Review: new $79 Kindle
I’ve had the opportunity to do a hands-on exploration of the new Kindle.
Let me start out by saying that this is a considerable improvement over the former $69 Kindle, thanks both to the touch screen and the quality of the display.
If what you want is an inexpensive device for reading, this will work well.
In fact, comparing the same text of the same edition of the same book with the same settings (font size 4, Caecillia) with the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite 2 (with the light turned all the way down), the KP7 (on the top) is easier to read:
The background seems lighter and the text seems thicker…that seems odd, because there are more PPI (Pixels Per Inch) on the Paperwhite…they are doing something different to optimize the appearance.
The device itself feels light, which is a goal for people. Irrationally, it also makes it feel a bit cheap…it definitely feels like plastic.
Another “feel” issue is that it is a tiny bit wider than the previous version, which would take a bit of getting used to, although it is only slightly wider (2mm…a tenth of an inch) and slightly thicker than the Paperwhite.
I think, though, it may feel wider than the Paperwhite in part because of the clear bevel of the edges:
The KP7 is on your left, the Paperwhite on your right. The PW slopes away smoothly. The K7 has a perpendicular edge, and then it slopes. That’s kind of geeky, I know, but the bottom line is that where you are holding it is thicker. It’s not enough for me to be a problem, but I would say it is slightly less comfortable.
Other external differences with the Paperwhite include
- The word Kindle on the front of the device is not in silver. Some people actually found the silver distracting when they were reading, so I would say that’s going to be an improvement
- On the back of the new device, it says “Amazon” rather than “Kindle”
What about the software?
It looks very similar to the Paperwhite. The menu on the homescreen has the same choices.
When you tap the Settings choice, they’ve consolidated the Device Time choice into “Personalize your Kindle”…which makes sense (it didn’t need its own menu choice).
Within a book, they’ve changed the order of the menu…but the choices are the same.
“Long press” a word in the book, and again, the choices are essentially the same.
The choices in the store were a bit different. Tapping the menu there, the K7 doesn’t have a Kindle Unlimited choice (although it’s on the screen), and does have “Recommended for You”, which the Paperwhite doesn’t have.
Overall, it’s very much like the Paperwhite 2 in terms of software.
I’ve liked my PW2 very much, and I think people would like this also.
So, the question seems obvious: why pay $40 more for the
The answer is equally obvious: the light.
The built-in light on the Paperwhite is a wonderful thing. It gives me the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, including paper.
However, you may just want to have a guest Kindle, or a “spare”, or something more inexpensive for a young reader. Maybe you are working or going somewhere where you will the risk of loss, theft, or damage is high…and you’d rather bring one that’s easier to replace.
As has been the case with recent non-Fire Kindles, and is the case with all of the non-Fire Kindles being sold new by Amazon, including the top of the line
the K7 does not have sound: no audiobooks, no music, and no text-to-speech. Personally, I’d like to see that as a choice: TTS is a big part of my life (I listen to it typically for hours a week in the car), and I’d be fine with it being done without onboard speakers (just a headphone jack, so I can plug it into the car’s sound system, or listen with headphones at home).
Bottom line: the K7 is a fine basic reader, $40 less than the Kindle Paperwhite 2, and an improvement over the previous “entry level” model. It has up-to-date features in the software. Some people will want to pay more for the light, and others will choose to pay $120 more for the top of the line Voyage.
If you have any specific questions about the device, feel free to ask by commenting on this post. I will probably have it for a few more days, while I document a bit more about it.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.