First off, no, I haven’t already blown my “no new crap” resolution. The Paperwhite was ordered last year to replace my badly cracked Kindle 3, and was supposed to arrive on New Year’s Eve. It’s not my fault UPS is worthless.
I got my new WiFi-only Kindle Paperwhite Wednesday night, and I was on the fence about returning it. After all, even though my Kindle 3 is clearly ready to give up the ghost, I still had my iPhone and iPad, right? Was there really a difference between reading on the Paperwhite and reading on crazy sharp retina displays?
Turns out, yeah. There is.
I’ve had my Paperwhite for about 36 hours now, and it is by far my preferred way to read anything long form. There are three reasons for this.
The size really does work. After reading on my Paperwhite, my iPhone 5 feels small and cramped, and my iPad 4 feels like a brick. The size and weight are important. Granted, the iPad mini would probably fulfill this requirement just as well.
The screen makes a difference. Technically, the Paperwhite does emit light through the optic fiber diffusion grid layered over the touch screen. But it’s so diffuse and gentle that it produces no eye strain at all. I used to scoff at people who made the eye strain argument, because I spend probably 12-14 hours a day looking at an LCD. I’m used to it. But the Paperwhite screen really does feel better. It’s kind of like the old gag about how great bashing your head into the wall feels when you stop.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a feature the iOS Kindle app doesn’t have and it’s insidious. In the bottom left corner, you can choose to display your current location in the book, the time left to read the book (based on a sample of your reading speed; it takes a little while for this to show up), or the time left to read the current chapter.
The last one, of course, is the killer. Because each chapter, especially in the thrillers and non-fiction books I read, is relatively short, this is always a small number. So you end up saying, “Well, it’s just another 3 minutes.” Then, “Well, it’s just another 5 minutes.” And before you know it, you’re saying, “Crap, I was supposed to go to work today.”
I’ll post a fuller review once I’ve spent more time with it, but so far, I can see the Paperwhite becoming my constant companion over the coming year. I’m serious about reading more. I’ve got a list in TaskPaper of 100 books I want to read in 2013. I have these books loaded on my Paperwhite, and I’ve already finished 2.