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Monday, January 7, 2013

My View of the Kindle Paperwhite 3G

My first Kindle, a 4th Generation style.
I was blessed enough to not only receive a Kindle last year for Christmas, but my lovely bride was sweet enough to buy me another one this Christmas with the release of the brand new Paperwhite edition.  As a fan of the Amazon Kindle system, I thought I would let the world know how the two compare.

First of all, let me give a few highlights on the old Kindle, which is not that old, in fact, but we'll call it that for simplicity's sake.  (If I were to be technical, I'd call it the Fourth Generation Kindle, which is the designation it has, and it has already been replaced by a fifth generation at the end of 2012.)
  My old Kindle was smaller and lighter than any Kindle up to that point, and though it does not have any sort of screen light, it's e-ink display makes reading easy as long as you have a light source.  Though the screen is not a touchscreen, it is pretty easy to navigate with the buttons on the front of the machine, and turning pages with the side bars is quite simple.  (You can go forward and backward from either the left or right side.)  The side bars, in fact, make it possible to hold the Kindle and turn the pages with just one hand.  Also, being so light, you can encase it in a nice cover and it is still light enough to hold with one hand for an extensive time.
  About the only complaints I had with it was that fact that it was hard to read in low light, and it tended to attract a glare more often than it should have.  Aside from that, I loved using it as much as possible.

Dinah, browsing books on the Kindle Paperwhite.
Then along came the Kindle Paperwhite.  Their new built-in light technology enables the reader to be able to see the display in any sort of light, including a room with no light.  The amount of light is customizable, so you can dim the light in the dark, which makes it much easier on the eyes.  In a bright room, you might want to turn up the built-in light, which increases the contrast to make reading an effortless activity.
  This new Kindle is definitely heavier, though it is only one and a half ounces heavier.  This does become noticeable the longer you hold it.  However, for average reading times, you won't really feel the difference.  The battery, however, powering the light, does run out much more quickly.  My old Kindle only needed to be charged once every other week or so.  The Paperwhite has needed charging about every third day of heavy use.  In addition to these changes, the Paperwhite is slightly larger, and needed a new cover to replace the cover I used for the old Kindle.  However, with the new cover, you get the updated feature of the device turning off and on as you open and close the cover.  (Just to help anyone who is switching from an older Kindle to Paperwhite, I will add this:  My Paperwhite fit into my old Kindle case (a tight fit), but the sensors on the new Kindle thought it was in a closed cover, so it would turn the Kindle off, and I could not turn it back on until I slid it out of the cover.  The sensor for the Paperwhite is well hidden, and the new covers are designed to work with the on/off sensors.  Now that I have the new cover (a nice faux leather one from Moko, which I think is the best for the price) I love this open/close--on/off feature.  Love it.
Though slightly larger, the Paperwhite can still
be held in one hand.
  I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to touchscreens.  I'm too pessimistic that they'll scratch, or quit working, or whatever.  So far, I've found the touchscreen not too hard to keep clean, and it responds well to my fat fingers.  I am still not comfortable typing in a full review on a book when I'm finished with it.  To say more than a few words, I wait until I'm at a computer to knock out the review.  Along with the snazzy touchscreen, this Paperwhite has a 3G connection, which works well, with one caveat: it only works on the Amazon site, for book shopping.  The experimental browser that works on the wifi when one is in range, will not work on the 3G.  I guess Amazon didn't want people tying up their bandwidth with FaceBook use.  You know, I think I see their point.  Anyway, I chose the 3G since I am not always within range of a WiFi connection.  So far, it has worked flawlessly.  It also switched from WiFi to 3G as needed, depending on what is in range, without my ever having to help it out.  Smart little doo-hicky.
  One more thought on the touchscreen.  I really wish Amazon had left the side bars on the device for page turning.  I don't like the need to tap the screen every time I turn the page.  I hope Amazon is listening about that.  I'd love to see a Paperwhite with the side bars re-installed   Just my preference.  I am, however, getting better at lightly tapping the screen as needed.  I am still not sure of the best cleaning methods for it.  If anyone has a suggestion I'll be happy to hear it.
Yes, when you really need it to, Paperwhite will
translate from English to Chinese.  
  Despite the fresh, whiz-bang features of the newer Paperwhite, I was surprised to find that navigating the books is not as effortless as the old Kindle.  There are a few navigation features that have either disappeared of I have just not figured them out yet.  One of them is the farthest point read button on the old Kindle menu.  On the newer one, if says synch to farthest point read, but when you hit this button, it wants to connect with the WiFi and consult with the Mothership before telling you where you were.  Maybe I just need to change a setting on that, but for now I have not figured out what that setting would be.
  But nothing can beat the ability to read in the dark.  Man, that is awesome.  This is important for me since I like to read before I sleep while my bride does not.  She prefers to go right to sleep and my light generally bothers her.  With the Paperwhite, which can be dialed down so as not to glow enough to light the room, I can read far into the night.  Whether or not I do so on nights I should be sleeping for work the next day is a personal problem I have to work out myself.  In this, Amazon cannot help.
  If you are trying to decide on whether to buy a Paperwhite or a Kindle Fire I cannot be of much help.  I've steered clear of the Fire, for several reasons, most prominent of which is the fact that I want a Kindle for reading, and a Fire will be too tempting a distraction.  I am afraid I'd end up on Facebook getting entangled in political arguments instead of reading.  This I do not need.
I think the Kindle Paperwhite can stand on its own, though
in this shot it is, in fact, leaning on a real book for support.
  And once again, I'll address the argument that book lovers like to use against the Kindle.  Yes, I know, we book lovers like to hold a book in our hands, and smell the pages, and flip around in the book, and all those things we book lovers love to do.  However, the overwhelming convenience of being able to carry just about every book in the world with you in such a small package is something that cannot be ignored.  And with the 3G, if you can think of the book, or the author, you can search the massive lists on Amazon and download the book from anywhere, at anytime.  This benefit is hard to ignore.  In addition, the Kindle allows you to instantly check the definitions of words you don't know, and even more amazingly, it will translate most languages for you.  You can highlight passages you like, and you can also upload them to share with friends on Facebook, along with your own note on the passage.  These tools allow you to interact with a text in ways we never could before.
  But, if all you are interested in is the smell of your book, I understand.  (I don't, really, but I know enough not to argue with a book lover about the value of the smell of a good book.  Hey, I used to walk the stacks at my dad's seminary for that very thing.  So I get the smell thing, okay?)
Click on the link below to get your Kindle Paperwhite.  If you already have one, check out the case I've listed below.  It is perfect for the Paperwhite, and it comes in ten different colors.

1 comment:

  1. Jason, What a great review. I'm still awaiting my own little treasure.

    I don't know which box to hit here and so I've used anonymous.