Kindle Paperwhite: first impressions
For disclosure, Amazon gave me this Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers. That is not because I’m a blogger, and it didn’t affect whether I would have gotten it or not. I actually had ordered one before I knew I was being given one for my help on the Amazon Kindle forums. I had ordered the one without 3G, and canceling my order and getting theirs going is what resulted in my not having it as soon as some other people. I am not an Amazon employee, and I don’t believe that having been given it will affect these first impressions.
I have owned every reflective screen Kindle model except the recently discontinued Kindle DX. I also have Kindle Fire 1st Generation, and a Kindle Fire HD 7″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB.
I mention that to let you know that I can fairly compare the Paperwhite to almost every other model.
The front-lighting on the Paperwhite makes it the most comfortable reading experience I have ever had, including paperbooks. It doesn’t feel like a light in your eyes (and it isn’t), but it has a vibrancy that makes the page live in a very different way.
I’ve referred to the original reflective screen Kindles as looking like an Etch-A-Sketch. The Kindle Paperwhite is like looking in a Viewmaster. That’s not to say it’s 3D, of course, but it has that mellow brightness.
That said, it isn’t perfect. At the bottom of edge of the screen, it looks unevenly smudgy. It’s below where there are words, but it looks like your fingertips are casting shadows on it. It also reminds me a bit of playing Missile Command, with that city at the bottom of the screen.
I think I’ll get used to it quickly. I’ve tried it in bright light, and in an unlit room (turning down the brightness for the latter), and they were both nice. I have superior night vision (which I believe is connected to having some color vision deficiency), and I could still see a slight reflection on the wall even with the light turned down all the way, but I think most people probably wouldn’t notice it.
You can not turn the light all the way off while the device is awake, but Amazon assures us we can get up to eight weeks of battery charge life even with the light on.
I must say, they greatly improved the unpacking experience. There wasn’t a sticker to peel off the screen, and the set-up was guided and easy. You were given the option to do the wi-fi network set-up or to skip it, for example. For someone just planning to use the 3G, that would make sense.
The screen has a very fine, sort of gritty feel…it feels textured a bit. It’s not smooth like glass, it’s…easy to run your fingers over it, but you feel it in a good way. I think that might be part of what makes it seem more responsive. It already seems much more responsive than my Kindle Touch, for instance.
Speaking of the Kindle Touch, the Paperwhite is also slightly narrower, and that gives the new Kindle a much better feel in my hand.
The homescreen is definitely an adjustment. It shows you covers of books, and it includes recommendations on mine. I’m not a very visual person, so I tapped the menu button (horizontal lines), and switched to List View. That made it look like it does on my other Kindles: just text.
Similar to a Kindle Fire on the Books tab, you don’t tap the menu to get to your Archives: you tap on the screen to switch between Cloud and Device.
Generally, the interface is pretty easy to use: I think people who have used other touchscreen devices will have no problem. You can “pinch and spread” to increase the text size, for one thing.
On the other hand, if you want to turn the wireless on and off, you do have to go to Home, then do Settings, and then tap there (Airplane Mode on means that wireless is off).
The connection seems speedy, although that’s hard to judge. Using the hyperlinks in my book
seems as fast as on my Kindle Fire. I’m not sure why, but the display of the webpage actually looks better on the Paperwhite than in Silk. One cool thing: I could swipe up, or swipe left, and they both took me to the “next page” of Wikipedia.
The translation also gives you a lot of options. I chose Hindi, and yes, the translation showed me the appropriate character set (as far as I could tell).
Overall, this would be my non-backlit reader of choice. It could be my main reader, except for one fatal flaw for me. Since it doesn’t have sound, it doesn’t have text-to-speech, and I wouldn’t have a primary reader without it. Still, I think it will move into the spot in the rotation currently occupied by my Mindle (the least expensive model), which also does not have speakers.
I end up reading on my Kindle Fire most of the time, since I take that one with me. At home, though, I think it will be the Paperwhite for reading.
If you have any questions about it, or comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
I’m sure I’ll write more about it in the future.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.