Do I need Kindle with 3G? (checklist)

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Kindle Touch / Photo: Amazon.com

Having a Kindle with 3G connectivity is very convenient, no doubt about it. You can access Kindle Store and your archived items any time from anywhere.

However, there is a question about price. Kindle Touch Wi-Fi costs $99. For a version with 3G you’ll have to pay 50 dollars more. Same with Kindle Keyboard: $139 vs. $189.

Below there is a list of questions which will help you recognize whether you need a 3G version at all. Answer “yes” to any of them and think twice before paying extra 50 dollars for connectivity you already have or will be using rarely.

Do I have a Wi-Fi router at home?

Many people already bought a Wi-Fi network router. It can give access to the Internet from many devices you have at home: desktop computer or a laptop or a TV set or a smartphone – or a Kindle. Ask yourself a question where you are buying books for your Kindle. If it’s happening at home, you can do it via router, no 3G is needed.

For up to $50 you can buy one of many models of wireless routers. If you don’t have one – consider buying it. The cost is similar to extra money you’ll spend on 3G Kindle. You are connected to the world with a phone, anyway.

Do I own a smartphone?

If you have a smartphone (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS or Windows Phone), you can download a free Kindle app. If you really need to have constant access to the web and Kindle Store in particular, you can use your smartphone for that.

Buying a book on the bus? Here you are – use your smartphone and a Kindle app. And in the evening you can sync your Kindle to the furthest location you’ve reached while reading on a smartphone on your way back home.

Does my smartphone have tethering?

Tethering means sharing the Internet connection of an Internet-capable mobile phone with other devices. Check if the phone you own has this feature.

Even if you don’t have a wireless router at home, but your smartphone can serve as an access point to the Internet, you can use it to connect your Kindle with Kindle Store and your virtual bookshelf.

Do I put content to Kindle via USB?

Some people have problems with connecting their Kindles to a computer. It’s just not convenient. On the other hand, we have to do it anyway to have our ereader recharged (no power adapter is included when you buy Kindle 4 or Touch – you can buy it at an additional cost of about $10).

So, you have to connect to a computer in most cases, anyway. Ask yourself a question whether you’re able to plan for a couple of weeks in advance which books you want to read. Uploading titles at the time of recharging your Kindle – maybe it’s just fine?

If you want to add books from your Kindle bookshelf to a Kindle via USB, in a browser on a computer go to your Kindle account (Your Kindle Library). Next to book you want to download, click on Actions and then Download & transfer via USB.

When you connect a Kindle, it will appear as a drive on your computer. Copy your downloaded files from your computer to your Kindle’s documents folder. Done.

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I’m not into overpaying for features which I’m never gonna use. 3G is such a feature in Kindle. Ereader is a device to keep the user disconnected from Internet. There are other ways to get books than 3G. If you have access or feel comfortable with one of them, forget 3G connectivity.

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