Ever since its introduction in 2007, the Kindle e-book reader took the world by storm. Featuring for the first time a commercially produced tablet that featured an E-Ink display. Years later the 4th generation Kindle introduced in 2012, gave the platform a much needed reboot with a fresh new design, form and improved functionality. Gone was the grotesque physical keypad and unnecessary design compromises. The new Kindle featured a compact 6” display, smooth bezels and a compact look and feel. Although relegated to the side-lines with the launch of the touch enabled version in 2014. The 4th Generation Kindle still remains a strong contender for your consideration if you are in the market for a budget ebook reader and can compromise with the lack of a touch screen and other modern yet benign features.
- Glare free, paper like E-ink display
- Wifi capabilities
- Massive Battery Life / Quick charging
- Good built quality
- Poor screen response time
- Web browser slow and unusable
- Lack of physical Keypad means typing is a pain
- Good built quality
- Non-expandable Memory
Amazon Kindle 4th Generation is packaged smartly in a carboard case, the Kindle has the look and feel of a premium product. Out of the box all you get are the tablet and data cable only. The data cable doubles up as a charger when plugged to the USB or a wall charger sold separately. The unit itself feels relatively light weight, despite being made of plastic, it is rigid and the buttons feel solid and tactile, giving an assurance of durability. As a side note: being part of Amazon’s product line-up availability of accessories for the Kindle are readily available. Since its an exclusive product, the quality of the accessories are standard and prices reasonable too. Also mentioned in the video is the rubberized case that was purchased separately for the unit being reviewed.
The Kindle 4th Generation quite obviously won’t win any awards on the design front. Mainly because it wasn’t meant to do so. It’s a no nonsense simple e-book reader designed to be as fuss free as possible. Every design aspect like the dark borders, diminutive buttons and dull grey exterior are meant to avoid distracting the reader and keep the focus on the text. The surface of the tab has a nice matt finish, made of hard plastic. The texture ensures that it doesn’t slip too often. With a thickness of just 8.7mm, it’s one of the slimmest devices out there, and weights roughly 170g.
The highlight of the Kindle is but of course the screen; a 16 level monochrome Electronic Ink display which does take a few seconds to register a change, but is a joy to look at. Feeling just as natural as paper, the glare free NON-BACKLIT display reproduces text in a clear and crisp manner, with additional options of emboldening, zooming or changing orientation of the display. However, bear in mind that accessing all the features requires the user to sift through a bunch of menus, and with a display as slow as this , it might feel a bit of a pain.
Although full details about the hardware specifications or the operating system etc are unknown to the public, the fact that the interface never hangs or lags is incentive enough for consumers. The 2GB internal memory of which 1.25GB is available for user storage is adequate for storage of thousands of books, in a myriad of supported formats like MOBI, PRC, PDF, TXT and Amazon’s own format (.AZW). WiFi capability is useful for purchasing and downloading books over the internet, as well as browsing the internet, in a limited capacity (Facebook and Twitter open perfectly, but being monochrome aren’t a joy to look at). Typing too is a pain owing to lack of a physical keypad.
The Kindle also features an inbuilt Dictionary. Another selling point here is the battery (albeit non-removable) stores charge for up to month if charged for just 3 hours. Charging requires the Kindle to be connected to a PC or to a wall plug via an adapter sold separately. On being plugged in the Kindle is detected as a regular Mass Storage device and allows easy and seamless storage of personal files, books and documents. Reading while charging is also possible. This making it a good educational tool.
The Amazon Kindle was, is and will always remain the original ebook reader and buyer’s choice, despite its competitors upping their game with advanced features at competitive prices. But as we all know imitation is the best form of flattery. The long battery life and the freedom to use the device independently without the need for a PC to download books are things which makes the Kindle standout of the crowd, putting the focus on the most important thing of all, Reading. The production of the 4th Gen may have stopped but many consider it to be a boon in disguise as it opens up the possibility of availing one at a significant discount, from offline retailers.