What is the Kindle 3G and Kindle Wi-Fi?

Amazon Kindle 3. Photo © Amazon

Question: What is the Kindle 3G and Kindle Wi-Fi?

Following its successful Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 eBook readers, Amazon continued its best-selling eReader lineup with the introduction of the Kindle 3 models. So what are the features of the new Kindle 3 lineup? Read on to find out.


The Kindle 3 line is the third-generation of Amazon’s main eBook reader lineup. Launched in July 28, 2010, the Kindle 3 comes in two models — a 3G version with Wi-Fi and a Wi-Fi-only version without 3G.

Besides 3G capability and a slight 0.2-ounce difference in weight, the $189 Kindle 3G and $139 Kindle Wi-Fi are essentially the same device. Both sport a new E Ink screen with 50 percent better contrast than the Kindle 2. Both are also lighter than the previous Kindles, which weighed 10.2 ounces. The Kindle 3G weighs 8.7 ounces while the Kindle Wi-Fi is 8.5 ounces. The Kindle 3 line sports a body that’s 21 percent smaller but still retains the same reading area size of previous models, which is 6 inches.

Other improvements include 20-percent faster page turns; an increased capacity of 3,500 eBooks; an ehnanced PDF reader with notes and highlight functions, along with a dictionary lookup; quiter buttons; and an experimental Web browser. Battery life is about a month with wireless turned off for both devices. Battery life for the 3G version is 10 days with 3G on; three weeks for the Wi-Fi model with Wi-Fi on.

3G access is free on the Kindle 3G. Wi-Fi access is free at any AT&T hotspot for both devices.

The Kindle 3 lineup retains features such as Text-to-Speech and Whispersync. Text-to-Speech allows the Kindle to read text out loud while Whispersync allows users to read eBooks across multiple devices via the Kindle app and pick up where they leave off.

The Kindle 3 lineup now comes in two colors: white and graphite.

For more on eBook readers, check out our list of the Best eReaders on the market today.

UPDATE: Since this article was first published in 2010, Amazon has launched a whole slew of Kindle devices, which include tablet versions of its popular device lineup. For fans of E Ink, Amazon's selection now includes the 2014 Kindle, which features a 6-inch touchscreen and serves as the entry-level reader in the company's E Ink lineup. Amazon also launched an improved Kindle Paperwhite in 2015, which features a higher resolution screen and adjustable lighting. At the top of the line for Amazon E Ink readers is the Kindle Voyage, which is the thinnest Kindle yet and adds adaptive lighting as well as a new PagePress interface for easier and more intuitive page turns.

In addition to E Ink readers, Amazon also added a new line of tablets using the Kindle Fire name. In addition to the entry level version, the tablet line also includes variants such as the Kindle Fire Kids Edition, which features a sturdier casing to withstand rough treatment and inadvertent drops by younger users. For folks who want something bigger, there's also the Kindle Fire HD 10, which comes with a large 10-inch screen.

For a list of Kindle devices through the years, check out our feature, "All You Need to Know About the Amazon Kindle."