Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is an e-Ink eBook reader from Amazon. Like the Kindle Touch, which it replaces, it has a touch screen, one physical power button, and an on-screen touch menu (there is no longer a "Home" button). The greatest advancement to the e-Ink reader is the back-lighting, making it possible to read in the dark.

As someone who does a lot of reading at night in bed, I really like the back-lit screen. I can dim the screen so much lower than the iPad (and it's a lot easier to hold in bed than an iPad). In a completely dark room, the iPad lights up the place like a 100 watt bulb compared to the easy-on-the-eyes Paperwhite.

Here's how to turn on or adjust the back-lighting:

  • Turn on the Kindle Paperwhite from the power button at the bottom edge of the device. 
  • Get to the menu options by lightly tapping the top edge of the touch screen. 
  • Tap the small light bulb icon located at the top-center of the screen. 
  • Tap either the plus or minus symbols to increase or decrease the light or tap directly on the vertical "scale" of brightness. 
  • To leave the menu options, tap elsewhere on the screen. 
The Kindle Paperwhite works exactly the same way as the Kindle Touch with the NHDB service. As a reminder, the Paperwhite includes an "Experimental Browser," but it should not be used to visit our NHDB digital collection and checkout books. Kindle Books from our collection need to be "sent" to the device from a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer or transferred via USB from a computer.

For as much as I enjoy reading at night with the back-lit screen, the Kindle Paperwhite isn't the perfect device for everyone. It lacks a speaker (or headphone jack) to make use of the text-to-speech function found in many books. (It's ironic that Amazon would promote the Whisper Sync technology that allows a reader/listener to pick up listening to an Audible audiobook where they left off reading on an eBook -- and then not offer a way to listen to the audiobooks on an eBook reader...)

I should note that I've also had trouble connecting to an encrypted wireless network that doesn't broadcast its SSID. This could be a fluke -- I'll have to try other networks and see if I continue to have trouble.

All in all, I'm happy with the new Kindle Paperwhite, but like the feel of the slightly lighter new Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light a little more.