Here we have one of the smallest ebook readers to date; the Amazon Kindle Touch weighs in at just over 200g – and has a truly innovative feature in the shape of a touchscreen display. So you get the convenience of a tablet but with a battery that will last weeks before needing to be charged.
But how does it compete with its predecessors and other ereaders? Well, even though it is dinky, it remains rather chunky. It feels rather like you are holding a picture frame, with the edge protruding about 4mm from the display. But as it measures 10.1mm it still slips easily into a bag, making it ideal for taking on holidays or on your usual journey to work.
You’ll find the power/standby button is on the bottom as well as a 3.5mm audio jack and a Micro USB port.
Create a library
The device boasts 4GB of onboard storage, which is enough for a whole library of books. To get them onto the Kindle Touch you can copy them across from a PC or download them via Wi-Fi from the Amazon Kindle store. It’s easy to find your way around the store, as the books are categorised by genre and you can choose to find cheap titles or look among the bestsellers. There are literally millions of titles to choose from, so you should find something to read – although we still don’t know why an ebook costs as much as a ‘real’ paperback.
There are a few new features on the Kindle Touch – it is possible, for instance, to translate a section into other languages should you wish, and to search Wikipedia for details about specific places or characters – it’s a neat way to jog your memory or learn a bit more about places you are unfamiliar with.
The first Kindles that appeared had real keyboards, but the more recent eschewed them in favour of a slimmer body. It means that inputting notes was dreadfully slow, as it was necessary to use a virtual keyboard instead of a directional pad. But the Kindle Touch now has touchscreen controls – like on a tablet or phone. It’s not that quick to respond, so you won’t be typing at breakneck speed, but nevertheless it’s decent enough for making notes.
If you want to move back or forward between pages, you can swipe in either direction, and by swiping up or down the screen it is possible to skip whole chapters. To change font size you pinch to zoom – and should you want to highlight text, you hold your finger at the start and end of the text you want to highlight. It is then possible to share it over Facebook or Twitter or add a note.
So if you’re already a Kindle owner, will you want to be splashing out to upgrade to the Kindle Touch? Well, the only big change are the touchscreen controls, so unless you’re desperate to be able to take notes and really don’t like the directional pad, it’s not really worth splashing out a hundred quid or more..
This is the best Kindle so far for students, thanks to its note-taking abilities and touch controls. If you are already a Kindle owner, you won’t want to be paying out, but if you’re on the lookout for an ereader, this is definitely the one to choose.