With a touchscreen and twice the storage, the $79 Kindle is in some ways an improvement on the unit it replaces. It runs the latest software, and the touchscreen saves users from having to use a d-pad to type in one character at a time. This is great, but based on the time I have spent with it I would say that in some ways the new Kindle is inferior to the model it replaced.
To put it simply, the new Kindle feels cheap.
While the older model felt like a minimalist but solid design, the new Kindle feels cheap and junky. It has a simply black plastic shell which lacks the rubberized rear shell found on the Paperwhite and on the older basic Kindle. It also lacks the smooth curves of the older Kindles, opting instead for sharp angles.
Holding the Paperwhite, older basic Kindle, and new Kindle in my hands, I think there is a perceptible difference in quality. The newest device feels the cheapest, which is ironic because it actually costs $10 more than the model it replaced.
It does work well, though. In many ways it is a cut down version of a Kindle Paperwhite, and it runs the same software while costing a third less. So one should really expect that many finer details were left out either to encourage owners to upgrade or to reduce Amazon's costs.
What's more, it is just as responsive and quick to turn the page as my 2013 Kindle Paperwhite.
To be fair, how the new device feels will matter less to some users than what it can do, but I can't help but feel an intense dislike when I look at the device and hold it. If I had bought this, I would be returning it as soon as I finished the review.
Did you buy one? What do you think?
P.S. I will (probably) be posting a review next weekend.