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What Is The Best Kindle

Updated on April 25, 2013

Which Kindle To Choose?

Amazon released the original Kindle reader back in November of 2007. Since then, e-reader prices have dropped dramatically and the number of Kindle family members has grown.

You can now choose from a number of different Kindle models, including both e-readers and tablet computers. In fact, there are so many different options that it might even be just a little confusing.

In order to pick out the best Kindle for you, you need to decide what you will use it for, how you will use it and where you will use it.


E-Reader or Tablet?

The first question to ask yourself is whether you should go for an e-reader or a tablet computer.

Advantages of E-Readers

E-readers use e-ink technology displays - and that is about as close to reading text printed on paper as makes no difference. If you haven't tried an e-ink display then you're going to get a very pleasant surprise.

The other great thing about e-ink displays is that they only draw power when the screen is being changed. That means that they have a battery life which is measured in weeks rather than hours.

Disadvantages of E-Readers

The weak point with e-readers, for the moment at least, is that they can't display color and they can't show video. They aren't very good for browsing the web either.

Advantages of Tablet Computers

Tablet computers have great, LCD displays which are ideal for surfing the web, watching video and playing games. You can pretty much use them for anything that you would do on a desktop or notebook computer, the main difference being that they don't have a keyboard.

Disadvantages of Tablet Computers

Whilst it's true that tablet computers can be used to read e-books, they aren't as good at this as dedicated e-readers. The backlit display may cause eyestrain if you read on a tablet computer for any length of time. They also have a much shorter battery life.

Finally, although prices have dropped a lot recently, tablets are still considerably more expensive than e-readers.

Choose a dedicated e-reader if:

  • You mainly want to read e-books.
  • You want a long battery life.
  • You aren't too worried about (or have other means of) surfing the web, watching videos, playing games etc.
  • You don't want to spend too much money.

Go for a tablet if:

  • You want to surf the web, play games and watch videos.
  • You will only read e-books from time to time - and for fairly short periods.
  • You are happy with a battery life of 8 to 10 hours.
  • You're not on a very tight budget.


Entry Level Kindle Reader

If you're looking for a top quality e-reader, which you will use mainly for reading books, then the entry level Kindle is a great option for you.

It has a great e-ink display (much better for reading on than a back-lit computer screen) which is as close to reading text printed on paper as you can get. You won't be aware that you're using an electronic gadget rather than reading a "real" book once you've been using it for an hour or two.

There's no touch screen or keyboard - but if you mainly want to read then you won't need to input text all that often anyway.

  • Lightweight and portable.
    Weighs under 6 oz. - dimensions are just 6.5" x 4.5" x 0.34".
  • Onboard memory can store more than 1,000 books.
    Free cloud storage for all of your Amazon content is also provided.
  • Long battery life.
    You can realistically expect about 4 weeks between battery charges - based on half an hour's reading each day.
  • 6" e-ink display (measured across the long diagonal).


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

The Paperwhite is the latest addition to Amazon's Kindle family. Somewhat immodestly, Amazon says that it is "the world's most advanced e-reader" - but the fact of the matter is that they're probably right.

The fonts are sharp, crisp and great for reading - thanks to the fact that the Paperwhite has more pixels per inch than previous Kindles. It also has a built in light which is projected onto the reading surface (rather than being back-lit like a computer display)

Its e-ink display has more pixels-per-inch than previous Kindles, which means that the fonts are sharp and crisp to read. It also has a specially designed light (projected onto the reading surface, rather than being back-lit), which allows you to read in all ambient lighting conditions.

  • Dimensions: 6.7" X 4.6" X 0.36".
  • Weight: 7.5 oz (Wi-Fi) 7.8 oz 3G.
  • Read in dimly lit surroundings or bright sunlight.
    The no glare e-ink display makes reading in sunlight easier - and the in-built light provides even illumination across the display so that you can read in dimly lit ambient surroundings.
  • Choose how much light is supplied to the display according to ambient conditions and your personal preference.
  • Sharper contrast.
    Resolution (pixel density) 212 PPI (pixels per inch).
  • 2 month battery life.
    Based on an average of half an hour's reading every day (with the light on).
  • Enough storage for up to 1,100 e-books.
    Plus free cloud storage for all of your Amazon content.
  • Now with support for children's books.
    Pop up text and pane by pane reading of comics.
  • Parental controls included.
    Restrict your kid's access to the web, the Kindle store and the cloud for a child safe reading experience.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Video Overview


Amazon Kindle Keyboard E-Reader

Previously known as the Kindle 3, the keyboard earns its name thanks to the inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard.

Whilst that is certainly a plus point if you anticipate entering a lot of text, it does have the effect of making the Keyboard the largest and heaviest Kindle reader on the market right now. Even so, it's still eminently portable and might be a good option for you - depending upon your personal preferences.

  • Dimensions 7.5 x 4.8 x 0.34 inches.
  • Weight - 8.7 ounces.
  • No glare e-ink display means that you can read in bright sunlight.
  • 8 weeks between battery charges - based on 30 minutes reading a day with the wi-fi turned off.
  • Store up to 3,500 e-books.
  • Play audio files.

Amazon Kindle Keyboard Video Summary


Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet Computer

The Kindle Fire is a tablet computer rather than an e-reader. It's Amazon's entry level tablet and is ideal for anyone who wants to watch video, surf the web and play games when out and about.

It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some higher end tablets - for example, it has no camera and the display isn't HD. Even so, if you're just looking for an easy way to access the web, send the odd e-mail or watch videos when you're on the go, it's a perfectly acceptable option.

When you consider that, not so long ago, you might have had to pay over $100 for a kid's "play tablet", it's remarkably good value for money at just $159.

The big deal is that it lets you access the Amazon content eco-system. Downloading videos, apps, games etc. is a breeze - and there are plenty to choose from.

  • Dimensions - 7.44 x 4.72 x 0.45 inches.
  • Built in wi-fi for fast web browsing.
  • Simple to use e-mail - works with Yahoo, Gmail, MSN etc.
  • Up to 9 hours between battery charges.
  • Use 3.5 mm jack to plug in headphones or listen using on-board speakers.
  • 8GB internal memory.


Amazon Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD has, at the risk of stating the obvious, an HD display - 1280 x 800 to be precise. It has considerably less glare than the entry level Kindle Fire in certain light conditions.

However, the HD display isn't the only advantage which it enjoys. It also has a front facing camera, which you might find useful for connecting via Skype or other video media.

Dolby stereo speakers are included, and sound is noticeably better than on the Kindle Fire.

Depending upon what you intend to use it for, the best "upgrade" of all might just be the fact that the Fire HD has dual antenna wi-fi. That means that you get faster downloads and fewer dropped connections.

Amazon is happy to point out that download speed is 65% faster than a Google 7" tablet and 38% faster than an iPad Mini.

  • Dimensions 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches.
  • Weight 13.9 ounces.
  • Dual band, dual antenna wi-fi for fast web browsing and fewer dropped connections.
  • Up to 11 hours between battery charges.
  • Dolby stereo on-board speakers - or plug headphones into the 3.5 mm jack.
  • Front facing camera for video calls.
  • 16GB internal memory.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

The Fire HD 8.9 is the flagship of the Amazon tablet range. It comes with the choice of wi-fi only or wi-fi plus 4G connectivity. The HD display is 1920 x 1200 - 1080HD.

  • Dimensions - 9.45 x 6.5 x 0.35 inches. Weight - 20 ounces.
  • Dual band, dual antenna wi-fi for super fast web browsing and downloads.
  • Up to 10 hours between battery charges.
  • Use headphones or listen using on-board, Dolby stereo speakers.
  • Choose from 16 or 32GB on wi-fi only model or 32 and 64GB on 4G version.
  • Front facing camera.


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