A cleaner interface

On the base, you have two tabs for Home and Library (the books you have on your Kindle), and between them is the cover of the book you are currently reading, so you can reach it with a single tap at any stage. It is clean and uncluttered and very different from the previous UI, where you had a navigation bar on top on the Home screen (with a link to Goodreads of all things at one stage).

There’s now a swipe down option

Perhaps the most significant change in the UI is the fact that you can now swipe down from the top (the first time we have seen a gesture in the UI apart from the flip to page turn in reading mode) from any location – whether from within a book or on a book page or on Home – to access basic options like Airplane mode, Dark mode, Sync, screen brightness, and warmth. There is also a link to All Settings for those who want to do more. And it is when you are using this feature, you also notice that the actual touch interface on the Kindle has improved (more on which later).

There is now a three-dot menu on the top right corner of the Kindle, tapping on which gives you some of the options that were previously on the top bar of the old UI – access to your reading lists, the Web browser, Settings and well, Goodreads. Oh, and interestingly, the Web browser on the Kindle (yes, it has one) no longer is called “Experimental.” However, it seems as limited as ever (no support for animations or video and best used for reading, like the device on which it exists).

Reading is easier too

There is also a three-dot menu on the top right corner here, but it is different from the one on the Home and Library screens. This one lets you do things like access Notes and Highlights, access the Vocabulary Builder (yes, there is one), go to Settings, share content on social media and even disable the touchscreen (yes, you can). In general, the UI is more in the background, letting you focus on reading, which is the main purpose of the Kindle anyway.

Touch seems more responsive, and now you know your Kindle model

Some of the old functionality remains in place – you can long-press on a word to get information on it or press and drag to highlight passages and add notes – but the touch experience on the Kindle seems to have actually improved. No, it is still nowhere near what you would get on your regular smartphone, but it is much better than a few weeks ago when you typed some words on the virtual keyboard and then waited for them to appear on display. By Kindle standards, we would call this snappy.

And well, you finally know which Kindle you are using after this update. That might sound a little odd, but after the update, you actually see the Kindle Model and its generation in the Device Info section, which was not available earlier. Talk about getting a sense of identity. (To update your Kindle, go to Settings and Device options. You will find updates under Advanced Options there. The update’s rollout is scheduled over a few months, so do not get too anxious if your device has not got it yet. If it is eligible, it will.)