What It Is
Amazon Kindle Family
What It Does
High-quality ereaders and tablets for reading books and files or consuming songs and video anywhere.
Where to Buy It
What It Costs
Kindle Paperwhite ($179 with integrated 3G, $119 without); Kindle ($69); Kindle Keyboard 3G ($139); Kindle DX ($379); Kindle Fire HD ($199 7-inch, $299 8.9-inch, $499 8-inch with 4G LTE); Kindle Fire ($159)
I've always had good excuses for not reading as much as an adult as I should have. But they all dissolved the day I bought an Amazon Kindle. Now I'm reading on subways, in elevators, in theaters before shows. My life has changed for the better, and I can't imagine ever again not having an ereader. And if you’re involved in show business, they’re indispensable. Not only do you have a thin, light, and compact way to study scripts anywhere, you also can keep your entire reference library with you at all times, marked and annotated as if it were paper but fully searchable. Ereaders like the Kindle are, hands down, my favorite consumer technology products. Now Amazon has improved its already excellent Kindle lineup.
The new Kindle Paperwhite ($179 with an integrated 3G modem, $119 without) is only slightly larger and heavier than the old Kindle Touch, but adds a higher-resolution screen that uses two-point multitouch and has 25 percent higher contrast so it looks even more like real paper. It uses an illumination system with a special nanoimprinted guide that lets the light shine on the display from above, which improves visual quality and reduces strain on your eyes. And, get this, the battery life is the same as on a regular Kindle: about eight weeks (with the wireless turned off).
If you don’t need or want those new bells and whistles, you can still get a traditional Kindle, too—and even that’s been upgraded. Now the E Ink model has a lower price ($69), uses darker fonts that you can customize to your reading preferences, and turns pages 15 percent faster. It uses a five-way controller; if you prefer to type, the Kindle Keyboard 3G ($139) and 9.7-inch Kindle DX ($379) are still available as well.
Even if you like reading, you may feel you have too much to do to not settle for a tablet. Amazon has also jazzed up its Kindle Fire tablets with higher-resolution screens and additional features. The new Kindle Fire HD comes in three varieties: Wi-Fi only with 7-inch ($199) and 8.9-inch ($299) screens that can display 720p and 1080p video respectively, or a version of the 8.9-inch version for $499 that also adds a 4G radio. There are faster, more exciting tablets out there (the Google Nexus 7 foremost among them), many of which have more apps than the Kindle Fire. But these still provide a good experience and outstanding display quality. Want to spend less? The original non-HD Kindle Fire can still be found on Amazon’s e-shelves for $159.