Joseph Thomas

Amidst the avalanche of product launches last week, it’s easy to overlook Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite eReader. Surprisingly, there is still a decent demand and market for E-Ink devices. Which seems counterintuitive given the plethora of tablets on the market. Nonetheless, Amazon’s latest iteration will have bibliophiles turning their heads.

Similar to the Barnes and Noble Nook Glow, the Kindle Paperwhite has a built-in light, which easily illuminates the screen for nighttime reading. Unlike the previous E-Ink technology, the Kindle Paperwhite has 62 percent more pixels per inch for added clarity and sharpness. With a 25 percent bump in contrast, the Paperwhite is easily viewable in a variety of adverse conditions.

Unlike fancy – and power hungry – tablets, the Kindle Paperwhite has a battery that lasts up to eight weeks on a single charge. Assuming, however; you only read 30 minutes each day and have the wireless radio turned off. Nonetheless, the battery life is extraordinary given the device now has a backlight to power.

Not Just Any Light

According to the press event Amazon held earlier this week, the Paperwhite light isn’t your typical backlight. The light shines from the surface of the E-Ink display. The light doesn’t shine towards your eyes, thus improving readability.

Without getting too technical, Amazon spent over two years building the lighting implementation. The device uses a flat fiber optic cable that is woven into a sheet and nano-printed, ensuring that it is evenly distributed.

Based on preliminary reviews, the Kindle Paperwhite’s brightness levels are perfect for reading in bed without disturbing your significant other or reading at the beach. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit regarding the lighting is that it lasts eight weeks – not hours – like on tablets.

What Else is New?

You’ve certainly heard – likely seen – a Kindle by now. Avoiding the ho-hum recap of features, let’s dive into what else is new on the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon made several software improvements and adjustments to improve the user experience. Unfortunately, the web browser wasn’t one of them. Yes, it’s still “experimental.”

X-Ray, which debuted with the Kindle Fire HD, provides readers with all of the passages in the book that mention the idea, fictional character, historical figures, places, topics, or interests that you tap on. For example, tap on “Las Vegas” and X-Ray will find all of the passages referencing the city.

A handy new feature, functionally useless, allows you to see how long it would take to finish the chapter or book based on your reading speed. Dubbed “Time to Read,” you can better manage your time. It answers the age-old question, “Should I start the next chapter?”


The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is available for pre-orders now, with delivery on October 1, 2012. The device comes in Wi-Fi Only and Wi-Fi + 3G models, as well as with or without Special Offers.