Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review
Get a grip
And while we’re on the subject, Kobo has better design than Kindle for the power switch, too. The button mounted on the base edge of the Kindle is perhaps too easy to switch off unintentionally. Kobo has a slide switch on the top edge. Much better. And if pocket space is crucial, the Kobo Glo has the same size screen but a smaller overall footprint. Anyway, back to the Paperwhite lighting effect.
Inked in: You can turn off the illumination for normal e-ink viewing and to preserve battery life
The temptation is to have it always on, just for the way the screen looks bright and appealing. This will drain the battery, of course. E-ink screens go on for weeks, though this will drop if you keep the light on all the time. Amazon says it should last eight weeks, even with the light on. Though if you’re going on holiday, the rule is that if you don’t check your Kindle battery, you’ll discover it’s as flat as a pancake before the plane has reached the end of the runway.
The Kindle Paperwhite feels great, thanks to a tactile rubberised finish that will prevent it slipping from your hand. Earlier Kindles were slippier. And the screen on the Paperwhite is higher resolution than earlier Kindles. It’s clearly an improvement and looks sharp and inviting. As before, you can set the page refresh – that horribly intrusive white-to-black-to-white flash – to happen every page or every six pages. If you do it every sixth page there are some artefacts that build between flashes but it’s so much easier on the eyes that it’s definitely the way to go.
There’s one other benefit Kindle owners, including those with the Paperwhite model, can enjoy. Amazon has just announced that the Kindle Owners Lending Library has arrived in the UK, which offers 200,000 titles which can be borrowed free. Free? Well, you do have to be an Amazon Prime member, which costs £49 a year and you can’t borrow more than one book a month. Still, since Amazon Prime offers free next-day delivery on many Amazon items that still have to be sent to your door in the old-fashioned way, this additional feature for no extra cost is a welcome bonus.
If you want a Kindle just for reading books, not for playing games and surfing the net, then this e-ink screen is way easier on the eyes than the Kindle Fire HD or iPad mini. It has the crispest e-ink screen from Amazon yet and it’s enhanced by a light that – while not perfectly even in its illumination at the base of the display – is attractive. It makes the grey Kindle screen look almost white like, you know, paper. ®
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