Note: My original Kindle review was posted on 7/8/16 on this product page: All-New Kindle E-reader - Black, 6" Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi. This page is for the same product but for purchasers who wish to use it outside of the U.S. My original review follows.Just two months following Amazon's introduction of their premium-priced (and somewhat controversial) Kindle Oasis E-reader with Leather Charging Cover, Amazon has brought out their 8th-Generation Kindle. Imagine, the Kindle was first released on November 19, 2007, for $399!This is the least expensive model in the current Kindle lineup and bookends the Oasis at about a third of the price, with the Paperwhite and Voyage in between. In the eight and a half years that have now gone by since the first Kindle, Amazon continues to make incremental improvements, and this new refinement of the Kindle has a couple of significant differences that make the product and experience better, for some users at least.I ordered this model because I wanted to see how much different this Kindle is from my other models (I have one each of the others mentioned above). Does it really make that much difference to have a Kindle without the built-in lighting?IN BRIEF - WHY PURCHASE THIS PARTICULAR KINDLE MODEL?-- It's the least expensive Kindle (and the price is unchanged from the 7th generation version).-- As an e-reader it does everything that the more expensive Kindle models do - it runs the same e-reader software, it has the same processor as the more expensive Paperwhite and Voyage models, and it synchronizes with your Kindle book library and downloads books via wi-fi.-- It has exactly as much storage for books as any other current Kindle model, 4 GB, enough for 'thousands' of books.-- It will operate for almost as long on a battery charge as any of the Kindle models (see more details below)-- Plus, if you want to have the new VoiceView capability (see explanation later) then this Kindle can do that too (and some of the others cannot, at least at this point in time).WHAT DOESN'T IT DO THAT THE MORE EXPENSIVE MODELS DO?-- It does not have a lighted screen. It works great and is totally readable under all normal lighting conditions.-- The screen resolution is a bit less sharp – the specifications are 167 ppi and 16-level grayscale (see more detailed discussion below).-- It does not have 3G capability for downloading books away from a wi-fi network.-- It does not have page turn buttons, the controls are only touchscreen.-- Other Kindle's have different style covers available from Amazon (in particular the 'origami' cover for the Voyage, for those who like that particular cover style).HOW IS THIS KINDLE DIFFERENT FROM THE PREVIOUS MODEL?The previous Kindle can still be viewed on Amazon here: Kindle E-reader, 6" Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi (Previous Generation - 7th)This new version is priced the same as the previous one (and note that they are sometimes discounted by twenty dollars or more). There are only a couple of changes, however they are significant:-- It's a bit smaller and thinner (6.3" x 4.5" x 0.36" compared to 6.7" x 4.7" x 0.40"), and it's significantly lighter (5.7 oz vs 6.7 oz, which may seem like not much difference at just 1 oz but it's actually quite noticeable). This is now the second-lightest Kindle. Only the Oasis without cover is lighter, and the Oasis is a different concept with most of the battery in the cover rather than in the device itself.-- It has BLUETOOTH!! For the first time, a Kindle includes Bluetooth capability, which doesn't mean that it can play your audio books but does mean that the Kindle VoiceView capability can be used (see explanation later).-- after several years when Kindle's were only offered in black, Amazon has re-introduced the option of a Kindle in WHITE!! (OK, it may not sound like a big deal, but for some Kindle fans who fondly recall the first Kindle's that were ONLY available in white, this is a welcome change).AMAZON HAS FOUR DIFFERENT KINDLE MODELS? WHICH ONE SHOULD I PURCHASE?Well, I may be able to help with that, because as it happens I have each of the current models and can give at least my own perspective on what the pros and cons are of each:-- Lighted Kindles: Three of the four current models have self-illumination:---- Kindle Paperwhite: least expensive of the lighted Kindles, has the same display resolution as the Voyage or Oasis, touch screen control only, the best value for lighted Kindles and I believe this is Amazon’s best selling Kindle model.---- Kindle Voyage: Adds page turn buttons to the sides of the display as well as touch screen, the lighting technology is improved, the case design is a bit sleeker and similar to some of the recent Fire models, and it has the ‘origami’ style case available which is nice for propping the Kindle up for reading.---- Kindle Oasis: Newest and most expensive Kindle, further improved lighting technology, has a significantly different style with battery both in the Kindle and in the case, page turn buttons plus touch screen. Lighter than any of the other Kindles.The choice comes down to how important the differentiating features are. If you want the ability to turn pages with buttons instead of or in addition to the touchscreen, then either the Voyage or Oasis have that ability. If you want the lightest Kindle and like the style of the Oasis, including the need to purchase it bundled with the case and then have the case available for supplementing the battery of the Oasis itself, and you’re ok with the price of the Oasis, then it is a good choice. If you simply want a great Kindle with self-illumination, and touchscreen controls are ok, then the Paperwhite is the best value.And of course if you do not require a Kindle with the built-in lighting, if most of your reading is done under conditions that would be acceptable for reading a ‘real’ book (remember those?), then this least expensive Kindle works great for that and operates in exactly the same way as all of the other Kindle models.I’M NEW TO THE KINDLE. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?I’ll offer a few basics in getting started with Kindle:-- An inexpensive case is a good investment that will protect the screen when not in use and provide some drop protection as well, depending on the kind of case that you purchase. The Kindle is pretty rugged, but like any device with a screen, it can be damaged.-- Protect your Kindle by entering a passcode that must be provided in order to use it. Then, if it’s lost or stolen, there is less chance of someone using your account without your knowledge or permission.-- This Kindle does not include a USB charger (nor do any of the other current Kindle models), but it does include a USB charging cable. If you don’t have a charger, any phone or tablet charger with a micro-USB connection will work, and you can also plug it into your computer or other device with a USB power output, for charging. There are lots of inexpensive chargers available on Amazon, including their own chargers which are a bit expensive but work well.-- Read the users guide! It comes pre-installed on the Kindle and it will walk you through the features and how to adjust the various settings. I also recommend that you return to the users guide from time to time, as your familiarity with the Kindle develops, because it is a lot to absorb all at once and each time you read through it you will probably pick up more nuances in how to make best use of the Kindle’s features.(Also note that the users guide can be downloaded even if you don’t own the Kindle, if you want to browse through it to see how the Kindle works. See ‘Technical Details’ on the Kindle product page.)BUT OTHER KINDLES HAVE BETTER DISPLAY RESOLUTION!Yes, they do. If you look at the ‘Compare Kindle E-Readers’ chart on the product page, it’s clear that this Kindle has ‘only’ 167 ppi resolution, and the others all have 300 ppi. That’s double the resolution and it must make a big difference, right?Well, it depends. In my video review I place this Kindle next to my Oasis model and although the video is not a close up view that would better show the clearness and sharpness of the display, you can see that they look just about the same. I love the sharpness and clearness of my Voyage and Oasis models, but when I pick this Kindle up to use it, I really don’t notice a big difference. I think that it looks perfectly fine and I would not suggest spending more for one of the higher end Kindle’s simply for the display difference. For the lighting – yes. And if you are very particular in the sharpness of what you’re reading, it may make a difference to you. In that case – get the Paperwhite!WHAT IS VOICEVIEW AND WHAT DOES IT DO?VoiceView is an accessibility feature that is intended for blind and visually impaired users of the Kindle, and it does two things:-- it allows this Kindle to be paired with a Bluetooth speaker, so that audio feedback can be heard and the kindle software can be navigated with audio assistance. Please see my video review for a brief demonstration.-- it provides a text-to-speech function where the text of Kindle books is read and can be heard through the separate speaker. Again, my video review includes a short demo of this.Note that this Kindle does not have it’s own speaker, you have to supply that (or Bluetooth headphones or earbuds).Here is some additional information on VoiceView:- This page on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/b?node=14100715011 provides information on their accessibility features for the Kindle, including VoiceView.- Here is Amazon's guide to VoiceView: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201829340. It gives an idea of how VoiceView works and what the various features are.- for the Kindle Paperwhite model, it's possible to purchase a separate adaptor - Kindle Audio Adapter - or you can get the adaptor bundled with a new Paperwhite - Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle.The audio adaptor sold for the Paperwhite does not work with this basic Kindle model (see comment section below for remarks from one of the other Kindle users who checked this out).WHAT ARE ‘SPECIAL OFFERS’ AND WHY DO THEY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE PRICE OF THE KINDLE?For the past few years, Amazon has incorporated a limited amount of advertising in the Kindle. For example, when the Kindle is ‘sleeping’, the display will show a promoted book, or something else Amazon is trying to sell. A banner ad at the bottom of your home page will also show a similar promotion. Those are ‘special offers’, and if you don’t like that, then for $20 extra you can purchase a Kindle without them.They are not particularly intrusive. I have Kindle’s both with and without special offers and the ads aren’t a big deal, really. A Kindle without special offers will show a geometric pattern as a kind of screen saver display when it is sleeping, and that’s the biggest difference.If you buy your Kindle with the Special Offers, and later decide you don’t like them and want them removed, you can do that easily by paying the extra $20, either on the Amazon website or by contacting customer service. (And to be honest, after using this Kindle for just a week and a half with the 'special offers' turned on, I had them removed. I just didn't like having the screen of my Kindle used as an advertising billboard when it was turned off and sitting on the table.)TECHNICAL DETAILSIf you’re interested in really getting into specifics regarding this Kindle, as well as the other Kindle models, the following sections will cover various aspects of the designs and usage.SIZE AND WEIGHTAll of the Kindles are similar size and weight, but the differences may be significant for some users:-- Oasis: 4.6 oz without cover + 3.8 oz for cover = 8.4 oz total-- Voyage: 6.3 oz without cover + 4.8 oz (origami leather cover) = 11.1 oz total-- Paperwhite: 7.2 oz without cover + 4.7 oz (Amazon leather cover) = 11.9 oz total-- Kindle: 6.7 oz without cover + 3.8 oz (Amazon leather cover) = 10.5 oz totalBATTERY CAPACITY AND LIFEAmazon does not give the actual battery capacity (in mAh) in their specs although eventually that information should be available online and I'll add it to this review. In the meantime Amazon does state how long the various Kindle models will operate on battery, and a comparison can be made.Here is what battery life actually works out to be, in terms of actual available reading time between charges for the current Kindle models, using Amazon's own stated specs which all assume "wireless off and the light setting at 10:-- Kindle: 4 weeks @ ½ hr of reading/day = 14 hrs-- Paperwhite or Voyage: 6 weeks @ ½ hr of reading/day = 21 hrs-- Oasis (including cover): 8 or 9 weeks @ ½ hr of reading/day = 28 - 31.5 hrs-- Oasis (without cover): 2 weeks @ ½ hr of reading/day = 7 hrsThe differences could be significant, but in my own use with each of the models, I find that I am only needing to recharge the batteries occasionally and it is not at all disruptive to using the Kindle.WANT MORE INFORMATION?If Amazon’s own product information, plus this rather lengthy review, have not answered all of your questions, there is an extensive help page for this Kindle, with lots of information on just about every aspect of the device itself and how to use it:https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=202049100&ref_=hp_gt_kind_8
August 5, 2016
I am still trying to get used to the features of my new Kindle, and I hope I learn better how to navigate it--I am having trouble going back and forth from chapter to chapter. I was used to having both forward and backward buttons on each side on my old Kindle, so I have to adjust to only going forward on the right and back on the left with the touchscreen. Perhaps it's my reading position, but this seems awkward at times. Also, recently I was traveling and I discovered that books that I thought were fully downloaded were not downloaded at all. This meant I couldn't read them without having an internet connection. One last complaint that I have with my new kindle is that the font size spontaneously changes at times. Those complaints aside. I wish I could have salvaged my old Kindle, whose battery was holding less and less of a charge, but I'm sure I will get used to this new one with time, and learn how to manage its quirks.
September 23, 2016
Finally switched to a real Kindle as replacement for the Kindle app on the iPad. Have to say this is a much better book reading experience. Love the form factor and ease of use. Also not being able to switch to other apps while reading is a good thing.
October 21, 2016
It feels like only a year ago that Amazon released the 1st edition of the Kindle and the world started to embrace the concept of reading via an e-reader. Only a few months ago though, Amazon released the 7th generation of the basic Kindle. As we will see from the following review of the newest addition to its growing family, there are many good reasons why book lovers should buy Amazon Kindle in South Africa.
In order to look at the Kindle comprehensively we will break it down and discuss the design, performance, usability an actual value of money that it offers.
Following the award winning formula of past models, the new Kindle has the same slick, rectangular shape that fits into the user’s hand comfortably. The screen is 6.7 by 4.7 inches and uses the Pearl e-paper with a resolution of 167 ppi and features optimise font technology. To be perfectly honest though, not a lot has changed from the 5th to the 7th generation; simply because it didn’t need to. The Amazon Kindle was and still is the best e-reader available in terms of the price, choice of books available, screen and overall design.
As much of the features are the same as previous models there is not much new to write about. However, as a standard now, Amazon have retired page turning buttons and opted for touchscreen capabilities even on this the most basic of the range of Kindles by the online retailer. Along with the touchscreen display, the new model also features like Vocabulary Builder, Smart Lookup and Word Wise
The performance is one aspect of the Kindle that Amazon has obviously worked hard on. The processor in the new model reportedly allows pages to be turned 20% faster. In terms of the battery usage side of things, the Kindle by Amazon has always been a winner compared to other models out there and when used every day for half an hour without the wireless switched on it can last for 4 weeks on one single charge. The wireless connection is as unproblematic as it always has been.
Amazon have made a name for themselves for creating devices that are aimed directly at the user and the latest Kindle is as intuitive an uncomplicated as ever. The touchscreen is sensitive enough to enable the owner to change page, browse and whatever else they need to do without hassle; while not being so sensitive that it flicks past pages too quickly.
Besides the usability of the actual handset, where Amazon has really pushed themselves ahead of the competition is with their store. As well as having the biggest and widest range of books available to download at the touch of a button, the Store is also very easy for people to browse round and find what they are looking for.
In terms of value for money that the Kindle offers compared to other e-readers, the basic edition is a good entry level model for anyone looking to read e-books without all the thrills and spills that come with more expensive models. The fact is that the Amazon Kindle price in South Africa makes it much better value for money than most of the competition when, as the above review shows, the design, features, performance and usability are taken into consideration.