Amazon’s range of ebook readers now includes the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G, two versions that are operated using a touch screen. They look similar to the regular Kindle, though as there’s a touch screen they don’t have any buttons for navigating or turning pages.
The Amazon Kindle Touch is priced at £109 and the Touch 3G costs £169. Both are available from Amazon or selected retailers. The non-touch screen Kindle costs £89.
Amazon Kindle Touch first look video review
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As well as the touchscreen Amazon has included 4GB of internal memory storage to store up to 3,000 books (twice that of the regular Kindle), and the maker claims that the battery life can last up to 2 months without charging.
These features come at the expense of weight – the Touch 3G is 50g heavier than the regular Kindle – but it’s still a very managable 220g and easy to use to hold in on hand.
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How does it compare with the regular Kindle?
Using the touchscreen to turn pages is easy, although whether you will find it easier than physical buttons will likely be down to personal taste. In my short hands-on trial, I found it easier to turn pages using the touchscreen, although when doing so it was hard to keep a tight grip.
The touchscreen makes looking up words in the dictionary much easier, while the onscreen keyboard makes adding annotations or searching for books in the Kindle store a lot faster.
One less obvious difference between the models is that the Touch supports audio files and includes a headphone jack. This means you can use it for playing music and listening to audiobooks – something missing in the regular Kindle.
It also means the Touch models support Amazon’s text-to-speech function, where the the device reads out the text to the user. While this is potentially useful, the voice is fairly robotic and it isn’t something you would want to listen to all the time.
Should I buy the 3G version?
If you’re already sold on a Kindle Touch and trying to decide which model to go for it’s worth having a close look at the 3G functionality. This lets you download books on the go – as long as you have signal – without having to pay a monthly fee. This may seem like a great idea, especially when you can download books when abroad on holiday, but it’s up to decide how often you’ll do this.
You can use the 3G signal with Amazon’s experimental web browser, but this is restricted to accessing Wikipedia. With wi-fi access becoming increasingly common, we’re unsure there’s much to recommended the 3G version – especially when the extra £60 increases the cost of the device by more than 50%.