5. Amazon Launches Updated, Affordably Priced Kindle
New Amazon Kindle Amazon

Last week Amazon released the new Kindle e-book reader, with a faster screen, lower price and slimmed-down design, thanks to omitting the physical keyboard.

Interestingly, the older model - now called Kindle Keyboard - is still available for £149, suggesting that Amazon is keen to sell a range of e-book readers tailored to different needs.

So which one should you buy, and is the new model worth upgrading to from the Keyboard model?

The new fourth generation Kindle - it's worth noting that the first generation was never available outside of the US - isn't so much an upgrade, but a sideline that offers a cheaper, smaller alternative with less features.

Kindle 4 has Wi-Fi connectivity, but no 3G; the Kindle Keyboard has Wi-Fi and 3G, which offers a free data connection anywhere in the world. The lack of 3G on the Kindle 4 is a letdown, as the convenience of being able to download books anywhere was always a major selling point of previous models.

Also missing from the Kindle 4 is a physical keyboard, Amazon opting instead to offer an on-screen virtual keyboard. Making annotations was never a popular use of the Kindle, and for the limited typing needed to search for a book in the store, a virtual keyboard is sufficient. In return, the new Kindle is substantially smaller than the Kindle Keyboard; it fits into a coat or jacket pocket easily.

But if you're going to be typing a lot, the Kindle 4 is not for you.

Despite being a year newer, the Kindle 4 is not an upgrade from the Keyboard model, and instead offers a cheaper, alternative with fewer features; think of it as the simple iPod nano, opposed to the feature-packed iPod touch.

While the Kindle 4 can do books, newspapers, magazines, documents and games as the Keyboard model can, the 4 is unable to playback music and audiobooks, due to it not having a speaker or headphone jack. This also means the 4 can't read aloud, as the more expensive version can.

The Kindle 4 offers less storage than the Kindle Keyboard, but comparing the ability to store 1,400 books against 3,500 is a comparison many users will never have to make; and every purchase is stored on Amazon's servers anyway.

The Kindle Keyboard was never known for its bulk, but the new fourth generation takes portability to a new level and makes the older model seem on the heavy side.

Choosing one Kindle or the other falls down to price, 3G connectivity and the need for a keyboard; after using the Kindle 4 for just a weekend the lack of 3G is annoying - having to search for a free Wi-Fi hotspot is a pain when used to the freedom of 3G on previous Kindles.

Having said that, the smaller size and reduced weight is definitely a bonus and makes reading for long periods more comfortable than before. At £89 the new Kindle offers good value when £149 for the Keyboard model may be beyond the reach of some.

It's worth noting that the Kindle touch - with a similar design to the 4, but with a multi-touch e-ink screen and the option of 3G - will be available in America from November 21 priced from $99, but there is not yet an international release date.

Finally, the full-colour 7 inch tablet, the Kindle Fire, will be released in the US on November 15, but again there are no plans yet for an international release.