When it comes to eBook readers, Amazon’s Kindle line has become synonymous with the product category. The Kindle family comprises significant market share in the eReader space, and with the latest release of the flagship Kindle Paperwhite, it’s easy to see why. The Paperwhite provides value, convenience and a gratifying reading experience that collectively outshines competing devices. An ideal option for both casual readers and serious bookworms, the Kindle Paperwhite handily earns our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award as the best eBook reader on the market.
The name Paperwhite stems from this device’s unique E-ink screen. The 212 pixels per inch look amazing on a white screen as opposed to the grayscale typical of most eReaders. It also boasts a higher contrast than the previous Paperwhite version. The result is sharper text that is easier to read and more closely replicates paper books.
The display also yields high readability in any environment. Most notably, you can comfortably read the Paperwhite in bright sunlight without any glare, which is one of the biggest advantages to using a dedicated eBook reader over a tablet or smartphone. Much to our delight (and that of serious readers everywhere), the Paperwhite performs equally as well in dim and dark conditions. The screen is front-lit, which means LED lights along the edge of the display shine down onto the digital page, not from the back of the screen into your eyes as many other eBook readers and tablets do. This makes for more even lighting and reduces eyestrain.
Additionally, the device has 24 levels of brightness so you can adjust the light to a level that’s most comfortable for you.
Some Kindle users bemoan the lack of navigation buttons on the device but we feel the highly responsive touchscreen delivers a seamless and intuitive reading experience. To turn forward a page, you simply tap on the bottom right corner. Conversely, you tap the bottom left corner to go back a page. Lastly, you can bring up the Kindle toolbar by tapping anywhere at the top of the screen.
In terms of actual page turning, the Kindle Paperwhite sets the bar high among the best eReaders. An upgraded processer yields page turning that is remarkably swift and far from the sluggish reading experience characteristic of older eBook readers.
The Kindle Paperwhite isn’t the lightest eReader we reviewed but still scores high marks for portability. The device weighs just over 7 ounces and, as Amazon claims, is thinner than a pencil. These specs in conjunction with its soft, rubberized housing make the Paperwhite easy and comfortable to hold during lengthy reading sessions.
The Paperwhite’s impressive battery life further augments its overall portability. You won’t be tethered to an outlet with this device, which boasts nearly an eight-week battery life, assuming 30 minutes of daily use. Of course, as with any digital device, actual battery life can vary depending on your usage.
The Kindle Paperwhite brings with it the best eBook store and overall ecosystem in the industry. Amazon is the largest and undoubtedly most well-known distributor of eBooks, and downloading new content onto the device is effortless. With a tap of the screen, you can browse over 2 million titles and even subscribe to your favorite magazines and newspapers.
As with any eBook reader, you must be connected to the internet or a cellular network in order to download books. The Kindle Paperwhite comes with Wi-Fi connectivity so you can connect to your home network or any Wi-Fi hotspot when you’re out. There is also a 3G version of the device with free 3G that allows you to download content at any time no matter where you are. While we appreciate the convenience this option affords, the Kindle Paperwhite 3G is a pure luxury item. Its price tag is within striking distance of better, multifunction tablets, and in our opinion, the 3G capability (the only additional feature you’re really paying for) isn’t worth the substantial price hike over the regular and affordable Wi-Fi version.
The Paperwhite can hold approximately 1,100 eBooks so you’ll never have to leave home without your favorite titles. While it does not have a memory card slot that would enable you to expand its book capacity, we imagine most readers won’t run out of space anytime soon.
Perhaps the only real drawback we can find with this device is its lack of support for audiobooks. With no headphone jack, listening to audiobooks simply isn’t an option. The inclusion of this feature would make this stellar book reader even better but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most prospective buyers.
Beyond the array of benefits the Kindle Paperwhite offers booklovers, the device is chock full of useful features. Some seem a bit gimmicky but there’s no denying that collectively they can make for a fun, enjoyable and even educational reading experience.
The most useful feature the Paperwhite offers is automatic syncing across all of your devices. When you start reading a book on your Kindle, the Whispersync feature automatically synchronizes your last page location across all of your devices that have the Kindle app. This way you can continue reading even if you don’t have your eReader with you.
For serious readers, the Paperwhite also allows you to add margin notes, create bookmarks and highlight text. There’s even a built-in dictionary you can use to look up words without losing your place.
The Kindle Paperwhite has set the bar high for the competition. While the latest version of the device isn’t a complete overhaul of its predecessor, it still manages to outperform other, even more expensive, eReaders. Unrivaled in terms of readability, convenience and content access, the Paperwhite is a fantastic eBook reader for serious book lovers.
The Kindle Paperwhite boasts adjustable edge-lighting and a crisp, white E-ink display that enable comfortable reading in any environment. It also integrates with the best eBook store in the business.
Lacking a headphone jack, it doesn’t support audiobooks.
Delivering convenience and readability that far surpasses most competitors, the Kindle Paperwhite is a fantastic eReader for booklovers.