The most basic Kindle model is the easiest to recommend for the majority of people. It’s affordable, packs a fantastic screen for reading and finally has USB-C for charging.
- Compact size sets it apart from the larger Paperwhite and Oasis
- Very sharp display makes reading a pleasure
- The switch to USB-C is welcome
- Access to Amazon Prime’s ebook and audiobook ecosystem
- Slight price increase
- Misses out on a waterproof body
- Feels a bit cheap
- Sharp screen300 PPI display produces crisp text in books
- Plenty of storage16GB of storage gives you plenty of room for books and large audiobooks
The Amazon Kindle remains the best line of e-readers on the market, and the Kindle (2022) includes some welcome improvements to the most affordable version.
Importantly it doesn’t sacrifice too much, and some of the additions that have trickled down from the Oasis and Paperwhite make this the easiest-to-recommend budget Kindle yet.
Design and Screen
- A smaller display than Paperwhite makes it more compact
- Two colours – Black and Blue
- Very sharp panel renders text fantastically well
The Kindle (2022) picks up one major upgrade over its predecessor that makes this both a fantastic upgrade to an older model and a valid alternative to the higher-end Paperwhite.
This upgrade is the display, which now matches the Paperwhite at 300 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The sharper resolution makes everything you do on the Kindle look better: text in books and throughout the interface is sharper, cover art is crisper and it’s all just a little easier on the eyes.
The previous base Kindle always suffered with a slightly blurry screen thanks to the meagre 167ppi resolution – it was perfectly adequate for the price, yet it couldn’t compete when compared to the Paperwhite. With this version, there’s now no reason to pay more just for a sharp screen and that’s great to see.
Amazon has also stuck with a smaller display on the Kindle than on the Kindle Paperwhite. Here there’s a 6-inch panel (rather than 7-inches), making this e-reader feel far more comfortable to hold with one hand than any other currently available Kindle. It’s also the most compact, taking up less space in a bag and even fitting in larger pockets. For comparison, the Kindle is actually shorter than an iPhone 14 Pro Max and only an inch-or-so wider.
There are, of course, sacrifices to be made to hit that lower price. Gone is the handy warm lighting around the E Ink display that makes reading a little easier on the eyes when it’s dark, and there are fewer LEDs so the lighting isn’t quite as even.
Putting the Kindle next to the Kindle Paperwhite, I can spot the more even lighting around the screen on the more expensive model, however, I found the brightness still perfectly adequate for night reading on the Kindle.
There is no waterproofing here either, a feature that makes both the Paperwhite and Oasis far more suited to beachside or bath reading.
The design here is very basic – but for a device that’s meant to function for a single task, I actually prefer the simple look. There are no flashy design elements, just a plastic slab in either black (pictured) or denim blue. There are no page-turning buttons, a feature reserved for the flagship Oasis reader, and the screen is slightly recessed, rather than flush to the bezels.
I’ve mentioned this in previous Kindle reviews, but the positioning of the on/off switch is a massive annoyance. It sits on the bottom and is so sensitive to even the slightest touch. I’ve accidentally pressed it many times. Placing it on the top or on the back would make far more sense.
The Kindle certainly feels like the cheapest model in the current Amazon e-reader lineup. The plastic on the back of my review unit has already started to smudge and it picks up greasy fingerprints very quickly.
- Access to Amazon’s wide ecosystem of books and audiobooks
- The updated UI is a nice upgrade
- Switch to USB-C for charging is welcome
Amazon updated its tired Kindle user interface in late 2021 and that software runs well here and remains a massive improvement on what came before. The homescreen received a facelift, with more visual cues and a smartphone-like quick settings panel that made it easier to enable features like the dark mode or quickly turn the Wi-Fi.
Moving around the UI is quick here, while it’s a similar experience flipping through pages of a book. I do find navigating the store a little plodding, although that’s to be expected on any device with an E Ink display and it’s s similar story on the pricier Kindle models.
The Amazon experience here remains excellent. Previously purchased books appear as soon as you log in, while there are services like Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited available if you’re willing to spend a little bit of cash each month. There’s tight integration with GoodReads, so you can post to the service when you finish a book.
And it’s not just books, Audible audiobooks are supported too if you pair of set of Bluetooth headphones. There’s 16GB of onboard storage, of which just under 13GB is available, meaning there’s plenty of space for even multiple large Audible downloads. This is a healthy improvement from the 8GB that was standard in the previous Kindle.
Another big upgrade here is a switch to USB-C from the tired Micro USB port of old. Not only is USB-C a more modern connector used by most laptops, iPads, Android phones and portable games consoles, but it charges the Kindle faster than before. You won’t be charging the device as often as a phone or tablet though, as Amazon claims this Kindle will last for 6 weeks on a single charge.
I’ve been reviewing this model for about 10 days now, and after charging it to 100% when I first unboxed it, it has now dropped to 60%. That’s with heavier than usual usage, including a couple of hours of reading each day with the light enabled and Wi-Fi on. If you’re going on a multi-week trip then I would be comfortable leaving the included charging cable at home. Standby time is excellent too, so it’ll hold battery if you just leave it in a rucksack and only use it sparingly.
Should you buy it?
You want an affordable device for reading: For the price, the Kindle (2022) feels like a great deal. The screen is a vast improvement, it’s got enough speed and the switch to USB-C is welcome.
Waterproofing is key: The biggest reason I would still plump for the Paperwhite is the waterproofing – a feature that makes the pricier version a little more durable.
The Kindle (2022, 11th-gen) is an easy recommendation to anyone who wants a basic reading device that’s easy to pop in even a small bag. The reading experience is a lot better than the previous basic Kindle due to the far better display, while the switch to USB-C is very welcome too.
The price isn’t as wallet-friendly as before (£84.99 or £94.99 without adverts/$99.99 or $114.99 without ads) but it still undercuts the Paperwhite by just enough to make the savings worth it if you’re not interested in features like waterproofing or a larger screen.
How we test
We test every e-reader we review thoroughly. We use the device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Tested for 10 days
Read three full books to test battery life
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You get a USB-C charging cable in the box, but there is no plug.
You can get this in either black or denim blue.