Amazon Kindle [review]

Amazon KindleIf you’ve been paying attention, you might remember that I reviewed the Amazon Kindle in February of this year. Since then, Amazon has updated its Kindle lineup, with the effect that the old Kindle is now sold as the Kindle Keyboard. Why? Well, one of the changes in the new Kindle is that it doesn’t have a keyboard…

That might seem like something of a downgrade, and if you did a lot of typing on your Kindle you’re really going to miss that physical keyboard. If, however, you’re like me and only ever typed to find new books to download, the virtual keyboard isn’t too much of a problem. You select the letters using a 5-way controller and, assuming you’re not searching for “The history of the wars of New-England with the Eastern Indians; or, a narrative of their continued perfidy and cruelty, from the 10th of August, 1703, to the peace renewed 13th of July, 1713. And from the 25th of July, 1722, to their submission 15th December, 1725, which was ratified August 5th, 1726”  you won’t be slowed down too much. Fortunately, if you really are desperate for a physical keyboard, you can opt to buy the Kindle that still has one.

Other changes include a smaller overall body size (166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm), but still the same size e-ink screen. That screen seems to have had an upgrade, and now boasts a 10% quicker refresh time to allow you to change pages more speedily. Again, that might seem like a small thing, but anything that increases the immediacy of the page changes is going to make it feel a little more like reading a real book.

In terms of battery life, the keyboardless Kindle will last for one month, and it has space for around 1,400 books. This is against the Kindle Keyboard’s 2 month battery life, and space for up to 3,500 books. So, hang on a second, the new Kindle has a shorter battery life and less space? It doesn’t stop there: it also lacks audio output, which the Kindle Keyboard uses for reading books out to you. So, why would you opt for the new version?

Here’s the rub: the new Kindle costs £89 in the UK, while the Kindle Keyboard costs £149. If you know you don’t need a keyboard, don’t need to carry more than a little over a thousand books around, and actually want to read your books rather than have them read to you, the lower price becomes very tempting. And charging up once a month rather than once every two months? Well, that’s not much of a hardship, is it?

I prefer the new Kindle to the Kindle Keyboard, but it’s entirely a matter of personal choice. I like the smaller form factor, and I don’t miss the keyboard much. The lower price makes it more attractive, too, and if you are in the market for an e-reader it’s well worth taking the time to consider which version you actually need.

Once you have your new baby, of course, you’ll want to look into getting a Kindle cover. I’ve been told Kindles are designed to take bumps and knocks on the chin, but I wouldn’t want to risk doing some damage when it’s a simple matter to pick one of the many Kindle Covers out there and add a bit of extra protection.

The new Amazon Kindle is available from and You can also read my review of the Kindle Keyboard here.

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  1. I’ve got this model. Just fantastic – so easy to hold, and unlike a tablet, it works fantastically in direct sunlight.

    • They are lovely, aren’t they? I was really surprised at how well they handle bright lights, and also at how easy on the eye they are when reading (unlike a glossy screen).

  2. Alex T says:

    A certain person (who thankfully doesn’t read this site -Sorry-) will be getting 1 for Christmas…

    Have had a limited play with it myself (just to power it up etc); So having borrowed & used the Keyboard Style Kindle previously got to say I definitely like the smaller, keyboard-less newcomer.
    It looks & feels better in the hand. Also the lower price point helps to0. The fact that it has shorter battery life & smaller book space seems almost insignificant when you consider that is 1 charge every month (better than any tablet) & 1000+ books (more than anyone could carry)

    • You mean there are people who don’t read Geek-Speak? I had no idea! ;)

      Thanks for chipping in Alex, I agree that the smaller Kindle feels better to hold, and I’m with you on the shorter battery life and smaller storage being almost insignificant.

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