Amazon Kindle (2022) 11th gen review: Who needs a Paperwhite?

As each new generation of Kindle is launched we start see some of the higher-end features trickle down the range to the cheapest model. That’s definitely true of the latest bog-standard Kindle for 2022.

With a price tag that’s still comfortably under £100 at £84.99 ($119 in the US), and with an updated display and front light, the latest Kindle offers a lot of features for the money, and may just convince you that you don’t need the Paperwhite after all.

Light and compact

  • 157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm – 158g
  • Available in Black or Denim Blue
  • USB-C charging port

Unlike the previous Paperwhite upgrade, Amazon resisted the urge to stick a bigger screen in the entry-level Kindle, and we think that’s a great decision. If only because it gives the basic version a smaller, lighter feel. It’s small enough to hold pretty comfortably in one hand, and it’s only 158 grams, so it’s not heavy either.

It means you won’t really feel it when carrying it around in your daily bag, and you can hold it for long periods without your hand or wrist getting tired. It’s just that bit more convenient than a bigger Kindle is.

It’s still very much the entry Kindle when it comes to design materials and styling. In other words: it’s quite basic. The body has the same black (or blue denim) plastic around the front and back, without the soft silicone-y texture that comes on the Paperwhite. Plus, the bezel around the display is raised, and acts as a handy little space for dust and fluff to collect. It’s also not waterproof, so you can’t take it in the bath or near a pool, unless you’re confident you won’t drop it.

There are no physical buttons on the front for turning pages, so this model is touchscreen only, making it pretty simple to operate. The power/wake button on the underside wakes it up, or puts it in standby. You select a book from your library, and then tap on the right side to turn to the next page, tap the left to go back. Easy.

Another added convenience – at long last – is a USB-C port. No more microUSB on the bog standard Kindle, and that means you can use the same cable and charger you have for pretty much every other device you have in the house. And it charges pretty quickly too.

Not that you’ll need to charge it all that often, because it’ll last about 6 weeks on a full charge. That’s a figure based on reading 30 minutes a day. So if you’re an avid reader who reads for more than an hour every night, you may find it’s more like once every 3-4 weeks. After reading it every night for a week, sometimes a couple of hours in a night, we still had ample battery remaining. In comparison to the other more expensive models, that means it’ll last longer than the Oasis, but not as long as the Paperwhite.

Of course, your actual mileage depends on a lot of things. Like, how bright you set the front light, whether you’re using Dark Mode, if you have Wi-Fi enabled or you’re listening to audio books. Of course, the faster you read – and turn pages – the more the screen has to refresh and the faster it drains the battery. Still, it’s not something to worry about, even the most avid readers should still get weeks from a full charge.

Upgraded reading experience

  • 6-inch E Ink display
  • 300 pixels per inch
  • Dark Mode and 4 LED front light system

The biggest update on the 2022 Kindle is undoubtedly the display. Amazon has moved away from lower resolution 167 pixel-per-inch E Ink screen that was on the previous model, and upgraded it to 300 pixels-per-inch. It’s practically twice as sharp, and just as detailed as the screens on the much more expensive Kindle models like the Oasis and the Paperwhite.

That means text is much crisper and finer lines and curves look smoother and more clean than before. It’s a no-compromise reading surface, offering a near ink-on-paper experience and – although it’s missing some of the more advanced elements like auto-brightness and adjustable warmth – it means you don’t have to suffer with legibility if you like smaller font sizes. This, in turn, means you can adjust it to have more text on the screen.

There are nine font families to choose from, including the popular Bookerly, Helvetica, Baskerville and Futura, as well as the OpenDyslexic font designed to make it easier for those with dyslexia to read text. For all of those fonts you can adjust the size, with 14 degrees of size to choose between, plus five levels of boldness. What’s more, you can adjust how spaced out the lines are, how they’re aligned, how wide the margins are and whether you read in portrait or landscape. There’s a lot of customisability here.

The new display – combined with a four LED front light system – has also finally got Dark Mode as an option. You can toggle it on manually at night time to reduce glare, giving you a more relaxing view.

As always with a Kindle E Ink display, you don’t always need those LEDs to light it up. Its strength is that it reflects external light and is clearer to read the more light you have in your environment. The front light system just means you can read it at night time too.

Being E Ink does mean the refresh rate isn’t super speedy, there is a short delay between tapping the screen and seeing the page turn or interface change, but it seems quicker than older versions of Kindle. Those moments of delay seem to be getting shorter as Kindles get upgraded.

Features and software

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • 16GB storage (13GB available)
  • Audio book support

From a software and feature perspective, there’s nothing really new here, since Amazon rolled out an updated user interface to most Kindles over the past year. It offers easy navigation, so you can quickly get to your library or Home Screen. And, if you like reading books from the same series, it can stack those together to make it better organised.

Other handy features include the ability to highlight sections of texts, or save words to your own personal dictionary so that you can go back, find definitions or even translations for specific words and phrases whenever you like. Or, if you just want to save quotes you really like, you can do that too.

Amazon’s strength, of course, is the ecosystem. It has millions of books available to buy in its Kindle e-book store. But more than that, if you’re a Prime subscriber you get access to a rotating collection of books and magazines with Prime Reading, or you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and get access to even larger library of books at no extra cost.

Again, like most of its recent Kindles, it can be used as an audiobook reader too. You can download books from Audible, connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and listen to your favourites books if you prefer to consume literature that way. Plus, with 16GB of storage (13GB of which is actually available), there’s double the space for downloads than what was available on the previous model.

It does support more than just Amazon’s own Kindle e-book format too, so if you want to load open source e-books on to it, you can.

Original Article