When it comes to e-book readers, you can choose between Amazon’s Kindle… or another Amazon Kindle. When it comes to e-book readers, Amazon’s Kindle series is perhaps the only viable option around. Although there are a few other options, the Kindle is pretty much the only real choice right now.
But that doesn’t mean that buying an e-book reader is easy, because there are a lot of different Kindle models to choose from. Right now, you can buy:
- Kindle Oasis (9th generation) - Rs 19,999 onwards
- All new Kindle Paperwhite (10th generation) - Rs 12,999 onwards
- Kinde Paperwhite (7th generation) - Rs 10,999 onwards
- All new Kindle (10th generation) - Rs 7,999
- Kindle (8th generation) - Rs 5,999 onwards
And in a month’s time (on August 19 in India) you’ll also be able to buy the All New Kindle Oasis (10th generation), which starts at Rs 21,999.
They all feature the greyscale e-ink display that Amazon claims tries to mimic reading on paper, all give you access to Amazon’s Kindle store, and all share broadly the same functions (read, make notes, highlight copy, buy books at any time, download free samples and so on), but they are nevertheless very different in terms of design, hardware and performance. And of course, in terms of price. So which one should you be going for?
Start with the basics
Those who want to essentially just try out an e-book reader while investing the utter, bare minimum should pick up the basic Kindle (8th generation). It comes with a six inch e-ink display, Wi-Fi connectivity and 4 GB of storage, at a price of Rs 5,999. This is as basic as it gets, and the hardware design lacks the sophistication of more expensive versions, and even the screen is low resolution compared to the more expensive models, with a pixel density of just 167ppi.
There’s also no lighting on this model, so if you’re planning on reading in bed, you need a reading light to go with it. This doesn’t sound like a problem, but once you’ve actually used a Kindle with a light in it, then it’s really hard to go back to the un-lit models. The base model then, is only if you’re really firm about the budget.
Let there be light
The All new Kindle is the entry-level model we would suggest. It’s still a step down from its more expensive siblings, but it is much more affordable than those two, and lets you read in the dark, with a slightly better touch interface, and marginally better design than the Kindle. At this price, even a Rs 2,000 bump in price, to Rs 7,999 is not a small thing, but if you can make the leap, then the four LEDs that this model comes with make a really big difference.
At the same time, it’s not as sturdy as higher end models, and if you’re someone who wants to read at the beach or the poolside, or in a bathtub, then the additional water resistance you get by moving up in the chain is definitely a good addition.
The premium zone
The Kindle Paperwhite is the mid-level offering from Amazon, and there are two choices here, the All New Kindle Paperwhite (10th generation) and the Kindle Paperwhite (7th generation). You can get the Paperwhite from Rs 10,999, as compared to Rs 12,999 for the All New Paperwhite. Both come with 6-inch displays with 300 ppi pixel density.
The Kindle Paperwhite is otherwise not that much of a step up from the All New Kindle, so unless you’re looking for a value-offering with 3G connectivity, it’s not that exciting today. But if you’re looking for a Kindle you can take to the beach when you’re on a holiday, the All New Paperwhite is worth considering because it’s waterproof.
It comes with IPX 8 water resistance, and it’s also slightly brighter than the older model, or the All New Kindle, with 5 LEDs, and twice the storage, starting at 8GB. It’s also got a slightly enhanced touch experience, and newer settings like an inverted text that allows you to read in dark mode with light text on a black background, so you don’t disturb others while reading in bed.
Top of the line
If you want the best reading experience and you want it NOW, the answer is simple — go get the Kindle Oasis (9th Generation). It is simply the best Kindle money can buy right now, because it has the largest and brightest display of the lot, and works very smoothly.
Some people would suggest waiting because the All New Kindle Oasis (10th generation) is hitting the market in a month, and the difference between the devices is not exactly a killer one. Both feature seven-inch e-ink displays with pixel densities of 300 ppi, both come with exactly the same design with a wedge next to the display (which is flush with the rest of the body) for better one-hand gripping, the same level of water resistance (IPX 8, so good enough to survive a fall in unto 2 metres of water for an hour) and largely similar battery life (“weeks of battery life”, to quote Amazon).
So, why wait for the newer, more expensive model? The Oasis starts at Rs 19,999 for the 8 GB Wi-Fi edition and Rs 26,999 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi and 3G edition; while the forthcoming one will start at Rs 21,999 for the 8 GB Wi-Fi edition, Rs 24,999 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi edition and Rs 28,999 (the same as a base iPad) for the 32 GB Wi-Fi and 4G edition.
That’s a pretty steep price, but the new Oasis might be worth it, for people who need all the bells and whistles. Amazon claims that the display on the new Oasis is an improved one and will provide faster page turns, hinting at a more responsive screen. The display of the new Oasis is also likely to be much brighter, as it comes with 25 LEDS as compared to 12 on the existing one. And then, of course, there is the provision of “adjustable warm light”, allowing you to alter the shade of light you are reading in the dark, to reduce stress. For an extra Rs 2,000, that is not too bad a deal.