eReaders have come a long way since Amazon first launched the Kindle 12 years ago. From large institutions down to your parents, people have embraced the concept of eReaders in a way not considered possible when they first launched. Amazon has always taken a minimalistic approach to the Kindle line, slowly pushing out new features while keeping the core experience relatively unchanged.
While the Amazon Kindle Paper White has long sat as the most desirable in the Kindle range, the base model has been slowly issued updates, inching it ever closer to the features you want from a modern eReader. For 2019, Amazon kept up this trend, pushing out some much needed updates and giving a noticeable screen improvement with a much sought after frontlight. While it still will not compete in specs with the likes of the Kindle Paper White or the Kindle Oasis, Amazon has made the base model Kindle feel like a much more modern, well positioned entry level eReader.
This years Kindle is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Kindle Paper White. Sitting at 6.3 inches tall and around 4.3 inches wide, and weighing only around 170 grams, the Kindle is easy to use one handed. Feeling akin to a paperback book, the Kindle will add little to your bag while traveling or on your daily commute.
The 6-inch capacitive E Ink touchscreen has received a noticeable upgrade in resolution, offering a 167 pixels per inch display. While it is still not at the level of the Paper White at 300 pixels per inch, it still felt clear, and easy to use as my daily go-to when I wanted to pick up a light read.
For 2019, the Kindle also received a much welcomed LED front-light. Granted, it is limited to four LED’s compared to the Paper White’s five, but you would be hard pressed to notice much difference in daily use. If you look hard at the edges of the screen, each LED can be seen. Thanks to the layer that guides the light however, it is for the most part distributed evenly over the screen, giving it a nice, if not a bit dim light for nightly reading.
While the light is noticeably less bright than you would find on the Paper White, or the Oasis, it works staggeringly well in real world use. I have never been a fan of a bright front light when using an eReader, and for the most part have the light set to “low” for most of my nighttime reading. Even with the light, I found my eye-strain was significantly less than what I previously experienced, especially compared to looking at my phone or another backlit screen type device.
Now, we all know the fabled stories of the Kindle battery life. Frankly, it’s one of my main reasons I invest in an ereader, and this years Kindle is no different. The 2019 Kindle boasts that it can last for four weeks on a single change based on moderate reading of around thirty minutes of reading every day. And judging by my time with the device, this boast holds true. After about a week of testing, using it around 20-40 minutes daily, I have only managed to reduce the battery to 73%. Of course, this would be lower had I had some late night reading sessions, but as it stands, Amazon have managed to keep the legendary battery life claim intact in this latest revision.
I am not one to use my Kindle for audiobooks, but this latest revision comes with bluetooth enabled for all your Audible needs. Frankly, this is one feature that while nice, is something I don’t find myself using often. With only 4GB worth of internal storage, and with the battery drain the Bluetooth audio puts on the Kindle, it never really made sense. But for anyone that wants to mix up audio and text based reading, the 2019 Kindle has you covered.
Beyond the new features, the new 2019 Kindle still feels very much like what we have grown to expect from the Kindle lineup. The software works, and gets out of the way for the most part, having a very minimal, utilitarian vibe throughout. The typing experience is still just as painful as I have seen in previous models, but at its core, everything works.
The new Kindle has 90% of what you would want from a Kindle, and for many that is enough. It does lack the waterproof nature of the newer Kindle Paper White models, and the resolution, while an improvement, still pales in comparison. But at the end of the day, for the price this Kindle is hard to beat.
At a staggeringly low price tag of $80 CDN on sale ($119 regular price), the new 2019 Kindle offers amazing value. While it may lack some of the features common on higher-end devices in the range, if you can live without a few bells and whistles and don’t plan on reading in the bathtub, the new 2019 Kindle is a must own for any budget focused reader.