Amazon just announced a new model of its Kindle ebook reader, which brings a couple of much-needed upgrades to the entry-level device. The new model has a 300ppi screen, longer battery life, and best of all, it now charges via USB-C. That means a lot of readers finally get to throw away the last of their Micro USB cables. It’ll be available on October 12th and will cost $99.99 with ads or $119.99 without.
Since it was last updated in 2019, the cheapest Kindle has stopped seeming like a great deal. It had the worst screen in the Kindle lineup, forced you to charge via an old standard, and had a design that felt distinctly last-gen. The Kindle Paperwhite has long been the default best option: it had a better screen, a better front light, and a USB-C charger. At $139, it was a fairly steep upsell from the plain Kindle, but it was worth it. (There’s also the Oasis, if you’re both an avid reader and willing to shell out big money for a slightly better screen.) If you buy the new Kindle, you’ll also get four months of Kindle Unlimited for free. And for another $20, you can get the Kindle Kids edition, which comes with a special case and a one-year subscription to Amazon’s kid-friendly content.
The new Kindle is $10 more expensive than the last model and still doesn’t have a light as nice as the Paperwhite’s, but it now looks much more like a worthwhile option if you want to save the $40. The new Kindle comes with new colors, too: you can now get it in black or a new soft blue color Amazon is calling “denim.”
In addition to the charging and screen upgrades, it also has 16GB of storage, which is an impossibly large amount for books but comes in handy if you’re a big audiobook listener. Amazon says the new devices will also last up to six weeks and nebulously describes them as “the lightest and most compact Kindle models available.” According to its website, the new Kindle is about a half-ounce lighter than the previous model and a bit smaller in every dimension, while still keeping the screen the same size.
The new Kindle looks like a nice and long-awaited upgrade. But it’s still very much a Kindle. Amazon has long said its goal is to make e-readers that feel like paper, with all the flexibility and versatility that entails. For now, it’s just making better devices with better screens — but still Kindles through and through.