Kindle Paperwhite

It may come as a surprise, but reading in the dark is actually something plenty of people would love to do. Leaving lights on to read is a hassle, wastes precious electricity, and isn't very easy on the eyes. The Barnes & Noble Nook Touch Glowlight addressed this, and it's a pretty good device, and now Amazon has a direct competitor to what many have called the one e-reader that's actually better than a Kindle.

The Paperwhite technology is interesting enough, though difficult to test in a moderately well-lit environment like a partially sunny airport hangar. The Kindle itself is noticeably faster than the last generation. It takes roughly 1-2 seconds for any new page to load completely, and 4-5 seconds over a moderate Wi-Fi connection for anything web-based. 

You can check out the gallery above to see the differences in brightness using the Paperwhite technology. The brightness levels are relatively high, especially for an e-reader, though the whites are cold and I didn't find them particularly pleasing to the eye. That may prove different when actually reading in a dark environment, and adjusting the brightness accordingly. 

Amazon e-readerSpecification Comparison
  Kindle Touch (2011) Kindle  Kindle Paperwhite Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight
Dimensions 172 x 120 x 10.1mm 165.75 x 114.5 x 8.7mm 169 x 117 x 9.1mm 240 X 164 X 8.8mm
Display 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 1024 x 768, 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale
Weight 213g 170g 213g 197g
Storage 4GB (3GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1GB usable)
Battery Rated 2-months Rated 1-month Rated 8-weeks Rated 1-month
Pricing $79/$109 (original price; no longer available) $69 $119/$179 (3G) $139

Both new Kindle e-readers (simply the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite) are thinner than last year's Touch model, though the Paperwhite is identical in weight and is the true successor to the last generation. The Kindle stems from last year's non-touch e-reader, and is the lowest rung on the e-ink totem pole. At $70, it's also very affordable. I've owned several e-readers and while touch has always been convenient, tactile feedback is always welcome in my home. Interestingly, Amazon will continue selling the Kindle Keyboard 3G and isn't lowering the price or improving on the design whatsoever. Here is Andrew's review of last year's Kindle.

The Paperwhite, compared to last year's Touch, improves on size, shape, and reading in the dark, as well as the display density (from 167ppi to 212ppi), but drops 1.75GB of usable storage and raises the price significantly. For serious book readers, the drop from 3GB to 1.25GB doesn't mean very much; books are tiny and take up almost no space. But with the new Whispersync for Voice, it's presumable that a handful of voiced books will eat up the little drive space there is. Only the original Kindle e-reader had an SD card slot, but I'm waiting for Amazon to confirm that the latest models do not.

Amazon Kindle Preview: Paperwhite, Fire (2012), and Fire HD 7" & 8.9" Kindle Fire (2012): A slight update to replace last year's model
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  • Freename - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    No option for those of us that want the front-lit screen but tactile buttons :/
  • Wolfpup - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Yeah, super lame. I've read a couple books on my Nook 2...and touch screens on eInk are even lamer than on LCD tablets.

    Super disapointed the DX hasn't been updated either. It's always needed buttons on the other sides, it needs the new SOC + higher resolution screen + buttons on both sides and I'd buy a new one.

    Of course I still want one with color eInk for graphic novels and the like...

    The way things are going, I may end up switching back to regular books, because I really don't like reading on my iPad, and I really don't like the 6" eInk readers, and I hate hate hate touch screens.
  • Flunk - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    If you want tactile buttons buy one now, it's only a matter of time before they burn through the existing stock and they're gone forever.
  • joshv - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    Last time around I pre-ordered. F-that, this time around I am waiting for the reviews. The original Fire is a dog. It sits unused, with a dead battery it acquired after about 3 hours of usage. I simply got tired of charging the damned thing, and it doesn't sound like there's much of an improvement on that front.

    I am actually very interested in the 3G paperwhite. The reason I bought a Fire was because I lost my original kindle (e-ink) reader, and was tired of those damned clip on lights in bed.
  • quasi_accurate - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Same thing happened to me. Pre-ordered it, got it, didn't like it. Then it sat for 2 weeks before I returned it back to Amazon. Now I have a Nexus 7, which I absolutely LOVE. Pretty much fixed every problem I had with the original Kindle Fire.
  • Samus - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I still use a Nook Color, great tablet.
  • Impulses - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    This seems like a rushed announcement on Amazon's part to be honest, like they just had to get something out there before whatever Apple is planning next... Frankly I don't see why anyone would pick up either of the 7" models over the Nexus 7... The 8.9" model is intriguing tho, if only because Samsung's the only one that has paid that in-between form factor any attention (even tho they don't have a current gen Android tablet at 8.9").
  • Super56K - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    One big reason why: The Kindle branding resonates strongly with average consumers.
  • MScrip - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    I think the iPad brand is resonating strongly in terms of tablet computers.

    But yeah... the Kindle brand has been around for a long time because of Amazon's e-ink readers.
  • nafhan - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Don't discount the effect of a $40 price drop on something that only costs $200 to begin with, especially if it positions it as the cheapest tablet on the market (at least out of those worth considering). Also, if the "kid mode" thing works as well as advertised, the non-HD Kindle Fire looks like an ideal kids tablet.

    I'd still probably go with N7 for myself, though, and either way, always wait for reviews!

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