The Kindle Touch is Amazon's new flagship ereader, effectively taking over the spot of the keyboard Kindle. We say new, but it has been available in the US for some time. Has it been worth the wait? Yes it has, but unless you'll actually use the additional features it offers, the cheaper non-touch Kindle is an excellent alternative.
When the non-touch Kindle arrived last year, it set out its stall pretty clearly. It was the cheapest, thinnest, lightest Kindle model ever, boasting the same great E Ink reading experience in an extremely accessible package.
As a result, the Kindle Touch is significantly chunkier and weightier than the Kindle. It's roughly 220g where its little brother is 166g, and the screen bezel sticks out from the paper-like screen more markedly.
Skipping between the two ereaders, you're liable to ask the Touch whether it should think about laying off the carbs, but it is nevertheless wonderfully comfortable to hold. The extra weight doesn't feel like an upgrade, but the more curvaceous body does. It sits happily in one hand, and its back uses the soft touch finish that's become an easy-on-the-fingers staple of ereaders.
More important than the slightly chunky frame, the Kindle Touch has gotten rid of all front buttons bar an iPhone-like home button. It's made up of four ridged bits of plastic, but is a singular control. This cutting back has let the front of the Kindle Touch keep extremely simple, making it arguably more of a looker than the cheaper Amazon ereader. Like Marilyn Monroe, it's a bit chunky by today's standards, but that doesn't spoil its charms.
Built quality is - as ever in the Kindle range - excellent. A generous strip of dark grey metal covers the ereader's edges and part of its back, while the main front and back panels are slightly lighter grey and plastic. Wondering why so much grey is involved? It helps to trick your eye into thinking the contrast of the E Ink screen is better than it actually is. Simple, but effective.
Other on-body features are decent by ereader standards. There are microUSB and 3.5mm headphone jack sockets on the bottom, alongside the power button. Although the Kindle is one of the more "closed" ereaders, relying primarily on its own ebook format, plugging it into a computer gives you easy access to its 4GB of internal memory. You can drag across an ebook library in minutes.
Internal memory is non-expandable, but 4GB is more than enough for most - hundreds of books will fit happily. If you're desperate for a memory card slot, look to the Kobo eReader Touch or Sony PRS-T1.
The Kindle Touch does have one on-body feature they lack, though. On its back are two grills for the internal speaker. Also missing from the £89 Kindle, this lets you use the MP3 player and voice synthesiser functions without resorting to headphones. Predictably, though, its output is pretty quiet and lo-fi.