Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kindle Touch: Cool New Features, but Not exactly easy to use

My first impression of the Kindle Touch is its comfortable weight. It doesn't feel that much heavier than the K4, and I already love that there are fewer buttons for me to accidentally press while reading.  The touch is very different than its predecessors, so there will definitely be a learning curve, even for seasoned Kindle users.  Navigation is not exactly intuitive and Amazon doesn't provide any instructions (beyond basic set-up) preloaded or included with the device.  You'll have to search for it yourself and sift through  all the info or just work through it by trial and error.  I used a combination of the two approaches to just get a handle on managing my Kindle content.

  • Power Button is much easier to press (not as flush as the K4's)
  • Only one middle button on the bottom of the device.
  • Touch screen and Keyboard aren't overly sensitive.
  • Page turning is a bit faster than all previous Kindles, including the K4
  • Cool new screen savers (non-ad)

  • Again, no USB Pwr adapter (I thought it would be included with the touch. Obviously not).  
  • Without the 5-way controller I had no idea how to right toggle content. (Update: figured out from trial & error-hold finger on content.)
  • No electronic or paper instructions on how to use this darn thing. I had to search -Amazon's Kindle site to find info on navigation. Go Here if you want to learn more about navigating the new Touch.  
  • Slow at processing any action other than page turning.
  • Doesn't respond to my first touches consistently. (As in, responds when I don't want it to and doesn't when I do.)
  • Instead of accidental button pressing, I now accidentally hit the screen, causing an action to occur.  
  • Doesn't fit into a Quart size Ziplock like the K4 (Not a deal breaker).
  • Can't be used while encased in plastic, due to the touch feature (Close deal breaker).  As in, no lounging in the pool or tub with this ereader while in a zippy.  

What's New:
  • Icons replaced the home screen book sorting function.
  • A Kindle Store Icon (Shopping Cart) is included on the top of the Home Page for easy selection. It's also still located under the menu button.
  • There is also a back button Icon next to the Shopping Cart in the form of a Left Arrow <-- Icon.
  • A search window can be accessed by tapping. This will initiate the keyboard application at the bottom.
  • Sorting your Content or Collections can now be accessed in the Menu or by tapping Collections on the home page.

Navigation Tips:
  • Holding your finger on content brings its action menu up.
  • A quick tap will result in opening whatever you selected. 
  • Holding your finger on a word and dragging it will initiate the highlight function, when your content is open.
  • To place a bookmark: Tap the very right top corner of the page you wish to mark. 
  • To change Font Size or move through your content: Tap either top corners within your open content. It can also be changed by the same hand motions utilized by most touch-screen smart devices. 
In summary, I think the Touch is exactly what Amazon needed to update old faithful and keep themselves ahead in this competitive market.  However, in keeping with low costs, Amazon decided to skim on a few key accessories like the USB power adapter and full preloaded instructions.  It would have been nice to have either a very intuitive device or at least some help with figuring things out. As it stands, Amazon's site doesn't cover everything you need to know this new device. I count myself as being a pretty sharp person, so I have no doubt other people will be scratching their heads and getting a bit frustrated as well.  Once getting over this cumbersome learning curve, I can see this possibly becoming my new favorite ereader.  But as it stands now, this reader is more of a set-up and learn device that either requires a PhD or a workshop to fully understand.

Update:  I'm returning the Touch, since I rather use the K4. The Touch gets a bit heavy after reading from it for an extended period of time. I do like the easy page flipping and power button though, but that's pretty much it.  And since I've decided to keep the K4 as my main reader, I called CS and had them remove the Ads for $30.

Home Screen
Book Home Screen.
(Hold finger on Content to Access)
Inside Content
(Tap Content to Access)
Search w/ Keyboard.
(Tap inside Search on Home Page to Access)
Kindle Store.
(Tap Shopping Cart Icon or Access through Menu.  Just as before, no advirts /recommendations on Kindle without selecting the Kindle Store specifically.  This is different on the Nook Touch.)
Content Sort for Home Page.
(Accessed through Menu)


  1. testing, I haven't been able to post for a while, something is weird.

  2. Now lets try for real.
    Honestly by the looks of the pictures, which I really REALLY appreciate all of those, it looks like it has the same functions of my touch nook.
    From everything that you have listed as pros and cons, I think I 'll stick with my touch nook.
    sounds to me like the nook is easier to figure out, plus it comes with a usb cord. (what is up with that?) it also has instructions.
    I am not as good with words and reviews as you are, but the only real problems that I have with my nook is
    1-finding books in my library (I usually just search for them rather then scroll through tons of pages)
    2- once in a while touching the screen and causing the page to turn when I don't want it to.
    other then those, its all just about me having to go form the 1st nook to the simple touch nook and relearning it and get used to how they changed the menus and screens. (and ALOT of personal opinion because it wasn't setup like my old nook)

  3. This comment was to go on your last one about Breaking Dawn, but I can't get it to work

    I SUPER glad that Kristen Stewart has learned how to act!!!!!
    I can't wait to see this movie, the longer I hold off on it the more I hear it is the best so far.
    I am not one of those sad moms you noted above. In fact me, my brother-in-law and his sister got together to watch the previous movies before we go see this new one. My brother-in-law was joking around and asked if I was team Edward or team Jacob and I told him I was team Ryle so leave me out of it!! We had a good laugh on that one.

    The previews elude to something more just as you have stated here "bit shocked by what they did end up showing their mostly pre-teen audience" so it makes me curious do we get to see some partial making love screen???? Just not everything cause of the pre-teen audience?
    Steph, Don't tell me, I really don't want to know.

    I am pretty bummed about having to wait another year on the last half, do you really think they will wait that long??

  4. Heather, I would agree with you that you should stick with the Nook Touch. The only thing that this reader has over the Nook is the advirts and recommendations that are sort of shoved down your throat.

    It sounds like both Touches may have the same touch command issues. It does something when I don't want it to and doesn't do anything the first time when I do.

    Look, I think the concept is pretty darn cool, but I don't think either company has the execution down pat.

    I realize that most of my issues steam from unfamiliarity, but I think I would prefer something more basic. I like the K3 if they could just make it lighter, smaller, and lock the keyboard when I want.

  5. Heather go see the movie, but it might be packed this coming holiday. Yep, Ms. Stewart figured out this acting thing I do believe.

    "so it makes me curious do we get to see some partial making love screen???? Just not everything cause of the pre-teen audience?"

    Exactly. No, I don't think preteens or young teens should see this movie without the "talk". And it's not really the sexy content I didn't like them seeing.

    And yes, I do believe we now have another year to wait for the last movie's release, which set to release Nov 2012.

  6. Heather I have to ask, can you use your Nook Touch while it's in a zippy? I tried this yesterday and it was pretty much impossible.

  7. I didn't even think about the movies being packed this weekend, CRAP.

    I just tried using the Nook Touch in a zippy and no, it doesn't appear that this works. BUT I have to say, I have a screen film thingy on mine so the screen doesn't get scratched, this could be stopping it from working with the zip bag, but it not either. HOWEVER. the nook touch DOES have page turn buttons that are on the sides, so I could use it if I wanted to just read.

  8. Heather thanks for checking. Yeah, the Kindle Touch doesn't have side buttons for page turning like yours does. But I don't think a zippy would work with yours regardless, unless you can turn the touch screen off. The reason being is that the loose plastic around the screen will accidently touch it, causing a action to occur.

  9. I would have liked the Kindle touch have the option to lock the touch screen and also have a side button option, just as I've been complaining about the keyboard or buttons not being able to be locked on the previous Kindles.

    I already packed up the Touch and printed my return label. I'm keeping the Kindle 4, since it's the lesser of the two evils. And still I haven't found the "perfect" reader yet.

  10. Oh, forgot to mention that the Touch and all Kindles come with a USB cable. It's the USB/Power adapter that they no longer pack with the Kindles, since the K4 came out.

    And, according to some Amazon commenters, I might have below average intelligence, since it was so easy for them to figure it all out there first go around for them. Oh, and they are in Love with their new Kindle-so hah there. Frankly I could really care less that some random stranger loves their new device and that it works perfect for them. People are really weird you know?

  11. Thanks for this write up. Haha. I did an "essay" for my Kindle Keyboard (is this the K4 you're talking about?). I figured the touch would be a lot less convenient, especially for my habits. I like being able to write notes or search for something or use the dictionary function really quickly. I'll keep the keyboard!

  12. No, this is the Kindle Touch. I also posted a review for the K4, which is the basic-keyboardless Kindle.

    I do miss the keyboard function on the K3, but wouldn't give up the lightness of the K4. I ended up sending the Touch back, and using the K4 full time.

    I still haven't met a perfect ereader, that would end all ereders. I guess what I have for now is good enough.

    I actually really like the K3/Keyboard, but since it's heavier than the K4, I choose to use that one.

  13. Oooh, that's considered the K4. The K4 seems nice but it lacks Text-to-speech. That's a must have for me.

  14. Yep no audio, but since I've never had any inclination to use it, it wasn't a issue.