Entry-level Kindle slims down, gets Bluetooth

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The 2016 Kindle refresh brings with it thinner, lighter e-readers, and the color white

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Amazon has tweaked the design and specs of its entry level Kindle e-reader, offering a slimmer and slightly more powerful device at the same price. There are also now white versions of both the budget Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite if you're in the market for an e-reader for the holidays.

The biggest changes are cosmetic ones, and even those are pretty small. The back is more rounded, it's 16 percent lighter at 161 g (5.7 oz) and 11 percent thinner at 9.1 mm (0.36 inches). Not a huge difference but as it's coming in at the same price it's hard to grumble.

Amazon has also doubled the amount of onboard RAM to 512 MB, so the software should be that little bit more responsive, and there's a new Export Notes feature for emailing yourself notes and highlights in PDF or spreadsheet format (that's to have them ready for your next book club meeting, Amazon says).

Bluetooth audio support has been added as well, so visually-impaired users can easily connect wireless headphones and speakers to use with the Kindle's built-in VoiceView screen reader. Finally, the home screen is getting extra personalization options, which Amazon says will make it easier to find your recommendations and Wish Lists.

Presumably the note exporting functionality and extra home screen layout options will also roll out to the other Kindles in the line-up in the near future, though Amazon hasn't mentioned that specifically.

Otherwise it's the same cheap Kindle e-reader we've come to know and love, with a 167 ppi 6-inch touchscreen (the more expensive Kindles all offer 300 dpi) and 4 GB of internal storage space for storing e-books locally.

As before, there are four Amazon Kindle e-readers to choose from, all with 6-inch e-ink touchscreens but offering a different choice of extras (such as physical page turn buttons, integrated backlights and 3G options).

There's no change in the price, as we mentioned, so the entry-level Kindle will still set you back US$79.99 with special offer ads on the lock screen and $99.99 without. The Paperwhite, which hasn't been updated but now comes in white as well as black, costs from $119.99 (£109.99).

Product page: Amazon Kindle

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