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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review: The Best E-Book Reader?

Kindle Paperwhite: The Best-Looking E-Book Reader We've Seen

Bibliophiles will love Amazon’s latest e-book reader. For a long while, LCD-based tablets had the a big advantage over these devices based on their bright, vibrant, screens. But the Kindle Paperwhite no longer requires ambient lighting for you to use it.

Reading e-books on a tablet was never a pleasant experience for me. The very nature of LCD technology leads to eye strain and battery life measured in hours. In comparison E Ink's technology is very efficient, enabling devices that run for weeks between charges instead. Having used the Paperwhite for several months now, I can personally comment that using Amazon's reader is no more taxing on my eyes than an actual book. If you can't put down that page-turner, you don't have to. I've never felt like I needed to take a break. The same is not true of an inexpensive tablet like the Nexus 7.

Ah, the inexpensive tablet dilemma. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD both sell for $199. The non-HD version of the Fire is now $159. Meanwhile, Amazon is asking $119 for the Special Offers version of its Paperwhite. It's really hard not to pay a little bit more for a more feature-rich tablet, isn't it?

Not only are tablets commonly used for reading e-books, but you can browse the Web, play games, take notes, listen to music, watch movies, balance your budget...the list goes on and on. You can also browse the Web on the Paperwhite, though it's impossible to get the full online experience without color. And your choice of games is limited to crossword puzzles and solitaire. And so, the decision to buy a tablet or an e-book reader comes down to what you do most. If you plan on reading books more than anything else, a reader gives you a much better experience than a tablet, and Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite approaches the bibliophile’s dream device. It's only lacking the ability to display colors, and Amazon is already working on that.

In the meantime, the Paperwhite is enough of an upgrade over past Kindles that we're awarding it our Tom's Hardware Approved Award. There's a lot to like here, though we'd like to see an even lower price to keep the e-book reader more differentiated from modern $200 tablets. But for what it's designed to do, this is definitely the Cadillac of e-book readers.

  • Stimpack
    I've been contemplating whether I should buy the Kindle Fire or the Paperwhite for a couple of weeks now. While this summation of the Paperwhite and its features helped shed some light (heheh.) on its selling points, I still feel no closer to a decision.

    Nevertheless, it was an entertaining read! In fact, it's made me register an account here. I can't wait to read more articles like this. Fun stuff!
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I am still waiting for a Kindle with SD or mSD expandability.
    Reply
  • kartu
    slomo4shoI am still waiting for a Kindle with SD or mSD expandability.It's called "Sony Reader T2". It runs Android. And it's rooted.

    And you are not bound to Amazon's store with it, even non rooted you can burrow books from electronic libraries and read common formats like EPUB.
    Reply
  • Mark Matthews
    Typo on the top of page "results" page...
    worth should be worse
    Reply
  • Mark Matthews
    dirtyferretive read several books on my kindle fire HD, often for hours at a time, and never had an issue with eye strain or battery life. In fact i prefer reading on the kindle HD then a regular book.
    The one advantage of e-ink readers like the traditional kindle, is you can read it in daylight. I have an iPad and spend a lot of time chilling on the back deck during the summer, and I have to go through a lot of seating arrangements to minimize the glare so that I can see the iPad. Ordering a new Kindle just for this purpose.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I like my Paperwhite. It's really easy on the eyes and does not have all the distractions of a tablet. When I want to read, I use this. It's great under sunlight, but does in fact have a sort of mild glare under artificial overhead lighting conditions. Nothing bad, though. You can just tilt it a little one way or another to elimnate the glare. What is especially great is when it's dark and you're a passenger on a car ride. You can continue to read. The lighting is great and doesn't fatigue your eyes like an LED or LCD screen.

    Cloud sync is great too for those times when I don't have my Kindle with me. I can pick up my phone with my Kindle app and start reading right where I left off on my Kindle and vice versa.

    Also, the battery lasts significantly longer (we're talking months of daily reading) if you just shut off the wireless connection when you're not downloading any books or sync-ing to the cloud. If you leave the wireless connection on full-time, you need to recharge after about 4 weeks.
    Reply
  • tridon
    I really fell in love with the graphs over Display Performance that showed the differences between the Kindles. Please use this the next time you review a Kindle as well. It would be valuable extra information when deciding whether or not to buy a new version a year or two :) It will be very interesting to see if the Paperwhite has improved the clearness in a year.

    Great article! *thumbs up the article*
    Reply
  • tridon
    StimpackI've been contemplating whether I should buy the Kindle Fire or the Paperwhite for a couple of weeks now. While this summation of the Paperwhite and its features helped shed some light (heheh.) on its selling points, I still feel no closer to a decision. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining read! In fact, it's made me register an account here. I can't wait to read more articles like this. Fun stuff!
    If you plan to read a lot where there is natural light (in the sun or shadow outside or near windows, etc) I would really recommend the Paperwhite. Just my personal preference. My eyes are really having a hard time reading on a tablet under such conditions. If you mostly read where you can control the lightning condition the Paperwhite would still be easier on the eyes, but there is no longer a real problem reading on the tablet =)
    Reply
  • I've being using 3 models of kindle. The back light on the latest one is great but the touch screen... ARG, my god, a pain in the but. Get me simple buttons, I miss my buttons SO MUCH.
    If you are using your tablet to read, not comment, not surfing the web, not playing, reading, all you need is a previous/next page. The touch screen is not flawless, it will not work then you will skip 3 pages. Then you'll put your kindle on the coach and something will touch the screen and...

    Bring back the button please!
    Reply
  • shadowfamicom
    hadignyI've being using 3 models of kindle. The back light on the latest one is great but the touch screen... ARG, my god, a pain in the but. Get me simple buttons, I miss my buttons SO MUCH.If you are using your tablet to read, not comment, not surfing the web, not playing, reading, all you need is a previous/next page. The touch screen is not flawless, it will not work then you will skip 3 pages. Then you'll put your kindle on the coach and something will touch the screen and...Bring back the button please!
    Yes I am really pretty sick of the lack of buttons in favor of touch screens. Part of the reason I never really used a first gen iPod touch that someone gave me. If I am walking and have my MP3 player in my pocket... I want it to have buttons, for switching songs and volume up and down. Don't even get me started on phones without physical keyboards.
    Reply