Amazon Kindle (2022): One-minute review
Over 15 years after Amazon launched its first Kindle ereader, the retail giant has launched the latest Kindle (2022) model. Because Amazon is so huge these days, from turning into a shop where you can buy almost anything, while also making its own smart home Alexa-powered devices and even creating its own high-budget TV shows (such as the recent Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power), it can be easy to forget that it started out life as an online bookstore.
Still, with the Kindle range, it shows that books can still be a passion for the company, and with the launch of the Kindle (2022), you’d be forgiven for expecting an extremely accomplished ereader, considering the expertise and budget behind it.
The good news is that with the latest Kindle you get just that. While it lacks some of the bells and whistles offered by other ereaders – and even the more expensive Kindle models in Amazon’s growing range – if you want a simple and dependable device for reading ebooks on, the Kindle (2022) could be an excellent choice.
A higher resolution screen makes ebooks look fantastic, and as the most compact Amazon ereader, the Kindle (2022) slips easily into bags and some pockets, making it a good choice for travellers. However, the small screen size can be uncomfortable to read on for some people, as well as difficult to grip onto.
For people looking for a main ebook reader for home, the Kindle (2022) probably won’t be the best ereader for your needs. However, starting at $99.99 / £84.99 / AU$179, it’s one of the better value ereaders out there. It also comes with double the storage space (now 16GB), extended battery life, and its integration with Amazon’s store and services remains excellent – as long as you don’t mind buying from Amazon. If you do mind getting locked into Amazon’s ecosystem, then look elsewhere. You’d be missing out on a decent and affordable compact ereader however.
Kindle (2022) review: Price and availability
- Costs $99.99 / £84.99 for ad-supported model
- No ad-supported version for Australia (RRP of AU$179)
- More expensive than last model
The new Kindle (2022) is Amazon’s most affordable ereader, and costs $99.99 / £84.99 for the model with adverts on the lockscreen – there’s no ad-supported version of the Kindle in Australia. For the non-advert version, you’ll need to pay $119.99 / £94.99 / AU$179.
While this makes the Kindle (2022) the cheapest current model, it does represent a price increase over the previous model, which sold for £69.99 / $89.99 / AU$139.
It remains more affordable than its chief competitor, the Kobo Clara 2E, although the rival offers a few more features that the 2022 Kindle misses out on. If you’re a regular user of Amazon’s different services, though, then the Kindle’s integration with the huge retailer will likely appeal.
- Price and availability score: 4/5
Kindle (2022) review: Design and display
- Smallest Kindle yet
- Ideal for travelling
- May be too small for some
The Kindle (2022) comes with a new design, and some changes are very welcome… and some less so. It’s now smaller and lighter than ever before, and weighs just 158g, with measurements of 6.2-inches x 4.3-inches x 0.32-inches (157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm).
This makes it an excellent choice for travellers who want to take something to read while they globetrot. The Kindle (2022) can easily slip into a bag, or even a pocket, and you’d hardly notice it’s there. For short-haul flights where you’re limited to the amount of luggage you can bring on board, this could again be a great feature, as it takes up less space than even a rather slim book.
However, some people may not enjoy holding and reading on such a small device. It doesn’t feel as secure to hold as some of the larger, and more expensive, ebook readers out there, and the lack of a textured rear panel can make it feel a little hard to grip onto. There are Kindle cases on sale that can mitigate this, but without one, the Kindle (2022) can feel a little too slight for some people.
That’s not to say the build quality is lacking, however. Quite the opposite, in fact, as despite its budget price, the Kindle (2022) feels like a well-put-together device.
The design is minimalist, with a single power button and a USB-C port for charging. Most of the controls for the Kindle are done via the 6-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen. The USB-C is a new addition, and means you can quickly charge the Kindle (2022) – and you can use any USB charger to do so.
The new blue color is a nice change from the standard black or white designs of other ereaders and, thanks to an update that happened in April 2021, you can set the cover of book you’re currently reading to display on the sleep screen instead of cycling through a few wallpapers that were available on Kindles by default.
The screen itself has had a lot of attention lavished on it. It’s now got a 300ppi (pixels per inch) high resolution screen that is crisp and sharp on the 6-inch display. As an e-ink screen, it feels comfortable to read on, though we ended up making the text smaller to fit more of a page onto the 6-inch screen.
The screen has an adjustable front light for reading in the dark, and the Dark Mode option makes it more comfortable to read in low-light conditions. However, the front light cannot be adjusted for temperature, meaning you’re stuck with white/blue light at all times, so people sensitive to blue light may find the Kindle (2022) less appealing for bedtime reading.
Unlike more expensive Kindles, the standard Kindle (2022) isn’t waterproof, but it does have a handy sensor that lets you know if there’s moisture in the USB-C port, so you can unplug it and wait for it to dry. We tried it out during the review, and it does indeed work.
In some markets the Kindle (2022) also comes with a ‘Kid’ version that features a rugged cover, one year subscription to Amazon Kids+ and an extended two-year guarantee (the standard model has one year).
- Design and display score: 4/5
Kindle (2022) review: Specs and performance
- Good looking (yet small) screen
- 16GB capacity should be more than enough
As well as the improved screen, the Kindle (2022) also features twice the storage space of its predecessor. While the new 16GB capacity may seem a little low when compared to a phone or tablet, ebooks don’t take up much digital space, with an average ebook file size of 2.6MB. That means there’s room for well over 7,000 books – so even the most ardent bookworm won’t have to worry about space. There’s no microSD card slot, so you can’t expand the storage space, but we can’t see many people needing to.
You can also download and listen to audiobooks using Amazon’s Audible service, and these obviously take up a lot more space than an ebook – though 16GB will still be able to handle a ridiculous amount. There are no built-in speakers, so you’ll need to pair a Bluetooth device, which can be done through the interface. We did find this to be a bit difficult to set up, with the Kindle becoming unresponsive at one point, but once paired, it works well.
Of course, the main reason you’d want to use the Kindle for is reading ebooks, and the good news is that it does this very well. The e-ink screen is comfortable to read on and, while the dark mode makes things comfortable at night, we didn’t find it was bright enough to read on without a light on. However, in both dark rooms and out in sunlight, the non-reflective screen performed well.
However, at 6 inches, we felt it was too small to read at the default text size, as it meant we had to keep flipping pages (done via tapping the side of the screen you want to turn the page to). Making the text smaller fitted more of the text on the screen, which reduced the number of times we had to turn the page – but some people may find the text size too small to read comfortably. As an ereader for travellers, this is great, but people reading at home may wish they’d gone for something bigger.
The interface has been refreshed, and it takes a bit of getting used to. The minimalist design means there’s no buttons apart from the power button, and so if you haven’t used a Kindle before, you may be confused about how to get to your library. A nice touch is that when the Kindle (2022) goes into sleep mode, you can set the sleep screen to show the cover of the book you’re currently reading – though if you buy the ad supported version you’ll see adverts instead.
As you’d expect from an Amazon device, the Kindle is heavily integrated with the retail giant’s services. Once you’ve connected it to your Amazon account, you can buy Kindle ebooks and audiobooks through the Amazon website on other devices, and they will appear on the Kindle almost immediately, as long as it has an internet connection. This makes setting up the Kindle and filling it with books very straightforward, especially if you already have a Kindle library. You can also buy books directly through the Kindle’s interface. However, we prefer doing it on another device with a larger screen, such as a laptop.
While this means the Kindle is an easy and convenient gadget to use if you’re already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem – and many people are – but if you don’t use them or like Amazon as a company, then you may find the Kindle’s heavy reliance on Amazon frustrating. You can load non-Amazon ebooks onto it, but it’s not as easy and organizing them into collections aren’t possible, leaving your library looking a tad dishevelled. So this really is only worth considering if you’re an Amazon customer.
When you purchase a Kindle (2022), you get three months of Kindle Unlimited free, essentially a Netflix-like subscription service for ebooks, which at least gives you a chance to check out the service and get access to a huge range of books before you spend any extra money. That said, you won’t find a lot of big names (authors or publishers) on Kindle Unlimited but there is plenty to discover if you aren’t too fussy about what you like to read.
- Specs and performance score: 3/5
Kindle (2022) review: Battery life
- Better battery life than before
- Drains slightly faster in dark mode
Amazon has not only upped the internal storage on the 2022 edition of the Kindle, but has also improved the battery life. Whether that’s due to improved efficiency of the same old battery or if it’s a bigger capacity is unclear as Amazon doesn’t ever reveal its battery secrets, but our guess is the latter.
The older 10th generation Kindle from 2019 offered up to four weeks of reading (according to Amazon’s own estimates), but we got about two weeks of reading for an hour each day on a single charge. Now, however, we’re getting a full 30 hours of reading – basically, four weeks of reading an hour each day.
In fact, we think you could get more. Our tests showed that there’s marginally more drain when using the Kindle in dark mode, and we measured battery life with the screen set to the usual view and dark mode. Not just that, we also set the front light to 7%, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth always on, a mix of browsing Kindle Unlimited, the Kindle Store and using VoiceView (we were really curious how it sounded). If you aren’t going to be doing so much on your Kindle, you could push that battery a little more, and that’s pretty impressive.
Amazon has updated the charging port to USB-C in keeping with the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite (and other ereader) models and this makes the battery top up quicker. In our tests, the Kindle went from 9% to full in 1 hour 25 minutes. This, however, includes a little bit of trickle charging, which is actually better than what any of the latest Kobo ereaders manage. Where trickle charging on the Kobo Libra 2, for example, is super slow (an hour to go from 92% to full), the Kindle went from 9% to 93% in 1 hour 10 minutes, then another 15 minutes to finish the remaining 7%.
- Battery score: 4/5
Should I buy the Amazon Kindle (2022)?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
Amazon Kindle (2022) report card
|Price||The Kindle (2022) is the cheapest ereader from Amazon, and the price can be lowered further if you go for the model with ads (where available).||4/5|
|Design||While the new Kindle may feel a bit too small for some people, it’s excellent for travelling with.||4/5|
|Performance||The high resolution screen looks good, and the touch interface works well, but it best serves those embedded in the Amazon ecosystem.||3/5|
|Battery life||A longer battery and USB-C charging means you can read for weeks with this device.||4/5|
If our Amazon Kindle (2022) review has you considering other options, here are three more ereaders that are great alternatives.
First reviewed November 2022
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