White, bright, 'n' light.
Funnily enough, as a nation we tend to read more during the summer... or rather we buy more books. We blame summer holidays and the sense that we all get that says, “ooo, I'll take a book along, to read by the pool.” Last year we reviewed a very pool-friendly eReader, the Kobo Aura H2O, but this summer we wanted to check one out that you'll be reaching for long after the summer has ended. We test the Kindle Paperwhite.
Amazon tell us that the Paperwhite is their best-selling Kindle currently, and after just a week or so using the palm-friendly eReader, we're not surprised. If you were wondering what makes the Paperwhite stand out from the standard (and slightly cheaper) regular Kindle, it's all in the name.
The exceptionally clever ones amongst you might have guessed that the Paperwhite's background – the part where the e-ink text appears – is brighter and whiter than normal eReaders that you might be used to, including the original Kindle. This really does serve to give the screen a more papery appearance, and coupled with the subtle yet powerful backlight, reading on the Kindle Paperwhite is almost like reading from white paper.
The detail in the text is also vastly improved over other e-Readers, as the Paperwhite possess a pixel density of 300ppi. This makes letters appear exceptionally smooth and well-rounded, and it is also well shown off whenever one of the screen saver images pop up when you put the device to sleep – seriously, the pictures of pen nibs and typewriter keys look alike actual black and white photographs!
The whole package will weigh your book-loving hand down by a mere 206 grams (so fine for reading while swinging away in a hammock by a lake – if you're one of Amazon's models. Also great if you're reading in bed next to your snoring partner) and the screen is a nice and big six inches across the diagonal. As ever with an e-ink screen there is a lovely matte finish to the surface, so even in the brightest of bright sunshine, you'll never get any glare or the awful 'distorted face reflection' like you get when reading a book on a tablet. Christ, is that what we look like?!?
The backlight is fully adjustable and although it can easily be completely shut off, we found it helped out, even in bright sunshine, in making the screen appear more paper-like. Obviously having it on all the time will effect battery life, but we've been using it for a couple hours each night for about ten days now, and the battery is still only half way down; the best of any eReader we've yet to have a play with.
So a great screen combined with a neat and tidy (and light) package makes the Kindle Paperwhite extremely desirable. At about £40 more expensive than a regular Kindle some might wonder if a slighter whiter reading plane is really worth it... but it sooooo is. That brighter and more balanced screen is easy on the eyes, making long periods of reading more comfortable. We like it a lot.