I believe the 3G is “free” in the sense that they let you browse for media on the Amazon store and will send it to your Kindle. I do not believe they mean that you get a free internet connection to anywhere else. (Consider you’re not watching movies on the paperwhite…so all they’re doing is sending you text.)
Special offers are ads, yes. My understanding is they show on the lock screen.
I’ve had a Kindle 3g for several years and it works great if you understand the limitations. It’s not going to be a replacement to any proper tablet/smartphone but I like it when I’m traveling because it’s got great battery life (the one month claim is a stretch, but a solid 12 days of moderate internet use is about what I usually get).
Yes, the 3G is totally free and you can surf the web pretty much anywhere there there’s a 3G signal. I’ve used it all over europe, africa, and asia and as long as you can get a cellphone signal you should be able to use the kindle. I’m currently staying in Prague with family and if it works here it should work in belgium, I don’t see why not. It’s not limited to any particular site, theoretically you can go to any page but there are some sites that won’t accept the somewhat outdated security protocols (some message boards, some email services, banking, paypal, etc.).
There’s a monthly data limit to the free 3g, I think it’s 1gb or maybe 3gb? I’ve only ever used it up once so I’m not sure. Rumor has it that there are ways you can increase this to an unlimited amount but I’ve never felt the need to do this.
The special offers are ads that appear in a small banner on the upper part of the screen or when it goes into standby mode. My model doesn’t have them but they seem pretty ignorable.
You need an amazon account with your prefered payment method selected. Amazon won’t accept paypal as payment method though.
Anyway, once you enter your credit card once, you will only need to enter your amazon password to buy. IMO, is better to buy from the website with a better browsing device, but honestly, I’ve never tried to do it in my Kindle (that is not the 3G one but has wifi connection) so I cannot talk by experience.
I prefer searching/browsing the website from a desktop or laptop, but saving books to your wish list to peruse them from the Kindle later is really handy.
3G works great with the store. The browser is okay for pages that are mostly text, but I’ve only used it that way when it’s the absolute only option.
Edit: I have the Kindle 3 with the keyboard. Apparently browsing on the Paperwhite is significantly more limited outside of amazon.com itself. If you’re not worried about that, the store should work fine for you.
I don’t know how you (whoever it was who claims to have done it) got free 3G access to the internet at large. One used to be able to use earlier Kindles (2nd gen, I think) to get free 3G internet access. Once Amazon noticed people doing that, they changed the way the 3G accounts work such that you can only use them to talk to the Amazon marketplace and download books you bought or uploaded to your account. There’s no way to hack a Kindle to allow this again. The hole was patched on the server side.
??? Are you possibly talking about the Kindle Fire or one of the non e-ink kindles? I use my kindle paperwhite and my sister uses her kindle keyboard for general internet browsing all the time. I repair tablets and one of the things you always check with these old kindles is if their 3G is working correctly or not before you resell them. Browsing’s slow and cumbersome but, yeah, it works just fine if you’re patient.
“outside amazon.com” and not “outside the amazon e-book store”? so… i could just go on the whole amazon store and buy like accessories via the kindle itself too? O.O i figured it would only let me buy books for the device itself.
if i can DL books i already own ANYWHERE I AM and stuff like that
then i’ll be super happy!!!
if i wanna check my email or play iplayif.com or google painted dwarves going to war on each other in a field of strawberries wearing nothing but towels and chanting solemn praise to the chanticleer hegemony (we’ve all had those wednesdays) , i’ll use my phone. that’s what i got a phone for. but reading on my phone tires my eyes right the f*** out.
the e-paper stuff works for me, i know. so i’m looking to get that.
plus, as i understand it, there’s a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge library of old free e-books (among which Conan books by Robert E Howard?)
which is a massive yay right there.
Have you tried increasing the font size and messing with the brightness and background colour? I’ve sensitive eyes myself, and it was easy for me to configure the Kobo app on my iPod Touch (roughly the size of a phone) so that it’s easy and a pleasure to read.
Personally, although the Kindles look beautiful, I’d rather buy - and in fact, I did! - an iPod or iPad. For one thing, I can read all the same books. For another, I can also play IF in it. And for another, there’s another bucketload of things I can do.
I love my Kindle. (It’s the Kindle 4, I think, not Paperwhite.) I read outside often enough that having an e-ink display and no screen glare is really important to me. (Contributing factor: sharp sun reflections and afterimages are my strongest migraine trigger.)
When I responded to this thread, it had been so long since I used my Kindle’s browser, I opened it and went to google.com to make sure it still worked. It did. Since you said they disabled it, I went back and tested it a little more. It’s definitely hinky. Slashdot worked. New York Times didn’t. Dictionary.com worked. Emily Short’s blog didn’t. CNN worked. Facebook and Yahoo didn’t. I’m not sure what their network policies are, but Amazon has obviously made casual browsing unreliable.
Again, this is a Kindle 3 with the keyboard, so I don’t know what it would be like on a Paperwhite.
Getting back to WesLesley’s needs:
I have no problem browsing amazon.com and the integration with the store has always been awesome. Whatever else changed on the Paperwhite, I’d be surprised if that much did.