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Photos: Kindle Touch

Five months after its US launch, Amazon's touchscreen Kindle is available in the UK. Still no sign of the Kindle Fire, though.
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1 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

Amazon has finally made its Kindle Touch available in the UK — five months after it went on sale in the US. Amazon's announcement that it became available a week earlier than originally planned is unlikely to impress those who'd have liked the opportunity to buy it sooner.

Nonetheless, the Kindle Touch is now available to buy, and there are two versions: with Wi-Fi and 3G it costs £169 (inc. VAT), while the Wi-Fi-only model costs £109. This makes it more expensive than the £89 Kindle, while the older keyboard-equipped device sits between the two new Kindle Touch models at £149.

Photos: Amazon 

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2 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

The touchscreen allows you to press, sweep and pinch in order to interact with your e-book reading. There's just one physical button beneath the screen, which takes you 'home' to the main screen listing all your purchases.

When reading a book, you tap a large central area to go forward a page, or a smaller area on the left to go back a page. Tapping at the top of the screen calls up a menu. Meanwhile, a sweep up or down takes you forward and back a whole chapter, while pinching gives you access to font sizes. An on-screen keyboard can be tapped when you need to find books or search within them.

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3 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

The Kindle isn't just about reading, and the web browser that's been in development for a long time is still present in the 'experimental' area. Sweeping the screen while browsing gives you some scrolling ability, and you tap to access links.

You can play music, too — you transfer tunes, and other files, from a PC via simple drag and drop over a USB cable link. The range of supported file types is quite broad: Kindle (AZW), Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA,AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP (through conversion).

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4 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

There are dictionaries for definitions and translating dictionaries too: you tap and hold on a word for access to these — and to highlight the word or add notes.

A new feature called X-Ray allows you to track people, ideas, places and other predefined material, as well as access Wikipedia entries. X-Ray wasn't available on many books at the time of writing, but it may gain traction in time.

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5 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

We're still waiting for the Android-based, colour-screen Kindle Fire (above), of course, but in the meantime UK buyers now have access to four Kindle devices at prices ranging from £89 to £169 (inc. VAT). The Kindle Touch is entirely backwards compatible, so it can accommodate upgraders as well as newcomers.

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