Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Patrick Stafford /

Amazon has been on a roll with its tablets over the past few years, and while the company won’t release any official sales data, it’s fair to assume the business is doing very well indeed.

The company’s latest offering, the Kindle Paperwhite, builds on what made the previous models a success with some key innovations. Is it still enough to attract a crowd?

Hardware and features

The Kindle Paperwhite 2013 edition features a 1Ghz processor, 3G capability and a six-inch screen. Amazon also claims the device features a higher-contrast E Ink screen, which makes reading much easier.

Battery life is also claimed to be equal to 28 hours, with internal storage set at 2GB. WiFi is also included, along with a Micro USB port.

What’s the consensus?

Over at The Verge, the publication notes Amazon has “won the ebook reader war”, but argues the company needs to find new ways to keep using the same device. While the reviewer found few differences between the construction of this model and the last, there was still enough to love.

“The only obvious change, the only way I could reliably identify one device from the other, is by the logo on the back.”

Otherwise it’s the same size, the same weight, the same months-long battery life, the same everything. It’s still comfortable, easy to use in one hand, and as handsomely understated as ever.”

The publication also noted the processor was faster, but at times it couldn’t discern whether or not the effect was simply a placebo – apart from speedier page turns.

“Nothing else about the Paperwhite seemed more responsive, though. Typing, scrolling through the store, even turning the device on and off all feel the same, though they are a beat faster in side-by-side tests with last year’s model.”

Over at Engadget, the publication said the device still retained its soft-touch feel, which “adds a bit of traction”.

Software-wise, however, the company had good things to say. The reading experience is “largely unchanged”, although there has been some tinkering with the user interface.

“Tap in the upper-right corner, and you’ll add a quick bookmark, by way of a little dog-eared animation. Tap up top, and a whole bunch of options will pop up, for searching within the book, advancing to a different section, sharing passages and adjusting the font, among others.”

Finally, at PC Mag, the publication said the Kindle Paperwhite was an “easy” Editor’s Choice device.

“It’s the best ebook reader on the market, and if the ads don’t bother you, go for the $119 version.”

Who’s it for?

If you’re a keen book reader and don’t mind making the change to digital, then this is the eReader for you. It’s cheap, powerful and portable. Although you can still read eBooks on tablets, this is the more dedicated option – and a solid one at that. A good choice for book lovers.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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