I was recently asked to review Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite for Viewpoints. It’s an excellent site you should visit before shopping for anything. You can find detailed reviews on all kinds of products, compare products based on certain criteria, and even write your own reviews. As a member of their official Blogger Reviews Panel, I’ll be testing selected products from time to time, and writing detailed reviews for the site.
So what did I think about the Kindle? I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I’ve had a Kindle since they first came out. I’m talking about the very first generation, made way back in November 2007, that someone managed to snag as a Christmas present for me before they sold out for months. I have loved that thing. It lasted for years. But when it finally gave out last year, I didn’t quickly replace it. Why? By then I had an iPhone and an iPad, and I thought they would work for my e-reading needs. But they don’t.
The limited battery life on these devices makes them impractical for a heavy reader like me. However, this is where the Kindle shines. When I took my Kindle out of the box, it had a little over 50% charge. I’ve used it for three weeks now without ever charging it, with the wifi feature constantly on, and it still has about 20% power. The Paperwhite can go up to EIGHT WEEKS on one charge. For someone who wants to read for extended lengths of time, like on a long flight, this kind of battery life is a necessity.
Also, reading on the Kindle is a divine, beautiful experience. The resolution and the crispness of the text on the “page” is unbelievable. And I am in love with the built-in light (they didn’t have such fancy business on the old Kindle). With this light technology, you can easily read the screen in either the brightest sunlight or the darkest room. The reading experience of a Kindle is far superior to reading the real deal book.
But remember, I said I have a love/hate relationship. So where does the hate come in? Well, it’s not so much hate, more like a very strong dislike. I was very unhappy with the Kindle’s touchscreen capabilities. It was very sluggish and unresponsive. When you touch an iPhone, for example, stuff happens immediately. Apps open, screens scroll, etc. But with the Kindle, all that takes a few seconds to happen. It seems like a few seconds wouldn’t be much, but when you’re used to using devices that respond rapidly, you notice the delay. Also, the screen often couldn’t register my touch. I found myself poking the screen pretty hard in order to get it to respond at all sometimes. Losing all the external buttons and the keyboard makes this Kindle a much lighter and smaller device, but I’d gladly trade that to have my buttons back, because they actually worked.
Also, if you’re the kind of person who likes color and rich graphics, you won’t like the Paperwhite. It has no color, and the graphics are very basic. If you just want to read books, that’s perfectly fine, but if you want to play games, use some of the apps, or read image-heavy periodicals, this might bug you.
One last word of warning: The Kindle comes with a charger you can plug into your computer, but it does not come with a charger you can plug into a wall outlet. You’ll have to purchase that separately if you want it.
So would I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite? Yes, for serious readers who are happy with an e-reader that’s just an e-reader. If you want to read on an electronic device, this one is the cream of the crop. However, if you want more of a multitasking device, one that allows you to read but also use apps, browse the web, etc., you should probably look elsewhere.
Want to read a little more about the Paperwhite? You can check out my review at Viewpoints. Also, you can watch the Google Hangout where all of the Review Panel bloggers discuss it with each other.
One of the coolest things about the Viewpoints program is after we’re done with the reviews, we get to donate the product to a nonprofit of our choice. I’ll be donating this Kindle to my local United Cerebral Palsy chapter. They use e-readers for a variety of therapy activities.
(Disclosure: I was sent an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, at no cost to me, for review purposes. I was not compensated in any manner to write this, or any other, review of the product. I do not get to keep the product after the review period is over. In other words, I’m telling you all about the Kindle because I want to, not because I have to, and not because I’m gaining anything by doing so.)