Other Gadgets

Kindle Paperwhite Review

Mahananda Bohidar 3rd July | Updated on July 03, 2013

sbtb03_kindle2.jpg

sbtb03_kindle4.jpg

sbtb03_kindle5.jpg

sbtb03_kindle6.jpg

As the debate about physical books being better than e-books raged on,we put the new Kindle Paperwhite to test.

It doesn’t smell like books.” “You can’t flip pages on this like on a real book!” “I would never pick this over a paperback.” My friends’ and colleagues’ reaction to the Kindle Paperwhite could be summed up in those three sentences. Granted the idea of depriving a bibliophile of the yellowed pages, the dog-ears and roof-high stack of books, read and unread, is a painful picture to paint. But, all I tried to convince the detractors is of the fact that being a bibliophile and a Kindle owner do not have to be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, if you are someone who is comfortable with letting go of orthodox versions and embrace digitalism, then an e-reader will most probably be a welcome addition to your life. It had been more than a couple of years since I reviewed the first Amazon Kindle, so I was understandably excited about how the new Paperwhite has improved upon its long-gone ancestors.

It fits!

Almost in contradiction to every current trend in gadgets, the new Kindle Paperwhite is petite. The screen enveloped by the almost-black, matte bezel spans just 6 inches. The size will appeal greatly to frequent travellers and urban commuters.

Turning the pages might not be as sensual as turning the pages of a book, but a light touch at either side of the tablet takes you one page forward or backward in the book you’re reading. Even for first-time users, the interface on the Kindle Paperwhite might be pretty intuitive. All settings and shortcuts– Home, Search, Kindle Store, Brightness Levels – are neatly arranged in one row at the top. If you are in the middle of a book and you want to go to the homescreen a light tap on the left corner of the screen will make this entire panel of options re-appear.

While reading, if you stumble upon a word that you are not familiar with, you can long-press it and the in-built dictionary will pop up and explain the meaning to you. It will also show you an option to highlight that word or add a note or even translate it into other languages!

Features

A major highlight of the Kindle experience is the ‘X-Ray’ option. You know how you read a book say a complicated one like, say ‘The Game of Thrones’. There are so many characters being introduced throughout the book that at times it might seem like you’re losing track. So, you want to refer to some incident or mention in the past and you don’t know which page it might be on. Here’s where you choose the X-Ray option and the device will automatically show you a long list of names or important keywords on a page, in a particular chapter or the entire book. It’ll also show you a bar indicating how frequently and on which pages the keyword appears. This is like the digital version of a dog-ear, except you have the freedom to see all of them at the same time and then flip to the one you were looking for!

Looking for content

The content on the Amazon Kindle store remains unparalleled. The best part being the physical book that you’d get for whatever quoted price is slashed by almost half (in most cases less than half) for the Kindle version. We realised that we’re still fans of Whispernet (Amazon’s proprietary and superbly efficient data service) which automatically downloads the book you purchase on the Kindle and then lets you sync it on any other device on which you might have downloaded the Kindle app. 3G connectivity comes at no cost at all, allowing you to access the Amazon store on the go and have e-books delivered by Whispernet in under 60 seconds.

The best part about getting lost in the Kindle Store is that you discover classics and the occasional gems absolutely for free. Take that, purists!

It was also good to see that Amazon hasn’t tried cramping in unnecessary buttons on the device. The Power/Lock button is surreptitiously stowed away at the bottom and hence easily within reach as you read a book on the Kindle propping it with your hands below.

You get a digital one instead and although the typing is neither extremely smooth nor lightning fast, it gets the job done. Keeping the typing and searching on the Kindle Paperwhite to a minimum would be advisable. All too used to the snappiness that smartphones and tablets deliver, many may find an exaggerated lag in going from one page to the other or basically switching from one function to another on the Paperwhite. This has always been the case with most Kindles and might prove annoying for some users. Apart from the books that you download from the Kindle Store, you can also source e-books and PDFs from free online sources. You can then simply drag and drop these on to your Kindle when it’s connected to your PC.

We didn’t have the Kindle with us long enough to run on empty after a full charge, but when we initially started using it had less than 50 per cent battery life and we used it for about 3-4 days on the remnants.

The Kindle Paperwhite might seem too small an e-reader to some consumers but the device serves its purpose well. To sum it up, it’s the perfect pocketable library. It definitely lacks the extra functionality that a connected, converged device such as a tablet delivers. But that might just be what an e-reader needs – no distractions, just the pure pleasure of reading!

Rs 10,999

mahananda.bohidar@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 03, 2013

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor