Technophile

Kindle now slimmer, gets memory boost

Visvaksen P | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 24, 2016

Kindle

The ebook reader that started it all is now thinner, sports more RAM and is also usable by the visually impaired

When it comes to ebook readers, Amazon is faced with a rather unique dilemma. Its Kindle devices, which dominate the market in every segment, are pretty close to perfection. They have been for quite a while now. In fact, the base model of the Kindle, the eighth iteration of which has just been launched, has changed very little from its original form. It has shed a few buttons, gotten thinner and lighter, and acquired a touchscreen over the years. But the experience of using it remains largely identical from when it was introduced eight years ago.

Slimmer, fresher

The newest Kindle is 11 per cent thinner and 16 per cent lighter than the previous model, features slightly more rounded edges and picks up Bluetooth audio functionality, which will mainly aid visually impaired readers. There are a few software improvements as well, with more comprehensive GoodReads integration and Notes Export being added.

The 6-inch e-ink display is unchanged. It has a lower resolution than other Kindles and is much slower to refresh. However, while the quicker Kindles do feel nicer, the lag on the base model isn’t bad enough to hinder the reading experience even slightly. What is problematic, though, is the lack of a backlight which makes it impossible to read in badly-lit environments. Of course, the necessities of product differentiation dictate that the backlight, which is the USP of the higher-end Paperwhite, will never grace the cheaper model.

Similar performance

The new Kindle has 4GB of storage space, which can accommodate thousands of ebooks. It also picks up 512MB of RAM – double the amount of the previous generation. There is no obvious corresponding bump up in performance though. It also comes equipped with WiFi over which it can pull books, articles and PDFs whenever it is connected to the Internet through Amazon’s Whispersync service. The new Bluetooth audio feature allows users to have a robot voice read out the contents of a book to them. It is a little tricky to set up and the quality of the voice ensures that only those who have no other choice will be using this feature. Sadly, music and audiobooks are not supported.

Amazon rates the battery life of the Kindle at a month. We haven’t had a chance to test it for that long, but going by previous experience, real world uptime for a basic Kindle tends to be between two-three weeks, which is quite impressive. Since there is no improvement in battery tech being touted, it is safe to assume this battery range will continue to be the case.

However, the Voice View and Bluetooth updates in the new Kindle have not been enabled for use here and are not applicable for India.

Bottom Line

All the incremental improvements certainly make the new Kindle better than the model it is replacing. However, not a single one of them warrants the purchase of a new device if you already own a Kindle that is functioning well. For prospective new customers looking to make the leap from paper to digital books, now is as good a time as any.

Price: ₹5,999

Love: eInk display, battery

Hate: No backlight

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Published on August 24, 2016
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