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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First Impressions: Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon finally offered a too-good-to-pass-up deal for the Kindle Paperwhite in late March, just before our trip to the BVI. For prime members, they discounted the paperwhite by $30, and then threw in a $35 trade in bonus for our old Kindle 3rd generation. That brought the effective price down to about $70, so we jumped on it.

The other Kindles were also on discount, but the main reason for opting for the Paperwhite was the Waterfi Waterproofing process, which can only be applied to the Paperwhite. I'm a sincere believer that everything with a touch screen should be waterproof, if only so that you can wash it with detergent and clean up the oily fingerprints that inevitably accumulate on the screen. The Kindle arrived too late for us to send it into Waterfi in time for the trip, but immediately after the trip I sent the device in for waterproofing and will report on it for a future process.

The device is significantly heavier than the basic Kindle at 203g. (The basic kindle is 166) Against that is that the basic kindle requires a separate cover to provide a lighted reading experience, while the paperwhite has lighting built in. The lighting is much more even than my old Kindle basic lighted cover, but you can definitely see some light banding at the bottom of the screen, which does not impact the reading experience.

During the trip, we got to compare the 1st generation Paperwhite, my old Kindle basic, and a second generation Paperwhite with this 3rd generation device. Of course, compared to the old basic Kindle there's no contest. Surprisingly, there's a significant improvement from the 1st generation paperwhite, with the newer 300dpi display and brighter backlight making for a better experience.

What I dislike about the paperwhite is that the touch screen latency is pretty high: compared to the buttons on my old basic kindle it feels like it takes an extra 30ms before the touch screen gets picked up and then the device turns the page. The table of contents screen also feels very cluttered compared to the simple, text based screens of the older Kindles. I'm not sure that the new entry screen is worth the change.

Other than that, I flipped between the old basic Kindle and the new Paperwhite during the trip. At one point my wife grabbed the Paperwhite to read The Three Body Problem and I went all the way back to the basic Kindle. While it was a downgrade, it wasn't so much of a downgrade that I wouldn't trade in the older device except that the buttons on it are getting to be rather sticky and occasionally turns two pages instead of one, which is very annoying.

Because of the button wearing out issue, I paid the paperwhite the best compliment possible: I opened up a chat window with Amazon and negotiated the purchase of yet another Paperwhite to replace my old basic Kindle at a higher price than we paid for this first one. Between the potential for waterproofing and the improved screen, I found myself willing to give up my beloved page turn buttons.


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