Ordered on July 30, promised despatch August 27, arrived August 31: The new Kindle third-generation e-reader has landed at MacFilos Towers and was unboxed in seconds. There is no printed Kindle box – simply an adapted standard Amazon despatch box – which is rather surprising. The USB cable with integral plug/charger, only slightly larger than Apple's 5w iPhone charger, was a welcome surprise. It's particularly nice not to have to carry a separate proprietary charger and the USB cable with mini-USB plug is light enough.
Set-up couldn't be easier. The device was already registered to my Amazon account (yesterday I received an email explaining this and telling me that if the reader was intended as a present I would need to re-register it to the recipient – all straightforward stuff) and the free 3G sprang into life immediately. In the Settings menu I quickly found my wifi network but spend an awkward few minutes entering the long (and difficult) access key. The new Kindle doesn't have numbers or symbols on the keyboard; you call up a symbols menu and then have to navigate around using the 5-way controller pad. It's not the best, but then I don't expect to be using the keyboard often.
As soon as I was connected I found all my library (at least, those books I've purchased through Amazon) became available and my current book opened at the last page I was reading on my iPhone before the Kindle arrived. The built-in, free worldwide 3G connection means that I'll be up to date wherever I am and this is one of the most compelling reasons to choose the Kindle.
After long experience with Sony e-ink displays, the clarity and contrast of the Kindle screen is amazing and it will be very interesting to make comparisons between the Kindle and the iPad. On first flick, the page turn is much quicker than I expected and, subjectively, is not much slower than on the Apple devices.
I am now looking forward to comparing the reading experience on the new Kindle against the iPad and iPhone. More on this when I've read a few books over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I will ponder on how much Amazon have to pay the network providers for free lifetime worldwide use of their networks. I'd like a deal like that on a micro-SIM card from someone.
Money note: This Kindle with lifetime 3G cost me £126.81, plus tax and delivery – a total of £153.30. It's a far cry from the near £300 that Amazon were asking for the Kindle only a month or two ago before, ahem, Steve-O pulled the rug from under their feet with the iPad. Those iPad naysayers out there cannot dispute the fact that the Apple device has had a dramatic effect on the e-ink book reader market. The price point is now so sweet that buying a Kindle is a no-brainer for any keen reader.