Amazon’s well-known e-reader, the Kindle, is over 10 years old. Without a doubt, its existence changed the world of book publishing. The eminently portable device has had a few model variants including the regular Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, Kindle Oasis and the Kindle Scribe. On top of that, one can use the Kindle app on just about any phone, tablet or personal computer if reading in an e-ink is not always essential to the user. Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, can also effectively read aloud a book from any device that takes the Alexa app including, or rather, especially, the Echo smart speakers. 

The basic or regular Kindle has just had its newest version launched in India and it comes with a few improvements. This is the model that is the most impossibly light one of all. It weighs a mere 158 gm -- lighter than a smartphone -- and is incredibly easy to hold for hours. It will even fit in a large coat or jacket pocket. It’s also lighter than holding an actual physical book. It’s not difficult to imagine taking it along while travelling, commuting or slipping it out of a purse while having to wait somewhere. Carrying this light a device can encourage the reading habit, get people away from the phones they’re always glued to, and make better utilisation of time.

Ramped up display

The 6-inch screen is sharper and crisper at 300ppi, which is now the same resolution as the Paperwhite model. Design-wise, there’s a one-inch bezel on the bottom and while one may have preferred negligible bezels all around in keeping with the smartphones and televisions we see today, the bottom bezel serves as a bit of a grip when holding the Kindle. There’s all of one button on this Kindle, which is for power on and off. Most welcome of all is the USB-C connector and a goodbye to the old USB-A slot. The cable for the Kindle is tucked into its light and simple packaging and is of a decent length.

The Kindle’s screen actually comes into its own when the brightness is turned down and there’s good daylight -- or even sunlight. This is when it looks most like real paper and print. But should one need to read indoors or in low light, there are options to adjust four LED lights in the front of the display or go into dark mode.

The basic Kindle now has twice the storage at 16GB, and a longer battery life of up to six weeks, up from 4 weeks. While it’s not worth an upgrade from a recent Kindle model, it does make for a good gift or a truly comfortable first-time reading device for those who love books and read everywhere. 

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