Our Kindle 3 arrived directly from Amazon in a sturdy brown box, Inside the unit is protected inside a tough plastic cutout with a protective film over the screen. The E-ink screen is set to a welcoming greeting.
Inside there is a very attractively designed help guide, and a little box containing the power cable. We don’t often remark on the quality of the supplied materials, but this literature is printed on very high grade paper.
Amazon supply a USB cable and a plug – which can be removed for direct connection (and charge) to a computer as well as a power socket.
The Kindle 3 is markedly more compact than the previous version and I think it looks great – with a mini sized keyboard at the bottom and a five way navigation pad. On the rear there are speakers at the top, but we will look (and listen) to these later in the review. With the navigation panel, you can move either up, down, left or right, and select the option you need by pressing in the center position. Kindle users will notice the removal of the top numbers row on the keyboard, this is to accommodate the new smaller unit size and they are accessible by pressing the ‘SYM’ key. The keyboard has received many intelligent position changes to make life easier when reading. We like the fact that page back and forward are on both sides of the chassis – making it perfect for left handed people also.
Along the bottom is a power button, a volume control and a headphone and mini USB jack for connection to either a computer or a power source.
The Kindle has a hard rubber backing which is a great improvement over the slippery materials used before, this is the first Kindle that doesn’t feel like it would be easily dropped.
The image above shows the Apple iPad (far left), Sony PRS 600 eReader (center) and Amazon Kindle 3 (right). The Kindle 3 is slightly wider and longer than the PRS 600, but it is also thinner meaning it is much easier to carry around.
The Kindle 3 arrives with 4GB of internal storage, pre-registered to your Amazon account, so you can immediately connect to their store and purchase books and magazines. If you buy a Kindle 3 second hand, then you need to deregister it (if it hasn’t already been) and re-register to your own account. This also means that you can sync up purchases and redownload at a later date if you temporarily delete them from the device. Unlike the Sony PRS 600, the Kindle has no expansion options, for adding an external SD card for instance. Every Kindle 3 has a dedicated email address tied into your account name, so you can send books directly to the machine like this, if you wish.