- Lightweight, simple easy to use eReader
- Huge library of material includes not just books but periodicals, newspapers, and more
- Allows you, via a browser plugin, to push web content for offline reading
- Easy on the eyes and works flawlessly in bright sunlight and dark rooms
- Processor: Freescale i.MX50 Rev. 1.1 800MHz
- Storage: 2Gb
- Display: 6″ diagonal, 758 × 1024 pixels (0.78 megapixels), 212 ppi density, 16-level grayscale, LED frontlit
- The new 2013 version is coming out in October (I wish I’d known this)
I’ve been intrigued by the humble kindle since its debut. The idea of having a readable device that could store the bulky mass market paperback stuff I read when traveling was very appealing to me. I tend to read large, heavy books with little redeeming social or artistic value. But they’re great for the 7-10 hour flights I find myself on frequently.
I never made the plunge and I think the reason for that is that I’d tried reading on a few tablet devices — Samsung Galaxy, iPad, MS Surface, even my iPhone — but it never worked. They were hard to hold comfortably, they had either a glare or a distracting reflection, and there was always the possibility of distraction in the form of games or web surfing. Because of these experiences, I’d put off buying a dedicated reader like the kindle.
I suspect I also balked because I’ve always been an avid book collector; a hobby I picked up in high school when I’d traul the stacks at The Strand for hardcover Kurt Vonnegut novels. I’ve continued that occasional habit over the years and I love my books. The idea of squeezing them all onto a microchip seemed so clinical and impersonal. I’ve also always been a gadget nut and technophile so I was torn.
A few weeks ago, after lugging Don Winslow’s epic Power of the Dog with me all over Europe and the eastern seaboard, I began to rethink my reasoning. Maybe my 37 worthless trade paperbacks of Michael Connely’s novels could go.If I ever wanted to revisit one of Harry Bosch’s adventures again I might be better served by a smaller lighter device.
I asked my Facebook community what they thought about kindles. They unanimously agreed that kindles are great. This cinched it.
For £109 I got the Kindle Paperwhite WiFi. It seemed to do the best job as a reader and wasn’t trying to be a tablet also ran like the Fire series. I wouldn’t be installing games on it and the stripped down interface put almost no barriers between the screen/page and I.
Yes, it was weird for the first 15 minutes. I was very aware I was looking at a screen and not reading a book. A few little tweaks of the settings — a smaller font, wider margins, smaller line spacing — and, yeah, it started to look like a penguin classic. When I started to try to turn the page with my left thumb rather than scroll around the page, I knew a corner had been turned. My brain was accepting this as a reading thing not a computing thing. From that point it became a joy to use. I continue to unconsciously reach with my thumb to flick the page.
The screen itself has a rough texture, not totally unlike a rather pulpy page in a paper book. It’s not the slick glass of an iPad or iPhone. The device itself has only one small button on the bottom edge for power. All of the interacting is done by touching the screen, 2/3 of which turns to the next page. A gutter about 1/3 the width of the screen on the left goes back and an area of equal width along the top brings up a context-sensitive menu. It’s here that you can adjust the brightness of the screen, the typeface, spacing, etc.
I’m not going to go into detail of the functionality as I’m sure others much more competent than I have already done so. The key functions of these things should be:
- Readability in all environments
- Ease of page turning
- Long battery life
- Access to heaps of content
- Comfortable to hold
On all these fronts the Paperwhite gets a nice big tick mark. As an iPhone user the battery is seemingly infinite (although the manufacturer claims in reality it’s only up to 8 weeks) and I find using it very easy after I broke the habit of scrolling down to move through long text.
My only gripe, and it’s a pretty minor one for fiction books, is moving around from page to page or chapter to chapter. Because of the changeable type, I assume, the Kindle doesn’t use pages. It uses a marker called Loc (location) that measures…something; it increases in increments of 11 in the book I’m reading right now (“Alexander the Great” by Robin Lane Fox) but 11 what I do not know. It also shows the percentage of the book you’ve read, how much longer, in hours & minutes, you’ve got in the chapter and in the book overall. I’ve got 27h51m left in this one. While interesting, it’s sort of a weird way to measure, although I don’t know what a better way would be.
In short, I’m in love with this device. It’s small, light, and easy to pull out and stow away on the tube or bus. I’ve not flung an angry bird or smashed a single gem since I’ve gotten it. I have read three books and downloaded a ton more. I’ve grabbed huge tomes that would have put me off simply because of their sheer size and stored them on the Kindle. I’ve heard from lots of people who say, “it’s not the same. I can’t curl up with it on a rainy day.” Maybe it’s because I don’t tend to read in the foetal position but I’ve found the device to be very engaging, especially after chucking it into a faux leather carrier. This past Sunday I read and entire book, sat on my couch, while the wind wailed and the rain dumped down outside. I didn’t long to be turning pulp instead of touching a screen. I was absorbed in the act of reading, free from distractions.
I’ve got a trip coming up tomorrow and I can’t wait to get some time with my Kindle and Alexander the Great.