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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  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I am currently owning a cheap tablet that has all I need (1280 IPS panel, 10.1", Cortex A9 Dual Core 1.6GHz, Mali-400, 16GB, mSD Slot, HDMI out). The 8.9" Fire HD looks very nice, but I won't upgrade just to get a better screen. When I upgrade (sometime next year maybe), I will want a better screen and at least a better SoC.
    If I didn't have a tablet, yet, the 8.9" would be very tempting, because of the prize mostly and I like the form factor. The other announcements are not something of interest to me.

    Also, the table on the first page has the 8.9" Fire HD as having a 1080p panel. That is kinda confusing.
  • HighTech4US - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    --> I am currently owning a cheap tablet that has all I need (1280 IPS panel, 10.1", Cortex A9 Dual Core 1.6GHz, Mali-400, 16GB, mSD Slot, HDMI out)

    Could you elaborate as to who makes and what the model is for this inexpensive tablet. It sounds interesting. Thanks.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    It's called "Cube U30GT". It is a chinese made tablet with a RockChip RK3066 SoC. There are other similar products like "Window/Yuandao N101 II" (same as Cube nearly, but 32GB), "PIPO Max M1" (the latter is a 9.7" with the usual 1024x768 resolution).
    There are a few problems with it of course (even brand devices have them):
    - quality control is lacking and some people get defects like dead pixels, mushy/unresponding buttons, dead charger, backlight bleed and apparently some tablets were sent out with MVA panels (but there is a exchange program now running I believe)
    - it currently runs Android 4.1.1 but there are some bugs (bluetooth audio delay when watching videos), custom ROMs are being developed though
    - some people report mSD card corruption or that it does not get detected in the first place
    - some people report sub-optimal WiFi reception
    - in order to get full market access you have to do some modding (built.prop and permissions folder)

    The only issue my own tablet has is moderate backlight bleed, but I only notice it in dark rooms with dark scenes on the tablet. I can play any game I have tried so far. I paid 250€ for it because I got it through an importer (it was still 100 to 150€ cheaper than any of the brand tablets I could buy here and faster to boot). If I had bought it from China via aliexpress or the like, people got it for $200 (some more, some less). It is similar to these Korean 27" 2560x1440 monitors that anandtech reported on a couple months back. You can save a great deal of money, but there are risks inherent in the process.
    I was lucky enough that everything worked out great. I've had it for nearly 3 months now and had a great time with it. In the light the Nexus7 and the new Archos devices, the competition definitely got bigger.
    There are good communities about this device out there, flashmyandroid and slatedroid have dedicated forums if you want more information on it.
    It may not be for you or the majority of others, but it is worth checking out at least. RK3066 is trading blows with Tegra3 and other big SoCs that get more coverage and battery life for my tablet is very solid (about 5 to 6 hours of gaming).
  • Roland00Address - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    If your tablet has flash (which you can add to the nexus by sideloading), and you have an amazon prime account you can watch amazon instant videos on any tablet via using a browser with "desktop mode." Log into your amazon account. If the video you are watching is free it will say Prime instant videos Watch Now Unlimited Streaming $0.00.

    Unlike netflix you can stream the joy of the West Wing for free.

    Unfortunately there isn't a dedicated app that would making browsing simpler. The Ipad has recently got a dedicated app but that is probably due to the fact that the Ipad doesn't have flash.
  • HighTech4US - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    It looks like the 7" models are only clocked at 1.2 GHz vs 1.5 GHz for the 8.9" model.

    "but the OMAP 4460 inside the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is likely to end up slower since it’s pretty much the same chip that we tested in Galaxy Nexus last year. It ends up significantly slower in most benchmarks than the latest flagship phones."

    No access to Google Play store and again comes with an older customized version of Android.

    "It will be interesting to give this device a test ride, but some of the application we like to test might not be available at the Amazon app store as Kindle Fire in any variation uses some kind of Android now based on 4.0, but doesn’t come with native Play Store support, which is kind of a big thing if you ask us."

    Also what sensors are lacking in the Fire's?

    The Nexus 7 has: Microphone, NFC (Android Beam), Accelerometer, GPS, Magnetometer, Gyroscope
  • Peroxyde - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link


    I would like to know if it is possible to make the Kindle HD a regular Android tablet? By replacing Amazon system by stock Android or may be even a custom ROM.
  • Roland00Address - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    If it has a locked bootloader it would be hard maybe impossible. The original fire had a locked bootloader but eventually ways were found around it.

    That said why would you want the Kindle HD? There are other 1920x1200 tablets on the market right now where you will not have to hack Amazon. Asus TF700, Acer A700, Huawei MediaPad 10, as well as soon to be several Windows 8/RT tablets with similar screens.
  • Peroxyde - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    You are right, indeed. It would be simpler to buy an Android tablet rather than hacking the Kindle HD. I wanted to know if it is technically possible. Because if it is easy, and if the Kindle HD has a decent market share, it might be worth the troubles.
  • dagamer34 - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Price? None of those tablets cost $299.
  • James5mith - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Should be 1920x1200, not 1920x1080.

    16:10 vs. 16:9.

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