Kindle Paperwhite Review

December 23, 2012

So on my day off work this week I took a trip to Plattsburgh NY to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve wanted one ever since Jeff Bezos presented the project launch back in early September, but they are not available to ship to Canada. I’ve been keeping an eye on for stock information and when they came in stock last week I decided to go ahead and purchase one.

The bad
When I first got it home, my initial reaction was, well, it’s nice, but not overwhelmingly so. I had been keen to see the new UI, but was exceptionally frustrated to know that as I had the cheaper special offers version there was only room for THREE books on the home screen in the new Cover View. THREE!!! Three!!! The rest of the space is taken up by Amazon advertising. That is ridiculous. Fortunately a quick Google search helped somewhat. Hint:

From Home screen go to Settings -> Device Options -> Personalise Your Kindle and turn off Recommended Content. This will give you an extra three books on your home screen. Having said that, it is lovely to have book covers as a home screen rather than just lines of text.

In this iteration, Amazon has dropped the physical home button – presumably to save space. It has been replaced by a virtual home button at the top left of the screen. I assure you I didn’t realise how much I used that button until it disappeared. I really hope Amazon brings it back.

You should be aware that in this version of the Kindle, Amazon has dropped support for text to speech and audiobooks. This is not a deal breaker for me as I listen to my Audible content on my iPhone. However, if audio support is important to you, the Kindle Paperwhite is not for you.

It has also halved the storage capacity of the device from 4Gb to 2Gb. My free space has dropped from 2348Mb free on my Kindle Touch to 717Mb free on the Paperwhite. However as the average ebook is only about a quarter to half an Mb, I have enough room left for a while. On my Kobo Glo I have 1129 Mb left.

The good
In my use of the device so far, the new capacitive touch screen is responsive, although currently page turns on the Kindle Touch and Kobo Glo are noticeably faster than on the new Kindle Paperwhite. The Paperwhite is currently busy indexing all my books, so I anticipate this will speed up significantly once this is completed.

As with all Kindle products, the setup was exceptionally easy. It found and connected to my home wifi network with no problem, and as soon as I entered my Amazon account details all my content was available to me.

I like the way they’ve separated Cloud content from Device content. As the storage space has been significantly reduced, it’s clear Amazon is pushing you to their Cloud. As I’m not yet nearing the limit of my device storage it’s not such a big deal for me.

The new “time to read” function is quite fun. The book I’m currently reading at the moment, Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail, doesn’t have chapter divisions, so it can’t tell me about the chapter, but it’s been interesting to see how much time I have left in the book. I haven’t finished it yet, so not sure how accurate it is at this point.

The frakking GORGEOUS
The screen. What can I say about the screen? It is GORGEOUS. Here are two photos comparing it to the Kindle Touch and the Kobo Glo, although I don’t think they do it justice.

Kindle Touch vs Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Touch vs Kindle Paperwhite

Kobo Glo vs Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Glo

I have the light setting to 11 of 22 for moderate lighting conditions and it really doesn’t look as though there is a light on at all, it just lightens the screen and heightens the contrast beautifully. There is some minor shading at the bottom where the LEDs are, but it is barely noticeable to me (I know some people are sensitive to this) and certainly didn’t detract from reading.

The new fonts are also beautiful. Normally, I don’t bother too much with fonts, concentrating more on the content than the packaging, but the new ones are simply stunning.

Although the Kindle Touch’s screen and contrast are also good, I’d compare this to reading a cheap mass market paperback (Touch) compared to a high quality hardback (Kindle Paperwhite).

I use my ereader on a daily basis, so this is a worthwhile upgrade for me, and if you were to upgrade, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.

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