CNET First Look
Kindle Paperwhite shinesRising to the top of the e-reader pack, the Kindle Paperwhite is a no-brainer purchase for anybody waiting for a Kindle with a built-in light.
-Hi, I'm David Carnoy and I have here the Kindle E-ink reader that everyone has been waiting for the one with a built in light, the Paperwhite. It looks a lot like last year's Kindle Touch that's because aside from the missing physical home bun, the chassis is mostly the same and the 2 devices actually both weigh in at 7.5 ounces or about half an ounce heavier than the nook simple touch with glow light. Aside from that integrated light, the Paperwhite also has that capacitive touchscreen rather than the IR based touchscreen found on competing touchscreen models from other companies and finally that's screen is a higher resolution 1024 x 768 pixels display with 2012 PPI that allows text and images to be rendered more crisply. About that light, when I first saw it in action, my media impression was that Amazon was using backlit technology even though I knew it was front lit. That's because when you're looking at it in a non-darkened room, the lights plays across the screen very uniformly and the screen has a pleasing white cast to it. For that reason, Amazon says it expects people to use the light all the time indoors and only turn it off when outside in bright sunlight. Light goes as soon as you turn the device on and then you can adjust it or turn it off using the touchscreen. When I thought the light washes across the screen more uniformly than light on the Nook Simple Touch with glow light in the dark, you do you see some unevenness in spots particularly toward the bottom of the screen where the LEDs are. In other words, it's not perfect even after you try to smooth things out by adjusting the brightness level, but it's still pretty darn good and that lack of total uniformity should only bother a small fraction of users. As far as the capacitive touch goes, I think it's superior to the IR touch phone and competing devices, but it's just not a night and day performance boost. One of the reasons for that is that the speed and responsiveness of the devices limited by processors and the sluggish nature of E-Ink in general. The higher resolution display is also pushing more pixels, so page turns an overall responsiveness only seems slightly faster. The Paperwhite borrow some of the user interface motifs from the Kindle Fire with the same tag or metaphor for displaying content. The cover view interface has a more vibrant appearance for black and white anyway, and this new Kindle has an overall slicker UI than what's found in it's predecessors. The other key factor in all of these devices is battery life in area where Amazon and Barnes & Noble have been fiercely duking it out for supremacy. Remarkably, Amazon said, you can get up to 8 weeks of battery life from the device with the light on and half brightness based on 30 minutes of use a day with WiFi off. That's about double the nook glow lights numbers. One other notable feature worth mentioning is that this Kindle keeps track of your reading speed and can tell you how long it will take to finish the chapter or the rest of the book. Also, you get Amazon's x-ray feature, which isn't available on the entry-level kindle. One feature missing from the Paperwhite is audio. Amazon has removed the audio support that was available in the Kindle Touch, which means no text to speech functionality or MP3 playback. It's also worth mentioning that no AC adaptor is included. Just a micro US cable for charging. The special offers add supportive model with WiFi cost only $119, which is less than with competing models cost. All models have 2 GB of built in memory, one GB of which is usable for storage, but unlike the Nook Glow Light, there is no expansion slot for additional memory. Yeah, it would be nice if the Paperwhite was a little bit lighter, but overall, this is a big step forward for the Kindle E-Ink line. Both the Paperwhite and Nook Glow Light are excellent E-Readers, but the Paperwhite's light is implemented slightly better in addition of the higher resolution screen and capacitive touch or other plusses in each favor. Rest assured, Barnes & Noble will eventually add that higher resolution display to its glow light model, but for the moment anyway, the Paperwhite jumps to the head of the E-reader pack. It may not be perfect, but it's definitely the Kindle a lot of people have been waiting for and that's why we're awarding it an editor's choice. I'm David Carnoy. Thanks for watching.