable.

Whichever you decide to buy I am certain you will be happy with your choice. They are both great devices and you will get used to the wonderful features each one of them posses.

Currently they both sell for $99 for the version with special offers. For this price you get WiFi only. For the 3G versions you will need to pay $40 to $50 more.