I am not a person who has to have the latest gadgets, like the new Kindle reader. As long as what I have is working, talk of faster processors, better operating systems, and more storage tends to… zzzzzz. Sorry, what were we talking about?
Then the Amazon Kindle PR team asked if I’d review the Kindle Paperwhite and offered to send a demo.
Should you replace your older Kindle reader?
The enviro-cheapskate in me worries aloud and often about the modern life cycle of personal technology. So much stuff, so much garbage, and so on.
But this was work, so I got off my soapbox, opened my Kindle Paperwhite, and started exploring. Right away I realized that the new Kindle reader was going to make my life much easier.
The Kindle Paperwhite has free 3G
My old Kindle reader had WiFi for mobile downloads. That was great, unless I was staying in a hotel that charges for in-room wireless.
It was also a pain at home sometimes, since I have a wonky wireless range extender — sometimes WiFi works in the back of the house, sometimes it doesn’t.
I tested the free 3G on the new Kindle reader by downloading 5 books using the magic of cellular networks. In mere seconds, I had several weeks worth of reading at my fingertips. This is easily my favorite thing about the Kindle Paperwhite.
The Kindle Paperwhite is so easy on the eyes
Without boring you with an incomprehensible comparison of backlit LCD displays like the iPad (which tire the eye) and external book lights (which spray light everywhere, disturbing others), let me just say the front lighting of this Kindle is exponentially better.
The thing about the Kindle is that its dim screen takes some getting used to. It seems wrong, but you turn the screen brighter in a bright room and darker in a dark room. Just remember: the light is always on.
An unexpected benefit is that the front-lit screen doesn’t drive my neurotic dog crazy like my book light and iPad do. No shadows = no crazy dog. Win-win!
The Kindle Paperwhite tracks (and predicts!) your reading speed
On my first Kindle, the “percentage read” metric was unfamiliar at first. I hadn’t read 100 pages; I’d read 38% of the book. With my old Kindle, there were no page numbers.
Now there are, but that’s not all. By tracking your reading speed in real time, the new Kindle can tell you how long (in minutes!) until you’ll finish the current chapter or the entire book.
Improbably long battery life
I’ve only been using my Kindle Paperwhite for a few days, so I can’t confirm it’s claim of 8 weeks of battery life (assuming average use). Still, even if the battery life is half that much, it’s amazing and more than enough for me.
This is really important for me on long flights to Asia and Europe, and one of the reasons I don’t like reading on my iPad (along with the eyestrain factor).
So, should you buy it?
If you don’t have an e-reader, you should buy it immediately — it’s the best one on the market. Even if you’re a library junkie who loathes paying for reading material, it works great. If you have an older e-reader and you travel a lot (or you have flaky WiFi at home, like me), you should probably also make the jump. I would never have done it on my own, but I’m very glad I did.
Amazon provided me with a Kindle Paperwhite, a magnetic cover, and an Amazon.com store credit for the purpose of this review. They did not request that I express any particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.