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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Hands on the new Kindle Paperwhite

The UK finally got the latest addition to the Kindle family this last month and I've had mine since Christmas day so I've had a chance to fully test the device. I was eager to get the Paperwhite and although I already own a third generation Kindle and a Kindle Fire, it was the Paperwhite I'd been waiting for. Firstly unlike the Kindle Fire which is a tablet device the Paperwhite is a dedicated eInk eReader. And while I love my Kindle Fire I use it for watching movies and reading graphic novels rather than standard novels - eInk is so much easier on the eyes for reading and actually does replicate the reading on paper experience.

The biggest addition to the Paperwhite is of course the front-lit screen but Amazon have also increased the contrast and display itself so that this is the best Kindle eInk screen yet. The touch screen is also more responsive than previous Kindles and the cleaned up interface, there is only one button the the device, is a massive improvement - you can swipe through pages or simply tap the screen. The device also allows the brightness of the light to be customized - a nice touch this and surprisingly having the brightness on full in daylight improves the display no end, whilst dim works best in a dark environment. The device gets closer to the ideal of black ink on white paper than ever before. A good thing since the Paperwhite is designed to have the light on all the time. Amazon says: "a single charge lasts up to eight weeks, based on half an hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10. Only time will tell I suppose but I charged my Paperwhite on Christmas Day and have read more than three hours each day since and the power bar of the battery is still close to a full charge.

The original Kindle revolutionised how we read books – rather than bulky paperbacks in every commuter’s bag, or a suitcase full of easy reads for a beach holiday, now we can all carry whatever we want, wherever we want on an affordable gadget. For many people, it’s rendered physical books redundant, and the Paperwhite is once again a game changer.

A nice new touch is that the Paperwhite can  measure your "reading time". The Paperwhite notes how often you turn pages and gives you an estimated time left in book. With physical books, you can see if you are close to the end, and the Paperwhite provides a substitute by counting down the hours and minutes to go.

If you are still holding out on an eReader and think that nothing can ever replace paper books then the Paperwhite may be the device that finally changes your mind.

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