Kindle Paperwhite Roundup of Reviews

Amazon has just lifted the embargo on the KPW reviews and after reading a few I could easily see that right now B&n is having an "oh, crap" moment. Everyone loves the new higher res screen, and when you combine it with the frontlight it apparently sets a new standard for for ereaders.Based on my few minutes with it a few weeks ago I am not surprised.Here are the reviews which I have found so far tonight.

 

The good: The Kindle Paperwhite boasts the best screen we've seen to date on an e-ink ereader. The built-in light is great for nighttime reading, and the touch screen is a notch above the competition. Amazon's e-book selection remains best in class. Battery life is excellent so long as you turn Wi-Fi off.

The bad: It could be a tad lighter, an AC adapter isn't included (just a Micro-USB cable for charging), and there's no memory expansion slot. The ad-free version costs $20 more.

The bottom line: With an excellent built-in light and Amazon's best-in-class ebook selection, the Kindle Paperwhite rises to the top of the ereader pack.

So, do all of these features add up to the best ereader out there? In a syllable: yep. Amazon was clearly focused on creating the best possible reading experience with the Paperwhite, and it's delivered. The screen adjustments are great -- everything from the evenly distributed front light to the improved contrast. Meanwhile, the new Time to Read feature, coupled with X-Ray, Whispersync and Send to Kindle, further round out the experience. And, of course, there are perennial favorites like optional 3G and Amazon's vast catalog of content.

After a week of testing the Kindle Paperwhite, I agree with Amazon: I found myself turning on the light regularly, at various levels of brightness, not just at night. It just makes the Kindle that much more usable and convenient: On a dim subway or in a badly lit room, you can read comfortably.

I found the Paperwhite — which starts at $119 for the ad-supported, WiFi version and will ship toward the end of October if you order it today – to be a huge improvement over my Kindle Touch.

The Paperwhite is a great ereader, and the superb screen quality, easy-to-use frontlight, and improved capacitive controls make it an easy choice. The only reason to not get it would be if you really love physical buttons, in which case you should probably look to the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, which is now $120—in line with the Paperwhite's Special Offers model. Otherwise, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best ereader out there.

 

With the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon has achieved something that’s better than Barnes and Noble’s Simple Touch with Glowlight. With a couple of notable exceptions, they match up pretty evenly on price, book selection, screen resolution and touch responsiveness. But the Kindle Paperwhite gets the edge on screen quality with the light on, variety of useful gestures and intuitive features like X-Ray and Reading Progress.

(skipped because I didn't think it was worth quoting)

Should you buy this ereader? If you’re in the market for an Amazon-branded e-ink reader, this is definitely the one to get. Whether you chose this or the equally excellent Nook comes down to the number of books you own on each platform. At this point, B&N and Amazon are playing a numbers game. The devices are approximately the same – hence the glacial pace of evolution, all things considered – and I can find little that an average user would miss in the Nook that can be found here. To be fair, the Paperwhite does have an absolutely beautiful screen when backlit and it looks almost perfectly white while the Nook still has a tinge of grey.

The Paperwhite is an excellent reader, probably the best I've used. Between the new display, the improved software and performance, great battery life, and Amazon's massive book selection, there's not much here to complain about. Some may nitpick the lack of a charger or the fact that you need to pay to opt out of advertising on the device — and those are negatives to be sure — but the overall picture is very clear. Amazon wants to make great reading devices for the masses, and with the Paperwhite, they just took the game to a whole new level.

The Nook with GlowLight’s light-up screen is good. But the one on the Kindle Paperwhite? It’s spectacular — the best thing to happen to ereaders since the original 2007 Kindle came along.

About Nate Hoffelder (11582 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

27 Comments on Kindle Paperwhite Roundup of Reviews

  1. Thanks for posting the roundup. Now I feel good about ordering one!

  2. Let’s not show this post to my husband, who has had his new Kindle for a month or 2 now… (his K3 being broken, couldn’t stand the temperature in Spain, I think)

  3. I hope that you are going to do your own review ASAP. There are a few points that I miss in reviews I have read (ok, ok, read a few, skimmed the rest) so far:
    – Description and printscreen of fonts. Fonts are crucial for me. And I somehow do not like the default Caecilia.
    – Is it possible to add your own font (I do not think so, without hacking, but I would like to confirm that)
    – printscreen of the three margins sizes. Older models had three settings: too wide, even more wide, and ridiculously wide. Can I set my own value? It was possible on Kindle 2, I think, by editing some file, so I could set a very narrow margin, so that *all* that beautiful screen could be utilized to actually display text
    – is it possible to make text left justified, instead of fully justified. I personally do not like the un-even spaces between words that are the result of combination of following: full justification, relatively short line width (see my rant about way too wide margins), inexcusable lack of hyphenation and poor (or perhaps just lazy) software implementation. LaTeX or InDesign and other sw can make some optimization, so the “typographical grey” looks nice and even for the page.
    – is it possible to switch on hyphenation?

    I do not wish to rain on Amazon’s parade, I am pretty sure Kindle PaperWeight^H^H^H^H^Hhite is great device, but the points above are my biggest gripes with all previous models.

    Disclaimer: I have reader where all the above things and many others can be set with great accuracy, so I am a little bit spoiled, I am afraid.

  4. Len Edgerley did a video review. He said it’s a capacitive screen. If so, that’s a huge leap over the IR of B&N, Sony, and Kobo.

    How long before this hits stores for fondling? Even I am tempted over the GlowLight now.

  5. TIME really, really likes the KPW. 🙂

  6. Kobo Glo has started shipping — essentially the same experience (XGA “paperwhite” screen and built-in light), without ads, for $129, and it can be ordered outside of the US. It’s up on the Chapters-Indigo page, the Canadian bookseller partner.

  7. Oh no… I want one!

    I shouldn’t, I just bought a Kindle Touch a few months ago. And I mostly read on my Kindle app on the iPad anyway.

    I have to say though, that the Paperwhite may need to be my Christmas present to myself. At least, if they’ve fixed the screen flashing every five pages that I hate in the Touch. That gets annoying fast. Fonts need be selectable too of course, as someone else mentioned.

    I just hope that the Paperwhite isn’t as good as it looks. 🙁

  8. For people worried about needing to wear gloves in cold weather, I have seen gloves being sold that have something in the finger to make page turning possible for capacitive screens. Also, I have seen DIY projects where you can buy a certain kind of thread and simply hand sew a dot on the finger of your favorite glove. If you do a search there are loads of DIY projects for sew/non sew projects.

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