Amazon Kindle e-reader
Amazon's newest, cheapest, smallest, simplest Kindle is, we think, its best
- Excellent e-ink display
- Easy to use and navigate
- Great battery life
- No native PDF support
- Kindle model is closed and content is DRM protected
- No effective way to sort purchased content
Amazon's Kindle is certainly an interesting device, even if it's not without its faults. The e-ink screen is exceptionally good, the ability to browse and buy books wirelessly is a great feature, and the physical design is both attractive and functional. However, the lack of native PDF support, the higher price of books for international users and the lack of an effective way to sort your purchased content means the Kindle has plenty of room for improvement left.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
Amazon has refined the Kindle several times since its Australian debut, and each time the e-reader du jour has become increasingly attractive to potential buyers. This iteration of the popular e-book reader — by our count it’s the fourth generation — is smaller, lighter, slimmer and cheaper. Australian buyers are well served with local and international stores to buy from, most popular books are very reasonably priced, and using the device is almost as seamless as it could be.
This review largely covers the most recent updates to the Amazon Kindle. For background info on e-readers, reviews of previous Kindles and competitors, read our Amazon Kindle page.
Amazon Kindle 4: Size and weight
Amazon’s specs page for the Kindle proudly boasts that it’s 30 per cent lighter and 18 per cent smaller overall than the last model — this translates into real-world dimensions of 166mm tall, 114mm wide, and only 8.7mm thick. It’s light (but not enough so that it feels cheap) at 170 grams.
The new Kindle, by virtue of its lack of physical keyboard and slimmed-down dimensions, now fits nicely in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. Because of this, we took it where we wouldn’t even consider carrying a paperback. The trade-off is that the Kindle isn’t at all flexible like a paperback, so you’ll need to store it where it won’t get damaged (no sitting on it when it’s in your back pocket, for example).
Amazon Kindle 4: Design
The newest Kindle is the simplest yet, eschewing a keyboard for a far simpler five-way control pad and four basic buttons. There are a pair of ‘shoulder’ buttons on the device’s left and right sides, with the larger button advancing a page and the smaller button retreating. While we realise this has been Kindle house style for a while now, when we started reading with the Kindle 4 we instinctively thought both buttons on the left were for flipping back a page, and both on the right for flipping forward. What we’d propose is a simpler single button on either side of the screen, customisable for each rotation of the Kindle’s reading layout.
The lower button layout — five-way controller, home, menu, keyboard and back buttons — is easy to understand and becomes second nature to use after a short time with the Kindle. The power button, hidden away at the bottom of the device next to the microUSB port, is harder to find for a first-timer. Apart from these buttons, that’s it — nothing else to learn or navigate with.
The new Kindle has built-in Wi-Fi (but no 3G) and a wired USB 2.0 connector for charging and transferring files via PC. We used the Wi-Fi connection (802.11b/g/n supported) to download books off the Amazon Kindle Store, but also transferred PDF, TXT, DOC and JPG files directly onto the device to see all display correctly and with no errors.
You do need to remember to turn off Wi-Fi when you’re not using it, though — it will drain the battery faster than you’d expect. Once during our testing we thought we’d accidentally killed the Kindle, but some testing revealed that we’d inadvertently left the Wi-Fi enabled during a marathon reading session. Thankfully, switching it off is a few seconds’ work.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Tech Timeline: The iPad first goes on sale
- New 9.7-inch iPad teardown reveals it's basically an original iPad Air with minor tweaks
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7
- Cisco's Spark Board looks like an iPad -- and acts like one
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTJava Team LeadVIC
- CCPMO ManagerNSW
- TPLevel 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- FTSystems Administrator - TelecommunicationsNSW
- TPIT Service ManagerNSW
- CCOracle DeveloperVIC
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- FTTeam AssistantVIC
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- FTSenior Network EngineerACT
- FTAgile Scrum Master/TrainerNSW
- CCTelecommunication Business SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Analyst ProgrammerACT
- FTProject Administrator - Telecommunications InfrastructureNSW
- FTSenior Sales Operations AnalystNSW
- TPSenior SQL Database AdministratorNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSenior MS Server Administrator with HyperVNSW
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- FTSenior UX/UI DesignerNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- CCApplication Developer - Datastage & SQL ServerVIC
- FTSenior Information Security SpecialistQLD
- FTBI BA Consultant l Microstrategy, Business ObjectsNSW
- TPBI AnalystQLD