Kindle Paper White Review

Product Manufacturer: Amazon

Description: E-Reader

Product Range: Kindle Paperwhite

Cost: $130

Quality Rating: 5/5

Value For Money: 5/5


I must from the beginning state that in my opinion; I’m sure the tech community will crucify me for this statement but; there is absolutely no replacement for the smell and feel of a physical paperback book. From the moment you buy it, there is a special mysticism that this small book can transport you to any time period and anywhere in the world at the turn of the page. Before the advent of electronic e-readers, I would as a child and adolescent read a lot of books and that is possibly why I believe that an e-reader is no replacement for a real book. However, times have changed. The advent of the e-reader has opened up another world and has taken away some of the annoyances of buying books.

Access to a Variety of Material:

My wife and I moved to Germany for career reasons and with that, this move brought some major challenges, the largest of which is the language. The Germans are fiercely proud of their language and insist that foreigners learn at least the basics which is completely understandable, however, should one wants to buy books, I have found at best a very limited selection in a select few stores that cater to the English-speaking population in Germany. This means that one has to purchase books either online via Amazon which leaves you with a delivery period or you need to buy an e-reader to download books from the internet.

It’s always risky buying a new book unless one is familiar with the author and are happy with his style of writing. In the case of purchasing books for a Kindle, a sample of the book is often provided free of charge where you are able to evaluate if the unfamiliar author or topic will be to your liking in both style of writing and content before committing to the purchase. Purchasing e-books allows you to read others short evaluations of the books and to make a purchase on a star rating based on a 1 – 5 scale. This removes a lot of the guess work when buying books off the rack so to say.

Black on White vs White on Black:

A technical question I had from the beginning was, why do I need an e-reader, can’t I just use the Tablet that I already have? If one puts a Kindle Paperwhite next to a Tablet while switched off, the first difference will immediately be visible. In the off mode, a tablet has a black screen while the Kindle has a white screen. This is an important consideration related to how our eyes react to prolonged light stimulation. We have all experienced irritated or burning eyes after prolonged computer use and this is a direct result of the light stimulation emitted by the screen. A normal Tablet works on the same principle where the screen is black while switched off and relies on pixels being activated to produce colour and an image. This means that if one were to simulate the white page of a book, the pixels of the whole screen would need to be activated to simulate the white page and this is a lot of stimulation for a person’s eyes. Prolonged exposure to this level of lighting will cause fatigue of the eyes and will result in sore or irritated eyes.

The Kindle has solved the over exposure issue by making the screen white with black pixels being activated to simulate the print only. This means that one’s eyes are exposed to a fraction of the light emitted by a Tablet and will not adversely affect one’s eyes even after hours of use. Kindle has also taken into account the glare that one sees on a screen when using electronics in outdoor environments. Tablets are incredibly difficult to use outdoors as the screens are generally gloss finished in addition to the pixel contrast needed to produce the picture being adversely affected by large amounts of sunlight. The Kindle has reduced the glare problem by manufacturing the screens with a matt finish and has reduced the light contrast requirements which makes the Kindle an easy read while soaking up the poolside sun.

Technical Considerations:

There are 2 main versions of the Kindle Paperwhite where one has both Wi-Fi & 3G connectivity and the other only the Wi-Fi connectivity. I have personally purchased the Kindle Paperwhite with only Wi-Fi connectivity with my reasoning being that at home, where I mainly use the device, Wi-Fi is always available and if I am on holiday and need to download a book, most hotels these days have Wi-Fi available or if they don’t, it can be paired with your phone so, in my opinion, to have 3G connectivity really was not a high priority and it saved 10% percent off the final price.

  • Overall Dimensions: 169mm x 117mm x 9,1mm
  • 6” glare-free screen but no audiobook capabilities
  • 4GB Onboard Storage (Approx. 2,200 books)
  • Built-in Light Function but not waterproof
  • Black & White Touchscreen enabled 300ppi Resolution
  • The Battery lasts for weeks on a single charge.
  • Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi & 3G connectivity capabilities
  • Weight 205g and 217g for 3G enabled

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Traveling with Millions of Possibilities:

One of the biggest advantages of a Kindle Paperwhite is that you are able to take a number of books with you with a fraction of the weight. I normally finish 2 – 3 books on a 2 week break and it was really annoying when one finishes a book and has nothing further to read. Let me add that I have yet to find a hotel with books actually worth reading.

While on holiday, your needs for certain types of books might change based on the setting and this can easily be adapted with as little as an internet connection. I have tried to read cartoon style books on the kindle (Adventures of Asterix) however without the colour contrast, this was not successful and I can honestly say that the Kindle Paperwhite falls short in this department.

The Verdict:

Kindle brings out 3 main models namely the Kindle, Paperwhite and Oasis. Prices range from approx. $60 – $220 and while they all differ in features (Colour / Black & White)and size (6” – 7”), the battery life remains the same in that it lasts for over a week. I personally found that the 6” screen is a comfortable size and the overall feel of the Paperwhite is better than that of the entry level Kindle. The colour feature of the Oasis together with the waterproofing was not enough to convince me to pay double the price that I paid for the Paperwhite.

Buying an e-reader can be a little like buying a mobile phone, in that there can be thousands of features available however one needs to be clear beforehand what are essential features; i.e. long battery life; and what are “nice to haves”; i.e. colour screen or waterproof. I have been incredibly impressed and completely satisfied with purchasing the Paperwhite and while it is not the cheapest of the range, it is also not the most expensive. It meets or exceeds all expectations and while I was sceptical like many of you I’m sure, if you love reading, you will not regret buying the Paperwhite.

Here’s to many more adventures between the pages…..

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12 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I’m so glad that I read the first statement of your article, as I too LOVE the feel of a hardback book in my hand – and I still frequently add to my growing horror collection (I’m running out of shelf space!). 

    But, at the end of the day, it’s hard to go on a journey with five books tucked away inside your bag…especially when you can load up a Kindle with a ton of books and slip it neatly into a side pocket! 

    Would you say this is the best Kindle so far…or does it not really move on that much from the features offered by the previous version?

    • Richard says:

      Hi Chris,

      I am so glad to hear I am not the only one that loves physical books still. The compact ability to take multiple books anywhere with you just cannot be discarded as the single greatest feature of the kindle.

      I would say that the main difference between the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite is how it feels in your hand. I found that the paper white just felt better and more balanced in my hand. I know this sounds strange but try it. Go to your local store and just hold both of them and I can tell you now, you will know immediately what I mean. There are not alot of tech differences between them as both have the same onboard storage capabilities, same screen size and battery life but if you have a few bucks to spare then definitely worth the extra for the Paperwhite. 

      The only feature that is definitely missing from the Kindle Paperwhite is the audio book capability function. For what reason I have no idea but this is missing. It is available on the Kindle Oasis but that is double the price which to me is just not worth it. 

      Thanks for the comment and good luck with the horror collection.

      Rich

  2. Ropata says:

    I quite like the look of white on black in this all new Amazon Paper White reading device. It’s definitely time to upgrade from my rusty old kindle lol. It has been a gem though, not only a place to put great reads. but I also use it to follow the instructional book available in my trade. Thank for the brilliant review. 

    And PS I know what ya mean about the preciousness of a good old book. I have placed a few of my prized collections into safe storage for good keeping. Best Regards Rob

    • Richard says:

      There is a little bit of sentiment coupled together with a kindle especially when it has traveled a lot with you and that you have a lot of memories attached to it. I didn’t mention it in this article but the fact that you use it for your trade is a point that I have hear often from my friends as well.

      I have personally enjoyed some of the instructional “Free Downloads” from Amazon and it is really amazing that so much content is available without having to pay for it.

      I can really relate to the “good ol book” statement. I am glad you enjoyed the read and thanks again for the comment.

      Rich

  3. Petra says:

    I am right there with you in terms of preferring paperback books and that probably won’t ever change, but there are times and places where and e-reader is more convenient. I’ve also spent some time overseas and getting access to certain items is much easier that way, apart from the fact that you don’t have to carry all the weight of the books in your luggage. So am I understanding this correctly that the big difference between the Paperwhite and other e-readers is that the Paperwhite only activates black pixels which makes it easier for your eyes to read for longer, and also has less glare when using it outside? 

    • Richard says:

      Hello Petra,

      Its great to read that others confirm what I have experienced in that access to books in your own language, when in countries that that primary language is not English, is made easier by downloading content off the internet.

      The pixel activation as described in the article is not unique to Kindle by any means. The reason I have described this is to highlight the primary difference between a Tablet and an E-Reader. The glare reduction is also not unique to Kindle as a lot of other e-readers have also solved the glare problem by manufacturing the screen with a mat finish. 

      When selecting an e-reader, I looked at compatibility and where I would be purchasing most of my content from. There are some really great e-reader products like the Glowlight Plus or the Kobo Aura H2 which more than hold their own when compared to the Kindle so to be honest, the decision to buy a Kindle was more a preference decision that any really outstanding technological edge over the competition.

      Most of the Kindle content is compatible with other e-readers so I think you need to make a list of what is important to you such as it being water proof for instance. In that case, the Kindle Paperwhite is not the right choice and the Kindle Oasis or Kobo Aura H2 would be better as they meet this requirement. 

      So I think price and specific requirements are the key factors when deciding on a make and model rather than content compatibility. 

      Thanks again for leaving a comment.

      Rich

  4. Shelley Ann says:

    This is just perfect – books I can take everywhere without having to carry them! Yes, there is nothing like the touch and feel of a paper-back book. However, as you say you may prepare to have a few books to read, and if you read them quicker than you thought, you’ve got nothing else to read.  It has also made me think of our house, not a vary large house – but I’m collecting too many books.  In reading your article I have realised this is what I need – to by a Kindle White Paper! Thank you, problem solved!

    • Richard says:

      Hi Shelly,

      We moved to Germany recently where apartment living is pretty much a given. Space being a luxury, I can completely relate to the issue of compact living. Previously we had a large house where space was not an issue but now, compact storage is the key to success. 

      As much as I would love to have all the books in paper form, this is sadly just not possible. However, there is nothing wrong with keeping some of your favorite books in paper format should you have the space to do so.

      Thanks again for the comment and glad that you enjoyed the article.

      Rich

  5. Drian Baker says:

    You have a concrete point, I totally agree with you that there is no replacement for a paper book or a physical library for that matter. You are a very great reader. I also enjoy reading a lot, and just before ebooks became the trending thing, my house is usually filled with different kinds of books.

    There is a great deal of convenience that comes with being able to read on a phone device or tablet, it’s easy to bookmark where you were last reading, you can save the book for as long as you want it, you don’t have to deal with wear and tear of a physical book, or losing it somewhere, or someone borrowing and not returning.

    From your review, the kindle does look like it has more advantages over the tablet, especially in the area of the screen lightning.

    • Richard says:

      Hi Drian,

      I agree with you that books take quite a beating when being used which leaves them looking pretty ragged even after just one use. That is a good feature of the Kindle is that it bookmarks where you stopped reading, allowing you to immediately pickup where you left off and if provides projected time remaining on chapters so you can plan where you want to pause your read.

      The Kindle has a lot of positive aspects but does also have its limitations when compared to a standard tablet. 

      This is a purpose build machine which has had to sacrifice some of the design features such as a colour display, to achieve other advantages such as eye fatigue reduction. While I don’t think the Kindle can replace the tablet, the Plus size phones on offer today are definitely making the tablet less appealing in favour of a dedicated e-reader like the Kindle.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      Rich

  6. Tower Bridge Consultants LLC says:

    Thank you for that excellent review. It was completely straightforward and was great because it was coming directly from your experience. There wasn’t any fluff or theories involved.

    It’s always best to have a review from someone who went through the entire sales thought process themselves. A Kindle Paper White is definitely on my holiday list.

    Keep up the great reviews. I’ll be reading them!

    – Jay S.

    • Richard says:

      Hi Jay,

      I really appreciate the time taken to leave a comment. I can honestly say this is one piece of tech that I have not for a second, regretted buying. I don’t actually know how I survived my holidays without it. 

      I hope this article helps with making your choice easier when buying an e-reader and thanks again for stopping by.

      Rich

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