The Kindle Touch touchscreen is a feature that's long overdue, according to the experts. But even though many like the Kindle Touch (Special Edition, with ads, for $99, Amazon), they aren't blown away by it. A review in PC Mag says this ereader is now a "close second" to the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Engadget likewise asserts the Nook stacks up quite well against the Kindle. PC World's review is less enthusiastic, giving it only an above-average rating and noting awkward in-book navigation and menus.
And yet, Kindle Touch reviews have plenty of good things to say. Page turns are pretty fast, and the X-Ray feature, which can summon up all kinds of information about a book or within it, is cool. A review at CNET points out that this ereader supports MP3s and audiobooks, something that few rival devices offer. As for the choice between the $99 ad-supported Kindle Touch and the $139 ad-free version, most reviewers say the ads aren't terribly intrusive, making the cheaper model the better deal.
Like several other popular ereaders, the Kindle Touch uses a 6-inch multi-touch E Ink Pearl display. The new Kindle features 4GB of storage, which Amazon says is enough to hold about 3,000 books. (You can also store your Amazon books online using Amazon's cloud storage service.) It supports 802.11/b/g/n Wi-Fi connections and contains a USB 2.0 port. It still doesn't support EPUB files, as do most other ereaders, but it's compatible with a variety of unprotected files, such as DOC, MOBI, PDF, TXT, MP3, Audible files, and JPG, GIF, and PNG image formats. Of course, the Kindle Touch also uses Amazon's own AZW file format.
Amazon's Kindle was far and away the top dog among ebook readers for a long while, but the competition has caught up. The Kindle Touch is an excellent product, no doubt, but it's no longer a cut above the Barnes & Noble Nook or Sony Reader. Performance-wise, the Kindle Touch is on-par with those devices but its greatest strength is Amazon's huge library of content. On the other hand, the Kindle Touch doesn't support EPUB files, the most common file format for ebooks outside of the Amazon universe.
Bottom line: The playing field is not much more even that it was a few months ago. The Kindle Touch is a very good ereader but is hardly the only game in town.