Rebecca Isaacs is a writer and an educator. She covers all sorts of products, from video games to e-readers and light therapy alarm clocks to standing desks.
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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Smooth, rubberized plastic design
Expansive brightness settings for interface and light
Customizable page display for easy reading
Cluttered home page
Pixel density lower than higher end models
Amazon’s latest Kindle is a great budget-friendly e-reader and comes with all of the basic perks, including a backlit display, but the pixel density is a little on the low side.
We purchased the Amazon Kindle (2019) so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Kindle 10th Generation, or the Kindle (2019), is the successor to Amazon’s affordable line of e-readers. Replacing the older non-backlit Kindle, it boasts a bright new display with adjustable brightness for indoors and outdoors. We put it to the test over the course of two weeks, where we read on average of 30 minutes to an hour per day, looking at features such as design, battery life, and general performance.
Measuring 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches (HWD), the Kindle (2019) is slightly thicker than other models, but still incredibly light at 6.1 ounces. Available in grippy soft-touch black or white plastic, it can be tucked into a bag or a purse for a commute or a plane ride, making it very portable. The most important feature is the 6-inch backlit, anti-glare screen for sunlight reading.
Our one minor issue with Kindle’s design is that Amazon has shrunk the black bezel, reducing the space you can grip the device.
The design is nice, though obviously not as premium as the Kindle Oasis which has stylish curves and larger display. Our one minor issue with Kindle’s design is that Amazon has shrunk the black bezel, reducing the space you can grip the device. This makes it easier to accidentally flip pages. However, it’s a minor issue so long as you’re mindful of where your fingers are.
You can use the micro USB port on the bottom for charging, but there’s no included adapter.
When we booted the Kindle up, the screen loaded for a few minutes. When it finally loaded, filtered through the general setup options such as language selection and connecting to Wi-Fi. You’ll be required to log into your Amazon account or create one. After getting past this stage, the Kindle lets you link Goodreads and Audible accounts.
Once this was done, the Kindle provided us three separate screens showing us how to use the Kindle Store, how to customize the page display, and how to turn the digital page. Once we passed these instruction pages, we were free to use the Kindle as we pleased.
Finding books is very easy. Tapping the Kindle store button (aptly shaped like a shopping cart), shows you all your options. We were pleased to see it broken into genres, reading groups, and of course, the daily and monthly deals. You can simply browse these genres by tapping on the icons or—should you be on the prowl for a specific book—you can search in the browser at the top of the screen.
Once you find a book that tickles your fancy, simply tap on the title. It will load the book’s page, where you can see everything from price, to the book description, to the other Amazon reviews. To the right of the book cover and below the title will be two buttons: a button to purchase, and a button which will download a sample of the book.
This makes book buying and browsing an immersive, almost Netflix-like experience in which you can peruse books for hours on end to find the one you want. We especially liked the Kindle Store application as thousands of books are at your fingertips to read, and tapping the purchase button allows the book to be downloaded and ready to be read in as little as two minutes.
One of the stark differences between the affordable Kindle (2019) and more expensive options like the Paperwhite or Oasis comes down to pixel density . While most other Kindles deliver the have 300ppi displays, this one is a mere 167ppi. Instead of crisp, clear letters and numbers gracing our screens, they come out blurry, detracting from the reading experience. We ended up compensating for this issue by turning up the display brightness settings. While it didn’t fix the problem, it did make it more bearable.
That said, Amazon once again delivers with the 10th generation Kindle. The screen is responsive. Flipping through pages only takes one tap, and returning to the home screen to read another book can be done at any time by tapping the top of the screen and pressing the home button in the top left corner.
The Kindle boasts a good range of brightness settings with its four built-in LED lights, though it won’t match the 12-LED brightness of the Kindle Oasis. You can alter these settings by tapping the top of the screen and then pressing “Page Display” right above the text. From there, you can adjust everything from the nine varying font settings to the 14 text sizes. We especially liked features that show where you’re at in the book, telling you how much time is left in the chapter.
The Kindle boasts a good range of brightness settings with its four built-in LED lights, though it won’t match the 12-LED brightness of the Kindle Oasis.
We tested the Kindle under varying circumstances: bright sunlight, midnight with the lights off, and everything in between. With its new backlit display, the Kindle is easy to take anywhere, allowing you to read comfortably in most circumstances. As we previously mentioned, our only complaint is that the letters could be sharper, especially for the price.
We also tested out various kinds of books, such as cookbooks and comic books. Because it only displays black and white, we don’t recommend using the Kindle for books that use a lot of color. However, while we didn’t necessarily like having to tap the Kindle while we were cooking portobello mushroom tacos or veggie fajitas, we could see the benefit of its portability and brightness.
One very important aspect to note, the Kindle (2019) is not waterproof, unlike the Paperwhite and Oasis. We did not try to test it in water and don’t recommend bathtub reading.
For parents who wanted to buy their little ones a reading device, fear not—under Settings, you can set up parental controls (Amazon has marked it with a shield). By making a Kindle FreeTime account, you can block children’s access to the Kindle Store and Goodreads, as well as setting reading goals for your child. Simply create an account, set the restrictions, set the reading goals, and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a simple e-reader for the young ones, the easy parental controls make the Kindle (2019) a perfect option.
During setup, one of the options you have is to set up Audible—an application for audiobooks. By signing up for a free trial, you get two Audible Originals that Amazon provides for you along with one credit to pick an audiobook of choice. We would have preferred if we could have tested out books of our choice, but nevertheless, the first month of the subscription is free. After the first free month, you pay $14.95 a month to get one credit each month, and any book you purchase belongs to you even if you cancel your plan.
The Kindle is able to connect to Bluetooth headphones or other devices for wireless listening. We tested it with a Bluetooth-enabled white noise sleep masks. The words came out crisp and clear, no matter the range. We even left the Kindle on the table, walking downstairs and across the house for maximum distance. Audible worked just fine.
For those who prefer listening, or for those who prefer to read on the go, like during workouts, the Kindle will work fantastically. Just keep in mind that these audio files take up lots of space, and can eat up your storage rather quickly.
With 4GB of storage, the Kindle can hold a little under 2,000 books, but 1GB is reserved for the Kindle’s software. As previously mentioned, the audiobooks can run very high in terms of storage space, taking up hundreds of megabytes, potentially causing you to run out of storage quickly.
It’s important to note that you cannot add storage space with a microSD card, so you’re stuck with the size you bought.
If you’re planning on using audiobooks, you can get the Kindle Paperwhite with 8GB or 32GB of storage, but that’ll cost more and you’ll still want to monitor your audiobook use. It’s important to note that you cannot add storage space with a microSD card, so you’re stuck with the size you bought. If you begin to run out of space, simply tap and hold your finger over one of the books in your library. You’ll get a couple options for what to do with it, one is “Remove from Device.” Doing this makes the book go away and frees up some storage space.
Amazon boasts about their Kindle’s longevity, and in testing this Kindle, we have to agree. Using it 30 minutes to an hour a day, we only knocked the battery down a few percentage points. Based on our projected usage of 30 minutes to an hour a day, it would last two to three weeks without needing a charge. However, keep in mind that if you use the web browser or browse Goodreads, your battery life will deplete much quicker. Using Audible and Bluetooth will similarly drain the battery a bit quicker.
For $109.99 (MSRP), the Kindle (2019) without Special Offers (Amazon ads on the lockscreen) is a little pricey for what you get, considering the relatively low pixel density and lack of waterproofing. That puts it just $20 away from the Paperwhite. Fortunately, Amazon usually has the Kindle’s on sale and at the time of this writing, it costs $89.99. Getting Special Offers brings it even lower. The MSRP with Special Offers is $89.99, with the Kindle on sale for $69.99. At this price, the Kindle is the most affordable one you can get.
The biggest competitor to Kindle (2019) is its older, fancier cousin—the Kindle Paperwhite. While the Paperwhite at MSRP is $129.99, the Kindle (2019) retails for $109.99. But usually the Kindle is quite a bit cheaper, especially with Special Offers, which makes things less close than they appear.
The Paperwhite is slightly larger by 0.1 inches in length, has IPX8 waterproof capabilities, and bezels big enough to grip. The big selling point is the 300 ppi display, which gives much crisper text and images. When it comes to specs, the new Kindle release can’t compare to the Paperwhite. However, the Kindle (2019) is a good, no-frills affordable option that maintains most of the same features including Audible support and a backlit display.
A no-frills e-reader for everyone
The Kindle (2019) is the most affordable Amazon e-reader you can buy. The combination of a backlit display, portable form factor, and affordable price make it ideal for children and anyone looking for a no-frills e-reader.
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