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If you are looking to pick up an e-book reader, then the Paperwhite makes sense. It has features otherwise reserved for its more expensive sibling like water resistance, 8GB storage and a 300ppi screen. It has good battery life and if reading is all you are going to do, then the Paperwhite can be your new best friend. However, we wish Audible support was there in India and the device had physical buttons on its bezels like the ones we saw on the Voyager. Adaptive brightness would have been the cherry on the cake. Even without these features we think the Kindle Paperwhite is a worthy device for those that read a lot. Having used the Oasis, I didn’t miss the adaptive brightness on the Paperwhite at all (mostly because I like to manually set the brightness). If you pick up the new Paperwhite, then rest assured that it will last you for years to come.
When a device or company’s name becomes synonymous with a product category, then you know that the device or company has become very successful in that category. For example, people usually say Xerox instead of photocopy, iPod instead of MP3 player, and of course, Kindle instead of e-book reader. There are a few e-book readers available in India, however, if you talk to people about e-book readers, chances are, they will use the word Kindle in the conversation. Today we have with us the refresh to one of the most popular Kindle devices, the Kindle Paperwhite. The new Paperwhite brings with it twice the storage than its predecessor, is waterproof and has twice the storage than its predecessor. Is it worth the upgrade?
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In the box you get the Kindle Paperwhite along with a charging cable and the quick starter guide. That’s it. If you need a case (and I recommend it) you will have to invest in it separately.
Storage: 8GB (32GB variant available)
Screen Size: 6-inches
Waterproof: Yes – IPX8
4G: Only in the 32GB variant
Weight: Wi-Fi - 182g, Wi-Fi + Free 4G: 191g
Price: 8GB variant – Rs 12,999. 32GB variant – Rs 17,999
No support for 5GHz Wi-Fi
Compact and sturdy are the first things that come to mind when you hold the new Kindle Paperwhite. The e-reader has a plastic back with a rubberized finish which gives it a good grip. On the front you have the 6-inch display, with thick borders all around and in the race to make devices bezel less, I am happy that the Paperwhite has bezels as it makes the Kindle easier to hold for prolonged reading. It isn’t very heavy and can find place even in a jacket pocket. At the bottom you have the microUSB port along with the power button and that’s it.
The display feels like it can withstand more than a few scratches and for the week I’ve been using it, I haven’t scratched the display. That said, I highly recommend you keep it in a case for longevity. When it comes to the design the new Paperwhite is indistinguishable from its predecessor which is by no means a bad thing. You will use the touchscreen display to turn the pages and I find myself wishing it has the page turners on the bezel like the Kindle Voyage. Not sure how it would have affected the cost of the device, but it would have been nice to have.
The biggest change with the new Paperwhite is that it is waterproof. It is IPX8 rated, which means it can survive up to 60 minutes in water 2 meters deep. If you are one that will take this to the swimming pool with you or would like to read in the bathtub, then you can rest easy that the device won’t get spoilt if accidentally dropped in water.
The 2018 Paperwhite looks and feels just like its predecessor with water resistance being the biggest change.
The 6-inch Kindle Paperwhite has a fantastic e-ink display. It is crisp and bright which is what matters. The 6-inch display has a pixel density of 300ppi along with 5 LEDs to give you a bright uniform reading experience. There is no light sensor to adjust the brightness automatically which is a bummer. So, when you transition from reading in sunlight to the darkness of your bedroom, you will have to manually adjust the brightness. A feature that has translated from its more expensive siblings is the ability to invert the black and white colours. This is a feature that many will appreciate as it helps with reading in the dark.
The Kindle has a touchscreen which is very responsive with no lag whatsoever. The QWERTY keyboard layout to search for books, enter your Wi-Fi password, etc. is comfortable to type on and responsive to the touch.
Overall, the display of the new Kindle Paperwhite is a treat to read on. The pixel density makes the text sharp, the brightness works well for sunlight reading and pitch darkness. Being able to invert black and white colours is a nice option for those that want it and overall, the Kindle Paperwhites display is functional for what it is meant to do, give a good reading experience.
Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis
If you have used the Voyage or the Oasis (red our review of the Oasis here) in the past, then you should feel at home with the UI. The home screen shows you three of your books along with a row of recommendations at the bottom. You can access your entire library of Amazon Kindle books or check out the ones locally stored or navigate the store to buy a new book. You can also log into your goodreads account to keep track of the books and genres you like.
When reading a book, you can simply select a word to see what it means, use Amazon’s X-Ray feature to identify characters in the book, and more. Put simply, it is easier to have the Kindle with you than a physical book, a dictionary and an encyclopaedia about the series you are reading (Game of Thrones anyone?)
The Kindle Paperwhite also comes with 8GB of storage instead of 4GB (which was on the previous gen). Of the 8GB about 6GB is available for use which is a lot. You can carry thousands of books with you with a mere 6GB of available space so don’t fret about that.
One of the biggest additions to the new Kindle Paperwhite is support for Audible audiobooks. If you have an Audible audiobook, you can connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones to the new Paperwhite and listen to it. Sadly, the feature isn’t active in India which is a bummer. This is quite sad considering Amazon has officially launched support for Audible in India and this could have been an ideal move to launch Audible with Kindle in India. The company has done the same thing with the Oasis - removed audible support in India when launching the reader.
Being an e-book reader, we can expect some crazy long battery life for the device. Amazon says the device can last for weeks of usage and we agree. Read for about an hour a day and based on the brightness of the device it can last you 3 to 4 weeks with ease.
If you are looking to buy a Kindle, there are three options for you to choose from. You have the entry level Kindle priced at Rs 5,999. Then you have the new Paperwhite which is priced at Rs 12,999. The older gen Kindle Paperwhite is available online but Amazon says they will only sell those till stocks last. The previous gen Paperwhite is priced at Rs 10,999. At the top of the line we have the Kindle Oasis. Priced at Rs 21,999, the Oasis brings with it a plethora of features that you can read about in our in-depth review here. So, if you are looking for an e-reader, these are your three options from the Kindle umbrella. The question is which one is right for you? Honestly, the Paperwhite is the way to go. If water resistance isn’t important to you, you may want to get your hands on the previous gen version before it sells out. But if you like taking those long weekend baths with a good book or like reading by the beach, then the new Paperwhite is a good sweet spot. It has a good display, amazing battery life and some of the features of its more expensive sibling. The absence of Audible is a bummer though. We only wish Amazon had kept the price of the new Paperwhite the same as its predecessor.