The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon’s first touchscreen model with an illuminated screen. It supersedes the Kindle Touch model that came out in the UK in April, which is no longer on sale.
It’s a very similar unit to the Touch, with the soft-touch plastic casing around the back joined to a harder plastic edging around the screen on the front, but with the addition of the built-in light. The Paperwhite measures 169x117x9.1mm, just a touch larger than the previous Touch model. It weighs a very portable 213g for the Wi-Fi model, and 222g with 3G.
If you're looking for an e-reader with lots of fancy ports and buttons, this isn't the unit for you. The Paperwhite has only a power button and micro USB port on the bottom of the device - and that's it.
A word of caution: if, after reading this review, you’re keen to get a Kindle Paperwhite in time for Christmas, get your order in soon. Amazon is currently quoting the expected shipping date as 14 December for the 3G Paperwhite, and 18 December for the Wi-Fi only Kindle.
The Kindle Paperwhite’s 6in display has a resolution of 1,024x768 at 212ppi, up from the 800x600 resolution on the previous Kindles, making the text clear and sharp. Even with the light turned up bright and text in its smallest format, we didn’t notice any fuzziness around the edges of letters.
The light function is a great addition to the popular Kindle e-reader, not only for reading in bed so as not to disturb your partner, but in any dimly lit environment like planes and cars.
And the range of luminosity is impressive, with 24 light settings. Amazon advises that in a bright room you use the higher settings and use a lower setting for dark rooms.
We like our screens to be as bright as possible, so generally defaulted to about 20 on the scale.
Text was crisp and clear at the highest brightness setting, and on the largest font size, making this a great e-reader for those with less than 20/20 vision.
With the advent of tablets, namely the iPad, there was a feeling that the e-book market would disappear as users turned to their tablets to fulfil their reading requirements.
However, the e-ink display on the Kindle means you get clear, sharp text to support reading even in the sun’s glare, and a visit to any park, pool or beach on a hot day will confirm the e-reader market is still going strong.
Next: Tap to turn, functionality