Amazon Kindle e-reader
Amazon's newest, cheapest, smallest, simplest Kindle is, we think, its best
- Thin, light and compact body
- Excellent screen
- Very cheap
- Typing with the controller is a pain
- Wi-Fi quietly drains the battery
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.
Price$ 109.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Amazon Web Services in Action by Michael Wittig 44.90
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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- As tablet sales take a dive, analysts expect smartphone vendors to launch convertibles
- Acer puts liquid cooling in its Switch Alpha 12 tablet
- Display expert: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's color accuracy is “visually indistinguishable from perfect”
- 5 reasons why the 9.7-inch iPad Pro can't be a PC replacement
- Lenovo's Tab3 10 for Business brings out the serious side of Android
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSenior Technical ConsultantVIC
- FTSenior Middleware Lead Shared Services (Support and EngineeringVIC
- FTSystem testersACT
- CCSystem AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Analyst, Applications - GDWVIC
- CCSenior Project Manager - HealthcareVIC
- FTAzure ArchitectQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTJunior Inside Sales Rep | National systems integrator & MSP | $60-70K+NSW
- CCRelease Management LeadNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160505/AP/951Asia
- FTService Coordinator/Scheduler | IT Managed Service ProviderVIC
- FTProduct OwnerNSW
- CCServiceNow / SACM ConsultantNSW
- CCSenior Technical WriterVIC
- CCNV2 - System Administration / Application SupportACT
- CCSenior UX/UI DesignerNSW
- CCIT Program Delivery Office Lead- Government BackgroundNSW
- CCIntegration Delivery Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Change Manager - Capital MarketsNSW
- CCIBM MDM SpecialistVIC
- CCAnalyst Programmer (JAVA/Windows Programming) 160428/AP/143Asia
- CCSales Development Executive - Flexible Working HoursNSW
- FTSenior Network Engineer | National Systems Integrator & MSP | CBD locationNSW
- CCMid or Senior Developer - Mobile Applications - (iOS)NSW