Home >opinion >blogs >PLAY THINGS: The perfect Kindle

As an e-book reader, Amazon’s Kindle really has no competition anymore. It is, as someone remarked, the iPod for books. Mind you, there have been attempts to compete with the Kindle, but none have worked so far. Barnes & Noble’s miserable time with the Nook reader was perhaps the most high-profile example. But, buying a Kindle isn’t as simple as you would think it is. At the moment, there are four versions of the reading device being sold in India, priced between Rs4999 and Rs13999.

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Prev-Gen Kindle


Amazon calls this prev-gen because there is an updated Kindle now available. However, the previous device is still very much around, at a slightly lower price. And it is still a good option. This reader doesn’t have a touch screen, but relies on the old-school physical buttons that double up as navigation keys. The 6-inch e-ink display is extremely comfortable to read text on. We would recommend this if you need a basic Kindle device with excellent battery life, and aren’t really clamoring for a touch screen.

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All-new Kindle


This is the successor to last year’s entry level Kindle, with the addition of the touch screen being the biggest change. The 6-inch touch screen is the Carta display type. The visible improvement is with the contrast ratio compared with the previous generation device, making the text’s black colour richer and easier on the eye. The text-rendering particles on this screen work in such a way that the reading experience is as close as possible to that of a paperback book. Yes, there were other changes under the hood, including a faster processor as well, but then again, the older Kindle was not at all sluggish. The changes mean that the new Kindle slightly heavier as well - 191 grams compared with 170 grams. Battery performance remains robust as ever, despite the slightly brighter screen. Remember, it only has Wi-Fi and not 3G.

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Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi)


With the Paperwhite, Amazon solved one of Kindle’s biggest drawbacks, the fact that it couldn’t be used in the dark without an external light accessory. However, instead of the traditional backlit displays, Paperwhite has a built-in front-light. It is easier on the eye than the former, and works well if you like to read for hours on end. The Paperwhite is also the first Kindle to introduce the Carta e-ink display, which the basic Kindle also has now. Compared with the predecessor, the Pearl e-ink display, Carta offers purer whites and deeper blacks, bringing it closer to what the real page of a book looks like. This does translate into an improved reading experience, because text is easier to read. Carta is also 20% less reflective, and has 50% better contrast ratio.

Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi + 3G)


The specifications, the display and the performance of this variant is the same as the Wi-Fi only version. The one difference is the 3G capability. As a user, you’ll not know who the service provider is. But, the 3G works with almost all operators globally, allowing users to access the Kindle Store and download books. The user does not pay for the 3G data. In terms of the design, both variants look the same, but the 3G one weighs 215 grams, nine more than the Wi-Fi Paperwhite.

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