Whether you're looking for a tablet or eBook reader, the Amazon Kindle line offers some of the best technology at affordable prices. The Fire tablets are known for their high-definition screens, simple operating systems and access to a wide range of apps, videos and music. On the other end of the spectrum, Kindle eReaders offer incredible book-like experiences with instant access to a variety of eBooks. Both the tablets and eBook readers are top in their class, but which Kindle is best for you?
We compare Kindles based on their capabilities, design, power, battery life and usability. By analyzing a range of features, we find that each Kindle has something to offer everyone, and even the low-cost models have excellent functionality and design.
In order to find the best Kindle for you, you should decide whether you want a device for multimedia experiences or for reading. While tablets have access to eBooks, magazines and newspapers, many people use them for apps, games or multimedia. And while eBook readers are good for comics and web browsing, the black-and-white screen isn’t always the best option.
When set side by side, the Kindle Fire tablets offer better functionality and simplicity than the eReaders, though Kindle readers are the best of all eBook readers. Our favorites are the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the Kindle Fire HDX and the Kindle Fire HD 6. We also have articles about the best Kindles, including how to choose between tablets and eReaders.
In our Kindle comparison, we combined multiple categories. For example, rather than list out all the items you can read on a Kindle, such as eBooks, magazines, newspapers and comics, we combined these items into one category – eBooks. We used the following criteria in our Kindle evaluation:
Surprisingly, the Kindle Fire tablets and eReaders have very similar capabilities, including web browsing and on-device storefronts. What differentiates the two types is their access to multimedia and apps. For this reason, the Fire tablets tend to perform better: They do everything that eBook readers do and much more. Again, if you don’t want any distracting apps, the best option is a high-quality eBook reader, and Kindle is the highest quality you can get.
Display & Design
Kindles weigh about the same, but their sizes and screens are all unique. In addition to screen size and resolution, we evaluated pixel density. The denser the pixel count, the smoother the image looks, so if you want to watch videos or play games, a higher pixel density is better.
Battery Life & Storage
The battery life of Kindles varies. Like any tablet, the Fire models need daily recharging with heavy use. eReaders, however, can go weeks before the battery runs out. Additionally, you want to select a device with enough internal storage to house your books, magazines, movies, TV shows and music. Keep in mind that storage becomes a smaller issue since Amazon gives Kindle users unlimited free cloud storage.
Usability varies depending on which Kindle you choose, but regardless of your technological background, it should be easy to use in any circumstance. For instance, it is usable in different lighting situations, has the ability to connect via Wi-Fi or cellular data networks, and comes with parental controls, landscape mode, a touchscreen and adjustable brightness functions.
With two different types of Kindles now available from Amazon, there’s a Kindle for every lifestyle and personality. Regardless which Kindle you choose, it will be a faithful reading companion, and the tech-forward Kindle Fire tablets will give you all the newest tablet features.