A Week with the Kindle Paperwhite

This librarian was not immune to the anticipation surrounding the new Kindle Paperwhite. When our demo model arrived last week, I tore open the box and took it for the first of several test runs.

First Impressions

  • Nearly identical to the $69 Kindle
  • The LED backlight and lack of controller is the only significant difference at first glance.

Likes

  • Adjustable backlight is indeed great for reading in the dark of night.
  • The side bevel is less than on the Kindle Touch (my finger often jams when swiping pages on the older model).

Dislikes

  • Rough screen surface not pleasant to the touch
  • Occasional flickering of backlight
  • Visible outline of  LEDs on lower 1/4 of device screen
  • Perceived value for money
  • No discernible difference in display and number of pixels over the cheaper model without backlight (one of the purported improvements)
  • Library eBooks cannot be downloaded directly on this device because the experimental browser can only open one tab at a time.

Final Verdict

While I enjoyed the form factor and experience of using this lightweight eReader, it did not live up to the hype. I do not feel the addition of a light was a significant enough improvement to warrant a such a price increase. My Petzl headlamp costs $30 and serves multiple purposes, including lighting my book or eReader in the dark.