Amazon Kindle (11th Gen) review: Best non-Paperwhite Kindle ever
Last year we reviewed the latest iteration of Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite, and we enjoyed the experience. Right at the end of the year, Amazon released their 11th generation basic Kindle, which the company likes to call the 'All-new Kindle,' at least for now. At times it's hard to believe that the popular ebook reader has been around for close to 15 years. Ever since the launch of the first Kindle Paperwhite, the base model has seemed like its poor cousin lacking certain key features. Amazon is looking to change that perception with the latest release, and has equipped the same with some of Paperwhite's features. Today, we take a closer look at the All-new Kindle and tell you everything you need to know about it. Is it worth its asking price or should you buy the Paperwhite instead? Read on to find out.
What's new in the latest Kindle compared to its predecessor?
So how is the latest Kindle different from its predecessor? Let's get the obvious question out of the way. While the new Kindle retains the 6-inch screen size of its previous iteration, it is significantly sharper and now boasts 300 pixels per inch (PPI) pixel density. What's significant about that number is it's the same as that of the Paperwhite. That is a big jump from 167 PPI and it translates into far better readability. Continuing on the display, you also get adjustable front light that lets you use this Kindle in all lighting conditions, including a pitch dark room. Conversely, if you like to read in bed and the light is a distraction for others in the room, you also get a Dark mode now that turns the screen black and the text white. This is a great addition and puts hardly any strain on the eyes when reading in the dark. There are other noteworthy changes too that the newer variant brings to the table. Just like the new Paperwhite, it now has a USB-C port for charging, which was long overdue. You get a charging cable in the bundle but no charger, which is fine as you can use any USB-C phone charger to charge this device. The battery life has been bumped up by 50% to six weeks from four weeks previously. The internal storage has also been increased from 8GB to 16GB, which is double that of the Paperwhite too. You get dual-band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, and while there's no speaker on the device, you get Bluetooth support to listen to audiobooks on Audible. And lastly, the All-new Kindle weighs just 158 grams, which supposedly makes it the lightest and most compact Kindle model to date.
How is the All-new Kindle different from a Kindle Paperwhite?
While the difference between a base variant and a Paperwhite used to be massive before, the gap has narrowed down in this generation. Having said that, there are some notable differences, primarily in the reading experience. For starters, it has a larger 6.8-inch display which can fit more content on the screen. While the pixel density is the same, and on paper, it may seem like things should look identical, the Paperwhite screen feels a lot more pleasant. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, the number of LEDs used for lighting; while the Kindle has four, the Paperwhite has 17 that light up the screen more evenly. In addition, you also get an adjustable warm light that makes the screen a lot more soothing on the eye; that's missing on the base Kindle. Another difference is in the bezels. While they appear similar in thickness, the ones on the new Kindle are raised and those on the Paperwhite merge with the screen seamlessly. One thing missing on the new Kindle that I hoped Amazon would retain here is ingress protection. The Paperwhite has an IPX8 rating, which makes it water resistant, and one doesn't have to worry about a bit of drizzle or the odd splash ruining your precious ebook reader. The base Kindle is more delicate in that sense and needs to be protected from moisture. The rated battery life is also higher on the more premium device, which can go on for 10 weeks on a full charge as compared to six weeks on this one in similar usage scenarios. And lastly, the internal storage, which is incidentally double on the new Kindle as compared to the base variant of the latest Paperwhite. You do get a 16GB variant of the Paperwhite, but you need to pay a little extra for it.
This is a significant upgrade over all previous basic Kindles
If you have used a Kindle before, there is nothing new to worry about here. All you need to do is connect it to Wi-Fi, login to your Amazon account, access your library or ebooks catalog and you are good to go. Even for new users, the interface is fairly simple to understand. You get close to 13GB of free storage to download and store your ebooks, which is plenty given that the size of most ebooks is just a couple of MBs at most. The new Kindle does not have a SIM slot, and hence one cannot use 4G/5G on the move. As I mentioned earlier, the device is incredibly light, and your hands don't get fatigued even after holding it for long. The readability is very good and far better than its predecessors (non-Paperwhite). Thanks to the higher pixel density, the text and book covers look quite sharp. Even better, the text looks clean even if you drop the font size to fit more text per page. You can choose from different levels of brightness depending on ambient lighting. I tried reading in pitch dark and the screen was bright enough even at 75% brightness level. I preferred the Dark mode though for reading in dark or dimly lit rooms. The UI and page transitions seem snappier than before. The company claims a battery backup of six weeks on the All-new Kindle, but it lasts that long if you switch off Wi-Fi and use the device only for half an hour a day. The battery life greatly varies depending on your usage. At about an hour of daily reading, it lasted close to three weeks for me, which is not bad at all. The standby time is great too with barely any battery drain when not in use for a week. It takes approximately four hours to charge it fully with a standard (10W) USB-C charger.
The All-new Kindle or Paperwhite, which one should you buy?
The All-new Kindle (11th Gen) is priced at Rs. 9,999 in India with a one year warranty. It is available in black as well as denim blue shades. So is it worth the asking price? For starters, it is easily the best basic Kindle to date. It doesn't stop there, and borrows a few useful features from the Paperwhite like a higher resolution display and a snappy UI. Unlike some of its predecessors, it can also be used in the dark. While the Paperwhite is a superior device in comparison, the last two reasons may compel many to consider this as a viable alternative given the price difference. Add to that its superior portability, 16GB of internal storage, and savings of Rs. 5,000, the All-new Kindle makes a strong case for itself. The Paperwhite is never going to be a bad option given its superior screen quality and readability, IPX8 ingress protection, and almost a month-long battery backup with similar usage. Earlier generation Kindles, including older Paperwhites, were not available on Amazon India at the time of writing. So comparing the value proposition of those devices to this new Kindle makes little sense. The All-new Kindle is not a bad option for those looking to buy an ebook reader for the first time or upgrading from a few generations old Kindle. And if you can wait for the next Amazon sale, you might get an even better deal on it.