- No front lighting
- Not enough changes from 2014 version to warrant an upgrade
- No 3G connectivity
It’s been two years since Amazon revamped their entry-level Kindle. The 8th generation Kindle comes with a handful of upgrades and comes in two colors: black and white. When compared to the 7th generation Kindle, the 2016 Kindle is 11 percent thinner and 16 percent lighter and has a more rounded design making it easier for experts to hold for long amounts of time.
As far as the screen goes, there’s no change from the previous version. It uses the same 6-inch, 167ppi resolution touch screen. While good enough, critics did notice text looked blurry from far away, although they mention at regular reading distance the text was sharp enough. Those hoping for page turn buttons will have to pay extra for the Oasis or Voyage as this entry-level device only offers a touchscreen. For most, this is no issue as they found the touch screen perfectly usable for turning pages and navigating the user interface. The one issue they did notice, however, was the darkness of the screen. Unlike other members of the Kindle lineup, his one does not offer front lighting, The eBook Readers states “My biggest problem with the new Kindle is how dark and gray the screen looks. Maybe it’s partially because I got a white one and it highlights how not white the screen background color is.”
While it might come with the same 1GHz processor and 4GB of storage, Amazon doubled the RAM to 512MB making it twice as fast as its predecessor. Critics estimate battery life at around 4 weeks reading around 30 to 45 minutes a day.
A new feature on the 2016 Kindle is Bluetooth audio support. This feature is tied to an accessibility feature called VoiceView designed for those who are blind or visually impaired. This feature will provide spoken feedback to describe actions taking place on screen without the need for an adaptor. Unfortunately, this Kindle does not support music files so it cannot double as an audio player.
However, being the cheapest in the upgraded Kindle lineup also means it is missing a few features such as 3G connectivity, front lighting and a micro SD slot. The cheapest version also includes ads though consumers can pay additional to have these removed. And like the rest of the Kindle lineup, this one does not offer waterproofing.
Despite some slight cosmetic changes and new accessibility features, the 8th generation Kindle is largely unchanged from its predecessor. While reviewers believe it might lure some book readers to try out an eReader, most find it hard to recommend. Digital Reader states, “It is much prettier than the 2014 model and it is in every way an improvement, but my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that I was satisfied with the 2014 model…” PC Magazine adds, “The new Kindle is the best eBook reader you can get for the least amount of money, especially if you don’t care about edge lighting or have less than $100 to spend.”