Ebook readers: Which Kindle should I buy?
- Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle ebook readers explained
- Should I buy a Kindle ebook reader or tablet?
- Do I need a 3G or wi-fi only model?
Amazon's Kindle is the leading name in ebook readers, but there are several Kindle models at a range of prices. Read on to find out which Kindle is best for you.
At present, four different models of the Kindle are available, and these are split between ebook readers and tablets. They may all share a brand name, but there is a world of difference between the devices.
In the table below, we explain the key differences between each of the main Kindle products. As a Which? member, you can log in to see our full verdicts and test scores to find out which is the best Kindle for you.
Just want to see the Best Buys? Then check out our ebook readers Best Buy page.
|Which Kindle should I buy?|
|Kindle||Click for full review||Starting price||Score|
|Amazon Kindle (basic)||£69|
|Amazon Kindle Paperwhite||£109|
|Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G||£159|
|Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch||£119|
|Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch||£179|
|Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch||£199|
|Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch||£329|
Should I buy a Kindle Fire tablet or a Kindle ebook reader?
Tablets and ebook readers both let you read digital books, but they are built around very different screen technologies. For this reason, the Kindle Fire tablets and the Kindle ebook readers offer contrasting advantages and disadvantages.
Kindle ebook readers
Kindle ebook readers use e-ink screens designed to closely imitate the look of printed text in a paperback.
This means that they don't reflect sunlight the way the LCD screen of a tablet might, and they typically use no power when a page is displayed – only requiring power to change text as you move from page to page, or when you download new ebooks over wi-fi.
E-ink screens are easy on the eye and perfect for reading over long periods. However, they are limited to black-and-white, meaning that illustrations won’t display in colour. E-ink screens don’t support video either, meaning that a Kindle ebook reader only excels at the printed word.
Read our Best Buy ebook reader reviews
Kindle Fire tablets
Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets use full-colour, high resolution LCD touchscreens. This means you can watch videos, play games, send emails and browse websites, just as you would on an iPad or Android tablet.
The downside is that LCD screens aren’t as comfortable to use for reading, especially over long periods. Reading on a sunny day might be particularly difficult because of reflections and glare on the screen.
Battery life can be another issue, with tablets traditionally running out of juice long before ebook readers on a single charge. Essentially it’s a trade-off, with Kindle Fire tablets offering many more functions, but being less adept at displaying text in an easily digestible way.
Read our reviews of the best tablets
Do I need a 3G Kindle?
Kindle ebook readers, including the Paperwhite range, are available as wi-fi only models, or models with wi-fi and 3G internet.
3G means you can download books wherever you are using mobile data, and you won't have to pay each time. Instead, you pay more for the initial cost of the ebook reader itself.
The £60 extra for 3G is only really worth it if you know you'll buy lots of books when you’re on the move, or if the recipient - if you’re giving the Kindle as a gift - doesn't have wi-fi in their home.
Do I need a keyboard or touchscreen?
All of the models in Amazon's latest line-up have a touchscreen, with the exception of the basic Kindle.
A touchscreen makes it easy to type in the name of the book or author on the on-screen keyboard. Changing pages with a touchscreen also feels more natural than pressing buttons, and it's easy to select words or passages to look up definitions.
The basic Kindle still has these functions, but you’ll need to navigate its on-screen keyboard using cursor keys. Amazon has discontinued the basic Kindle that had a full set of keyboard keys - you may still be able to find it online, but we’d suggest the Paperwhite is better alternative if you want a keyboard that’s simple to use.
Can I listen to music or audio books on a Kindle?
While older Kindle ebook readers used to support MP3 files, the modern models don’t. If you want to listen to music or audio books on a Kindle, you'll need to buy an older Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard.
Alternatively, you could listen to music on a smartphone, tablet or old-fashioned personal music player, which are often smaller and easier to slip in your pocket than a Kindle.
Can I just get an app for my phone or tablet instead?
With smartphones and tablets becoming ever more popular, and most offering a variety of ebook reader apps, you might be tempted to opt for an ebook app rather than forking out for a separate device.
Though tablets and smartphones aren't as suited to long periods of reading as an e-ink screen, they should still be fine for short journeys. Apps from a variety of ebook stores, including Amazon, are usually available free of charge and will often offer free books, too – mostly classics that are out of copyright.
Ebook stores - the leading ebook repositories rated