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5-min read

Amazon New Kindle Paperwhite Review: Calling All Book Lovers to The Party

The newest updates make the Kindle Paperwhite even better, and worth the extra money than what you may otherwise spend on the standard Kindle. We have spent a long time with to know that it truly is an upgrade.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:February 12, 2019, 1:41 PM IST
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Amazon New Kindle Paperwhite Review: Calling All Book Lovers to The Party
The newest updates make the Kindle Paperwhite even better, and worth the extra money than what you may otherwise spend on the standard Kindle. We have spent a long time with to know that it truly is an upgrade.
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Amazon’s Kindle e-readers are to e-book ecosystem what Xerox was to photo-copiers many years ago. Or WhatsApp is to instant messaging now. The default name, so to say. The benchmark. The first name in your mind. And the Kindle’s rise hasn’t been borne out of being lucky. The fruits of Amazon’s pure efforts into the e-book ecosystem are here for everyone to see—the hardware as well as the library are unmatched.

The Amazon Kindle line-up is quite simple, so to speak. You have the entry-spec Kindle (Rs5,999 onwards) and the top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis (Rs21,999 onwards). In the middle is the Kindle Paperwhite, priced at Rs12,999 (for the Wi-Fi only version) and Rs17,999 (for the Wi-Fi + 4G version). The best of both worlds? To be honest, it is closer to achieving that, than you could perhaps imagine. Also, because the latest series of incremental updates make the Kindle Paperwhite a serious upgrade over the model it replaces.

In terms of the personality, the Amazon Kindle e-readers are not ostentatious or flashy. It is all about understated elegance. The newest Kindle Paperwhite is no different. What you get is a slim e-reader, made of good quality plastic dressed in a matte black finish. In many ways, it doesn’t look entirely dissimilar to its predecessor. But that sense of familiarity is actually good in the long run. The new Kindle Paperwhite is just 3-inches thick, and 6.6-inch wide. The overall dimensions are 167 x 116 x 8.18 mm. The bezels are thinner than before, but you still get enough space to place the fingers as you hold up the Kindle Paperwhite—and we did not notice any accidental page turns. Simply put, this is no larger than a typical paperback. Not much heavier than your standard smartphone either, tipping the scales at 182 grams for the Wi-Fi only variant and 191 grams for the Wi-Fi + 4G variant. Hold this up, and it is hard to ignore that the back panel has a very grippy finish. You may not notice this initially, but the display now sits flush with the rest of the bezel. This makes for a better touch experience as you run your finger around to turn pages. Most importantly, the lack of a gap now means there is no place for dust and crumbs of what you were munching to reside.

In fact, Amazon have upped the ruggedness game with this one and made it even more resistant to scratches, dings or scrapes as it sits around in your backpack. This is IPX8 rated as well, which means it can survive unscathed after a dip in 2 meters of water for up to 60 minutes. You really don’t need to worry about taking this with you for some restful reading in a bath after a long day at work, in the pool for some weekend relaxation and even to the beach on that well-earned vacation of yours.

The 6-inch screen retains all the brilliance that we usually associate with Kindle e-readers, and yet improves on the same. This is also a 300ppi display, the same as the more expensive Kindle Oasis (though that is a 7-inch display). The new Kindle Paperwhite’s display is brighter and sharper than before, which simply adds to the experience of reading. Text is crisper, whites look better and readability under really bright overhead lights as well as sunlight is more comfortable. The E-ink display is nothing like the LCD displays that you see on smartphones or tablets and is very comfortable if you are reading something in a room with minimal lighting. In fact, this will not alter the sleep cycles in a negative way as smartphone and tablet screens might, since there are no blue light emissions from the e-ink display. Amazon has still reserved the auto-brightness feature as an exclusive for the more expensive Oasis—but we really would have loved that feature in the new Paperwhite too.

If you read books heavy on animations or graphics, you will notice that the page turn speeds are significantly better than before. That is because of the extra grunt under the hood, which also smoothens the page turn animations. The base software that Amazon runs on the Kindle remains very minimal and stays out of the way till you invoke one of the features.

Speaking of which, there is no shortage of features. While reading, you simply need to highlight any word to pull out the dictionary. You can select any character’s name in a book to call upon the X-Ray feature, to know everything about the character. You can highlight certain sentences, phrases and paragraphs and leave them for reference later—or share them as notes. The Whispersync feature keeps tabs on the last reading session and syncs your Kindle devices and apps according to that. The way this works is that suppose you open up a book on the Kindle app and read it on your phone or tablet on the way home. Later, before hitting the bed, you pick up your Kindle Paperwhite to read—the Paperwhite will let you resume from the same page you left off on the phone or tablet.

You can buy the Kindle Paperwhite in the Wi-Fi only or the Wi-Fi + 4G avatar. For the latter, you don’t have to pay any extra subscription for the 4G connectivity. It is a bit perplexing though that Amazon offers just 8GB storage for the Wi-Fi only variant and 32GB storage for the 4G variant—even though the latter allows you to download a new book you may want to read, even while traveling.

In terms of battery life, Amazon rates the new Kindle Paperwhite at 6 weeks of backup on a single charge—with 30 minutes of reading daily. We have no reason to disagree with those estimates, as in our test experience, we got relatively similar backup times. What still boggles the mind a bit is the fact that Amazon have retained a micro USB port for charging. At a time when most phones have switched to the USB Type-C port, the Kindle Paperwhite also upgrading would have meant one less cable for you while traveling. However, we are nit-picking.

All things considered, the updated Kindle Paperwhite hits the sweet spot in terms of the experience and the price. It is incrementally better than the predecessor, but then again, that is all it needed to be. Yes, you have the flagship Kindle Oasis with its asymmetrical design to consider. But to buy that, you really need to be an avid reader. For everyone else, reading enthusiasts or casual readers, the Kindle Paperwhite is exactly the balance you need.

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