Kindle Customer Reviews are Surprisingly Consistent, Dislike of $79 Kindle Remains


Black or White Kindle

Almost exactly one year ago I posted an article examining the reviews of different Kindle models. Today I was looking over the numbers and it’s interesting how the overall ratings for each model remain exactly the same as they were one year ago.

Thousands of additional reviews have been added for each Kindle since that time (over 20,000 for the Paperwhite alone), and yet the overall ratings have not moved a single point in either direction.

The Kindle Paperwhite continues to be the most popular Kindle model with a 4.5 star rating, and the Kindle Voyage is close behind at 4.3 stars.

The entry-level Kindle remains the least popular model with only 3.9 stars, and the overpriced Kindle Oasis is just a couple of points higher at 4.1 stars.

Here’s how the current review numbers breakdown for each model:

Kindle Paperwhite – 4.5 stars with 50,760 reviews (up from 28,109 reviews at this time last year)

Kindle Voyage – 4.3 stars with 13,086 reviews (up from 10,670 reviews at this time last year)

Kindle Oasis – 4.1 stars with 4,254 reviews (up from 1,800 reviews at this time last year)

Kindle – 3.9 stars with 6,833 reviews (up from 1,744 reviews at this time last year)

Based on the review numbers alone, the Kindle Paperwhite is by far and away the most popular Kindle. With over 50,000 reviews that’s more than double all the other Kindle models combined.

Another interesting detail, with only 3.9 stars the current entry-level Kindle is the lowest rated Kindle of all time. No other model has lower than 4.0 stars (the Kindle DX).

Given the numbers, it makes you wonder what Amazon will do with the entry-level model moving forward. The low resolution, lower contrast Pearl screen isn’t doing the Kindle ereader brand any favors; it’s probably turning off new customers to ereading as much as it’s helping. The software features are identical to the other models so it’s mostly the sub-par screen accounting for the low rating.

16 Responses to “Kindle Customer Reviews are Surprisingly Consistent, Dislike of $79 Kindle Remains”

  1. well, to my opinion Kindles are the best in terms of software and firmware. I wish Amazon would have a reader just like Kobo Aura One!
    And surprisingly these guys are keeping their thoughts on 6″ devises for good!

  2. Can you explain why someone would buy a $79 Kindle when they can get a 7″ Fire Tablet with 16 GB which is way more than needed for $70? OK, add in all the other essentials it’s more but so is the $79 Kindle. No wonder people don’t like it. Right? I have had various versions of the Fire tablet since 2012 and have tried a early model Kindle. No comparison.

    • You’re right there is no comparison. They’re completely different devices. You couldn’t pay me enough to read ebooks on a crummy low res 7″ Fire tablet. Even an old non-frontlit Pearl screen is better than that.

      • It’s all about the weight. When the ipad came out, you’d see loads of tube commuters with one, for a couple of weeks, then the rsi kicked in. The beauty of the basic kindle is felt in the wrist,

    • e-ink based e-readers have three huge advantages over tablets for reading.
      1) battery life. Over a month instead of one day.
      2) Weight. Given same size screen, the e-reader will be lighter.
      3) e-ink screen. For most people easier on the eyes, especially if you do a lot of reading.
      So for the purposes of “reading” the Basic Kindle still makes a lot of sense. And it goes on sale for $49 several times a year, that’s what I paid for mine.

    • The “why” is easy… eink vs lcd. Since my PRS-600 died,i’ve not read a book on a handheld.

      I’ve a kindle fire, and while fine for games, I hate reading on it. so, paperweight. (I didn’t buy it; I inherited it.)

      I’m more likely to read on a dedicated eink reader…

  3. The low star reviews are almost always from people who are finally upgrading from some older kindle model and (as you mentioned) either miss the buttons, or more often (as you didn’t) miss the text-to-speech feature that the older models had.

    I actually liked my $79 kindle until I broke it – it was, as the British might say, a bog-standard piece of kit. Pretty rugged, pretty simple and very functional with enough light, and also had insane battery life.

    Why would you get this instead of a tablet? It’s an e-ink device. e-ink has different display properties than tablet devices, and people who appreciate e-ink prefer it.

  4. I’m thinking they keep this entry-level sub-par device around to sell PaperWhites because the price difference is minimal and the feature differences are dramatic.

  5. Also the $79 dollar Kindle is really the $49 dollar Kindle. It goes on Sale to $49 dollars a year fairly often — just wait for a sale, that’s what I did.

    If they didn’t have the Basic Kindle. They would lose some sales to Kobo and the generic brands.

  6. I think Nathan’s analysis is excellent, but we have to remember that Amazon has access to information that we do not have access to. Mainly they know exactly what their unit sales are, and they know exactly what it costs to make each unit, and exactly what each hardware feature costs.

  7. Well I just ordered the All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1″ 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB
    for $149.99 Free Shipping for Prime Members
    Due 10-11-2017
    I have a HD8 with 32GB of memory plus a 64GB microSD card.
    Buy my Grandson loves it so I told him Ok I will give that one to you.
    I am looking forward to try reading PDF on this guy
    10.1” 1080p Full HD display (1920 x 1200) with over 2 million pixels (224 ppi) I can also Enjoy widescreen movies, Youtube videos with wide viewing angles, less glare, and more brightness thanks to a stunning IPS (in-plane-switching) LCD display.
    Has 2 quad-core processors. Two 1.8 GHz cores and two 1.4 GHz cores ,and up to 10 hours of mixed-use battery life
    should FLY !!

  8. I forgot a feature I like on Kindle HD is Blue Shade, an exclusive Fire OS feature that automatically adjusts and optimizes the backlight for a more comfortable nighttime reading experience.

    • Still don’t have the one feature I’d want: eInk for reading. You’re not buying a hopped up reader; you’re buying a nerfed cheap tablet.

      Amazon makes their money on the micropayments and app sales.

    • I think their Blue Shade has a lot of work to be done on it. Apple’s night shift gives you a dark screen with orange letters when you use the black on white setting – which makes it very comfortable to read with. Blue shade just gives you a bright reddish orange screen and fonts which then makes the words hard to see if you have to have the light turned down low. It is a fail for me. With their entry level kindle it is a nice device for traveling when you know you will have a light source but in dim lighting it is hard to see the screen well. I thought they did a better job screen wise with the keyboard kindle and the DX.

  9. It seems to me that the majority of the reviews for the entry-level Kindle are from people complaining that it doesn’t have a light.

    • The funny thing is the previous $79 entry-level Kindle basically had the exact same screen and specs minus Bluetooth for VoiceView and it had a 4.1 star rating, and I think the newer one’s design is a considerable improvement over that blocky 2014 model. I guess people just expect lighted screens in this day and age.

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