What Is it: Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite with 6-inch High Resolution Display, Next-Gen Built-in Light, and Wi-Fi
Price and Where to Buy: Available from Amazon.com and some brick-and-mortar retail outlets like Staples and Best Buy. It's $119 for the Kindle Paperwhite with "special offers" and $139 for the advertisement-free version. (A 3G version is available starting at $189.)
- It reads like a real book. More than any other e-reader I've tried, and way more than any tablet, the newest version (2013 release) of the Kindle Paperwhite excels at delivering a comfortable reading experience. There's no eye strain from reading for hours at a time.
- The adjustable brightness levels allow you to read in any lighting condition, including bright sunlight or complete dark. If you read at bedtime and a traditional book light disturbs your partner's sleep, the Kindle Paperwhite's adjustable brightness control is the solution.
- The battery life is outstanding. I took my Kindle Paperwhite on lengthy trips to Asia and Europe and never had to charge it. In the three months I've owned it, I may have charged it twice, total. And I read a lot of books.
- At just 7.3 ounces, it doesn't weigh much. I can hold it for a long time in one hand without strain. It also fits comfortably in my back pocket, which makes it easy to carry through airports and train terminals and allows me to access it quickly whenever I have a minute to read.
- The Kindle Paperwhite displays a "time left in chapter" indicator based on your reading speed that lets you know how long it will take you to finish a chapter. This is great for trains and buses and airports, where you need to know if you can squeeze in a few more pages before your stop. (You can also turn off this display if you don't like it.)
- The touch-screen technology makes it easy to turn the page with a tap of the finger. It is actually easier than reading a physical book.
- You can borrow e-books from your local library and easily download them to your device. No need to transfer files from a computer. (Pro tip: Load up on library books then turn off your wi-fi—the books will stay on your device even after the loan has ended, until you turn the wi-fi back on.)
- It's easy to switch between devices (Kindle Fire, iPad, your smartphone, etc.) without ever losing your place; the Kindle Paperwhite tracks your progress and allows you to jump to wherever you left off from your last reading session.
- I'm not a fan of the "special offers" version, which is $20 less expensive than the advertisement-free device. The offers are limited to the sleep screen and don't intrude upon the reading experience, but there's something mildly irritating to this voracious reader about having ads on my device. (Your mileage may vary.) If you decide to purchase the cheaper device with "special offers" and later discover you feel like I do about them, you can pay the $20 difference at any time and Amazon will remove them from your device forever.
How it Rates:
- Usefulness: 10/10. This is the best e-reader ever. You can read it in any lighting environment. It's easy to hold with just one hand. And you can load up on an entire library of books for any given trip. (In fact, it can hold about 1,100 books at a time.)
- Portability: 10/10. It fits in your pocket!
- Value: 8/10. At $119 or $139, this is a reasonable price for a great e-reader, but it's still not cheap. You'll save money eventually if you're a rabid reader: The cost of buying new hardcovers (which tend to be expensive) as e-books (which tend to be less expensive) will ultimately make up the difference and then some. But there's still a sizable down payment involved.
- Cool Factor: 10/10. For book purists and late e-book adopters like me, the Kindle Paperwhite is the e-reader we've been waiting for.
Final Verdict: This is the device that finally converted me to e-readers. I may never go back to physical books now. The Kindle Paperwhite is that good.
Editor's Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and "cool factor." Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.