If You Could Design the Perfect Kindle What Would it Be Like?


Have you ever wished you could design your own Kindle to make it exactly how you wanted?

In recent years the Kindles have really plateaued in terms of hardware features and overall design, especially compared to their competition, which is a real shame because a lot of ereaders are nicer than Kindles and have better hardware, but they don’t support Kindle ebooks so Kindle users are stuck with whatever Amazon chooses to give them.

Take the Kindle Paperwhite for example. It’s had the exact same design since 2012.

They put a new screen in it and made a few minor hardware changes from gen 1 to gen 3, but overall it’s been 95% the same for the past 5 years.

There’s nothing wrong with the Paperwhite’s design exactly, but there’s nothing unique about it either, and after 5 years it’s quite a bit larger and heavier than other 6-inch ereaders available today.

I reviewed the InkBook Prime earlier this year and to me its design is miles ahead of the Paperwhite, and it sells for the same price. Granted it has a lower resolution screen, but it has a flush glass screen with page buttons on each side, and it weighs an impressive 37 grams less than the Paperwhite, making it more comfortable to hold. It also adds a memory card slot, Bluetooth, 8GB of storage space, and it has a quad-core processor. If I could somehow replace the Android software with Kindle software I would never use the Paperwhite again.

The Kindle Oasis was supposed to be the next big innovation with its unique tapered design and charging cover, but the insanely high price put most people off, including myself, especially when you can get a Paperwhite on sale for a third of the price with the exact same screen and the exact same reading features. The Oasis simply doesn’t have enough unique features to justify the higher price; the unusual design alone isn’t sufficient.

The Kindle Voyage has a nice design if you don’t mind page sensors instead of buttons but the device is 3 years old now. It’s rare for ereaders to remain on the market for that long without an update.

If I could design the perfect new Kindle it would be a lot like the Kobo Aura One with a 7.8-inch 300 ppi screen, except I would add physical page buttons on each side of the screen like the InkBooks have. I also like the feature where you can disable the touchscreen to avoid accidental presses. That’s basically all I would need for the prefect Kindle. I know some people would like if they added audio support, expandable memory, waterproofing, and adjustable frontlight color, among other things, but I would be happy with just a larger display and real page buttons.

What about you? If you could design your own perfect Kindle what would it be like?

45 Responses to “If You Could Design the Perfect Kindle What Would it Be Like?”

  1. Perfect Kindle if price was not a consideration? or with price as a consideration?

    Price matters.

    Really no such thing as a perfect Kindle, as people will have different preferences. Perfect for a given individual, but no way to design one that is perfect for everyone.

    And when the larger e-readers come down in price I will but one, but I will also keep my small 6″ e-readers — they will serve different purposes.

    • Quantus,
      That’s the struggle I have with this question. To me, the perfect ereader is one that has great basic functionality…and maybe a little extra….but, within my price range.
      I could say that the perfect ereader has All these special features, but, if its too expenisve, that makes it Not the perfect ereader.

  2. I’m pretty easy to please with the basics – good ergonomics and a front light. But the reader I always have with me is my phone. When I pick up an E Ink reader I want to continue reading whatever I’ve been reading on my phone. If I know I’m going to have to spend 2 minutes finding my place very time I pick up the E Ink reader, I’m more likely to just keep reading on the phone and let the ereader gather dust.

    So, being able to sync with whatever I’m reading on my phone and find the right place seamlessly is (silly as it might sound to some) a must-have for my ideal eReader.

    Unfortunately, that ideal appears to be a pipe dream: I’ve yet to find proprietary software (Nook, Kobo, Kindle) that will do that for side-loaded books. My favorite Android reader does it quite easily and gracefully, so for now my real-world search has settled on looking for a reader that can run Moon+ Reader.

  3. 6″ screen. As light as possible, since I have hand and wrist pain.

    NO flush screen — I like being able to set it face down.

    SD card and Bluetooth unnecessary; I’d rather have a lower price. As fast a response as possible, but small storage space OK to keep cost down.

    Auto-adjusting frontlight color like the new Kobo models, and auto-brightness like the Voyage.

    Basically, make it portable and easy on the eyes, and I’m happy.

  4. For me a Voyage 2 with 8 or 16 gb storage and a slightly larger screen would do for me.

  5. For me – 7 inch reader or larger – light weight with the adaptive light for night time reading (in other words a Kobo Aura One with the word Kindle on it). For me waterproof is not really an important factor.

  6. Perfect reader (Not Kindle as your stuck with Amazon so not perfect).
    Spec to start as Kobo Aura One.
    1} Solar charging via screen as you read.
    2} Audio books via Bluetooth headphones.
    3} 32gb memory.
    4} Thinner and lighter and titanium back.
    5} Built in front leather cover.

  7. I like the design in the image in the post but would add the following:

    1. Must have 300 dpi
    2. 9.7 inch screen. I read a LOT of tech books with code sames. This is just hard on a 6 inch
    3. Fast CPU. I’m in IT had dislike slowness with a passion. Make it fast. I’ll pay for it gladly
    4. A microSD would be great but not required for ideal reader

  8. It would look exactly like a Kobo Aura One.

  9. I would like a combination of the Kindle Keyboard and paperwhite with room for an SD card. I really enjoyed listening to audiobooks on my Kindle Keyboard and was bummed when it died and I couldn’t get another one. Audiobooks take up a lot of room, so an SD card for trips would be great. I replaced it with a paperwhite and really enjoy the light. I also prefer to read ebooks on e-ink rather than my phone or tablet so I definately want it to stay e-ink.

  10. 8″
    32 g storage…I have way to many books…all do not fit on my Oasis.
    Page turn buttons.
    Font weight control …more font options..ability to add your own fonts.
    Adjustable color template lighting.

  11. If I had my druthers, I’d opt for an ultra thin, featherweight 7.8″ Oasis with an improved and reliable, upgraded OS and a real, honest to goodness, beefed-up 30 hours battery that really lasts 30 hours. Add in the option to disable the touchscreen, and price it with WiFi without special offers under $200.00 and I’m there!

  12. Have been looking for one like this … and wasting a lot of money buying an ‘OK’ product. My need:
    1. e-reader, possible with 300ppi Carta screen
    2. Quad-core modern processor with 3/4 GB RAM
    3. A fairly recent Android OS
    4. SD Card option

    Basically for reading, browsing and emails…almost everything except games

  13. If I had my druthers, I’d opt for an ultra thin, featherweight 7.8″ Oasis with an improved and reliable, upgraded OS and a real, honest to goodness, beefed-up 30 hour battery that really lasts 30 hours. Add in the option to disable the touchscreen

  14. I have no real issue with the Paperwhite 3,however if we’re dreaming then certainly more storage would be nice. Also more fonts as well as font size selection. It is crazy the size differentiation. Going from rather small to outrageously huge is nuts. Also a wee bit lighter would be nice as well.

  15. The perfect Kindle would be one that isn’t locked into the Amazon ecosystem. I want a choice where I buy my ebooks.

  16. Easy… an e-reader version of the iPad mini. High res, great reading in two column landscape.

    Just strip out the tablet stuff, cheaper processor, etc.

    • If you strip out the tablet stuff you will no longer have an iPad mini.

      Sounds like what you are looking for is an e-reader that can do two columns in landscape mode. Don’t know if an e-reader can do this as I’ve never tried.

      Also with an iPad mini you will have poor battery life compared to an e-reader. Basically a day versus over a month.

  17. I see no point in Kindles having big storage capacity until indexing is improved. I find that Kindle indexing makes it awkward to have more than about 100 volumes on a Kindle.

  18. I think I’d be pretty happy with an Oasis with 16-32 Gb of storage and support for epubs, AND, most importantly, a much lower price. I don’t have one entirely because of the price (AU$449!). Given what the hardware that Amazon is shipping is capable of, I feel like they should knock at least $100 off the price of the Voyage and Oasis.

    The last two nice, high end kindles have been nice hardware but the prices are really don’t seem reasonable for what the hardware is.

  19. As previous comments show, people want different things.
    For me, the ideal e-reader is Android and integrated with my phone:
    a Yota 3 (mid-range Android smartphone with an e-ink screen on the back) plus waterproofing and stylus support, or a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with e-ink on the back.

  20. It should be glass and aluminum with an edge to edge screen like the iPhone X, except instead of an oled screen use e-ink. The screen size should be the same as the paperwhite’s but with no bezel (you hold it by its sides like an iPhone), and thick (approximately 3/8” thick, like a paperback book), and with an ergonomic grip on the sides along with physical page turn buttons also on the sides. Any extra space inside should be filled with batteries and it should have solid mounting points on the back so you can optionally add a cover to physically simulate a hardback book cover.

  21. Bring back the Sony PRS 505 Body minus buttons with a capacitive touch screen with front light and Pearl HD screen. Add audio (with Bluetooth) and minimum 32gb support for sd. I would like an all aluminum clip case. Soft covers are ok. But a full on hard case is what I want. Sony built quality. Not a huge fan of kindle. More variety of size would be nice. Mini are nice for a child’s smaller hands. Design is tame and boring at the moment. Even a bit of colour would be nice. No flair since the Sony reds.

  22. The perfect Kindle would be exactly like the Kobo Aura One physically with the exception of adding page turn buttons.
    It would have the beauty and customization of Kobo software with the Kindle cloud and Store and a cover like the Paperwhite Onyx.

  23. Remus Octavian Mocanu Reply September 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    1. Bigger display, 9.7″ or 10.5″.
    2. Reading software that can trim pdfs’ page margins – like koreader crop.
    (3.) If possible, bluetooth and an extension slot.

    Day dreaming… No! Pipe dreams. – In the (only-)for-profit world of ours, these wishes are as probable to ever become reality exactly as those of the customers in a soviet command economy. 🙂 The only reasons I bought so many “Kindles” is the fantastic stability of the software and the perfect and easy way to export highlights (“my_clippings”).

    • This and the ability to highlight notes on send to kindle web articles. Kobo doesn’t even allow you to highlight articles from Pocket.

  24. Snarky McSnarkSnark Reply September 30, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    8-inch screen, with a non-mechanical sounding text-to-voice function.

  25. I need text to speech with a 3.5mm port as they had earlier.it is so convenient in the nights and while traveling.

  26. 13 inch display, multicore processor, touchscreen, Bluetooth

  27. Like the design you proposed. Wouldn’t mind adding audio (TTS/Audible/mp3) option. I often go between print and audio (same or different books).

    Curious if Kobo is truly using Overdrive or Overdrive’s Libby app (which is really good).

  28. There should be several size categories:
    – 6″ screen for books
    – 13″ laptop replacement / technical documents
    – smaller screens for the second screen on phones (like yotaphone)

    BTW, people here assume things like sd card slots cost a lot. That’s pure BS. For example chinese companies sell whole Raspberry Pi like development boards with all the parts (except screen) for $9. Quad-core, 512MB of RAM, SD card slot up to 512 GB, fullhd resolution. SD card slot would cost around $1 and there’s support for it on all SoCs.

    The e-book readers should have internal eMMC (e.g. 16-32 GB), SDHC/SDXC slot, 1-2 gigabytes of RAM, quad-core CPU, full hd resolution or higher, preferably an open source OS. For example mainline Linux without binary blobs. They could run the open source Android stack which means version 7 or 8, at the moment – not 4.x.

    • Agreed — adding an SD card slot would cost very little.

      I can understand it not being on the basic Kindle, but any e-reader over $100 IMHO should have a micro SD card slot.

  29. Simple: 13.3″, Touchscreen, Bluetooth, high-contrast … and web-browsing capable (over WiFi) which would require 2-gigs of RAM & speaker(s). Android would also be great to download various apps. Touch-screen keyboard (like the iPhone) or external keyboard via Bluetooth.
    ALSO, capable to being used as an external monitor (right out of the box)

    • This is EXACTLY what I want!
      I would settle for 8.5 x 11, but the ability to use as a monitor would be HUGE.

      Refresh rate and processing would need a boost to eliminate funky cursor when using Excel, etc…

  30. 7.8-10.6″ and 300dpi.

    I’d like to see a combination of a simple OS designed only for reading, along with a display option where I could mirror my phone through Bluetooth and/or USB.
    This way I could still read without being dependent on my phone, but also have the capability to do more complex tasks without having to deal with the lack of updates that we see with Android E-Readers.

  31. Paperwhite features in a package the size of the oasis with 16gb of storage. If they had the option to add a charging case ala Oasis or like Mophie does with their phone cases but leave the battery in the spine to avoid adding too much thickness then that would be cool. If not, no biggie as the battery life is solid. I would like to see color ink as an option in some models. Honestly give me paperwhite guts in a package the size of an oasis without the funky form factor or requiring the case for decent battery life, keep the page press buttons like the oasis or my old kindle keyboard and I would run out and buy one today.

  32. For me I would like an updated Voyage. I would like it to have the warmer screen like the Kobo Aura one and larger screen size. I am willing to pay the same price as the kobo is selling for. I don’t really care about water proofing because I don’t read in the tub and even so I have never dropped my kindle. I think if amazon doesn’t at least offer a larger screen i will be forced to get a kobo and start buying all my new books from them. I have a lot of unread kindle books but I will just read those on my voyage and stop buying Kindle books.

  33. For home, I prefer an 8-10″ screen, e-ink. with physical page turn buttons and recessed screen. Front light. Very low weight to reduce fatigue.

    Since I use Calibre and Calibre companion my my android devices, I’m able to index and sort books by series and tag. My frustration with Kindle operating system drove me out of kindle universe!

    The home reader needs less bells and whistles because it’s strictly a dedicated e-reader. When I leave the house, I would like to have a 6″ e-ink screen with physical page turn buttons. I would like to switch between reading and audio on the same book, and I would like to synch reading progress on my other device.

    I like memory card reader. I’m using Calibre wi-fi to load books on my devices, but I don’t need phone data or Bluetooth.

    Again, feather weight.

    I would like bumpers on the corners and recessed screen to protect from tumbles.

    Perhaps an ergonomic handgrip on the back?

  34. Boyue T80 8 Inch E-ink Screen 8G Dual Core Android With Front Light eBook Reader

    this one seems to be ok

  35. Wireless Charging, please!!!

  36. Technical:
    * 9.7″ / 10″ screen so it is a lot closer in size to most books I own
    * thicker bezel on the left side so it can be held easily and a thin bezel on the other sides
    * very light. as long as the batter lasts a week that is good enough to re-charge it when needed
    * micro USB fast charging so it can get fast to full charge on the go and still use the same charger as on most phones
    * replaceable battery, just like on most phones. nobody likes to spend a lot just to interact with some specialized support staff
    * micro SD card support
    * side buttons for flipping pages
    * wifi only, no need for 3G (cheaper and less signal pollution)
    * warmer colors
    * touch screen

    * epub and PDF support, so people reading technical / business documents would get a bit more out of their reader
    * not tied into the amazon environment so users can use other book sources in addition to amazon
    * ability to display the page number equivalent for books that were also released in paper format. It would be really nice to know what page I am when referencing it to friends that read the paper version.
    * google translate integration / app for when connected to the WiFi (e.g. translate magazine extracts in PDF format).

    Well, one can only hope to eventually get some serious improvements, not just these dpi and battery improvements. Honestly, I would buy a reader with these specs from probably any vendor.

  37. Ohh, and a color inversion option for the full device (swap black and white), as you can do today on some Kobo readers. That way, with a black background your battery will last a lot longer and it is more relaxing on your eyes.

  38. I would like 2 readers

    #1-A replacement for a pocket book, so 6″ screen is fine. Primarily for travel.

    #2-Something larger to read textbooks, in textbook format, not a “widescreen” format. Maps and carts are unreadable on the small 6″ screens.

    The ability to zoom in to see charts and maps in greater detail. Important for those of us with “senior citizen eyes.”

    Ability to dim the display down really low, for easy evening reading.

    Ability to easily side load books into the reader. Because there will always be books that are not provided by the vendor.

    A decent implementation of collections. Collections become more and more important as the size of the library grows. I try to keep my collection to less than 100 books.