Which Amazon reading device is right for you?

IDG.TV | Nov 23, 2015

Shopping for a tablet for reading books? We'll help you make the right choice.

You already know you're buying an Amazon e-reader, but do you get a Kindle or a Fire tablet?

With zero-glare displays that look like a printed page, the Kindle devices are great for reading books, hours on end. This is definitely the device for people who ONLY read text-heavy e-books.

The Fire devices, on the other hand, are full-fledged media consumption tablets. They're not ideal for people prone to eyestrain, but they let you browse the web, run apps, watch video, and, of course, read e-books, magazines and graphic novels.

Even if you're ready to make the call between a Kindle and a Fire tablet, you still need to decide on a particular model. So let's jump right in, and look at the best offerings in Amazon's line-up.

Kindle Voyage

If you want to the absolute best text-reading experience, go for the $200 Kindle Voyage. It’s the king of the Kindle line-up, with a thinner chassis and a few extra features.

The high-resolution display is easy on the eyes, and the cover glass feels smoother than other Kindle models, a detail you’ll appreciate every time you turn a page.

The Voyage’s screen is flush with its bezel, where the other Kindles have a ledge. It’s a design flair unique to this model.

Finally, the Voyage has a front light that automatically responds to changes in ambient lighting, and touch-sensitive buttons for turning pages.

Kindle Paperwhite

So the Kindle Voyage is Amazon’s best e-reader. But at $120, the latest Kindle Paperwhite is the better value.

The Paperwhite has fewer features than the Voyage, but they both deliver the same display resolution.

The biggest difference is the grainy texture of the Paperwhite’s glass. You’ll notice that every time you turn a page, because it doesn’t have those touch-sensitive buttons.

The Paperwhite is also slightly thicker and heavier than the Voyage, and you have to adjust its backlight manually.

But the $70 you save in buying the Paperwhite over the Kindle sure could buy a lot of books.


Amazon’s Fire is remarkable mostly for its price tag: This 7-inch tablet costs just 50 bucks. And get this: You can get six of them for $250. Pay for five, and Amazon throws in the sixth for free.

The Fire is only slightly wider than a Kindle. But it weighs nearly twice as much, which could leave your hand and wrist fatigued after long reading sessions.

More importantly, the Fire lacks a high-resolution screen. You might develop eyestrain reading text at just 171 pixels per inch.

The Fire is a better tablet than you might expect for $50, but be prepared for the compromises that come with that low price tag.

Fire HD 8

The Fire HD 8 has a larger and higher-resolution screen than the but it still delivers only 189 pixels per inch.

The Fire HD 8 is only slightly wider than the Kindles, but that’s enough to make it difficult to hold for long stretches if you have small hands.

Both Fire tablets also have issues when viewed off axis. It’s not a big problem when you’re reading a book, but you won’t like it if you’re browsing the web or watching a video with someone else.


Amazon’s Kindle series are better e-readers than its Fire series. They deliver higher resolution and longer battery life, and they’re more comfortable to hold for long periods.

The Fire series are the better choice if you want to read graphic novels, browse the web, watch videos, and play games as well as read books.