Amazon Kindle e-reader

Amazon's newest, cheapest, smallest, simplest Kindle is, we think, its best

Amazon Web Services Kindle
  • Amazon Web Services Kindle
  • Amazon Web Services Kindle
  • Amazon Web Services Kindle
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5


  • Thin, light and compact body
  • Excellent screen
  • Very cheap


  • Typing with the controller is a pain
  • Wi-Fi quietly drains the battery

Bottom Line

Amazon's newest, cheapest, smallest, simplest Kindle is, we think, its best. You'll have to be interested in buying books, of course -- just having the Kindle isn't really enough to inspire you to begin reading, and even though there are plenty of cheap books you still have to buy them -- but the Kindle makes it so easy as to be entirely painless. An occasional battery charge via USB (more often if you forget to turn off Wi-Fi when you're not using it) is all the Kindle really needs -- apart from that, it's a seamless and gratifyingly simple electronic book-reading device.

Would you buy this?

Amazon Kindle 4: Display

The display of the Amazon Kindle 4 is, in a word, excellent. If you haven’t seen an e-Ink screen before you’ll be impressed with the almost-paperlike nature of the display, and the contrast between the text and background is more than enough to be easily visible in low light.

The Kindle’s screen has a 600x800pixel resolution and can display 16 shades of grey, giving pictures a pleasantly comic-book-esque cel-shaded feel.

The screen isn’t backlit, which is a problem if you’re reading by anything dimmer than a desk lamp. You can buy add-on cases that have built-in reading lights (powered by the Kindle, courtesy of a pair of terminals on the device’s lower back panel), but if you’re going to be reading in the dark all the time an e-Ink screen isn’t for you.

Amazon Kindle 4: Interface

The on-screen interface for the Amazon Kindle is as refreshingly simple as the device’s design. It can err on the side of too stark on occasion — the home page is very basic, for example, and book titles in the store can occasionally run off the edges of the screen — but for the not-so-tech-savvy, the basic layout should be reassuring. It can take as little as four button-clicks to buy a new book, and even if you’re typing in a title the on-screen keyboard is reasonably quick to respond.

It has to be said that the on-screen keyboard is a stop-gap solution to the Kindle’s new-found input problem, though. Dealing with text input on a slow-to-update e-Ink screen would have been difficult no matter what, and the on-screen keyboard layout is clear and always responds to input, but it does mean that typing in a specific book title could take a minute rather than a few seconds. Accidentally select the wrong key and you’ve got to delete it, which is another dozen clicks of the five-way controller. Of course, this can all be avoided by using a computer to buy books from the Kindle Store, which are then downloaded to the device directly.

Amazon Kindle 4: Pricing

The Kindle comes with a few items pre-loaded — a couple of dictionaries, a user’s guide, a welcome note — but you’ll need to load it up with books if you’re keen to get the most out of it. We bought the new Steve Jobs biography and a collection of essays on the New York Times — both new releases, both available for $9.99 each. Store pricing generally seems perfectly reasonable, with many books for under $10 and newspapers for under $2.

The Kindle itself is also very reasonably priced. $109 with free shipping from Amazon is an impressive price, although Australian buyers don’t get the option of a further-$30-discounted advertising-supported device. You can also buy the new Kindle from Dick Smith stores around Australia for $139.

Amazon Kindle 4: Conclusion

The Kindle is an impressive product in almost every sense. If you’re willing to buy books — otherwise there’s no point buying an e-reader — then we can’t really find any serious faults with the new Amazon Kindle.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?