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The days when a book was simply a few sheets of paper sandwiched between two covers are long gone. Of course, there’s every chance that the paper-and-ink novel will never die out completely – it’s too perfect a design for that – but it’s no longer so simple as that. The times, they are a-changin’.
The Kindle Paperwhite is in many ways the peak of current ebook technology. Sure, it can’t play movies like the Kindle Fire, or leap tall buildings in a single bound like the iPad – but once you remove the tablets from the race it’s pretty clear that the Kindle Paperwhite is several lengths in front. From the sleek, lightweight design to the touchscreen technology and the clear, crisp reading experience, this is as good as (e)reading gets. Here’s a breakdown of its main features:
Screen: If you’re already familiar with the previous generation of Kindles, the new Paperwhite will still come as a surprise. The whites look whiter than before, the blacks blacker. The entry-level Kindle always suffered from slightly greying text, straining your eyes in poor lighting, but you’ll have none of that here. The text is easy to read, and often sharper than plenty of the print books on my shelf. The backlight has been redesigned too, offering a more natural light, which makes for easy reading over longer periods of time.
Most of the features are the same as before. But the tweaks to the screen and the general operation make this the perfect entry-level Kindle for those who want to join the ebook generation – and it’s a valuable upgrade for those still labouring with the basic Kindle, too. They come in a range of sizes and some even have 3G; you can check out all the options here.
Navigation: The touchscreen technology makes for a much easier experience than the old Kindles, so you’ll have to engage your brain just a little less between chapters. Menus are clear and simple, and without an array of buttons to navigate the entire experience is close to seamless.
Capacity: With only 2GB of storage, you may worry that the Paperwhite won’t hold your e-library. But don’t be too concerned. The focus is firmly on its reading capabilities (there are no apps to download here, and there isn’t even a headphone socket) so books and documents are all that will fill up your device – and these tend to take up very little space. There’s room for literally hundreds of books on the Paperwhite, and with a new facility to switch between your cloud and your device storage you have plenty of online storage options should you ever reach capacity.
Battery: We didn’t get a chance to test this, but Amazon are saying that the battery will last for eight weeks, if you read for an average of 30 minutes a day. Even if you read for an hour a day, it should still last a month. Long enough to take it away on holiday with you and forget to pack the charger.
Pages: Without buttons to hold you back, the page-turning experience is quick and seamless. A tap to one side of the screen, or a swipe, does the job, and the new pages now load 25% faster than previous models. Perfect for reading one-handed while you sip a cup of coffee.
Options: If you like to customize your e-reading experience, there are plenty of options to choose from. Menus can be viewed as thumbnails or lists, the text size can be changed quickly and easily, and there are even different fonts to choose from. We also liked the new PageFlip feature, which enables you to ‘flick’ through the book to a specific page. Ebooks have always been more difficult to jump around in than their physical counterparts, but now you can flip backwards and forwards with ease. Surely it won’t be long until they come with a built-in flyswatter too.
If you already have the previous Paperwhite, you probably won’t want to upgrade to this newer version. Most of the features are the same as before. But the tweaks to the screen and the general operation make this the perfect entry-level Kindle for those who want to join the ebook generation – and it’s a valuable upgrade for those still labouring with the basic Kindle, too. Here at Litro we believe that the print-and-ink book is here to stay – but when you’re on the move and want a light, portable way of carrying your library with you, the Paperwhite is currently top of the pile.
Litro has a Kindle Paperwhite to give away this Valentine’s Day. We want to hear your best literary chat up lines (via haiku) by 12th February at the latest. The best lines will be posted online Friday 14th and a winning cupid will be chosen to win a New Kindle Paperwhite. Find more details and terms & conditions here.
About Dan Coxon
Dan Coxon is the Magazine Editor for Litro.co.uk, and the author of Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand. He lives in London, where he spends his spare time looking after his two-year old son, Jacob. His writing has most recently appeared in Salon, The Portland Review, Neon, Gutter, The Weeklings, The Nervous Breakdown, Spartan, and the Ben Tanzer-edited anthology Daddy Cool. Find more of his writing at www.dancoxon.com, or follow him on Twitter @DanCoxonAuthor.