New Kindle Paperwhite price, release date and features

Here's everything you need to know about 2013's all-new Kindle Paperwhite.

Amazon has given its luminous Paperwhite e-book reader a revamp -- but what's new, how much does it cost, and when can you buy it? Read on to find out.

New Paperwhite features

Like the first model, this new Kindle Paperwhite's biggest feature is its glowing screen, which makes it dead easy to read your ebooks when the lights are out, or in the romantic, failing twilight.

The new Paperwhite has a brighter light, so if the previous model's maximum brightness level wasn't enough, you can crank it up to even more retina-searing levels. The E-ink screen has been upgraded too, to one that offers slightly higher contrast for an easier reading experience.

There's a new 1GHz processor too, which should make moving from screen to screen a lot quicker. One annoying thing about many older Kindle devices is the slight delay when you press to turn the page, and having gone hands-on I can report that the new chip makes this revamped Paperwhite feel much swifter.

There are a few other new features, including Wikipedia support, which lets you tap on a word to see the online encyclopaedia's official definition. Every word you look up gets added to a vocab builder app, so you can quickly look back over any words you didn't understand -- useful perhaps if you're trying to read a book in a different language.

Perhaps most useful is a new on-screen slider tool called Page Flip, which opens a window within which you can scroll through an entire book, without leaving the page you were on. If you're reading a play and need to quickly refer back to the list of characters, or a fantasy novel with some detailed mythical maps near the beginning, I can see this proving useful.

Parents will be interested in Amazon's FreeTime app, which lets you lock kids out of the Kindle shop, and a number-of-minutes goal of how much reading you'd like your child to do every day.

Amazon says you can expect two months of battery life with the Wi-Fi turned off. Heavier use will drain the battery quicker, though broadly speaking the Kindle is one of the few gadgets out there to offer truly impressive battery life, often lasting an entire holiday without crying out for its power cable.

Price and release date

The new Paperwhite comes in two versions, with different prices and release dates, though both can be pre-ordered now.

The first comes out on 9 October, connects to the Internet only over Wi-Fi and costs £109. The second connects over 3G and Wi-Fi, and will set you back £169. That's a lot pricier, but will let you download books while you're away from a Wi-Fi connection.

Amazon's 3G works, at no extra cost, across most of Europe and the US, as well as India, Japan and broad swathes of Australia. The Kindle has a rudimentary web browser on board too, making the 3G option handy if you need to occasionally look something up while abroad, without incurring horrific data charges.

Alternatives

If you're looking to save cash, you might investigate Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch GlowLight, which costs £69 from John Lewis and has a similar glowing screen. You don't get access to Amazon's vast book store and there's no 3G option, but it is much cheaper, so could be worth considering.

For £69 you can also have the most basic Kindle, which doesn't have a built-in light but is still a cracking e-book reader.

Are you tempted by the new Paperwhite? Let me know if you're planning a purchase in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

MacBook Pro running slow?

Speed up your MacBook by adding more RAM with these quick and easy steps.