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"Why buy a Kindle?" That's a very fair question considering the existence of the Kindle app, which allows you to read Amazon-purchased e-books on your phone or tablet. Spend money on a separate device that does only one thing, when you already own a device that can do the same thing? Crazy!
Except not crazy, for reasons I'll explain below. For starters, you should know there's a major Kindle sale happening at Amazon right now, with prices starting at just $65. Three models have been heavily discounted; read on to find out which one I'd choose.
First, let's answer the original question: Why buy a Kindle? Let's start with the screen: Much as I love the Kindle app, which makes sure I have a book to read everywhere I go (because I always have my phone with me), there's something to be said for a larger screen. It feels less cramped.
The Kindle screen is also much easier on the eyes: No blue light to worry about, no glare when you're trying to read outdoors.
Meanwhile, reading on a Kindle is a wholly distraction-free experience; reading on my phone means my attention is constantly drawn to other things, like text messages, TikTok videos and so on. When I sit down with my Kindle, I feel like I'm sitting down with a book. There's value in that.
There's also battery life to consider: A Kindle can last for weeks on a charge. Reading on your phone puts a pretty big drain on the battery, and what phone has juice to spare?
Now that I've made my case, let's take a look at the models on sale:
Not Kindle Basic or Kindle Standard... just "Kindle." Amazon's entry-level e-reader is currently $65, a solid deal but not the lowest price on record; it's been down to $60 a few times in the past 12 months and will likely get there again for the holidays.
Of course, I won't quibble over a measly $5. This is a mighty appealing option, offering 8GB of storage (enough to hold literally thousands of books) and a front-lit screen — meaning you can read at night, no clip-on light necessary.
You can get the Kindle in black or white. OK, but should you? Keep reading...
If you have kids and want to encourage them to read, you might be tempted to give them the Kindle Kids e-reader, which is currently on sale for $75 (normally $110). It's essentially a Kindle tablet that comes with a colorful cover and some other perks, all of which have value.
For example, Amazon backs the Kindle Kids with a two-year worry-free warranty; the standard Kindle is covered for only one year. You also get a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ (also known as FreeTime Unlimited), which includes lots of free e-book content (among other things).
However, I think the much smarter buy is the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 Kids ($90, was $140), which has all those same perks but does considerably more: apps, games, movies and so on. It's a full-on tablet with a larger screen, and it's only $15 more.
Yes, all those distractions might make it tougher for kids to focus on reading, but parental controls can help with that.
Normally $130, the Kindle Paperwhite is on sale for $80 right now, a historic low. That's for the 8GB model with ads that display on the lock screen, but to the latter I say "so what?" The ads are for other Kindle books, and one swipe is all it takes to bypass them.
As for storage, you might be tempted to pay $20 more for the 32GB model, but I say don't bother. As noted above, 8GB is a ton if you're just reading e-books. Only if you're planning to read magazines or comics or listen to audiobooks would you need the extra space. (Personally, I recommend a tablet for the former — because color — and the audiobook experience also tends to be better on a phone or tablet.)
But, wait, if the standard Kindle also has 8GB and costs $15 less, why not choose that? Three reasons. First, the Paperwhite has a flush-front design, meaning there's no ridge around the display. It's a small thing, but much nicer when you're swiping to change pages. Second, the Paperwhite is waterproof, so you can take it in the bath or pool without worrying about ruining it.
Finally, the Paperwhite has a higher pixel density (300 pixels per inch) than the standard Kindle (which has 167), so text looks noticeably sharper. All that for just $15 more — well worth it, in my humble opinion.
Oh, and it comes in your choice of four colors (though a few of them are sold out at the moment and may take several weeks to arrive). Paperwhite for the win!
What do you think about Kindles versus the Kindle app? If you're planning to buy one of the former, which one and why? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.
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