Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

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Posted November 13, 2012 by Stuff Staff in Reviews

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon’s flagship touchscreen E Ink reader has gained a Paperwhite LED front-light (but not yet a UAE release date). Here’s how we got on with Jeff Bezos’s latest bright young thing.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – screen

Thank your big screen telly for Amazon’s amazing new Kindle screen. The same nano-engineered light guide technology that illuminates edge-lit TVs has just transformed ebook reading. You can just make out a couple of LED ‘hotspots’ at the bottom of the screen but the rest of the sharp display enjoys a crisp, even, slightly blueish light that makes reading incredibly easy and restful on the eyes.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Adjusting the brightness to suit ambient light levels is simple enough, although an automatic sensor would be welcome in future models.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Paperwhite fonts and reading

The other big leap forward is being able to choose your own fonts. Kindle’s default font, Caecilia, is clear enough but Helvetica will lure design heads and Futura looks simply fantastic.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Taken together with the front-lit screen, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Paperwhite is now more readable than even the best paper books. Swiping the touchscreen to flip pages soon becomes second nature although, unlike earlier buttoned models, it does make reading while snacking a messy proposition.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite features

Amazon keeps loading on the digital reading features. Tools include Amazon’s X-Ray feature linking to themes and explanations, Wikipedia entries, an excellent dictionary and even instant translations to 15 languages – just tap and hold a word to explore.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

You can swipe to highlight sections or make notes, and sharing via Facebook or Twitter is straightforward. Worried you’ll run out of words before the end of a flight? A new ‘Time to Read’ feature counts down to the final page.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Still a page turn from perfection

The Paperwhite could be the most impressive ebook reader on the market but it’s far from perfection. The home screen (with a small banner ad) is looking increasingly cramped and cluttered, while the experimental web browser is positively creaky, despite a simplified ‘article mode’. Unlike some previous Kindles, there’s no support for audiobooks or MP3 playback.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

More worryingly, our unit suffered several crashes and errors, and the screen occasionally suffered from annoying ghosting, where previous words remained slightly visible after refreshes.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Paperwhite build and battery

The Paperwhite is essentially the same size and shape as previous Kindle ereaders, although it has inherited the warm, grippy rubberised rear from its Fire big brother. The bright white Kindle logo on the front is begging for a strip of black masking tape.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Otherwise, it feels light and solid, with the E Ink touchscreen having a slightly rough matt texture that’s quite different from LCD displays. Battery life is over a full day of reading (just) at full LED brightness.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite vs Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light

The Paperwhite is almost eerily similar to the latest Nook. Its screen is slightly sharper and the illumination more even than the Barnes and Noble device, but Amazon’s flagship ereader is also a few grams heavier.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The screensaver and home screen ads are noticeable rather than annoying, and the same goes for the Paperwhite’s lack of a USB wall charger, as most people will have one knocking around.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – verdict

The Paperwhite has clearly been designed by readers for readers, delivering the fastest, sharpest, clearest ebook experience of any device on the market, including high-priced tablets. Reading features are easy to access and intelligently presented, with smart online options.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

But other aspects of the Paperwhite disappoint, including some annoying bugs and an awkward home screen. For the price, it’s great, but this won’t be the last ebook reader you ever buy.

STUFF SAYS 4

The Kindle Paperwhite screen is gorgeous – but Amazon needs to smooth off the rough edges

[via stuff.tv]


About the Author

Stuff Staff

Our crack-team of gadget-loving ninjas scour the interwebs for the hottest gadgets and the coolest kit around. They produce the pages of Stuff Middle East by day, but don internet-friendly masks by night, stealthily hunting the latest gadget news and tech trends.

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