Thursday, November 15, 2012

Product Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Ebook readers are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They are convenient, portable, versatile, and reasonably priced.

As a member of the Viewpoints Blogger Panel, I had the opportunity to recently review the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon's newest addition to its line of ereaders. The Paperwhite is by far Amazon's most-advanced ereader yet. With touchscreen capabilities and an 8-week battery life, it's hard to beat the features, functionality, and price of this ereader.

The Paperwhite was not my first ereader experience. I've been using the Nook Color for about 2 years now, and I am hooked. As a lover of traditional books, I never thought I'd say that. I love the look and feel of traditional books. I love the way they look lined up neatly on a book shelf. But, in this age of technology, an ereader is the most practical choice for the avid reader.

I've highlighted what I consider to be the most important features and components of the Paperwhite for the average reader. If you are considering purchasing an ereader for either yourself or as a gift, these details will definitely aid you in making your decision.


Battery Life
Amazon promises an 8-week battery life. I received the Paperwhite a few days prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast. As soon as I took it out of the box I charged it. It comes with a USB cable for charging. Out-of-the-box, the Paperwhite must be charged via your laptop or computer. An AC charger is available for purchase for $10. I was definitely disappointed that an AC charger was not standard equipment.

Just before the height of Hurricane Sandy, my family and I lost our power. For almost 7 days. Luckily, the battery on the Paperwhite never died. In fact, by the time our power was restored, the Paperwhite still had about 45% of the battery remaining. This was with frequent use. I read 2 books, and my children downloaded several books as well.

I am currently on vacation using the same battery charge that I initially had going into Hurricane Sandy. It's that good. Plus, it's been perfect for the beach and pool.

Book Selection
Let's be honest. Nothing compares to the vast selection of books available through Amazon. The selection of popular fiction, children's books, and magazines was plentiful. As an English major, I've been known to read the obscure book or two. Not surprisingly, I was able to find several little known titles. Plus, a book that I read several years ago in print format that I hasn't been available for download on the Nook was available through Amazon. The prices were comparable to those on the Nook. In many cases, the Amazon prices were cheaper by several cents, with most titles costing under $10.

Amazon promises that the Paperwhite is capable of holding up to 1,100 books. I certainly didn't download that many in the time frame that I tested it, so I'll have to trust Amazon on this one.

Ease of Use
It was fast with easy to read to menus. I like that both swiping and tapping were functions that were recognized by the Paperwhite. I love the touchscreen primarily because it is what I am accustomed to as an iPhone, iPad, and Nook user. The Paperwhite is back lit so it's ideal for daytime reading at the beach, pool, or a park. It also has an adjustable light for nighttime reading. The light is able to be adjusted to a very dim setting, which I loved. I do a lot of nighttime reading, so this was an important feature for me.

Durability
In the time frame that I tested the Paperwhite, I did not place a cover on it. It was passed around among me and my children often. It was dropped several times. I had it in my purse unprotected, and it still came out unscathed. I was worried about durability due to the compact size of the Paperwhite, but it held up well to my test.

Design
I liked the soft, blue light of the screen, and the fact that it is similar in size to an actual average paperback book. It's small, handheld size is streamlined with rounded corners and a sleek, black appearance. It was perfect for little hands too. If you've got a tween or teen, this is the perfect size. Plus, the Paperwhite features parental controls.

Overall Impressions
Would I buy the Paperwhite? Absolutely! In fact, my youngest daughter would like an ereader, and the Paperwhite is my first choice. The price, $119, is just right for an ereader. Many ereaders have tablet functionality, but if you already own a tablet, a standard ereader, such as the Paperwhite, is all you need.

The features I loved most were the battery life and the enhanced lighting. Just to be able to read without constantly looking at the battery icon was a pleasure.

Click here to read my full review on the Viewpoints Web site.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Paperwhite as part of my participation in the Viewpoints Blogger Panel to facilitate this review. The Paperwhite I received will be donated to a charity of my choice.

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