Ameya DalviMar 11, 2023 13:05:57 IST
Price: Rs 9,999
It’s been almost 15 years since the first Kindle was launched. The device is currently in its 11th generation. But ever since Amazon launched the first Kindle Paperwhite, that has been a device of choice for those who could afford it. It was a no-brainer as the Paperwhite had far better features and readability in comparison to the basic Kindle model.
With the launch of the latest Kindle (non-Paperwhite), the choice between the two may not be as straightforward as it borrows a lot of goodness from its more elite cousin. We got to try our hand at the All-new Kindle (as Amazon likes to call it) for the past few weeks, and here’s what’s good and not-so-good about it.
What we liked about the All-new Kindle:
Extremely light and feels great in hand
The company claims that this 11th-gen All-new Kindle is the most compact and lightest to date, and we won’t disagree. The device does feel incredibly light in hand and weighs just 158 grams. To put things in perspective, that’s lighter than most smartphones these days. Holding it in one hand for long does not cause fatigue. And its compact size makes it easy to slip it in a bag. It may fit into some pants pockets too but I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
The top and side bezels are slimmer than before and almost the same size as the latest Paperwhite. However, unlike the Paperwhite’s, they do not merge seamlessly into the screen and are noticeably raised. There is a solitary physical button along the bottom edge to turn on the device or put it in standby. There are no speakers here but one can connect Bluetooth earphones or speakers to consume content from Audible.
Far better display than its predecessors
This is by far the biggest improvement on this new Kindle. The older base Kindle screens used to have 167 PPI pixel density that made the text a tad rough around the edges. Amazon has bumped up the pixel density on this one to 300 PPI which is the same as that of the Paperwhite. The screen size is still 6-inch (vs 6.8-inch on the Paperwhite), but it is a lot sharper than before, be it text or book covers.
Even text in smaller fonts looks clear on this Kindle, and you can feel free to drop the font size to fit more text per page without worrying about readability getting adversely affected. Things are great under direct sunlight too, and you also get adjustable front lighting that lets you use this Kindle even in a dark room. Speaking of dark, there’s more which brings me to my next point.
Dark mode is a great addition
While the new Kindle can be used in pitch dark, it is not the most comfortable experience for others in the room. Say you like to read in bed, the screen glow can be a distraction for the person next to you. That’s where Dark mode comes in, which turns the screen black and the text white, thus providing a much soothing reading experience even for the person using this Kindle. This is a great addition and can simply be activated by pulling down the top menu.
16 GB internal storage
It is not just the pixel density that Amazon has bumped up in the new Kindle. The storage has doubled up too from 8 GB to 16 GB. Frankly, even 8 GB was good enough given that the size of most ebooks is just an MB or two at most. And 16 GB (13.2 GB available) will let you store thousands of ebooks on this device. Imagine the weight of a few thousand books being just 158 grams. Don’t we love technology?
Improved battery backup and USB-C port for charging
The battery backup has also seen a good 50% improvement over its predecessor. The company claims a battery life of 6 weeks for the new Kindle; the catch being – at 30 minutes of daily reading. The battery life will vary depending on your usage. At a little over an hour of daily reading, it easily lasted over a fortnight for me, which is perfectly fine given that you will need to charge this device only twice a month at most.
It lasts that much longer if you don’t use it at all for a week or so. The standby time is great here with hardly any battery drain when not in use. Another notable improvement is the presence of a USB-C port, which took a couple of generations too long to arrive, but it is finally here. A standard 10 Watts USB-C charger takes about four hours to charge this Kindle fully.
What we did not like about the All-new Kindle:
Most of the cons here are a result of us being spoiled by the Kindle Paperwhite. While we are fully aware that there need to be clear differentiators between those two devices to justify their individual existence, there are certain elements that could have been added to the base model too.
No ingress protection
This is one feature of the Paperwhite I would have certainly liked to see in the basic Kindle. While the more premium device has a proper IPX8 water immersion resistance, an IPX5 splash resistance would have also sufficed for this model. An ebook reader is not something one uses only indoors. So a bit of protection from the elements outdoors would have been handy. Something for Amazon to consider for the 12th-gen Kindle.
Adjustable warm light would have been nice to have
Yes, now we are pushing it. But the warm light feature makes the Paperwhite much more easier on the eyes in addition to the more even front lighting thanks to the 17 LEDs. While there is nothing glaringly wrong about the All-new Kindle’s readability, the screen feels a bit cold in comparison, especially in a dimly lit environment, and a touch of warmth would have been nicer, if not an adjustable warm light.
No SIM slot for data connectivity on the go
The base Kindle only operates over WiFi, and there is no option for data connectivity as it does not have a SIM or an e-SIM option. So if you are outside the WiFi zone, you cannot buy or download ebooks on the move. Of course, one can set up a hotspot on their smartphone and do the needful, but a separate 4G/5G variant for those who care wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
Price and verdict:
The All-new Kindle (11th Gen) can be purchased for Rs 9,999 with a one year warranty on Amazon India. You get to choose between black and denim blue colour options. This new Kindle is not just the most compact and lightest Kindle ever, it is also the best base model to date. It also boasts of a handful of useful features that were only available on the Paperwhite previously like a 300 PPI display and front lighting.
Add to that a responsive UI, 16 GB storage, better battery backup and the new Dark mode, and the All-new Kindle makes a strong case for itself over the Paperwhite, given the Rs 5,000 difference between the two. Of course, the Paperwhite remains the superior ebook reader, but the gap between the two devices from the same generation has never been so narrow before.