Kindle Paperwhite 2014 eBook reader review

Introduction, design and complete set

This eBook reader is not brand-new at the market since it first appeared at the end of 2012. But the prices for this device are now much nicer. The model under review is the one of 2014 but in fact it does not present a new model. At the end of 2014 the market will see the new generation of this eBook reader with the screen offering more ppi that will result in the high-quality display. The screen light in the eBook readers is the corner stone of the new generation of readers. Due to the thickness and non-transparence of the screen basement it went through a long process of design and development before the result could be achieved. In 2012 Amazon solved the technical problems with the light design and presented Kindle Paperwhite. It is the eBook reader with the screen lighting. Along with Amazon achievement the similar products were issued by almost all other eBook reader manufacturers.

Here is the brief content list of the device specifications.

Display E-Ink Paperwhite, 6″
Built-in light Yes
Screen resolution 1024 х 768, 16-level gray scale, 212 ppi
Touch screen Capacitive
Storage 2 GB internal (approximately 1.25 GB available for user content)
Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11n/g/b)
Content Formats Supported AZW, MOBI, PRC, TXT, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Picture Formats Supported JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG
Size 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ (169 mm x 117 mm x 9.1 mm)
Weight 7.5 ounces (213 grams)

There are two versions of this device, with 3G and without it. The version being tested is without 3G. At the moment within the first six month of 2014 the price level of this eBook reader begins from 119$. You shall agree it is quite inexpensive. When it just appeared at the market the price was much higher – about 200$.

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Now we shall discuss the design and complete set. The box is original black and white with the splayed top side. It looks much better than the boxes of cheaper models made of non-colored cardboard. Inside the box there is the hard insert fixing the device tightly and protecting it from the damage while transporting. Inside the box you will find the following stuff: the Kindle reader itself, USB cable for connecting the computer and a kind of brief manual book. The Kindle’s outside look is very simple but classy at the same time, especially the variant in black. The design is difficult to describe because of its simplicity. The reader has the shape of the square with the rounded corners. At the front panel you can see only the screen and the Kindle sign, nothing else. Its face is made of matted plastic that is very nice to touch, does not reflect the light – it is a very important characteristic.

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The back side is made of soft-touch plastic. It is very smooth to the touch but at the black edition the fingerprints are visible, though not that much as on the glossy surfaces. I think the situation with fingerprints will look much better at the surfaces of other colors. The main function of the soft-touch material is the protection from the slipping in hands; in these regards it works perfectly. The size of the reader is rather small so it may be even placed into the big pocket of jacket, shirt or jeans.

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The general Amazon trend is to be minimalistic in designing their products. The readers butt has only the micro-USB port and switch-on button. The screen, on-button and USB port inserted into the body make up the device, nothing extra. My personal experience did not detect any defects of assemblage. The possible problems could be experienced by owners of the first consignments. Now all is good: no creaky sounds, no gaps, and the whole thing has a top look.

Display

This is the most important feature of the reader. Its main advantage is the screen light however now it is offered by most analogs. Particularly this Kindle reader has the light screen that is as close to the white one as it is possible. I did not test each eBook reader with lighting presented at the market but I read the reviews through and examined the pictures where some of light screens have greenish, grayish or bluish shades. I make the conclusion that the Kindle variant offers the best lighting. As an experiment I read the book with lighting on for a month. I can say for sure, it certainly works in the bluish range: the eyes get very tired with the light on, the eyesight is damaged right away. Then I switched off the screen light. After a week the eyes felt much better, the eyesight got back to the same level I had before. I can conclude that the screen light as an essential feature of the reader is still waiting for its improvement, but for now it may serve you occasionally and it is not that bad for this purpose. Just be careful when you use it too much! I read mostly at home with in a well-lighted room so I use the screen light very rare, in transport for example. In most cases I try to avoid reading with the screen light on.

I offer you to compare first the screen itself. The other model we compare to is Sony eBook reader. You can see that the Kindle screen is closer to the paper color. It has a warmer shade that is very important for eyes whereas Sony has grey-bluish shade. The picture below shows two screens with the light off.

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On the following pictures you can see the Kindle lighting on at its maximum. The first set of pictures was shot in the room at the day time far from direct sunlight, in the shade. The second shot was done in the room at the twilight time. At the maximum level the lighting is ok but if it is reduced half less or lower it is visible how irregular the lighting is, especially at the bottom of the screen (since the lighting is provided by four LEDs built-in the bottom part of the screen). Personally, I did not like the medium light regimes – the eyes get tired even worse. If there is the necessity to use the lighting it is better to do it at the maximum level enjoying the tablet-like screen.

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Navigation and memory

The control is evidently sensory. It is focused at the top panel of the screen. This panel is hidden while reading but is easy to be activated by the click in the top area of the screen. I find it inconvenient because I prefer to see and check the level of battery charge all the time.

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Navigation through a book is done by touches but the sensor is not sensitive enough and is set for rather aggressive touches. It is a real problem for me. I like changing pages by pressing the button mechanically or by touching the screen gently. Here I have to press even rub the screen with my finger. It is quite stressful. However I have no single complaint against the menu and settings as they are. Everything is thought-out, designed and realized very well. You can find the proof at the pictures below. The menu called in by the finger touch at the upper screen area is an inconvenient solution for another reason: when you use the translation function. The eBook reader has the original translators but it is possible to install more dictionaries if necessary. I regularly use this function, it works by touching the necessary word for 2-3 seconds. It is clear that touching those words which happed to be at the upper area of the screen calls in the menu instead of translation. It adds some stress into enjoyable reading.

The usual feature of Kindle readers is the absence of the possibility to sort out the books into the folders. For example Pocketbook has such a possibility and it looks like you download the books into the device already sorted out by folders and they are storage in the reader in the same view. Kindle displays the books without folder order, you can only sort out the books by their title, author, update date and collections. The collection option is the attempt to give you a possibility to set your own order in your library but I shall admit this function is not thought-out and inconvenient in use. It is a secret for me why they could not organize the displaying books by folders.

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The variety of settings is wide. You can set your bookmarks, make notes, change the font and its size. There is a possibility of setting the line-to-line space, page indent and its orientation. You can even share the favorite abstract with your friends in the social nets. I wonder if anyone has ever used this function. It is evident you have an open access to the Amazon book shop. Actually the low price at the device is explained by the prospect to get more money from you for purchasing books in the Amazon store.

The process of reading in general I would estimate as inconvenient rather than convenient. For sure it is not bad at all, and one can get used to it. I personally like the same functions on the Pocketbook more, in addition.

Software, supported content formats and battery life

The reader’s functional settings are quite standard. There are an air regime, Wi-Fi and Pass Code providing the security for your device content. There is the control for parents; taking into account one may use the browser the control is a very useful thing. Finally the most languages are legally supported. There is a possibility to personalize your device by naming it, setting an individual greeting and that’s all.

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The browser of this reader deserves a separate piece of attention. All the reviews told me it works fast and displays the sites in their best view. I am not sure where this discrepancy with reality comes from, either from paid reviews or inattentive authors who tested the browser with the blind eyes. The browser is extremely slow like in all other readers and the displayed page often looks crookedly. To cut it short, it is impossible to run, it is suitable only for the cases of emergency. In addition the active internet surfing discharges the battery at once.

Now some more information of reading formats. You cannot find any EPUB or FB2 here. Stupid, why does not it support the most common formats of eBook readers? I cannot get the idea of Kindle developers and why they refused from installing one of these formats into the software. Be ready to install at your personal computer Calibre software for example. With its help you will convert all your books into the mobi format, for instance. The manipulations of converting via this program are quite difficult. You may need to spend the whole evening examining and testing the program.

The battery life of the device. If you run your Wi-Fi and browser, the battery will be discharged within the day. If you use Wi-Fi only in the reading mode for searching the information in Wikipedia for example, the life is prolonged up to 3-4 days. If you do not use Wi-Fi and lighting, you will enjoy 2-3 weeks of 2 hours of reading per day without the necessity to charge the device. If you use the lighting the time of device run is reduced to 4-5 times but it depends on the light intensiveness, you remember it is adjustable. I cannot imagine how people at their reviews managed to run their Kindles for three weeks with the light and Wi-Fi permanently working. The same way two months declared by Amazon manufacturers seem fantastic to me, maybe if you daily read a book for half an hour without running light and Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

The device appeared to be rather ambiguous. The lighting is very good but it makes the eyes feel tired because it works in the bluish spectrum. The screen quality is at the top, the color of display is very close to the original paper color, the contrast is nice. The price is currently very attractive, about 119$. For this price it is a very good variant. The browser is still the same like in other models. It is slow, wrongly displayed. The front plastic surface is easily soiled, especially in the black edition. But the backside soft-touch cover is perfect, it is not slippery and no finger-prints. The serious problem is the absence of EPUB and FB2 formats. In addition to that another disadvantage adds more stress- it is inability to display the books according to your own order in folders, but this is the problem of most reader besides the PocketBook. Nowadays most models have the screen light so the Kindle one does not stands out in this respect. In general, there are more positive features and pleasant moments of work with this reader than negative ones. This eBook reader will be a good choice for those who travel much and really need the screen lighting.

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Author: Eric
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