Kindle Paperwhite

It may come as a surprise, but reading in the dark is actually something plenty of people would love to do. Leaving lights on to read is a hassle, wastes precious electricity, and isn't very easy on the eyes. The Barnes & Noble Nook Touch Glowlight addressed this, and it's a pretty good device, and now Amazon has a direct competitor to what many have called the one e-reader that's actually better than a Kindle.

The Paperwhite technology is interesting enough, though difficult to test in a moderately well-lit environment like a partially sunny airport hangar. The Kindle itself is noticeably faster than the last generation. It takes roughly 1-2 seconds for any new page to load completely, and 4-5 seconds over a moderate Wi-Fi connection for anything web-based. 

You can check out the gallery above to see the differences in brightness using the Paperwhite technology. The brightness levels are relatively high, especially for an e-reader, though the whites are cold and I didn't find them particularly pleasing to the eye. That may prove different when actually reading in a dark environment, and adjusting the brightness accordingly. 

Amazon e-readerSpecification Comparison
  Kindle Touch (2011) Kindle  Kindle Paperwhite Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight
Dimensions 172 x 120 x 10.1mm 165.75 x 114.5 x 8.7mm 169 x 117 x 9.1mm 240 X 164 X 8.8mm
Display 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 1024 x 768, 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale
Weight 213g 170g 213g 197g
Storage 4GB (3GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1GB usable)
Battery Rated 2-months Rated 1-month Rated 8-weeks Rated 1-month
Pricing $79/$109 (original price; no longer available) $69 $119/$179 (3G) $139

Both new Kindle e-readers (simply the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite) are thinner than last year's Touch model, though the Paperwhite is identical in weight and is the true successor to the last generation. The Kindle stems from last year's non-touch e-reader, and is the lowest rung on the e-ink totem pole. At $70, it's also very affordable. I've owned several e-readers and while touch has always been convenient, tactile feedback is always welcome in my home. Interestingly, Amazon will continue selling the Kindle Keyboard 3G and isn't lowering the price or improving on the design whatsoever. Here is Andrew's review of last year's Kindle.

The Paperwhite, compared to last year's Touch, improves on size, shape, and reading in the dark, as well as the display density (from 167ppi to 212ppi), but drops 1.75GB of usable storage and raises the price significantly. For serious book readers, the drop from 3GB to 1.25GB doesn't mean very much; books are tiny and take up almost no space. But with the new Whispersync for Voice, it's presumable that a handful of voiced books will eat up the little drive space there is. Only the original Kindle e-reader had an SD card slot, but I'm waiting for Amazon to confirm that the latest models do not.

Amazon Kindle Preview: Paperwhite, Fire (2012), and Fire HD 7" & 8.9" Kindle Fire (2012): A slight update to replace last year's model
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  • jahara21 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I just pre-ordered the 3G Kindle Paperwhite and it gave me the option to get it without the special offers for an additional $20 (bringing it up to $199).
  • marvdmartian - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Don't know how the new Fire tablets will be, in this regard. But I picked up the lowest end Kindle reader a few months ago (Walmart had it for $79, with a $30 gift card....making it, effectively $49), and it's ad-supported.

    The ONLY time I see any ads is if it goes into standby (after a few minutes of no use, which gives you a full page ad), and if I go to the main menu, which gives you a little strip ad at the bottom of the screen.

    Since I'm not actively using the Kindle when it's in standby, that ad is completely non-instrusive. It's like having a commercial on, in the middle of your TV show, while you're going to the bathroom. The little strip ad is simply ignored. And while it's not really much of an option on an internet tablet, with my reader, I turn off the WiFi (to help battery life), and after a week, the ads are replaced by some fancy pattern, with small text asking you to please turn on WiFi, in order to download new ads.

    Yeah.......I'll get right on that one, Amazon! ;-)
  • Hemi345 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    My thoughts exactly. B&N's Nook Color/Tablet might not have the eco system Amazon's Kindle Fires do, but the hardware is solid and well designed, expandability is there, and the user experience is right on.
  • joshv - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    So I take it that you don't subscribe to cable or satellite TV?
  • tecknurd - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    The ads on Amazon Kindles made me go with a Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch. I selected the Glowlight version. Ads on a product that you paid for is pathetic. Marketing is playing tricks. Amazon should be sued for doing such tactic. It is like Paid Day loans because you are paying like 60% in interest which is against the law.
  • doubledeej - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    Why does every tablet maker (aside from BlackBerry) put the speakers on the back, facing backward? Its almost like they want everybody in the room to hear your tablet but you. Come on, guys! Move the speakers to the front where they belong!
  • Samus - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Tell me about it. My $2000 Samsung 3D LED TV has worse sound than my 30-year old Toshiba 25" clunker because the speakers face the brick wall behind it.

    When I buy a $2000 TV, I don't expect to have to buy an additional $500 soundbar to correct its shortcomings...and it's not just Samsung, it's EVERYONE. Not a single LCD TV I looked at put speakers on the front. Why? For asthetics? Does everyone all the sudden think they're Apple now? Form over function...right.
  • Impulses - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    My four or five year old Vizio TV has front firing speakers, they still sound like crap. Why would you need to spend $500 on a sound bar regardless? You can get a small amp and some bookshelf speakers for like half that much and they'll probably blow away most sound bars.
  • kmmatney - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I second this. I also have a Vizio 50" plasma in the basement, with front speakers that suck. I just bought a $35 (on sale) set of logitech speakers + subwoofer - something like this:

    and it sounds great. I have a fancy surround systembuilt into my family room upstairs, which cost a lot more money, but this cheaper solution really isn't bad - as good or better than a sound bar.

    However a sound bar might be needed if you don't have a convenient place to put speakers.
  • bigboxes - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    You spend $2,000 on a TV and don't have a dedicated A/V system. Fail.

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