I’ve had my Kindle 4 now for just over two weeks and I’m very glad I bought it. Although there was nothing wrong with my Kindle Keyboard the Kindle 4 (K4) is smaller and lighter and thus easier to carry around. When it was announced I had planned on buying the Kindle Paperwhite as soon as it was available in the Netherlands, either through Amazon.com or, when it opened, Amazon.nl. I was glad I wasn’t able to pre-order because of the “colour blob” problem. Depending on you level of colour blindness you might see pinkish, greenish or blueish blobs on the screen of your Paperwhite and Amazon doesn’t seem to be able to solve the problem. I like the idea of a build in light but I know I would be very annoyed if my Kindle had the colour blobs.
However, I did want to get a new Kindle and the choices that were left were the Kindle Touch and the Kindle 4. Although I like the idea of a touch screen I had read that the screen of the Kindle Touch was less sharp, probably because of the touch screen layer, plus I like to have physical page turn buttons (even with a touch screen). Around the time of the Paperwhite’s release Amazon also released a black version of their Kindle 4, although they deny that there was a hardware update people noticed that the screen is a lot better than the older Kindle 4 in silver. This made the choice easy to go for the Kindle 4.
As I said before, I was very happy with my choice. The screen of the K4 is clearer than the screen of my Kindle Keyboard (KK). I think it’s partially due to the screen of the K4 having a lighter, colder hue than the brownish hue the screen of the KK’s got.
Keyboard and buttons
One of the attractions of the KK is the keyboard, which is very handy when you make a lot of notes. It does, however, add to the size of the KK. The K4’s got an onscreen keyboard and you have the 4-way buttons to select the letter/number/symbol you need which can be cumbersome if you use it to make notes. Since I only used the keyboard to type in the names of the catagories I make to sort my books I can live with a somewhat cumbersome onscreen keyboard. If you regularly make notes I would advice to get one of the Kindles with a touch screen, that should make it a lot easier than using the 4-way button.
One thing I did have to used to was the page turn buttons on the left and right side of the Kindle. I was used to the wider buttons of the KK and found the narrower ones on the K4 hard to press when I first got it.
The KK had a slider to switch the Kindle on and off. The K4 has a button you have to press. I like this better since it seems to me to be a lot more durable than a sliding switch.
Compared to my KK the K4 is also a lot quicker, not only with page turns but also loading books, starting up/restarting the Kindle and switching screens in the home screen.
One thing that does annoy me is the implementation of switching wifi on and off. I don’t care that they’ve renamed it to “airplane mode” but it’s much harder to switch it on and off than with previous Kindles (the Touch and Paperwhite also have this problem). Before you could switch wifi on and off wherever you were; inside a book, on the home screen, etc. Now you have to go to the settings page, by going to the home page, using the menu button to go to the settings page where you can switch airplane mode on and off. Not very practical when you just want to switch on wifi to download a book.
Compared to the KK has half the space to put books on, 2GB instead of 4GB. Amazon likes you to use their cloud system. I don’t use the cloud system but I never put all my books on my Kindle and delete when I’ve finished one.
Interestingly Amazon contradicts itself when it comes to battery life of the K4. On the international order page of the K4 it lists up to 8 weeks with wifi off and on the page of the Paperwhite and the American page of the K4 it lists battery life as 4 weeks. The KK is listed as up to 8 weeks, as is the Paperwhite. To me it the K4 seems to have a better battery life than my KK, which is probably due to the older battery of the KK not holding it’s charge as well as a new battery. But even if the battery life is shorter than of other Kindles I can live with that, it’s easy enough to charge it overnight.
Weight and casing
I love how small and light the K4 is. The difference is also due of the different cases. For my KK I had an Oberon case, which are beautiful but add quite some weight to the Kindle. For the K4 I ordered Amazon’s case for it (the non-lighted one) and although it doesn’t add much size and weight I don’t like it because after two weeks it already has scuff marks on it (and I haven’t carried it around much in my handbag) and there isn’t a system to keep the case close in my bag. I use an elastic band to keep it closed in my bag so nothing can come in between the flap and the screen, damaging the screen. Eventhough an Oberon case is expensive and adds size and weight to the Kindle I’ve ordered one for my K4, I’d rather have a heavier and slightly bigger Kindle than a damaged screen. I like the K4 enough to invest $64 plus $35 shipping in a good case.