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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

 Review: October 2013  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The new Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's most advanced e-reader with a higher resolution, higher contrast touchscreen, a built-in light and double the battery life.

Today's best buy: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2GB ... from Currys (£109.99)


Improved readability

The original Kindle makes a great reading experience, thanks to Amazon's e-ink display, but the new Paperwhite has 62% more pixels and better contrast for even sharper, darker text. The display is much easier on the eyes than conventional backlit LCD displays, as the screen is matte like real paper, so there's no glare.

It uses a touchscreen user interface too, so you can scroll up and down pages by dragging your finger across the screen. Just tap on the screen to turn a page. The user interface has been carefully designed to let you read single-handedly.

There are new hand-tuned fonts too, in 6 font styles and 8 adjustable sizes.

Perhaps most significant is the built-in light, which makes the Kindle Paperwhite ideal for bedtime reading. This is no simple stuck-on light, but uses a flattened fibre optic cable and nanoimprinting to ensure perfectly even distribution of light over the page. The uniform and fully adjustable lighting is even better than a bedside light. And unlike normal tablets, the screen is not backlit, but is illuminated from above, leading to less eye fatigue. After all, you wouldn't read a book with the light shining through the paper into your eyes, would you?

This new version of the Paperwhite, updated for 2013, has even better contrast than the original and a 25% faster processor to eliminate any lag in the user interface. The touchscreen has also been made more responsive.

Battery life

Because the built-in lighting uses ultra low power LED lights, battery life is not adversely affected. In fact the new Kindle lasts even longer than the original - up to 8 weeks, based on half an hour of reading per day with the light on but Wi-Fi turned off.

Heavier than the basic model

The new Paperwhite is heavier than the Kindle, at 206g compared with 170g. Still, Amazon claims it's lighter than a paperback. We checked to be sure - our copy of The Life of Pi weighs in at 270g, and that's quite a slim volume.

3G option

As well as the basic Wi-Fi version, you can also buy a Wi-Fi plus 3G version of the Paperwhite. Having the option to use Vodafone's 3G high-speed data network in the UK and partner networks outside the UK means that you'll be able to access the internet in places you otherwise couldn't. Where 3G isn't available the system falls back to slower GPRS/EDGE networks. The best thing about the 3G connection is that it's completely free. And you can still use Wi-Fi when it's available.


The Paperwhite improves on the basic Kindle with a better screen and a built-in light. Battery life is also better, although the device is heavier and thicker as a result of the improvements. There are other improvements, like the faster processor, and features that link to Wikipedia and the Vocabulary Builder for new words.

For the average reader, the original Kindle remains an excellent e-reader. But if you read a lot of books, or you read a lot at bedtime, or if you simply value your eyesight, then the Kindle Paperwhite is the one for you!

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite features include:

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2GB ...
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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3 4 ...
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User questions

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Can you really tell the difference between the Kindle and Kindle PaperWhite?

Asked by Ben from UK on 10th Feb 2016
There is a big difference in price between the Kindle and the Kindle PaperWhite. Is it worth it to get 300ppi instead of 167ppi?

Reply by Steve from UK on 11th Feb 2016
I own a 2015 version of the Paperwhite, and I have also used an original Kindle. There is definitely a difference in font quality, although the original Kindle is perfectly readable. The backlight also makes a subtle difference. I have mine turned on low, and it is less of an eyestrain than no backlight. The original Kindle has a slightly grey screen, so it is like reading from low quality paper.

The user interface on the basic Kindle is actually easier to use, because it is more basic. I feel that the new UI still needs some improvement.

If you read a lot, I would definitely recommend the Paperwhite, but the original is OK too.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite user reviews

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