When the new basic Kindle launched last month, some users complained that the screen was grayer on the new Kindle than on other Kindle models. I had initially dismissed the gripes as being the result of having an E-ink screen next to a bright white bezel, but apparently Amazon has decided there's some truth to the complaints.
Over the weekend Amazon quietly replaced the product images for the new basic Kindle with images which show a slightly grayer screen. Here are the new and old images side by side.
It's not clear why Amazon made the switch, but as you can see, the new images are much grayer than the original product shots. And in case you were wondering, Amazon hasn't replaced the high resolution product images in the press room, just the ones shown to the public.
Amazon has also added a note to the product listing which calls attention to the Kindle's lack of a frontlight. If you visit the listing, you'll find a new section directly below the bullet point description titled “Planning on reading in low-light settings?” where Amazon points out the the Paperwhite, Oasis, and Voyage all have frontlights.
I can't say that I minded the gray screen or the lack of a frontlight, but those are the top two complaints in the 500 odd reviews left on Amazon.com. Now Amazon has acknowledged the criticism in the most understated way possible.
O O O
Do you know what I find most interesting about this?
It's the fact that Amazon is revising its product images at this late date.
Amazon has been using this screen on their basic Kindle since 2014. That earlier model had the same screen resolution and lacked a frontlight. Reviewers even commented on the gray screen and gave the 2014 Kindle a score of 4.1 stars out of five (the 2016 model rates 3.8 stars).
Basically people have been pointing out the exact same problems for a couple years, and now suddenly the screen and frontlight complaints are a problem - or rather, Amazon is more sensitive to criticism on this point than they were in the past.