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. 🙂
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.