8 Months with my Paperwhite: The Good and the Bad

Screen shot 2013-05-10 at 3.08.29 PMWhen the very first Kindle was made available back in 2007, it was much too pricey for my budget. (In spite of its cost of $399, it sold out in 3 1/2 hours.) I longed to be among those early adopters, but at those prices, it wasn’t possible. So, I started a shoebox-bank and gradually built a good amount of $, and by the time the Kindle 2 hit the price point of $259, I was financially ready to jump in….. and it changed my reading life.

The Kindle Keyboard came next, and I still own that model. I primarily use it in the bathtub, because it is easy to turn pages with the keys while the kindle is protected in a zip-lock plastic bag.

I ordered the Touch when it came out about 2 years ago, anxious to try out the new touch screen, but I didn’t keep it a full week. That model was awful. I was constantly losing my place as the ‘touch’ was too sensitive, and it consistently landed me in places that I didn’t want to be. Finding my way back to my last-read spot was ridiculously time consuming. I quickly sent that one back to Amazon. (Their return policy is quite generous… you have 30 days to send back a Kindle.)

And now … the Paperwhite. I bought this model last September and I’ve used it every day since. I’ve traveled with it. Used it outdoors and inside. And at night …. every night.

So what do I think?

Verdict: Best Kindle EVER.

When I originally posted my thoughts about this model, I lamented the lack of hard keys to click the pages. I don’t miss them anymore. The Paperwhite is so responsive to touch that a simple touch with my thumb turns the page instantly.

And to my delight, the touch sensitivity has been completely accurate. It has never skipped pages or jumped oddly in any way. It has been perfect.

I do not miss the physical keyboard at all (but I never rarely type anything on my Kindle).

Highlighting is now a new favorite activity of mine. I LOVE to highlight on the Paperwhite. A simple touch and slide over the area you wish to save, and *poof* the job is done. (In contrast, since I am still using the Keyboard occasionally (in the bathtub), I went to highlight something the other day and touched the Keyboard screen out of habit. Silly me. I then remembered that I had to do it the ‘old’ way, with the cursor button. Humpf! That was too much work ๐Ÿ™‚ The Paperwhite’s touch ability to highlight is much, much better (easier!) than ever before).

Checking on the definition of a word is also an easy happy task on the Paperwhite. I never thought it was a chore on the Keyboard, but it certainly is when compared to the ease of the Paperwhite. Just touch the word and there it (the definition) is.

I’ve used the Paperwhite in all kinds of light, from the bright sun of a Caribbean beach to the darkness of my bedroom (I read every night before going to sleep). The Paperwhite is perfect in ALL of these conditions. Remember ….. you cannot see an iPad screen or a Kindle Fire screen in bright sunlight. Those are backlit screens and they wash out.

But the Paperwhite screen is made of e-ink. Reading in the sun is like reading on paper. The brighter, the better. And then, at night, the built in light is awesome. This light is completely adjustable. When set to it’s fullest brightness, the screen resembles a back-lit screen. (Remember… even though at full brightness it looks like a back-lit screen of a computer or tablet, it is NOT a back-lit screen. This is important. An e-ink screen is much easier on your eyes and does not interfere with sleep.) With the dimmer, you can soften the light so that it is just perfect for your comfort as you rest before sleep. Not too bright…just right.

The size is wonderful. Small enough to carry in a purse and not even notice that it is there until you want it.

Battery life is awesome. I use it a LOT and I probably plug it in for a charge maybe once every OTHER week or even more. I rarely think about it. AND… I could probably extend that if I turned off the wireless.

The Bad? I have only one objection, and that is how the “Award Winning Books” gallery appears on the bottom of the home screen. While I don’t think anyone would actually buy a book in error, I just don’t appreciate the ‘push’ of merchandise, there. I would rather the homescreen just showed books that I personally own and are available to me on my Kindle.

There had been a lot of flack about the light and a few smudge spots at the bottom of the screen on the Paperwhite. Seriously… in my opinion this is much ado about nothing. I don’t even notice it.

I truly am a huge fan of this e-reader. I could go on about the x-ray, fonts, etc, but if you have stuck with my ramblings for this long, I’m sure your patience has come to an end.

The Paperwhite is great. Nuff said.


21 thoughts on “8 Months with my Paperwhite: The Good and the Bad

  1. If I sent a copy of this review to Kindle, I wonder if they’d send you a great, big check? Hahaha. You covered every issue thoroughly, and it’s obvious you are sincere in your praise of this product. I want one so bad I can taste it! Since I was forced to upgrade my iPhone last month, I may have to wait a bit longer, but every time I pass a display, I lovingly stroke the surface of the Paperwhite, and repeat in my best Gollem voice, “Soon, my precious, sooooooon.”

      • Probably not. I really need to upgrade. All the letters are worn off the buttons on my old Kindle, and the cover with the built-in light has died. I’m not about to invest in a new one for a Kindle I want to upgrade, so that is pushing me towards this decision, too. Now, explain to me why I would not want the $179 version. I’ve always had both 3GS and Wi-Fi, and I notice that my Kindle often loses one and switches to the other. I’m afraid I won’t always have immediate access to my books, etc, if I don’t have it on my Paperwhite, too. But I’m not an expert on this part of it.

        • Ah… this is important. … IF you have wireless in your home, the wireless-only version is sufficient unless you feel the need to download books on a beach or anywhere else where you might NOT have wireless access. I always had a 3G model before, myself, but this time I went for the $119 Paperwhite, wifi only, and it is just fine. If I’m planning to travel, I just load a few books in advance. I also do most of my book shopping on the computer, and just send the book to my Paperwhite. I’ve never done my shopping on the KIndle, I like to do it on the computer …. much better (clearer) and easier for me. So if you do NOT have wireless in your home, a 3G model might be the better choice for you.

          • Okay, then I do understand it, after all. This is just what I thought. I seem to use my Kindle differently than you do yours, and even though I have WiFi in my house, I need the other option, too. I have been known to download new books in the doctor’s office, in the airport, in San Diego, wherever. Plus, I don’t keep all of my books on my device, so I need access to the Cloud (now) at all times. That may not be the case so much if the Paperwhite performs just as well with books on it. My old one would slow down if I had more than say 50 or 60 on the device, so I would often remove books to my archive, or the Cloud, now.

            At any rate, I am afraid I would find myself unable to connect when I want to and that would make me unahppy. For me, it’s worth the extra $50 or $60, I think. Plus, now I know why the letters are worn off of my device and yours aren’t. Hahaha. I almost never order from my computer. I find that I finish a book in bed at night and immediately want the next in the series, and download it right then from my Kindle connection. I did that on my last trip, too. (Before the recent San Diego one where I left my Kindle at home, accidentally. ARRGGH. Luckily I had two paperbacks with me, as well, for reading on the plane.)

            So, I’m thinking there are more factors than just whether you have WiFi at home that could impact the decision between the two versions. At least, it feels that way to me. Oh, another case in point is when we go camping. I have been known to finish books while in the middle of the Ocala forest for a week’s vacation, and NEED to download something new, because I wasn’t in the mood for anything I already had on my device. Am I making sense, here?

              • Okay, good. Just wanted to be sure I wasn’t misunderstanding the purpose of it all. You are the best for taking time to make sure I understood correctly! Thanks!

    • Hi, Alice! I love my old Kindle to distraction. I still buy regular books, too, but now I don’t HAVE to unless I really want a copy of a certain book to keep forever. Eventually, you run out of shelf space for that, even when you have a dedicated room for a library. Having a Kindle gives you an option, and unlike Sharechair, I will NOT miss the old buttons on mine. First of all, most of the letters have worn off, making it quite hard to enter anything. And I uses them a lot when I’m searching the store. Plus, the special cover I got, which had a built-in light, is no longer functional, so I don’t have a light source always at hand. I will NEVER use a Fire or any other backlit device for reading entire books. It’s really awful for my eyes, and I feel it. Browsing the web on one is one thing. Reading a whole 800-page novel is another. So having a Kindle that has a built in light source, but ISN’T backlit, is my idea of heaven. And having SC give it such a ringing endorsement tells me it will be perfect for me, too.

      Happy Mother’s Day…with or without the Paperwhite. With would be better, though!


      • Alice says:

        thanks–as I have been contemplating a move, the thought of moving books again makes me hurt all over. I will keep hoping…

        • Oh, I feel your pain! We moved 52 boxes of books to this house nine years ago, and I have added a LOT more. A. Lot. So I’m happy that the 300 or so on my Kindle don’t make my back hurt when I lift them. In fact, I can pick them ALL UP AT ONCE!

  2. I bought a Paperwhite as a spur of the minute decision, on New Years Eve. Having had a Kindle Keyboard since they were released, I’d been vying with the option of upgrading, and after some hesitation [and cancelled at the last minute News Years Eve plans!] I picked one up. Despite a rocky start [I managed to buy a defective version, that would fully discharge its battery within three days, even with the front-light turned off, and the wi-fi kept off] it’s firmly become my favourite eReader so far. I recently [start of the month] started using a Kobo Mini and whilst it’s nice [particularly for the ยฃ20 I paid for it] its significantly inferior to the Paperwhite. I’m definitely not upgrading for another two years, regardless what Amazon come out with later this year.

    Ok, maybe not upgrading ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I agree with you. I have no desire to upgrade …. my Paperwhite is all I want/need in an e-reader. I have heard of the Kobos, but I’ve never seen one in person. Love your “definitely” aka “maybe” “lol”

  3. Your early post convinced me to buy the Paperwhite and I have not been sorry. I love it – but now think we also need a tablet in the family. I’ve been buying too many toys lately so I’m going to buy it for hubby for father’s day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Once I started using the Kindle, I’ve never looked back. I was always a reader, but now I read more than ever. And I’m very grateful for the larger fonts for these aging eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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