The Kindle 3 is an impressive effort from Amazon and, although it still needs work, the capable WebKit-based web browser really adds to its appeal. Unless you need to buy books when you're wandering far and wide, the £109 Wi-Fi-only model is the better deal.
Crisp, clear screen; lasts for weeks between recharges; bargain price for Wi-Fi-only model.
Small keyboard is fiddly; WebKit web browser still needs work.
£109 (Wi-Fi); £149 (Wi-Fi+3G)
6in screen; 800 x 600 resolution; Wi-Fi; 3G (3G + Wi-Fi model only); text-to-speech; PDF support; one-month battery life (wireless off); 190 x 123 x 8.5mm; 241g (Wi-Fi model), 247g (3G + Wi-Fi model).
Amazon has yet to reveal sales figures for any of its Kindle e-book readers, but its recent announcement that the brand new Kindle 3 is the "fastest selling " model so far doesn't sound too far-fetched once you clap eyes on this stylish slice of electronics.
The Kindle 3 has a similar overall design to Amazon's earlier models, but there's some clear evolutionary improvement in the industrial design.
The screen still measures 6in from corner to corner, but the amount of surrounding plastic has been trimmed to a mere 16mm on three of the sides to make the case about the same size as a DVD movie box (though a little narrower).
This decrease in two dimensions isn't at the expense of an increase in the third either. The Kindle 3 is a mere 8.5mm thick and, at 241g, barely heavier than a typical paperback.
Although the technology has been around for a while, Amazon hasn't opted for a touch-sensitive screen this time around. The 800 x 600 e-ink display on the Kindle 3 has seen some improvements, though.
The screen is whiter than before (though still pale grey) and the fonts blacker, and text is very easy on the eye under all but very dim light.
There's still only a choice of three fonts (normal and condensed serif, plus sans serif), but there's a wide selection of sizes, along with adjustable line spacing and margin width settings.
The new screen's page turns are reckoned to be 20 per cent faster too, which is to say that the full-screen flush required before a new page can be displayed is now not much of a distraction.
The screen also supports a partial refresh, which means drop-down menus and moving cursors work almost as well as on an LCD display.
This faster screen refresh also suits the new and improved WebKit-based web browser. This does a bang-up job of rendering web pages accurately, but we found most are too small to read by default and the browser's fit-to-width option is seldom successful.