8 February 2014

Kindle Paperwhite: First impressions

I’m a 'late adopter' to reading eBooks. I usually have at least four or five paper books on the go at once and never felt the need to go electronic. Then I joined the NetGALLEY review site and the choice was taken out of my hands, as they provide advance review copies free of charge directly to your e-reader.

Paperwhite or Kindle Fire?

I was already convinced that the Kindle was the answer, as the feedback from friends and family was great. The problem was the amount of choice. I looked at the Kindle Fire which comes with a lot of options, before deciding on the new generation Kindle Paperwhite.

There’s not a lot of difference in the cost, so a big factor in my decision was the non-reflective white screen and the special ‘nightlight’. (The picture at the top of this post was taken with bright sunlight shining on the screen.)  I should also add that I have the new iPad, which does all the other things on the Kindle Fire.

Setting up and accessing my eBooks was so easy I didn't even have to look at the instructions, as I just needed to follow the on-screen prompts. I did invest in a good quality leather cover, which protects the screen and gives it a nicer ‘feel’ when you are reading it.

Paperwhite Nightlight

One of the unexpected things about the Paperwhite is how it has already changed my reading habits.  As it says in the specification,  the Paperwhite ‘guides light towards the surface of the display with its next generation front light – unlike back-lit tablets that shine in your eyes – so you can read comfortably without straining your eyes.’  This means that if, like me, you tend to wake early and feel like reading, now you can do it without disturbing anyone by turning a light on.

Battery life

I’ve been using the Paperwhite almost every day for two weeks and it still has plenty of charge left from when it was delivered.  On that basis I’m fairly sure most users only need an occasional top up (via the USB port.)  This is an important consideration, as it makes you think of it much more like a book than a 'tablet device’.    

Kindle Features

I am very happy with the ‘reading experience’ on the Paperwhite. The screen is sharp and clear, with whiter pages and darker text than the earlier models. The new generation also has an ‘experimental’ browser, which you can to set to something like Goodreads or Netgalley.

I’d just like to round off by mentioning some of the Kindle features which apply to all their readers and may interest people who think eBooks are not for them.  If like me you review several books at once, one of the problems is bookmarking points to remember when you write the review. On the Kindle you simply drag your finger across a sentence to highlight it for future reference.  All the highlights are then saved in a ‘clippings’ folder for future reference.

I like the way the percentage you've read is displayed in the bottom right corner. The Kindle also does its best to estimate how long it will probably take you to finish  the current chapter (displayed bottom left.) It must also be useful for some readers to be able to instantly look up definitions of words by simply holding down your finger on them.  I experimented with this and was impressed by the choice of dictionaries bundled with the Kindle  - and there is a quick link to Wikipedia if you need more information.

Finally, I like the way you can search an eBook to see all references to particular ideas, characters or places, as it makes that review so much easier.  Did I mention I didn't feel any need for an eBook reader? OK, I do now.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony. Interesting post.

    I have one of the original Kindles. Use my Kindle library on PC and i pad with larger screens. Overall I do not like electronic reading so if I do finish a book such as Never Forget by Angela Petch, Unravelled by Mary Tod, your Shell book and Robert Harris Fear Index the book will have been a good read. I note I have 135 items on my Kindle and on quick scan through have only finished 10% and started and not finished another 20%

    Main driver for me on book buying is price given the huge choice I have to read. I am happy to spend up to £20 per book on non fiction if I think the book will command a place for good on my book shelf to be dipped into. Otherwise used copies from charity shops and Amazon but if these are either non available of over £5 then an e book at under £5 is purchased.

    Generally I think most books are too long ... Ken Follett's in particular.

    My ideal read is a 300 page large print hardback from the library. Easy on my old eyes and nice to hold.

    Hope your Kindle reading goes well

    My kindle is only a little longer and fatter than yours ... my 135 includes the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible ... and many classics I am finding hard reads. So I am hardly stuck for reading.