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A Review of the New Kindle Paperwhite

Apr 02, 2013 03:18AM ● By Erin Frisch


While everyone else mourns the so-called death of paperbacks, a new generation of readers is embracing e-reading devices. Recently, Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite has debuted and is already known as the “king of the e-readers” among tech-savvy bibliophiles. The truth is you don’t have to know a lot about tech to enjoy reading with the new Kindle. It doesn’t have the glitz of multimedia devices such as Apple’s iPad and Kindle Fire. But it does one thing very well; it resolve issues commonly found in many e-reading devices, including Amazon’s earlier Kindle releases.

If you want something that obsessively focuses on your reading experience, the Kindle Paperwhite is your best single-purpose device. Here’s why.


How many buttons should a reading device have? In an attempt to provide a simpler user interface, Amazon does away with all the buttons save one, the power button. Everything else is done on the touchscreen, which makes it easier to open a book, turn a page, change the settings, select paragraphs for highlighting, and navigate the interface. The on-screen keyboard is the best in comparison with other e-readers so far. Turning a page, one of the most commonly used touches, was especially made simpler and more efficient. The Kindle Paperwhite’s screen is divided into three sectors. Tap one to move a page forward, one to move backward, and one to open the menu. It only makes sense that the “page forward” sector gets 80 percent of the screen’s bottom and right-hand side. You’ll definitely want to move forward to get more reading done. The other 20 percent of the screen is reserved for navigating backward (left-hand side) and for accessing the menu (top).


Amazon was painstakingly careful when rendering fonts on the Paperwhite. All seven fonts look smoother, and this alone makes the Paperwhite a clear. There are eight font-size options to choose from, and one of them is the largest available on any e-reader. You can also adjust margins and line spacing for a more readable text.


The Paperwhite is easy on the eyes, thanks to its winning combo: a high-resolution display and a built-in light. No other e-reader to date has perfected these features. Turned to its full brightness, the display is whiter than newspaper gray, a color typical of readers with e-ink screens. The device is also the first Kindle to use an embedded light. Its four LEDs let you read in the dark without having to turn on a separate reading light. This is similar to Barnes & Noble’s “Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight.” Paperwhite’s light is brighter though, and it’s evenly distributed. In addition, its LEDs are not obtrusive, unlike the Nook’s. The light brightens the background even in daylight, and thus improves contrast and makes text look crisper.


Not only does the Paperwhite bring back the pleasure of reading in the dark—it’s also impressively portable. It’s lightweight, and its battery can last for eight weeks, making it perfect for anyone on the go.


You can get the Kindle Paperwhite that works only with Wi-Fi and supports ads for $120 on Going ad free will cost you $140. The lower-priced version means you’ll see ads, but only on the sleep screen or when browsing the library. Some readers actually choose to see ads, many of which are related to their recent purchases and browsing history. If you want to get worldwide 3G connectivity, expect to pay between $180 and $200. It’s a good buy if you’re often away from home and want to save money in the long run.

All in all, the Kindle Paperwhite shines.

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