Amazon’s Kindle Scribe is the exciting new high-end device in the e-reader lineup that takes the Kindle experience forward. But it’s equally important for Amazon to keep pushing the baseline for people who want to get into the ecosystem but don’t want to spend too much.
So we come to the new Kindle at $100 (or $120, ad-free). Also called “2022 version” or “Kindle (11th Gen)” on Amazon’s product pages, this model costs $10 more than the one it replaces (inflation affects us all), but it has new benefits to help justify the price hike. For the first time, the base Kindle has the same 300 PPI screen density as the rest of the lineup, and Amazon has streamlined the top and side bezels around the 6-inch screen to make the device smaller and lighter. USB-C, Bluetooth support for audiobooks, and a beefed up 16GB of storage round out the spec sheet.
We’ve had the new Kindle for a few days, not long enough to read more than a few hundred pages or put a dent in the battery, but long enough to develop some impressions of the device’s strengths and weaknesses. The main question to answer: Who should buy this Kindle, and who should spend an extra $40 on the waterproofing and bigger, nicer screen of the current Kindle Paperwhite?
Presentation of the material
The main feature of the new Kindle might be its much smaller size than current or older Paperwhite models. The 6-inch screen is the same size as the old Paperwhite, but Amazon has shrunk the display bezels at the top and sides to look more like the current Paperwhite. The result is a lightweight device that fits especially well in child-sized hands (a Kindle Kids Edition with a case, two-year warranty, and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ costs an extra $20) .
As for the new screen, it is OK. It’s really nice that it now matches the 300 PPI density of the more expensive models. For anyone still using an unlit or lower resolution Kindle, this will be an upgrade.
There are two things to note about the screen that didn’t show up well in our photos. First, with just four front-lighting LEDs (compared to 17 for the current Paperwhite), you might notice that the screen isn’t perfectly evenly lit. On my review unit, it was most visible at the top of the screen, although onscreen content was still perfectly legible. Second, the front light has a nice bluish tint, compared not only to Kindles with “warm light” capabilities, but also to the tint of an older 10th-gen Paperwhite that we compared it to. If blue light is something you’re sensitive to, especially if you do a lot of reading right before bed, your eyes might thank you for buying a Paperwhite instead.
The $100 Kindle also isn’t waterproof like the last two generations of Paperwhites have been, so it’s not a good “relaxing bath or poolside” device. Its USB-C port has some sort of moisture sensor that will prevent it from charging if it detects a little water in the port, which might save you from zapping it after an accidental spill, but that doesn’t. is not the same as a full seal.
The only other hardware feature of note, and one that Amazon does not advertise, is that the $100 Kindle appears to use the same processor included in the latest version of the Paperwhite (a MediaTek MT8110; the new Paperwhite and the new Kindle run the old SunSpider Browser Benchmark in about 8,000 milliseconds, compared to 11,700 for the previous generation Paperwhite). It’s still a fairly weak processor compared to any budget smartphone, but compared to older Kindles there’s a barely perceptible hint of extra liveliness when downloading or opening books or menu navigation.
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