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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  • Larrin - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    The Archos 101 XS has the 4470, and showed good performance but poor battery life. If the HD 8.9" only has a few hours of battery life it will be very disappointing. Is there any way that won't be the case? Would it need a massive battery like the iPad 3, or was the Archos just poorly designed?
  • SanX - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    James Pikover wrote "The iPad, by comparison, has a 9.7" 2048 x 1536 4:3 display. The Fire HD 8.9 hits a pleasant median between not enough and too much pixel real estate"

    What level of tech education do you have? iPad has only 264PPI, looks like close to the 300DPI of regular printing materials but in fact due to regular placement of its subpixels ipad must have 300*sqrt(2)=424 or 3300x2475. Only then it will approach minimum of "too much pixels" which is absolutely needed for resolving of all small fonts.
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Ads on the lockscreen kill any interest I might have in any Kindle Fire. I'm sorry. No. Just no. If I pay $300 for a tablet, I don't want ads on my lockscreen. Nice try, Amazon. Better luck next time.

    Hopefully, Google will release more Nexus tablets that show Amazon how it's done. Ad-free.
  • Flying Goat - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Those tablets all look like they have an absolutely huge bezel.
  • Origin64 - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    It's a shame Amazon is walling its hardware off completely from the Google services I want to use, like the Play Store. It'd be a very nice tablet for a very nice price if they'd fix that.
  • Sub Zero - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    The hardware looks like a nice step up. But if you don't actually OWN the content you buy from Amazon, it doesn't seem worth it at all.

    If they stop copy-protecting their Audible books and state in their purchase agreements that the eBooks, Audibooks and Music that you purchase from them is OWNED by you just like Audio CD's and hardcover books are, then maybe it'd be worth investing in their hardware.
  • ol1bit - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link


    Goggle has ads, but I have used a Kindle Fire. You can't even get it to activate without a CC. Way to much money potential loss. I put in a pay as you go cc just so it would work for my Niece, who's parents don't have a CC!

    Stupid. Doesn't say anywhere I seen CC required for use!

    Get the Goggle Nexus tablet, or as I did the ASUS Transformer prime. Much more open.
  • shunya9010 - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

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  • Wardrop - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Not sure about the name "Paperwhite". Makes me think of "Paperweight" every time I say it. Not a good connotation for a product to carry.
  • svetlyo - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    "The e-readers will be available sooner to over 100 countries. "

    No one seems to know about the ETA of the Kindle Paperwhite for international shipping. The Kindle Touch became available for international customers 4-5 months after its introduction.
    Do you have some information about the situation this year?

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