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Amazon to users: Hey, the Kindle Paperwhite isn't perfect

Amazon preemptively discloses some potential shortcomings in its latest Kindle e-reader compared with previous models, most likely to get out in front of user complaints.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read
Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite. CNET

How's this for honesty? Amazon took it upon itself to post a note today on its site listing the limitations of its newest e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite.

The Kindle Paperwhite has a light-up screen that lets you read in the dark, which previous Kindle e-readers lacked. That light, however, isn't perfect. So to get in front of the complaints, Amazon opted to disclose some of its drawbacks -- plus other design changes -- ahead of time.

For instance, Amazon acknowledged that the built-in light will provide uneven illumination under certain lighting conditions. The uneven lighting occurs in the margin where text isn't present.

The device also has less memory, with only two gigabytes of storage vs. previous models with 4GB. And it lacks audio or text-to-speech capability, which Amazon said it omitted in order to make the Paperwhite thinner and lighter.

Of course, a cursory look at the product page would also reveal some of these differences. Amazon, however, has opted to be crystal clear about the differences between the Kindle Paperwhite and older models.

The full statement is below:

Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we've ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about. Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.

Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even. See examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions. These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation.

The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.

Unboxing the Kindle Paperwhite
Watch this: Unboxing the Kindle Paperwhite