My First Impressions of the Kindle Paperwhite: It’s a Keeper!

It was a dark and stormy night day. The perfect kind of day to curl up with a hot mug of steaming coffee and a new, lit screen Kindle. But, alas! The UPS truck just didn’t come as early as I hoped, and it was late afternoon before I was able to rip open the box.

The Kindle is packaged with a cord, but not with an AC adaptor. This isn’t a problem for me, because the adaptor is an accessory I use for several of my electronic gadgets, so I’m good to go. But an adaptor is something you will eventually need if you don’t have one, already.

As familiar as I am with my devices, it’s always a little daunting to grab on to a new one. As I lifted this Kindle out of the box I had a momentary brain-freeze when I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. Really. (Embarrassing) The Kindle is sleek and slim and there just are no buttons to be seen except for the one little tiny one on the very bottom which I obviously eventually found. In my eagerness, I completely overlooked this very clear instruction right on the front of the Kindle.

I pushed that tiny little button and the Kindle came to life. After a few moments of flashing, there was a screen asking me to make a language choice. The Kindle then went about doing some internal somethings for another few moments as it prepared itself for my reading pleasure. I was also given the opportunity to sign into wifi (I have the wifi only model, my first Kindle without 3G).

After this brief bit of set-up, the Paperwhite sprang to life. There are two options to tap for your own books, “cloud” and “device”. The “Cloud” is where Amazon stores all the books that you have either bought or snagged for free. The books that you have physically sitting on your Kindle are the ones that are in the “Device”. Since I just received the Kindle, none of my books were on it. So, I tapped on “Cloud” and my library of books appeared. I could view them by their covers, or I could view them in a list (this is exactly the same way they are presented on the Kindle Apps on iPhones and iPads). I touched the book that I am reading, now, and in less than 5 seconds, it was on my device. I scrolled through my library and added a few others and that was it. I settled in for a read.

Box to Reading = Not even 10 minutes. 🙂

Let me sum up my impression in one word: Beautiful.

For me, it’s all about the light. This lit screen was the major reason that I wanted this Kindle. And … hours later … I am not disappointed. It is simply beautiful.

Anyone who has read with a book light and their Kindle knows how you would get little bright spots on the screen. The Paperwhite’s layer of light simply makes the whole page pop out, bright and readable. It is exactly what I was hoping for.

You can adjust this light for a very bright room, a dim room, and, of course just turn it all the way down for reading outside. Imagine that. Perfect for inside AND outside. (regular Kindles need a light in a dark room and iPads wash out in the daylight)

This screen light is not without a bit of a flaw. Down at the bottom of the screen, the light almost looks like a little smudge. I looked around on the internet and apparently all Paperwhites have this “smudge” which is just a matter of the way that the lights are set. Not enough of anything to be distracting in any way, but just enough to insert a sliver of ‘not perfect’.

Tap the top of the screen to get the controls. They are simple and direct. A light bulb for the brightness, “Aa” represents the fonts. You can adjust font styles, sizes, and spacing between lines.
I can set it just right for my aging eyes. I love that. This adjustable-ness that the Kindle has provided has allowed me to read far more than ever before. I don’t get fatigued. I don’t get blurry. I just read on and on and on. 🙂

There is a new feature on the Paperwhite called “X-ray” which I know I will thoroughly enjoy. I tried it out on the book that I am currently reading. This feature takes a character from your book and pulls up many spots within the book where the character appears. This would be amazingly helpful in some of the long long saga-type novels I tend to enjoy. Sometimes I could use a little reminder of a character and this will be the perfect tool to keep my literary neighborhood in order.

Another new feature is a “predictor” of time left to complete a chapter. It is not always easy in an e-book to get a ‘feel’ for how far you have to go, but this new notice down in the corner should be a big help.

Speakers are gone. This is causing quite a stir on the internet. There are those who are very angry about this and others who don’t care. I’ll weigh in on the side of, uh, middle-of-the-road. I never listened to anything on my Kindles (except very occasionally text-to-speech) so I won’t miss it. But if it is a feature you can’t live without, then this Kindle is not for you.

Finally …. the touch screen. Oh, I was so worried about this! I had so much trouble with the Kindle touch, I returned it within days. All I can say here is that so far, so good. It seems just fine. I have not had any troubles. No jumping around or lack of responsiveness. I’ll probably have to live with it for a while to truly know how I feel about the touchability, but safe to say, I am hopeful!

My real test of the Paperwhite was my before-sleep reading. I am a big bed reader, and so this is of paramount importance to me. Without sounding too gushy or too giddy (but I am), it is the best bedtime reading experience, ever. I could twist and turn, and snuggle down among the quilts, and the Paperwhite easily fit into any little fold of the covers that suited my line of vision. The touch screen was responsive and accurate. And, oh, … the light! I turned it down low, for the dark room, and the screen was bathed in a quiet light, just enough but not too bright. This is the exact experience I was hoping for. 🙂

Bottom Line:

The Paperwhite is small, light and beautiful. It has all the features that I have come to enjoy in a Kindle, plus a bit more. But the Paperwhite is all about the lit screen. Without that, there would have been no reason for me to abandon my Kindle 3. The lit screen hits the mark for me. I am delighted.


31 thoughts on “My First Impressions of the Kindle Paperwhite: It’s a Keeper!

    • I had a Kindle already, but I was so excited about the new innovation of the lit screen, I decided to give this a try. Amazon has a very generous return policy, so I wasn’t worried about being stuck with something I didn’t want. But it’s a keeper! 🙂 Thanks again for your visit, comments, and re-blog.

  1. I think this is not only on my Christmas Wish List, it’s written there in CAPITAL LETTERS. In INK. What a great review, and I’m so glad you are happy with it. Nothing makes me feel better than reading, and anything that makes it more comfortable and more accessible is great news.

    I learned to appreciate e-reading during a long, slow recovery from surgery. All I had at that time was my iPhone, but I read roughly 25 books on it from bed. By the time I could get up and around again, I was hooked on being able to finish one book, and immediately purchase and download the next in the series. I got my Kindle for Christmas two months later, and while I still treasure (and collect NEW) physicall books for my library shelves, I would not want to be without an e-reader again. Your reasons for wanting to try out the Paperwhite are the same as mine, and I suspect your feelings about it will be mine, as well.

    Thank you so much for such a thorough review. I’m definitely going to post a link on my Bookin’ It blog. Nicely done!

    • First of all, I must thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I do so appreciated it. I am also greatly honored that you chose to share a link on your Bookin’ It Blog! Thank you for that, as well! I absolutely know what you mean about downloading another book immediately after you finish one…. it’s wonderful, isn’t it? I just love to do that. It’s like magic to me. And when I “hear” about a book, being promoted on posters or on television, I often download the sample just to see what all the fuss is about! I know you’ll enjoy your Christmas gift this year! 🙂

  2. Alice says:

    A more generic comment here…I a not much of a techie, but I sure enjoy reading your blog. I can actually hold a conversation with my son now. I love books and paper and ink and their sound, textures, and smells so much, that e-Books and readers have not appealed to me, but I am seeing some advantages.

    • Oh, Alice, thank you for your message. This is my goal … to talk tech among all of us non-techies, because we shouldn’t be left out as this tech world moves ahead. I am so thrilled that my blog has actually allowed you share tech talk with your son. I always enjoy it when my “kids” (all in their 30’s) ask ME a question. Makes me feel relevant! 🙂 I do understand the lure of the printed book, and that was me, up until a few years ago. But the benefits of the lightness to hold and manage, the adjustable font size, adjustable spacing, ease of “getting” the books, etc etc etc … well, the e-reader just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. 🙂 I think Marcia (below) is right …. it’s not an “either/or” thing. It’s more of an enhancement of the whole reading experience.

  3. Hi, Alice. I feel the same way about Sharechair’s blog. As for e-readers, I don’t see why it needs to be an either/or thing. I will never, ever give up the real books in my library. I’m a huge cover art fan, for one thing. Some books, I just NEED to own, “in person!” But I can have so many more than would ever fit on my shelves via the e-reader. And being able to get a new book at MIDNIGHT is divine! It’s like having access to the largest library in the world, 24 hours a day. And many are very cheap, or even free, in some cases. I’m so happy I have both options. It really works for me.

    • Marcia, I have a feeling we would be great friends. I am right on the same page with you!! E-readers don’t have to be an either/or thing. I think they provide a unique experience, which to me is an enhancement of the whole reading thing. Words appear clear and crisp and I can separate them from the next line by as much space as I need. I love the ability of the e-reader to “adapt” to me and my reading needs. And I LOVE the Midnight purchase!! Like I said …. we have a lot in common!

  4. I’m thinkin’ maybe we already ARE great friends, SC! I always feel good when I see you’ve stopped by one of my blogs, and I love visiting yours, so hey…friendship underway, here.
    You are very welcome for the link. You were on my list for my next “Blogs I Love” post, anyway. I don’t have tons and tons of traffic yet, but I know some of my readers will check you out, so that’s a few more people who will learn about the new Kindle, and about your very informative blog.

    BTW, one other thing I love about having a Kindle. My hands don’t hurt while reading, especially my thumbs. Don’t know about you, but when I have to force the pages of a thick paperback open wide enough to read the print in the middle, it starts to HURT after a while. The Kindle is just so lightweight and easy to hold one-handed. The pages turn easily, too. I’m glad that hasn’t changed with the touchscreen. I’m really looking forward to upgrading soon, like somewhere around December 25th.

    Have a super afternoon, and thanks for keeping us so well informed on the latest and greatest stuff!

    • Yes! Yes! YES! When I read “World Without End” by Ken Follett, I had a TERRIBLE time with the book. It is HUGE and heavy, and, well, it hurt. That was the last paper book I read. After that experience, I tried e-reading, and my hands, thumbs and wrists have been grateful, every since. 🙂

        • I knew JUST what you meant, SC. Larger hardbacks can be murder, too, but the worst for me are really thick paperbacks. I hate breaking the spine of a book, even paperbacks, but sometimes it’s the only way to see what’s in the middle. And forget laying the book down flat on a table or desk to read. Ain’t gonna happen. Oh, the Kindles are so worth it for that alone, I think!

    • Thank you, but no thank you 🙂 . I have a bit of a history with a Nook, as well, and it isn’t pretty. (I’ll have to blog about that someday.) Thank you so much for visiting this blog and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated!

  5. You make me feel I want a kindle! You did a lovely job explaining it for people like me. And what is more, because i’ve been reading your blogs, I was able to discuss with my grandson those free books Amazon offered. I don;t know whether he noticed how clever and up to date I was, but I did! Thank you, good friend!

  6. Thank you for this post! I now know which Kindle to buy and you have summed it up beautifully. I’m green with envy about your nighttime reading experience. This is top of my wish list.

    • Several weeks later and I am still very happy with the Paperwhite. I love love love reading with it at night! I hope when you get yours you are equally pleased. 🙂

  7. Caitlin says:

    Thanks for this review as well as your previous comparison of the three different models. My beloved Kindle Keyboard just died, and I am so conflicted about which model to get as a replacement. I was curious, after having the Paperwhite for a while, do you miss the page turn buttons on the Keyboard? That is my main concern. I’ve used by husband’s Touch and find it to be inconvenient. I love that my Keyboard has turned reading on my DC Metro commute into a one-handed affair. If I get a Paperwhite, am I going to need my second hand to read?

    • I do so understand your concern about your Kindle Keyboard. I had the same concerns. But I can tell you that I read with BOTH everyday (I still use my old keyboard version in the bathtub) … and after all this time, I can announce, hands down, that the Paperwhite is by far the BEST Kindle, ever. I had a Touch for a while and sent it back. I hated it. The Paperwhite is so much better. In many ways. As far as the page turning, I don’t even notice it. Just touching the page with my thumb turns it to the next page. And I now get frustrated with my Keyboard when I have to click the cursor around the screen to get a definition or to highlight. You merely touch the Paperwhite screen to do any of those things. Back to your question …. you can hold the Paperwhite with one hand and flip the pages with your thumb. Good luck with your decision! I hope you let me know what you decide. 🙂

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