For most bibliophiles, making the leap from paper books to digital ones isn’t an easy one to make. Plus, the feel of a real book can’t really be matched by an ebook reader. On the other hand, the convenience offered by the latter is hard to ignore, and even the staunchest of naysayers can’t deny the fact that an ebook reader can really be a life-altering purchase if you love reading. That’s exactly where the latest Kindle comes in. Marking the entry point into the world of digital books as the most affordable ebook reader from Amazon, the Kindle 11th-gen brings with it some notable new upgrades.
The said upgrades don’t apply to the overall aesthetic, as the new Kindle comes with a familiar plastic body and an understated, minimalistic look. Save for the power button on the bottom edge, there are no other keys on the device, so usage is touchscreen-based only. The screen on the fascia is recessed within the frame, with Kindle lettering placed on the wide chin below, and the back is smooth and slightly curved towards the edges, with a large Amazon logo as the main highlight.
The bottom edge also has a small LED, and as one of the key upgrades this time, a Type-C port for charging. Gone is the micro-USB port that feels archaic in this day and age. Amazon throws in a Type-C cable, but you’ll need to find your own charger… though that’s not something one can hold against it.
The new Kindle is also pretty compact, so much so that you can easily hold it in the palm of your hand, and slip it into a jacket pocket or bag when you want. At 158 grams, it’s also featherweight… which bodes well for a device you’re supposed to hold in your hand for long periods, and carry it on your person for longer. There’s no IP rating here, which means you can’t use it in your bathtub, and while there’s a backlight, it needs to be adjusted manually. Of course, Amazon reserves these features for the more premium Paperwhite and high-end models, so while I’d still count their absence as cons… you can still get these features if you want, as long as you’re prepared to shell to more.
The latest Kindle doubles storage to 16 gigs, up from 8GB in the previous model, so you get more room to store your precious book collection. Most importantly, the Kindle 11th-gen has a significantly sharper screen that before — 300 ppi against 167 ppi. This is a big jump and makes a massive difference to readability — text appears much sharper and cleaner.
Talking about usage — you can set it up in a jiffy if you choose the simplified setup option after first boot, using your phone and Amazon credentials to register. There’s support for dual-band Wi-Fi, and once it’s ready, you can go ahead and choose from the millions of titles available. While there are free books too, sooner or later you’ll want to download others, and Amazon makes that process simpler as well. You can buy books from the store on the Kindle directly, and if you’re a Prime member, there are many paid titles available for you to read without paying extra. And then there’s the Kindle Unlimited subscription service that gives you access to a fairly large library of premium books as well.
The interface is intuitive, and reading a book is as simple as tapping on it to open, tapping on the right side of the screen to flip to the next page, and tapping on the left to flip back. A downward swipe from the top of the screen gives you quick settings, while swiping up from the bottom shows you your position in the book, and options to jump forward or backwards. Remember — these are digital books that aren’t restricted by limitations posed by paper tomes, so you can place bookmarks, view the table of contents, highlight words or paragraphs — as many times you want. The lookup and vocabulary builder features deserve special mention, allowing you to look up meanings of difficult words, all of which get collated in the vocabulary builder for your reference and use later. Then there’s the X-Ray feature that gives you more info about the book you’re reading, including notable clips, people, terms, images etc.
The Kindle has been the only worthy choice for anyone looking to buy an ebook reader in India ever since it first landed, and Amazon has been expanding its model portfolio as well as regularly upgrading existing models. From that perspective, the question is not whether you should buy a Kindle or not, but rather, which model should you buy. The new Kindle 11th-gen, priced at Rs 9,999, comes as a compelling option for those who’ve been sitting on the fence about moving to digital thus far.
Editor’s rating: 4.5 / 5
- Compact and lightweight
- Sharper screen
- Type-C port
- No auto brightness
- No IP rating