The Kindle e-reader has for the past seven years been the saviour of the written word. While there is no replacement for the trophy value of a book, the Kindle has given bookworms a mobile, viable alternative. Over the years, the Kindle has morphed into many versions adding usability and offering different price points. The latest entry-level Kindle is a upgrade that adds some simple new features.
Design and readability: The new Kindle does not look much different from the last Kindle or even the Paperwhite. The one big difference that is noticeable is the 6-inch touchscreen, which is now glossy and smooth. It is a bit lighter than before, even with the cover on.
It also has much less glare, even in sunlight. But this does not mean there is no glare at all. I had issues while reading at night and had to get the position right to reduce glare from the tubelight in the room. This version does not come with a backlight and hence you will need a light while reading indoors.
The other big change is the lock screen, which now shows promotions from Amazon. You can click to go directly to the book and purchase—this is most often a book that is at a discounted price. There is also a swipe to unlock option on the lock screen now.
Performance: This Kindle comes with most features you would see on top end version. Yes, you will miss the backlight if you have used a Kindle with one before. But you will also notice that this one is faster than the older version. Page flips are instant and ghosting is reduced. You will see the last page hang around for longer if there were images on it. But this is not an issue with text-only pages.
Even with the experimental browser, this one connects faster to the web than before. In fact, my Paperwhite forgets the home network quite often, but I did not face this issue with the new Kindle.
First time users will love the ability to share what you are reading on your social networks, as well as the Goodreads features that show what your friends are reading. While the impatient among us can flip through the pages and come back in an instant. There is also the X-ray feature, that comes in handy when you are reading books with complex plots and far too many characters.
Verdict: The Kindle is still the best e-reader in the market. The latest version gives you better features at a very affordable R5,999, while opening up access to an ever-expanding digital library. If you love books, then this is a must-have. If you can afford it, I suggest you get the Kindle Paperwhite just for the backlight.
Estimated street price: Rs 5,999