IN addition to writing a lot, I also love to read.
I’ve had an Amazon Kindle of some form or another pretty much since they first launched in Australia, and they really have changed my reading experience – not to mention decreased the amount of clutter in my home (since I no longer need multiple bookshelves full of books I bought just to read once and haven’t gotten around to donating yet).
The 2022 upgraded Amazon Kindle which has just been released brings three significant enhancements to the popular e-book reader.
First, it now features 16GB of storage, which is going to be vastly more than you’re likely to need unless you’re on some sort of antiquarian quest to have a copy of every single book ever written on your person at all times.
16GB represents something in the region of 7,000 e-books (assuming about 2mb per e-book on average). Even given my extremely eclectic and varied taste in books, there’s still no way I’m ever likely to fill it.
The second major difference is that it now features a 6in 300ppi monochrome screen – the same resolution as the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – so text is crisp, clear and razor sharp.
Thirdly, it charges/connects to things via USB-C (hurrah!)
Not so much a function but also good to see is the high volume of recycled materials in it – the black model is made of 75% recycled plastic, while the denim coloured version is 30% recycled plastic; both versions use 90% magnesium in them and the packaging is minimalist, plastic-free, and recyclable too.
While the Kindle is designed to work with Amazon’s Kindle software, it also works perfectly with the Calibre e-book management software – a big plus, especially if you’ve got a lot of books or magazines purchased from different sources and in different formats. There’s no cellular data connection but it does connect to Wi-Fi.
Price-wise, the new Kindle is AUD$179 (NZD$199 for our friends across the Tasman), which I thought was pretty reasonable for what’s on offer.
In addition, you can also purchase a separate cover – Amazon kindly provided one with the review unit, and it really made a big difference to the reading experience; not only giving the unit a better feeling in the hand, but also automatically putting it to sleep (and waking it up again!) when closed/opened. The front cover folds behind the Kindle itself, meaning it doesn’t take up an extra space or interfere with the regular use of the unit.
For the past several years I’ve been using a Kindle Paperwhite 7th Generation, and it has served me well, having been all over the world with me (including to several gaming/tech events!), but it is starting to show its age now and the updated basic Kindle has landed at just the right time for an update.
As with the other Kindles released in the past few years, it’s a touchscreen – the only button on this particular unit is a sleep/wake button on the bottom next to the USB-C charging/interface port. I found the unit response to touch and inputs to be quick – noticeably faster than my 7th Generation Paperwhite – but it’s not nearly instant like you’d get on an iPad or a smartphone.
The smaller size of the basic Kindle has a surprising number of advantages, too. The first is that it very easily fits into the side pockets on a pair of cargo/tactical pants or even some of your practical “outdoor adventure” type shirts, which means I’ve been taking the review unit with me pretty much everywhere I might have a chance to get some reading done.
The second is that it’s easy to read in small spaces – such as an economy-class seat on an aeroplane, or a rush-hour bus/train. I took mine to Sydney earlier this month and found it very easy to read with on the plane, even with the tray table down and a cup of coffee present.
Pretty much the only missing feature of significance is the lack of Audible/Audiobook support – it’s books/comics only. This is not an issue for me (I don’t use my Kindle for audiobook listening), but is something to consider if you like your audiobooks.
Otherwise, the only other gripe I have with the new Kindle (and it’s a pretty minor one) is that I’d really like an option to advance the pages by touching the left-hand side of the screen as well as the right. For example, I might be sitting on my patio with a nice cup of coffee, and using my right hand to hold the coffee cup, which makes it hard to go forward a page because the right hand side of the touchscreen is where the “go forward a page” control is.
Otherwise, regardless of what you like to read, whether it’s non-fiction books (maybe about the history of video games), gaming magazines, manga, comic books, or regular novels (perhaps a gaming-themed novel like Ready Player One), the 2022 Kindle is an excellent and very useful device indeed.
Even though the Paperwhite is the more expensive Kindle e-reader, the basic 2022 Kindle does such an amazing job that I have absolutely no hesitation at all in emphatically recommending this to anyone looking for a light, portable, quality e-book reader.