Amazon’s e-readers are about the only ones worth buying, whether you’re willing to splash out big time on the Kindle Oasis or if you’re after something small but feature-packed like the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition.
Both of those will set you back a pretty penny, though, so if you’re tight on cash then you might be tempted by the standard Kindle. If you were to buy it with ads displayed on the screensaver, it only costs $120 in the US, £95 in the UK and AU$180 in Australia - but despite it being so cheap, you won’t actually have to make that many sacrifices in comparison to the pricier slates.
I’ve been trying it out and I was pleasantly surprised with what the Kindle 2022 release has to offer, and how much it has improved since the previous 2019 edition.
Firstly, the 6-inch screen actually has the same 300ppi resolution as the Oasis and the Paperwhite even though it's quite a bit smaller. Before, it sat at 167ppi so it’s quite a significant improvement. What that means is that in natural daylight, the reading experience is really good because the lettering is super sharp and clear even if there’s less space to display it on. You won’t need to worry about glare from sunlight either thanks to the matte paperlike design of the screen.
Granted when the lighting dips, you have to rely on 4 LED backlights which aren’t as effective as the 17 on the Paperwhite or the 25 on the Oasis, you will have to adjust it yourself as well because there are no light sensors built in and there’s also no warm light option for a kinder time on the eyes. But arguably all of those are more nice to have than absolute essentials so I don’t think you’d be missing out on that much.
The Kindle is very compact and portable, more so than any of the others on offer. It only weighs 158g and measures 157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm making it the perfect travel companion because it’ll slip into smaller bags or even big coat pockets. Because it’s made from plastic, I wasn’t too worried about knocks and bumps either, although it’s not waterproof like the more expensive models and the front has slightly raised bezels which makes it look like a cheaper piece of kit.
What about the battery? Well, you’ll get up to 6 weeks of battery life with this latest Kindle which is amazing and a huge upgrade on the 4 weeks it could do before. You’ll rarely need to charge it, but when you do there’s a new USB-C port which can take you from flat to full in as little as 2 hours. Looking for wireless charging? You won't get that here, but again, I don't really think it's that useful of a feature on a Kindle anyway.
One thing that all Kindles share is the interface and access to the Kindle Store. How you navigate and use the system is largely the same across the whole range but no matter which you buy, you’ll get the same choice of books at your fingertips.
If you're an Amazon Prime member then you’ll also be able to make the most out of Prime Reading which lets you borrow thousands of titles for free. You can also choose to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited which gives you access to millions of books, as opposed to thousands, although it will cost you $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$13.99 a month.
All in all, I think the Kindle is a bargain and while it may not be as jam-packed full of clever features as the more expensive devices, it also doesn’t really need to be because you still get a similar experience on the screen, with the battery life and in the Kindle Store.
Want to know more? Read the full Kindle (2022) review.