Amazon Finally Gets the Kindle Right with the Paperwhite, Delivering on Price and Technology

It took five years and five mod­els, but Ama­zon has final­ly released a new gen­er­a­tion of the Kin­dle — the Kin­dle Paper­white — that deliv­ers the goods. The prob­lem with the pre­vi­ous mod­els boiled down to this. The screens were fair­ly mud­dy. The con­trast, poor. The words did­n’t pop off of the page. If you ever tried read­ing a Kin­dle indoors, espe­cial­ly in low­er light con­di­tions, you know what I mean.

With the Kin­dle Paper­white, Ama­zon has made a pret­ty big leap ahead. They’ve made improve­ments to the font con­trast and screen res­o­lu­tion, which def­i­nite­ly enhance the read­ing expe­ri­ence. They’ve also added a touch­screen to the e‑ink mod­el. But the big stride for­ward is the built-in light that illu­mi­nates the screen. The screen is sidelit, not back­lit (à la the iPad). The point of the light isn’t to make the screen glow like a com­put­er screen. It’s to make the screen stay white, like the page of a book, under vary­ing light con­di­tions. If you move from brighter to dim­mer light­ing con­di­tions, you nudge up the bright­ness so that the page con­tin­ues to look white. And then you stop there.

It all works quite well, until you start read­ing with the Paper­white in pret­ty dim light con­di­tions. Then you’ll need to dial up the light until the screen actu­al­ly glows, and that’s when you’ll start to see some imper­fec­tions in the design. As David Pogue men­tioned in his New York Times review, the Paper­white has some hotspots (areas of uneven light­ing) along the bot­tom of the screen, which detract minor­ly from the read­ing expe­ri­ence.

The last thing Ama­zon got right is the price. The entry mod­el starts at $119, which means that Ama­zon is basi­cal­ly sell­ing the e‑reader at cost, and then mak­ing mon­ey on book sales. But that does­n’t mean that you need to spend very much. You can always down­load texts from our col­lec­tion of 375 Free eBooks. Or, if you’re an Ama­zon Prime Mem­ber, you can bor­row up to 180,000 books for free.

For a com­plete tour of the new Kin­dle, watch this 20 minute video.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 450 Free Audio Books

Read 160 Free Text­books Online

Down­load a Free Audio Book From

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Comments (5)
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  • P Connor says:

    That review­er’s inces­sant, bad­ly paced ram­blings gave me a headache after two min­utes. I had to switch off.

  • Jen says:

    The com­menter’s puerile, arro­gant rant­i­ng gave me an acid stom­ach. I had to eat a Tums.

  • Mr. Thomas of Ohio, in America, but of a good nature; says:

    I agree with the above two com­ments. I mean okay I’ll strug­gle through stuff like this if there’s a point but this is basi­cal­ly a full blown advert. It’s not even tech news, it’s just a poor­ly writ­ten adver­tise­ment for ama­zon. They were hir­ing new authors a while back; why get this guy?

  • Keith Peters says:

    “It took five years and five mod­els, but Ama­zon has final­ly released a new gen­er­a­tion of the Kin­dle — the Kin­dle Paper­white — that deliv­ers the goods.”

    Huh? “Final­lY”??? I got the Kin­dle 2 and Kin­dle key­board. Both were near per­fect devices, sur­pass­ing in qual­i­ty any­thing else out there in the mar­ket. I have a Paper­white on order as well. Baf­fled by the “It took five years” ref­er­ence.

  • Peter says:

    I agree with Kei­th. I have the Kin­dle 2 w key­board and it has increased my read­ing 100%

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