Kindle Paperwhite

I’ve had the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for about a week now and have used it every day. As background, my first Kindle was the Kindle Touch released last year. I found it to be deficient in two significant ways: 1) its touch interface was not very responsive and 2) in order to read in even a shaded room I needed an external light.

On last year’s Touch model the responsiveness of the user interface was horrible, even after the update. It was typical to tap the screen and have it not react for multiple seconds. Often times I would tap a second time thinking I didn’t hit it correctly and then it would do whatever I asked, like flip the page, twice.

The need for a light, even when the room was just a little dark, was another pet peeve. Not only did I have to carry an external light with me, but I would have to attach this clunky thing that always got in the way of the screen (shadows or the light’s arm) in some way. The light, by the way, had two settings: bright and blaring. I read a lot in bed at 3am, trying to clear my head so I can fall back to sleep. My goal is to not wake my wife. I couldn’t make the old light dim enough.

Amazon pushed the Touches e-ink display as a replacement for paper but it really wasn’t. In every way — resolution to coloring — that e-ink display was pretty mediocre. Speaking of color, the e-ink displays were significantly darker than paper so reading in a room with a little natural light but not a direct light on the screen made the e-ink impossible to read even when paper was readable.

I can report in every way that the Paperwhite is superior to the previous Touch model. It is very responsive to screen taps, for one. I no longer am left wondering whether my selection registered or not. Furthermore, the screen with lighting on is excellent. It solves all of the problems I had with the previous model (while introducing one nitpick). The controls are quickly available and it is easy enough to turn the screen down to its lowest settings.

At the low end, the screen replicates the color of paper much closer. And with a simple adjustment, making the light brighter by just a few notches, I get plenty of light to read at 3am without disturbing my wife sleeping next to me. We are both a lot happier!

My nitpick is that the backlighting leaves a slight shadow at the bottom of the screen. At first I noticed it readily but after a few days it faded into the background.

The Paperwhite is much closer to my ideal reading device than the Touch was. I’m quite happy to have paid the $119.