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Recently had my car broken into unfortunately and my Kindle Touch 3G was stolen.

I had mixed feeling about the touch, so I decided to replace it with the base model Kindle 4 WiFi.

First Impressions:

The Kindle 4 is thinner and lighter than the Touch by a noticeable amount, which is quite nice. It also doesn't have the taller bezel border at the top of the screen, which made the Touch 3G look a little ********* to me, like it had a giant forehead or something LOL.

Buttons:

The buttons are a bit close together and the directional pad is small (same size as the Kindle Keyboard's D-pad) but they work very well. As long as you don't have unusually large fingers, they shouldn't be a problem.
The page turn buttons are the best I've used on any Kindle. They finally have that sturdy feel the others seemed to lack. None of the "clickiness" of the K2 and none of the slightly flimsy feel I got from the K3/Kindle Keyboard. It seems like they finally got them just right.

Performance:

Page turns and refresh and response seem a bit snappier to me than the Touch. It could just be my imagination, or maybe cause by some small delay in the touches registering, but it feels quicker getting around on this Kindle versus my previous Touch model. Battery life is noticeably shorter than the Kindle Touch, but all Kindles have great battery life, so it's a small price to pay for the money you save and what, in my opinion, is a better scheme for navigation. The smaller memory capacity hasn't been an issue for me either. I never came close to filling any of my Kindles, and with the ability to archive on Amazon's servers, it should be a non-issue for most.

Material Quality:

I think the current Kindle lineup is the best Amazon has ever made (I've owned a Kindle 2 and a Kindle 3 Keyboard 3G and a Kindle 4 Touch/3G) The quality of the plastics, the button action, the screen response is better than the K3 and the contrast is at least equal, if not better than the K3.

Conclusion:

I replaced my stolen Kindle Touch 3G with the less expensive model in part because I wasn't totally happy with the way the touch works. I suspected I would like the old button functions better and I was right. For me, it just seems much easier to get around without tapping the screen. I LOVE having the "back" button back (not the page back button, but the button at the bottom which returns you to the previous screen) I found the Kindle Touch really annoying to use, I was constantly losing my place by accidentally brushing or touching the screen. I don't care for the new menu function you get by tapping the top of the screen either. Overall it just seems counter-intutitive, it took me a month to get used to all the gestures needed and even then I found it irritating to use.

The Touch seems well-intentioned, but I think this is a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The old Kindle button navigation scheme is a more efficient and precise way to move around the Kindle in my opinion. Back, Keyboard, Menu and Home are perfect, no trying to figure out what precise region on the screen to tap, no accidental page turns and losing your place in the book. It's much easier to read one-handed with the non-touch Kindle. The size is perfect as well. Just a really elegant design in it's simplicity. The lack of a keyboard has been no trouble at all either. I don't write lengthy notes in my books and I usually buy books for the Kindle on the computer, so I don't need to use it much. When I do need to use the onscreen keyboard, it works more than well enough. It's far easier to use than it used to be to send text messages on a cell phone without dedicated letter keys and we all managed to do that for years.

I definitely recommend the regular non-keyboard Kindle 4 to anyone in the market for a new Kindle. Unless you really, really need 3G (I thought I'd miss it, but I don't often) or you take lengthy notes in most of the books you read, then it is the better, cheaper device in every way. The Touch function is more of a gimmick that doesn't work so well in practice. The audio feature is a function I think almost no one ever used, so it's not missed in my case.

I really hope Amazon does not phase out the button models in favor of going with all Touch models.  :-\

I'd like my next Kindle to have buttons as well, the only way I'd even consider a touch again is if they seriously re-work the way the touch functions work, make it more responsive and less sensitive to accidental taps at the same time.

Kindle 4 non-Touch:

PROS:
* Buttons are more efficient and accurate than the touch screen
* Substantially lower price
* Smaller, thinner and lighter
* Easier to read one-handed with the buttons and less bulk.
* More efficient and familiar user interface


CONS:
* Shorter battery life than Kindle Touch
* No audio functions
* No 3G
 

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I dropped my Kindle 4 basic model, and that's all it takes to kill them, one drop. I have replaced it with a touch model and for many things I do really miss those buttons. Way fewer errors. I would love to have both the buttons and a touch screen that I can turn off to reduce accidental actions.
 
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