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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  • Thrakazog - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I'm thinking Amazon is gonna catch H.E. double hockey sticks for this. All models of the Fire, both HD and regular, are ad-supported. But no mention of it in the presentation. On Amazon's website, all pictures of the fire with the home screen up fail to show the ads.....even though it clearly states (if you click on the link in the description) that the home screen will have ads on it. I really thought they had something here......but every other manufacturer can just sell at the same high prices they always have and advertise "Ad-Free" now.......
  • MadMan007 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Leaving lights on to read is a hassle, wastes precious electricity, and isn't very easy on the eyes

    "...isn't very easy on the eyes." What? The human eye evolved to see things based on reflected light. If anything isn't easy on the eyes it's reading backlit screens like LCDs. I do not understand how this phrase can be applied to an e-ink screen on page 2.
  • Jamezrp - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Our eyes are more easily stressed when we try to read in low-light conditions, or more specifically, when there is a lot of light contrast and we try to pick up on details, like text, under poor light. Now if you've got a reasonable reading lamp, then you won't have any problems. But if you're like me, and likely millions of other people who don't use a reading lamp or a light source directed specifically for a book/e-reader, then it can cause eye-strain.

    In relation to that, an e-reader with a built-in light source eliminates that problem by lighting up the letters themselves, or more accurately, the surrounding area. This removes the eye-strain in the exact same way: by removing the light contrast and making it easier for our eyes to adjust to the light levels and not strain to pick up on the text.
  • smartypnt4 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I hate to nitpick (username notwithstanding), but the Infinity uses a 1920x1200 screen, which is a 16:10 ratio, not a 1080p screen with a 16:9 ratio.

    Incidentally, I'd never buy a 16:9 tablet. I've owned the new iPad and now I have a 16:10 android tablet, and I can say that I definitely wouldn't want a tablet any skinnier in portrait than a 16:10 ratio.
  • Jamezrp - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    You're absolutely right. Mistake on my part. No need to apologize for the nit-picking, really appreciate it!
  • nitram_tpr - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link


    In the spec comparison table it shows the 8.9 HD as having a 1920 * 1080 screen, in the write up you say it is a 1920 * 1200. Which is it?


  • Jamezrp - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Indeed, it's 1920x1200. That's a mistake, which will be corrected immediately. Thanks for catching that Martin!
  • GoSharks - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    From your article last year:
    "The Kindle Touch is Amazon's first touchscreen e-reader - past Kindles have used nothing but buttons for navigation, even as competing products like Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch began to incorporate touchscreens. At $99 and $149 for the wi-fi and 3G versions ($139 and $189 for the ad-free Kindles),"

    Your 2011 Kindle Touch prices are wrong in this article.
  • silvester51 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Does this imply that the new kindle is waterproof?
  • Belard - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    These actually look kind of like iPads...

    Somehow Apple isn't suing them... yet?

    They are rectangles with curved corners.

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