If you’ve binge-watched every episode of Game of Thrones and have no other fantasy shows left to waste your life on, there’s no other option: it’s time to delve into books.
Any self-respecting tech fiend won’t want to be seen lugging those back-breaking paperbacks around with them, though - you’ll want an e-reader to shrink them down to a more manageable size.
Couldn’t give a stuff about the Starks? Then you can read all the Harry Potter books instead, or if you're more adventurous, the really-confusing-but-epic Malazan Book of the Fallen, without anyone silently judging you on your morning commute. That’s the beauty of going digital.
If you’ve not bought one yet, you’re probably not the biggest book lover, but at just ₹6K, even occasional readers might be tempted to invest in Amazon’s latest cut-price Kindle. It’ll make a great gift for those tech-shy relatives, too.
TWO YEARS OF PROGRESS
This year’s Kindle is a big step up on the rather poor 2014 outing. That was cheap, sure, but felt like it too. It was heavy, a bit on the chunky side, with some fat screen bezels and nasty plastic casing.
The new version solves all these problems.
It’s been on a diet and has lost 30g and shrunk a few millimetres in every dimension. It’s still made of plastic, but it’s not too shiny and doesn’t feel like it’s hollow now. To top it all off, you can get one in white as well as black - in case you want a Kindle that stands out from the crowd.
It’s got the same 6in, 800x600 E Ink screen, which isn’t exactly hi-res, but is decent enough to read text clearly. Smaller fonts are a little soft around the edges, but you’ll only notice if you’ve got it side-by-side with a more expensive model.
Speaking of which, how does it stack up to the rest of the range? That depends on how much night-time reading you’re planning on doing, as this Kindle still isn’t self-lit.
The ₹11K Paperwhite costs almost twice as much, but packs LEDs around the edge so you can read in the dark. They give contrast a boost during the day, too, making your books just that little bit easier on the eyes. Without those LEDs or any source of light, the new Kindle is as easy to read in the dark as a regular book.
Beyond the Paperwhite, you're spending big money for diminishing returns.
The ₹16,499 Kindle Voyage has a slightly slicker design, but your cash is mostly going on a light sensor that stops the backlight from scorching your retinas at night. Going the whole hog on a super-slender Kindle Oasis will set you back an eye-watering ₹24K, but the detachable screen cover will also double your battery life.
Neither has a significantly better screen, though. That makes the Paperwhite my top pick for most people, but this new budget model is still great value for money.
It might be the cheapest of the lot, but the new Kindle has one thing its more expensive siblings don’t: VoiceView.
This handy new tech is meant to help blind and visually impaired people enjoy eBooks too. It uses built-in Bluetooth to hook up a pair of wireless headphones and have the Kindle read your books to you.
The monotone, robotic voice is more automaton than audiobook, but for the blind or anyone with poor eyesight, it’s a huge deal.
Amazon has also added larger font sizes, and the new Kindle plays nicely with the OpenDyslexic font too - it’s the most accessible e-reader out there.
It might cost you a whole lot less than those other Kindles, but this entry-level model is still running the same OS. It’s got double the RAM than the old one too, so it feels a lot nippier when turning pages or opening menus.
A recent UI overhaul means you get a home screen filled with the books you’re reading, plus the ones on your wishlist. You can quickly jump into Airplane mode and force a Wi-Fi sync now - although I’ve never had a problem with my Kindles staying bang up-to-date.
Best sellers and recommendations show up at the bottom of the home page, and unless you shell out an extra tenner on the Kindle without ‘Special Offers’, these’ll show up as screensavers. You can pay to get them switched off after you’ve bought one, so don’t feel you have to splash the cash right away.
Amazon really has set the benchmark for e-readers with the Kindle. All your books live in the cloud, so you can delete them from your device if you run out of space and download them again any time. The price you pay? Being limited to buying books from Amazon. Still, given the massive selection and rock bottom prices, this is hardly a chore.
Oh, and it'll still last for weeks between battery charges.
Amazon Kindle (2016) verdict
Amazon has pulled off ‘cheap’ without turning into ‘cheap and nasty’ - The 2016 Kindle does one thing and does it rather well. That’s kinda refreshing, I think.
It’s a delightful little device that you won’t be ashamed to whip out in public. Without a backlight, the Paperwhite is still the best all-round e-reader, but if you’re trying to keep your spending under control, the new Kindle is a great buy.
Plus, it’ll leave plenty of cash for you to spend on those fantasy books.