In the past several weeks, especially as the Kindle Fire’s release date drew near, many people have been touting the new media tablet as a higher end, more advanced Kindle. While it is definitely true that it opens up new doors for Amazon in terms of content distribution, I don’t necessarily think that it is fair to assume that the Fire is a direct evolution of the line it takes its name from. As such, I figured I might as well do a small comparison on the relative virtues of Amazon’s two newest Kindles.
This is the clear winner in terms of general usefulness. We don’t need a breakdown to prove that, it simply is. The dedicated eReader didn’t rise to popularity because of its exclusive access to the text contained inside eBook files, though. The question is how this device stacks up specifically as an eReader.
- More Responsive Interface
- Larger Storage Capacity
- More Intuitive Sorting/Storage Library Interface
- LCD Display
- Short battery Life
It really is a good system in general besides the back-lit LCD, offering the full functionality of any Kindle or Kindle App prior to the Touch model. When you swap to the white on black color scheme it isn’t even terribly uncomfortable to read for hours at a time, though the fact that you are reading on a screen is never forgotten.
- E Ink Screen
- Long Battery Life
- Slightly slower than Fire
- More Basic Menu System
- Limited PDF Functionality
The biggest things that the new Kindle Touch eReader has going for it revolve around the strengths that the Kindle line has always played to: a reading experience analogous to that of a paper book. This includes no eye strain, page turns faster than physically possible with paper, seemingly endless battery life, and the best selection of books on the market. That last is obviously not restricted to this model, but it helps.
On the downside, the responsiveness of the Kindle Fire when doing things besides plain old reading is far superior. Both the color display and the simple ability to rotate your document also make it the superior device for PDF viewing. While the zooming and scrolling on the Kindle Touch is superior to any previous Kindle due to the touchscreen implementation, for some reason this resulted in the loss of landscape mode. That can be a pain when you’re unable to reflow your document.
When in comes to extended reading, the Kindle eReader is still king. The E Ink screen isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for everybody, but the loss of battery life that comes along with the move to LCD is likely to be. X-Ray is a nice feature and will add some great tools for students and reading groups, but I have yet to find it more than a perk.
On the other hand, for active reference and note taking I would definitely recommend the Kindle Fire. The reading experience shows no lag for me in about 15 hours of use so far, the page turns, highlighting, and note taking are nice and quick, and it can be useful to have the full web browser handy.
The experiences are indeed distinct, and probably will remain so until some form of Color E Ink or an equivalent comes along.