Hands-On First Impressions: Amazon Kindle 3

In my hands right now, ladies and gentlemen? The latest version of the Amazon Kindle, known colloquially as the Kindle 3. Here’s what’s what.

The Kindle 3 is Amazon’s latest effort to drag book publishers, kicking and screaming if need be, into the digital era.

The Kindle 3 is smaller, lighter, and brighter than previous Kindle models.

To what degree? It’s 21 percent smaller than the previous model, and 15 percent lighter. It’s less like holding a paperback in your hands than holding a Blu-ray case.

The display is an E Ink creation, its latest generation technology called Pearl, which actually debuted with Amazon’s earlier Kindle DX revamp. It’s good news for the average user: contrast is said to be 50 percent better than previous versions, partially owing to the lighter background.

It’s still a black-and-white display, which I understand has upset some of you. But as I’ve argued many times in the past, if all you’re reading is text, color isn’t exactly vital. Unless you’re reading children’s books or a book on the best photography of the decade, the lack of color isn’t an issue in the slightest. Do you need a color display to read The French Revolution, or Barça: A People’s Passion? I think not.

Seeing as though the Kindle 3 arrived some 30 minutes ago, it wouldn’t be prudent to give any “final thoughts” quite yet. I really don’t think 30 minutes, 15 minutes of those were spent taking photos, is enough time to get a good enough feel for the device.

So, tune in later!