Archive for November, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite – Touching is good

November 6, 2012 1 comment

When I was in college, one of the students had the original version of the Kindle. It was big, clunky, and slow, but I instantly saw its potential. I’ve since owned three copies of the gray Kindle with keyboard (don’t ask), and that was a huge advance in terms of form factor, speed, and resolution.

I recently bought a Paperwhite to replace my most recently broken Kindle. Here are my initial thoughts after having used it for about 2 weeks.

Video clip of pressing to define

Video clip of dragging to select text



  • Refresh rate is noticeably faster
  • Resolution is better – text is very crisp
  • Getting definitions of a word is much easier – takes one long press on the word rather than navigating through the whole page with the directional pad
  • Extremely small; fits easily into a jacket pocket
  • Light works very well and does not strain my eyes
  • UI has improved – navigating through books stored on the cloud vs on the device is very straightforward
  • Highlighting is very intuitive and easy to do
  • High quality virtual keyboard – very responsive
  • All the games I tried have been updated to support virtual keyboard – including the New York Times crossword puzzles
  • Much easier to find the books to borrow in this version – use the same unified Kindle store to search, then if it’s available, will show up as a download/borrow option
  • Nice option to see how much time is left in the chapter vs book – tap in lower left corner or access from the menu
  • Really great walkthrough of the different tap zones and what they do when you first turn on the device


  • For both the highlight and define gesture, you need to hold your finger on the start word for a fraction of a second longer than I’d like. If you move your finger or remove it before that time, you’ll turn the page. I’ve accidentally turned the page a few times.
  • Since the only way to turn the page is by tapping the screen, it’s easy to accidentally click on a link. When the link is external, it’s easy to undo – hit back on the browser. If it’s internal, to a later chapter, you get dumped later in the book with no way to get back. This is extremely confusing and disorienting. If you only read novels, this is a non-issue, but for tech books it can be a problem.


  • Light is uneven at the bottom; more evident in a dark room


This device is amazing, and any negatives I’ve highlighted are far outweighed by the positives. Everyone I’ve shown it to has loved it, and even those who were concerned about a touch screen on an e-reader have appreciated its responsiveness and UI.

This is by far the best e-reader I’ve ever used. Here’s hoping I have better luck with this version than the last three.

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