Books are our best friends, but nowadays we might not find it convenient to carry them around. So we have their digital alternatives aka e-books, which comes in different proprietary file formats. Here we are going to review the Kindle Paperwhite 2017 e-reader from Amazon in which we can read e-books, documents, browse the web and more.
Look & Feel
The Kindle Paperwhite comes in two colors viz black and white. The device is ergonomically designed for one hand reading. With weighing just 205g and measuring 169 x 117 x 9.1 mm, it can be carried around in your pocket. It also has a glare-free display and touching it gives you a papery feel. The Paperwhite edition has the built-in adjustable light which allows you to read even in bright sunlight. However, the brightness isn’t adaptive to ambient light. There are also no physical buttons or page press sensors for page turns which are present in high-end editions.
The device has a 6 inch E-ink touchscreen display which has 300ppi. As mentioned earlier, it also has an adjustable backlight and is glare-free. The Kindle Paperwhite comes in two versions viz – WiFi only, WiFi+3G. It pretty much has the same hardware spec since 2 years. Here are some the configs for reference – 1GHz CPU, 256MB RAM and 4GB(3GB usable) internal storage.
For connectivity, it has WiFi and micro USB port. But the 3G edition gives you free access to certain websites and you can also download from the Kindle store. The only physical button present in this device is the power button at the bottom edge. The device is juiced by a 1420mAh Li-Po battery which can last for 3-4 weeks with an average 1-hour daily reading. An indicator light along with the on-screen icon gives you the charge level. While charging icon shows a lightning bolt and the indicator is orange, and on a full charge the indicator turns green.
Talking about the software, Kindle, in general, has a Linux based OS with Java Runtime and uses HTML/Java scripts. You can download or sideload books on to your reader. It supports AZW3, AZW, MOBI, PRC, PDF, TXT file types. The Kindle software offers lots of features an avid reader wants. These include dictionary, wordwise vocabulary builder, and of course the X-Ray which pretty much lets you explore the in-depth contents of a book. Another set of useful features are the bookmark, user notes, highlight, and search. You can also browse certain web pages via an experimental browser but unfortunately, it crashes a lot.
e-book navigation is fully touch based. You can touch the right/left bottom to turn pages. Touch anywhere on the top part to view the menu and toolbar. You can also take the screenshot by touching the top left and bottom right at the same time. This will be stored as png file which can be transferred via USB cable. Tap twice on the screen to bookmark a page while reading ebooks. These bookmarks can be accessed from the top right corner of the screen. In the bottom left corner, you can see the percentage of book read and the estimated time to complete the book based on your reading speed.
Even though it can handle many file formats, we may have to convert some. For this purpose, you can either depend on Amazon or third-party software like Calibre. But the Amazon’s conversion service has limited capabilities. You can convert PDF’s by putting ‘Convert’ as subject and send the file to your unique kindle mail address. This will help to convert large PDF files to AZW format so that you may not face any issues. Other formats supported for conversion are TXT, RTF, PRC, MOBI, HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.
There is also a workaround to convert EPUB files with Amazon service and that is by changing the extension of the file from .epub to .png. However, you might lose the typesetting or formatting with these conversions. So we suggest you to use Calibre with KFX output plugin for good quality conversions.
It was difficult for me to make the switchover from the hard copy to e-books. It didn’t give me the same feel as having a hard copy in my hand and I definitely miss the smell of fresh or old paper. But then comes lots of advantages, like the ease of carrying around, feature-rich reading software and lots more. The Kindle Paperwhite edition with backlight allows me to read even in dark with brightness(7-10) slightly turned up.The eye strain is very less compared to reading books in dim light or even reading e-books with mobile/tablet devices.
In short investing for the Kindle Paperwhite did save a lot of time, money and effort for me. If you’re a regular reader, I would suggest you to sign-up for the Kindle Unlimited service here.
This is a stunning gadget, but still, I can point out some of the cons. The Kindle doesn’t come with a bundled charger, but again it hardly needs charging and even 5 minutes of daily USB charging is enough. It doesn’t natively support the widely used formats like EPUB, RTF, DOC, and HTML. The digital ink technology used by Amazon only allows you to see things in black and white and you will miss the colors so much. It has no hardware to play audio files and won’t even play video from the browser. But among them all, the device crashes on opening certain files or web pages. In the end, these aren’t going to bother readers of any kind. Hope you enjoyed the review, Peace!