Why Buy a Kindle?
The top performers in our review are the Amazon Kindle HDX 8.9, the Gold Award winner; the Amazon Fire HD 10, the Silver Award winner; and the Amazon Fire HD 6, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a Kindle to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the top devices.
Kindles, Tablets & eReaders
If you are frequently on the go, mobile computing has its advantages. Full-size laptops have bulk and require packing accessories like power adapters; on the other hand, tablets and eReaders are versatile with lengthy battery life ratings and portable designs that can easily fit into a backpack.
Amazon's Kindles are split into eReader and tablet product families. Each Kindle type has the functionality you expect to find in a traditional eReader or tablet. Kindles on Amazon’s eReader lineup serve solely as reading companions and have compact dimensions. By comparison, those in the Kindle Fire series have features commonly found on tablets like games and high-resolution displays.
For users interested in tablets that run on different platforms, our tablets review highlights products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab series and Apple iPad. In addition, kids tablets operate similarly to standard tablets or eReaders but feature user interfaces and parental security options designed for families.
One of the distinguishing features of the devices in the Kindle series is their connection to Amazon's content system. The company offers a variety of secondary services, including movie and TV streaming and book lending. If you already use Amazon’s services, Kindles are optimized to easily integrate into your life.
Best Kindles: What We Test, What We Found
For our evaluation, we focused on the primary products from Amazon's Kindle eReader and Fire tablet families. As with our standard tablets website, we used a combination of hands-on and benchmark testing to evaluate performance. Our ratings mirror the primary concerns of an average Kindle user. Considerations like build quality, display integrity and battery life were heavily weighted in our rating. Build quality was determined by hands-on testing and takes into consideration the tablet's case material and firmness. Battery life expectations vary between eReaders and tablets, but generally, you want respective battery lifespans of around two weeks and more than six hours respectively.
Through our testing, we came to several conclusions that are important to consider as you decide on a Kindle. The difference in features between the standard Kindle and Kindle Fire lineups is one of the biggest issues. Kindles are good eReaders, but they lack the horsepower needed for multimedia tasks like playing movies and music. Most eReaders, have low-powered basic processors that extend battery life, but they have similarly modest performance ceilings.
Screen quality is similarly important, considering how vital the screen is for both tablets and eReaders. eReaders don't necessarily need stellar screens, since they are only used for reading. The top-end Kindle Voyage has a modest 1448 x 1072 resolution, which can adequately handle simple black-and-white text. In contrast, tablets benefit from high-resolution screens of at least 1280 x 800. These displays are comparable to home televisions and optimized for video and multimedia content. Lower-resolution tablet and eReader screens suffer from problems like poor text and image quality.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. Our testing used both manufacturer-provided review units and retail-purchased units. The manufacturer had no input or influence over our test methodology nor was the methodology provided to it in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the company in advance of publication.
What Else Is Important When Selecting An Amazon Kindle?
Amazon's Kindle series has similarities and differences when compared to traditional tablets and eReaders by other manufacturers. Before you make a purchase, consider the following:
Comparing Kindles: eReader or Tablet
As with any gadget, your needs determine which Kindle works best for you. Standard Kindles are exceptionally good single-task eReader devices. Because they're optimized for reading, they have screens built for text and lengthy multiday battery life ratings. Amazon's Fire tablets are built to be versatile, with high-resolution displays that can handle reading, as well as gaming and movie playing.
Best Kids Kindles: Family-Friendly Options
Amazon's Kindles offer different levels of monitoring for families. All of the Kindles feature basic software parental controls for making purchases and web browsing security, which make them safe for you and your child. Amazon's Fire Kids Edition covers similar ground. The device has family browsing security options, a bundled case and kid-friendly content. As a starting tablet for young children, the Fire is versatile.
Sharing With Others: Content & Platform Limits
Most homes have gadgets from different manufacturers, but if you're a fan of purchasing content like movies, songs or eBooks, this comes with unique hurdles. Purchased content is typically compatible with a specific platform and can't be played on competing hardware. For instance, an Apple-purchased movie won't play on an Amazon device.
If you own Amazon hardware or subscribe to Amazon services already, Kindles have their upsides. You don't have to deal with issues like login passwords and incompatibilities. Still, consider how important your existing multimedia library is to you.
Best Kindle Comparison: Our Verdict & Recommendations
Top Kindles combine Amazon's strong software options with exceptional build quality. Despite its relative age, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 maintains its high ranking thanks to its stellar build quality. Its high-resolution display is a strong point for the tablet, making it well-suited for gaming, reading and videos. Likewise, the HD 10 benefits from updated Amazon software, smooth performance and respectable build quality. Finally, the Fire HD 6 is a solid entry-point into tablets, thanks to an accessible price point and strong Amazon foundation.
Along with our top choices, additional standouts include the Amazon Kindle and Voyage. Both eReaders feature stellar battery ratings and specifications meant for voracious readers.