Kindle 3G vs WiFi Only Review

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re not a Kindle owner.  Moreover, let’s assume that you want to be one!  Have I got your attention?  Chances are you’re in the right place for making the next important purchase decision, then.  You know you want an eReader, clearly the selection of books, pleasant form factor, or some other neat aspect of the Kindle in particular stands out for you, but which Kindle is right?  Sometimes it’s worth the extra money to spring for the 3G model, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everybody.  Let’s break down the relative merits a bit.

Kindle WiFi:

This is obviously the more affordable option at just $139.  Choosing this one gives you the full feature set as far as reading goes, of course.  It also has the same browsing capabilities as the 3G model, as well as an infinitesimally decreased weight, and an improved battery life while connected wirelessly (verified by the the author or this blog personally).  Basically, besides connectivity, you lose absolutely nothing in grabbing the cheaper model.

The most important concern, obviously, is the restricted mobile options that it presents.  To get the best possible use out of your browsing, to say nothing of the best possible option for getting books onto your Kindle and browsing the store in general, you’ll need regular access to a wireless network.  While there are always exceptions to the rule, it is pretty safe to assume that your home network will be fine. Where you can run into problems will be hotels, airports, and all the usual WiFi hotspots that you might expect to be easily accessible in day to day life.  I’m not going to make the claim that you’ll never be able to connect in these places, but I’ve run into problems in the past and as such I can’t tell you that they’ll be 100% for you either.  If you read at home for the most part, or plan to do your shopping at home and otherwise not bother with the internet connectivity, then you’re all good.

Kindle 3G:

If, on the other hand, you think you’d like to be a bit more flexible with your internet usage, you will likely find the extra $50 a very worthwhile investment. The 3G connection is a permanent feature, not a monthly fee, so you’ll be ok in pretty much any situation where a cell phone would work.  If you happen to be in a bind and can’t get cell reception, as I know happens in a few places locally, you will still be able to connect to WiFi.  In fact, being able to connect to such a local network will increase your connection speed, reliability, and just general quality of experience.  When you need to be able to get some info, or that book on the go, the 3G comes in very, very handy.

90% of the time, nobody is going to feel the lack of 3G on the WiFi model, but if you travel a lot then there’s not much more valuable than having the whole Amazon library at your disposal to make those train trips or long flights bearable.  Something to keep in mind as holiday travel comes upon us!