- Light is an ereader revelation
- Excellent E-ink screen
- Kindle infrastructure is great
- Light throw slightly inconsistent
- No speaker or headphone jack
- A little heavy among its peers
Review Price £109.00
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the first E-ink screen Kindle that you can read in the dark without the help of an separate light. Reading at bed time - who would have thunk it? The Kindle Paperwhite's core update may be an obvious one, but it ensures Amazon's latest the title of "best Kindle yet". And that's saying something.
Kindle Paperwhite Video Review
Kindle Paperwhite DesignPart new, part old, the feel of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite will be familiar to anyone who has owned the Kindle Touch, the ereader discontinued in favour of the new model. The friendly curves of its edges and the generous bezel that surrounds the 6in E-ink screen are much like those of the last Kindle. And it comes in the familiar Wi-Fi only (£109) and 3G (£169) variations.
This time, of course, it's dressed in black rather than the grey that was a Kindle staple from 2007 up until this year's new models. Grey was a good choice in the ebook readers of old because it helped to mask the greyishness of E-ink screens.
Nowadays, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite doesn't need such a crutch because of its contrast-boosting front-lit display. Using black also helps to keep the Kindle family close-knit - ensuring that the Kindle Fire twins aren't the black sheep of the bunch.
As with every top ereader, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite has a soft touch finish to give it a finger-friendly feel that's missing from hard plastic and cold metal. However, it is on the heavy size in its class. At just over 200g, it's a similar weight to the Kindle Touch, but is markedly weightier than the rival Sony PRS-T1 and Kobo eReader Touch. Neither of those offers an internal light, though.
Aside from donning the black cape, the most obvious different between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Touch is that this time around there's no navigation button. There's a power button on the bottom edge, alongside the microUSB charging socket, but that's your lot for buttons and slots.
With no page turn buttons and no Home button, everything command has to be made using the capacitive touchscreen. This is why the £69 button Kindle still makes a lot of sense for those who like the feel of clicky buttons.
Hardware-wise, Amazon has trimmed some fat off the Kindle range with the Paperwhite. There's no headphone jack on the ereader, and no internal speaker either. This stops you from being able to use the voice synthesis feature or MP3 player, "experimental" features in the Kindle line ever since the Kindle "3".
We imagine they were zapped from the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite to keep cost and weight down. They were nice to have in previous models, but few will genuinely miss them. They were 86 percent gimmick, after all.
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite will undoubtedly receive some flak for having only 2GB of internal memory, though, as the similarly-priced Touch had 4GB. Without wanting to give Amazon too much credit, this decision was likely made after seeing that the vast majority of Kindle users barely use a nibble of a crumb of a fraction of the memory in their ereader.
Amazon has also altered the Kindle interface to make Cloud-stored books almost as accessible as those stored locally, further reducing the need for a gigantic on-device store of novels. More on that later.
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