Looking at the overall reviews for each Kindle model reveals some interesting insights about the hierarchy of Amazon’s ereaders amongst themselves.
The Kindle is basically its own competition thanks to a complete lack of dedicated ebook readers in the US. The Nook is the one mainstream alternative and it’s hardly worth considering anymore because of B&N’s negligence.
Kobo has no distributors in the US, and doesn’t even seem try to compete with Amazon anymore.
So for most people wanting a dedicated E Ink ebook reader, the four different Kindle models are about the only viable options.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the current reviews for Kindle ereaders, in order of popularity:
Kindle Paperwhite – 4.5 stars with 28,109 reviews
Kindle Voyage – 4.3 stars with 10,670 reviews
Kindle Oasis – 4.1 stars with 1,800 reviews
Kindle – 3.9 stars with 1,744 reviews
I find it interesting that Amazon’s least expensive Kindle is also their least popular Kindle. Granted it’s been on the market for the shortest amount of time, but still 3.9 stars is pretty disappointing.
A lot of the negative reviews seem to be from previous Kindle owners that liked their older model with buttons better. There are also a number of complaints about the low resolution screen and the lack of a frontlight, which was my number one complaint as well.
It’s not surprising to see the Kindle Paperwhite at the top of the list. It’s the best Kindle in terms of price to features ratio with the high resolution screen and built-in frontlight.
But it is surprising to see Amazon’s highly-touted “premium” ereader near the bottom of the list. That’s not what you’d expect from a company’s highest-end model. A number of the critical reviews complain about poor battery life and frontlight unevenness. There are some complaints about the high price too, but not as many as you’d expect. A number of people mention that they wouldn’t mind the price if the device was flawless.