Amazon Kindle Touch review

The Touchscreen edition of the popular e-reader is heavier and pricier than the original, and is only worth a purchase if audio or 3G is a priority.

Price
£109

Amazon has finally brought Kindle Touch to the UK, with a 3G and Wi-Fi as it aims to provide better functionality. Prices start at 109 for Wi-Fi model, rising to 169 for 3G edition.

At first glance, there isn't much different between this e-reader and the original Kindle. It's dressed up in the same two-tone silvery grey plastic on the front and has a soft-touch rubbery finish on the rear. The ports and power switch are on the bottom edge, and it uses the same 6in, 600 x 800 resolution E Ink screen. Sit the two side by side, however, and the differences become obvious.

Touchscreen

This being a touchscreen, the buttons on the edges have disappeared, and so has the D-pad although there's still a single-function home button in its place. A more significant difference, however, is the comparative size of the two devices. This Kindle is thicker, taller, broader and 32 per cent heavier than its brother.

Amazon Kindle Touch - Book

The extra size is due to the optical touchscreen. As with readers we've seen from Sony and Kobo, this Kindle has infrared sensors embedded in a 3mm-deep rim surrounding the screen, meaning you can even flip the pages while wearing gloves. It's still a light, compact ebook reader, though, measuring 10.5mm from front to back and weighing 216g.

The bigger question is: how does the touchscreen affect the Kindle's fabled usability? Well, it isn't a complicated system. Tapping and swiping on buttons, links and menus brings the desired effect.

Multitouch support allows pinch-to-zoom on a web page and in the main reading view.

A new feature exclusive to the Touch is X-Ray, which gives an overview (complete with surrounding text extracts) of where in a book various terms, locations and characters are mentioned. This is a potentially useful study aid for students, but few books support the feature right now.

We didn't have a problem with fingerprints - the matte display doesn't seem to pick them up like the glass touchscreen of a tablet or smartphone. And since the optical touchscreen system interposes nothing between the screen and the reader's eye, it looks every bit as good as the cheaper model too.

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