It reads just like a book and is lighter to carry than most books. Here’s why you might want to consider the latest Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.
So I just got my hands on the updated Amazon Kindle Paperwhite that was launched in India earlier this year. Before I get to the review, I’d like to point out two things. Although I own a Kindle 4 and have read a few books on my friend’s Kindle Voyage, I’ve always preferred reading out of a real, solid book. The smell of ink on paper, the unintentionally dog-eared pages, the act of turning actual pages and the beauty of the book cover are just some of the tangible pleasures that I value. The second thing is that I have not read a single book in the last three months. A lot has been happening, and reading books has sadly not found a place in this unexpectedly busy period in my life. So, here I am devouring a book after a good while. I’ve chosen to re-read an old favourite and all-time classic, Pride and Prejudice. And, I’ve got to say that the reading experience was remarkably enjoyable and completely uninterrupted. The Amazon Kindle was designed for reading books, unlike tablets or smartphones, which can so easily distract you from the immersive world of the novel.
Amazon’s Kindle has continually led the e-reader market, and this year the Kindle Voyage and the 3rd generation Paperwhite have inarguably stolen the show. Launched in 2014, the Kindle Voyage comes with a higher price tag that’s justified by additional features. The Kindle Paperwhite 2015, however, is affordably priced and provides good enough value for your money if you want a comfortable experience that’s closest to reading an actual book. That said, here’s all you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite and what makes it one of the top e-book readers to own at the moment. You might also find this blog post helpful if you are confused about whether you should opt for the Voyage or the Paperwhite 2015.
Look and feel
At first glance, the Kindle Paperwhite 2015 doesn’t look very different from its predecessor, except for a minor change in the usage of black on Kindle logo. It features a 6-inch display embedded in a black bezel. The LED battery indicator, a micro-USB port and the Power button — the device’s sole button — are placed at the bottom edge of the device.
The device is beautiful to look at and an even greater pleasure to hold. At 217g, the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G version (officially known as Kindle Paperwhite 3G) is a few grams heavier than the Wi-Fi version (Kindle Paperwhite) which weights 205g. I found the Wi-Fi + 3G model that I was reviewing comfortable to grasp for long hours while I read. Both models are 9.1mm thick, which makes the device easy to hold in a single hand. The rear end carries a soft-touch matte black finish.
When you’ve reached page 200 of a dense book like Pride and Prejudice, you’ll be thankful that you spent your earnings on this e-reader. The device makes for a reading experience that’s easy on the eyes, and you can expect reading matter to be at its crispest and sharpest. The beauty of the Kindle Paperwhite 2015 really lies in its 6-inch Carta E-Ink HD touchscreen display, which is not unlike that of the top-of-the-line Kindle Voyage. The All-New Paperwhite’s high-resolution display is packed with 300 ppi (that’s a higher pixel density than the 2nd generation Paperwhite’s 212 ppi display). You’ll notice that the new Paperwhite’s display is front-lit like its predecessors (hence the name Paperwhite). But among its upgrades is a new and improved front light that’s uniformly spread across the display. We didn’t really spot any grey areas on the screen, which can be adjusted from bright to dim depending on your lighting conditions. The glare-free display makes it easy to read even under direct sunlight.
Every other function, except power on/off, is accessible via the touchscreen, which works at its responsive best. The touch grid, according to Amazon, is 19% tighter. You need to simply swipe or touch the right side of the screen to turn a page, and the left side to go back to the previous page. But you’ll need to tap the top of the screen to bring forth a menu, adjust the lighting settings, select a book or change other settings.
The Kindle Paperwhite 2015 uses a new font called Bookerly, designed specifically for reading on screens. There’s also a new typesetting engine — including improved spacing and hyphenation — that according to Amazon, lays out words just as the author intended. It has also never been easier to increase the text size as per your requirement. We can’t deny that these new features make for anything but an easy reading experience, closest to that of reading an actual book.
Features we love on the All-New Paperwhite
A progress indicator, on the bottom right of the screen, displays your reading progress as you progress through a book. But we love the Time to Read feature that displays how much longer it will take to finish your chapter on the bottom left of the screen. This feature is personalised based on your reading screen and is constantly updated as your reading speed changes.
Smart Lookup integrates a full dictionary with X-Ray and Wikipedia to provide definitions, character recalls and more without the need to leave the page.
The X-Ray feature permits you to scan all passages in a book that mention characters, relevant ideas, historical figures and places. All you need to do is press and hold the name to zoom in on a character’s biography. I wish I had this character recall feature when I was reading Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude!
Hold a finger on any word or highlight a section for instant translation into other languages like Spanish among a host of others.
Read any documents — PDFs, Word documents and others — by emailing them to your mailbox and reading them on the device in the Kindle format.
If you are a true logophile, word buff, a love of words…you get the gist, you’ll value the Paperwhite’s Vocabulary Builder feature that automatically adds words looked up in the device’s dictionary. Quiz yourself using the device’s inbuilt flashcards or browse through your vocabulary words to expand your knowledge and reinforce your ability to remember them. The e-reader includes both the Oxford English and New Oxford American Dictionary.
The 2015 Paperwhite model comes pre-loaded with FreeTime, a feature that offers a distraction-free reading experience for children. Parents can create profiles for their children and give them access to select books from their own collection. Children will be rewarded with gestures like achievement badges that keep track of their reading-related accomplishments. Parents can also remain updated with regards to their children’s reading time and words looked up.
We also love Paperwhite’s ability to connect to the Goodreads social network, which means you can instantly share your reviews, rating and recommendations directly from the device. The e-reader is also integrated with both Twitter and Facebook just in case you want to share your notations and quotes with your followers and friends.
Internet connectivity and browser
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is available in two versions: Kindle Paperwhite (a Wi-Fi model) and Kindle Paperwhite 3G (Wi-Fi + 3G). The browser, still in the experimental stage, is good enough to browse websites that are not graphic-heavy. You can browse the Internet or connect to Goodreads and Wikipedia only if you connect via Wi-Fi; the 3G connection can solely be used to access the Kindle Store.
The Kindle Paperwhite offers 4GB internal storage, which means that you can store more than a thousand books at a single time. Even the most avid reader would find this sufficient. Besides storing e-books on your device, your Kindle library can be backed up in the Cloud at no added cost.
Amazon claims that the Paperwhite 2015 can last for up to six weeks with a single charge, provided you use it to read for just 30 minutes a day (or 21 hours of reading time) at a brightness setting of 10 out of 24. I realised that if you leave the Wi-Fi or 3G on, you’ll need to charge the battery much quicker. That said, I managed to read a 253-page book and the Kindle was still half charged. I’d go so far as to say that you might be able to complete two full books with a single charge. You just have to know how to work with the already energy-efficient Kindle.
In-box items and Protective Cover
The All-New Paperwhite comes boxed with a USB 2.0 charging cable and a quick start guide. Although the in-box USB cable will suffice, you can purchase a separate power adapter if you really need one. We love the Kindle Paperwhite Leather Covers, available on Amazon for Rs 2,399 in every gorgeous colour under the sun. Designed for a perfectly snug fit, the cover integrates a magnetic clasp that ensures the cover remains closed at all times. The cover also automatically wakes your Kindle Paperwhite upon opening and puts it back into sleep mode when closed.
While the All-New Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi) costs Rs 10,999, the Kindle Paperwhite 3G (Wi-Fi + 3G) will set you back by Rs 13,999. Even though the 2015 Kindle Paperwhite is promoted as Amazon’s mid-range e-reader below the pricier and feature-packed Kindle Voyage (Rs 16,499), and above the basic Kindle (Rs 5,999), the Paperwhite is actually quite a steal. You’ll be getting impressive functionality and crispness, without actually shelling out extra money on the high-end version or, for that matter, rival e-readers. The Paperwhite might be missing an adaptive backlight, but we can’t really complain. Simply put, this new e-reader is for people who love to read and who appreciate and value a good digital reading experience. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Paperwhite is your best bet.
Head to Amazon.in to get yourself a Kindle Paperwhite if you are based in India.