Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle PaperwhiteI recently purchased a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon and I couldn’t be happier. As I recently posted, I’ve really jumped onto the eReader bandwagon.

About a year ago, I started seriously considering an eReader. I almost bought one a number of times, but thought my iPad mini would suffice. As the weather started warming up, I started going outside more. I wanted to read outside, but it was less than ideal iPad conditions. The bright sun and desire to read at the beach (somewhere, I was leery of taking a $300 iPad) made me finally pony up for the Kindle Paperwhite.

Why the Paperwhite? Well I did a lot of research on the pros and cons of the major eReader players. The Nook, while a nice device didn’t have the beautiful Paperwhite display. The entry level Kindle lacked the nicer screen, a backlight and a touch screen. I liked the price of those other readers better, but ultimately the Kindle Paperwhite won me over.

A big bonus for me with the Amazon devices over other brands, was the lending library that an Amazon Prime membership includes. I’m already a prime subscriber, plus I’ve previously bought books with the Kindle app, so it made sense for me to stick with Amazon.

The device itself is fantastic. The screen is readable in any situation. In the brightest of sunlight or the dimmest of rooms, you can adjust the backlight to make your reading experience terrific. The size is very nice too. It’s very light, easy to hold and can be hidden away in a bag or cargo pocket very easily.

The built in wi-fi makes synching with or making Amazon purchases a breeze. There is a 3G model, but I opted to stick with the wi-fi (to save some money and I’m usually around wifi for most of the day). The Paperwhite charges on a standard USB cable. They don’t include a wall charger, but these days anyone with a phone has one that can be used.

The battery life seems to be excellent. I’ve charged mine once and I’ve ready five books on it. It didn’t even die, but I was headed out of town and wanted to make sure it was ready. To get a little more battery life out of your device, I recommend turning on “airplane mode” to kill the wifi. I usually leave that on unless I’m synching or browsing the book store.

A nice little touch is Amazon’s Whispersynch, which will keep your last-read page synch across devices. So if you start a book on your Kindle, but then want to continue on a computer or iPad later, you don’t have to remember where you were. It’s a small thing, but very handy.

Overall, it’s hard to find a flaw with the Paperwhite. It’s solved every problem I’ve had with reading in the past, and now I’m flying through books left and right. If you’ve been on the edge, I highly recommend going for it. It’s a beautiful device with a good feature set. I couldn’t be happier with mine.

Opinion: Why I prefer eReaders over traditional books

I’ve never been much of a book reader (I stuck mostly to online articles, blogs and magazines), but eReaders always intrigued me. It’s not that I don’t like reading; I read many articles everyday. Most of my biggest complaints against books were mostly because of the physical books themselves. I don’t like that you have to hold the book open, often with two hands. I don’t like that you could easily drop the book and lose your page. If you wanted to lay down and read, most books are a bit too heady to hold overhead, and putting them on their side isn’t a workable option either. Overall, I just hate reading a physical book. I knew I was missing out on some great literature, but that wasn’t enough for me to give in and deal with it. For all the reasons so many people love their physical books, I hated them.

Enter digital books… Finally they were making books for me. I’ve always been a technology person and along with the aforementioned reasons, I also preferred my text to be digital. For some reason I found it easier to read on-screen than on paper. I’m sure I’m in a minority here, but it’s true. I started reading a few books here-and-there on my computer, and then a few more (and more often) once I got an iPad. I actually got a taste of an eReader last summer at the beach, thanks to a loan from a friend. I had finally found a way to read that suited me. I could hold the tablet in one hand, easily save (and synch) my last read page, and best of all, carry tons of books with me without the bulk and trouble of heavy, physical books.

I knew eReaders were for me and often considered buying one for the last year or so. I rarely jump into a purchase like that, so I started studying what was out there. Just as I was about to put down the money for a Kindle, I got my iPad mini. It seemed like a good enough format to read on so I thought maybe I didn’t need a dedicated device for reading.

Then it started warming up. The sunshine was luring me out of the apartment more and more, and the iPad’s screen, while great outside, just wasn’t the most pleasant thing in the sun. After reconsidering my options, I thought a cheaper, more sun-friendly device would be a better outside companion. I wanted something that could be taken to the beach without the fear of having it stolen (or filled with sand). Something that could be used day or night, inside or outside, just for reading. I ended up with Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. I’m very happy with the decision, and will be reviewing it soon.

Another advantage to a dedicated eReader, one I didn’t even think about ahead of time, is distractions. When you’re on a tablet, it’s easy to get away from your book and surf the Web or check your social media. With an eReader, you’re pretty much locked into a device that only lets you read. In a world with no shortage of distractions, this can actually be a feature and not a limitation.

I have the ability to carry hundreds of books with me at anytime now. I can switch between books with a couple of button presses. I remember reading this on feature lists of eReaders, and thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal. It is though. Especially if you’re away from home. It’s nice to know if you start a book and it sucks, you have other options right there with you. Better yet, if you’re away for an extended period of time, you know you won’t run out of reading material.

So there you have it. Just a few reasons why eReaders rock. Do you agree? Have you had a similar epiphany with the eBook revolution or are you a hardcore, old-school physical book person? Let me know why you think I’m wrong or right in the comments.