Review: Kindle Paperwhite

By January 18, 2013 Articles, eBook readers 6 Comments
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One of the big questions people ask themselves when they window shop for a Kindle/e-reader is what are the benefits over a traditional book. I kind of covered that in my article The bookstore is dead, long live digital!. Today, I’ll just be reviewing the Kindle Paperwhite, but to be really succinct here are some reasons why you want to get any general e-reader.

* Ebooks are usually cheaper, some are even free. Yes the device costs money, but you’ll have it for such a long time that yes, you will save money. You can’t get free books at the book store.
* You can get them instantly where ever you have wifi (or you just get them if you have a 3G capable device).
* Portability: It’s small, you can fit in a large jacket pocket or handbag/manbag. It stays the same size no matter how many “books” you have in it. No more 1000 page Hard Cover to carry around.

I recently got a Kindle Paperwhite thanks to as a gift for putting up posts, doing the rounds on the forums and doing things via social media. I still would have done so knowing I would get nothing. I love fantasy like Ben does and want others to read great books as well.

This review is hopefully going to be different to all the others you have seen online. I’m going to try and be more realistic, not talk about specifications too much and I have nothing to compare it to. I haven’t previously owned a kindle, only seen what my friends had.

I have a few pictures here to show you the different brightness setting in different situations. (Please note that although my camera is pretty good, the pictures are even crisper live in person.)

Good day, cloud cover

Not too much difference between the two. There is a whiter background with maximum setting, where the no light setting feels more like you are reading a newspaper. Both have very crisp text and I guess it would be personal preference.

Great day, sun is shinning brightly

I can’t even tell the difference between the two. I don’t understand why you want to have maximum light setting here.

Under the bed covers to better show darkness

Obviously 20-24 light setting is very clear and crisp. I would read with a near maximum setting, but only if I knew I wasn’t going to read for long ~30 mins. A light setting of 6-12 would be adequate to read for a reasonable amount of time. On zero, I could still see the text as there is a very faint glow but my camera couldn’t pick out anything.

Inside, low light.

Like the darkness one, you can have it on quite a low setting. Not as bad if you want to set it a little higher. The brighter the room, the less the light from the kindle strains your eyes.

Pros of the Kindle Paperwhite:

* Being able to read in very low to no light is a big advantage. The option to have it is great.
* The battery lasts 8 weeks if you have it around 10 brightness and have wifi turned off most of the time, but really, will you complain if lasts 4 weeks on high brightness and wifi on?
It’s small and light.
* It’s really reasonably priced. If you buy a well branded 7″ tablet it will cost you at least $199.

Cons of the Kindle Paperwhite:

* Light isn’t as well lit down the bottom of the screen (see pictures).
* No speakers and/or headphone jack. This is probably the only reason I wouldn’t get this device. I like audio books, but if you don’t listen to them. This isn’t a con now is it.

I’m not really used to reading on a device. I like a book in my hands, but for this price, for the durability, the Kindle Paperwhite is a great device to get.



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  • Natalie Aguirre

    Thanks for the review. I have a basic Nook right now and am thinking of asking for a Kindle for my birthday. I may try to go with the Kindle Fire–a cheap version–because it does a tad more. I still love print books though because you can share them so much easier and often.

    • Ben

      Keep in mind that the Kindle Fire is a tablet. It lacks the digital e-ink screen of the Nook or Kindle Paperwhite. Pretty big difference when it comes to reading for long periods of time and reading outside (digital e-ink doesn’t strain the eyes and is perfectly visible outside). There is also the issue of the battery — digital e-ink screens don’t use battery juice outside of changing pages. That means you can get months without charging. A tablet like the Kindle Fire will give you a day or two at most of long reading before needing a charge.

    • Jon Snow

      Yeah. It does do more the Kindle Fire, but it’s not that smooth when compared to other tablets say the Google Nexus tablet which is ultra smooth and stream lined. If you want a tablet I would get that. Otherwise, what Ben said. The huge benefit of a Kindle is battery life. You can go away for weeks without having to worry about a charge and obviously eye strain.

  • H. Raven Rose

    Nice review, Jon. I LOVE my Kindle Paperwhite (but then I don’t listen to audio books); a dedicated eReader is really working out for me. I read Kindle books until I’m sleepy every night and read Kindle books first thing in the AM, too. I use a laptop for writing and am getting a tablet for content consumption (and certain types of creation). Now that my life is, for the most part, entirely digital… it makes sense to have some purpose specific devices to support the freedom of a digital lifestyle:D

  • Natalie Aguirre

    Thanks everyone. Sounds like the Kindle Paperwhite might be a better option.

    • Jon Snow

      No worries. If you click on the links in the post, it will take you straight to it. Let us know how you like it!

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