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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013) review

Amazon's new Kindle is even better than before

The Paperwhite's smooth finish is like a freshly sanded piece of wood, and cradling it in your hand feels like something Swiss Toni would make a comparison about.

With a matted black finish and rounded off edges, the Paperwhite has been designed to feel effortless - unfortunately the large 'Amazon' insignia emblazoned on the back takes away some of the eloquence.

This is a six-inch ereader that replicates that rectangle shape of a real book, something the Kobo Aura fails to do.

Solidly built, this is a simplified ereader that doesn't have much to offer outside of the interface. The on-switch is the only physical button, and it sits next to the micro USB slot which is the only physical connection.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Amazon has never been a big fan of external storage or extended connectivity, and the Paperwhite is no different.

With only 2GB of onboard storage you have to wonder how Amazon keep getting away with it and why they don't respond to user requests to add an external SD card slot. Especially when rivals offer expandable storage, or in the case of the Nook GlowLight, 4GB of internal storage.

The answer is that Amazon want its customers to make use of the cloud, something that is made very clear when you boot up the device - more on this later.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

When the device is off you're presented with various black and white reading-related images that change every time you boot up and shut down.

The detail is pretty impressive, and Amazon clearly wants to remind you of the effort it has put into perfecting a quality display when you're not using it. What's on show here is the 16-level grey scale, which essentially means that there are 16 different levels of colour between white and black.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Although, outside of the cool off-screen art and some book covers, you probably won't find much use for that much intensity.

In the global arms race to perpetually improve screen quality, Amazon does not back down. The 212 PPI resolution looks impressive and crisp - a far cry from the blurred and grainy screens of Kindle past.

New e-paper

Perhaps the most important improvement to the Kindle is the introduction of the 'Carta e-paper technology', which is apparently exclusive to Amazon.

The new technology is supposed to offer the whitest whites in e-ink screen history, a 50% improvement in contrast ratio and 20% improvement in reflectance. What Amazon has done is attempt to improve the reading angle and remove sunlight glare, which it has pulled off perfectly.

The screen is easily viewable from any angle and text is clear in direct sunlight. What's impressive is how crisp the text looks and how there's almost zero smudge, small characters and icons can clearly be seen and it does genuinely look like a page of a real book.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Amazon is also trumpeting its new 'next generation' built-in light, which should cause less eye strain, but it's not exactly clear how this is achieved.

The built-in light certainly looks softer, but that could be because it's simply less bright, which could be considered less taxing on the eyes but certainly doesn't warrant the 'new technology' accolade. You can adjust the intensity of the light in the device or turn it off altogether.

At 206 grams it's not one of the lightest six-inch ereaders on the market (the Nook GlowLight registers 175 grams) but it's still light as a feather and unimposing if used for a long period of time.

As with most ereaders the Paperwhite has been designed for extensive use. The slick finish and deft design means you can hold it for long periods of time without focusing on your arm strain rather than the content of the book.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Text Reader
Flash Memory Capacity2 GB
TouchscreenYes
Colour SupportGrayscale (16-bit)
Brand NameAmazon
Battery Run Time1344 Hour
Product LineKindle
Screen Size15.2 cm (6")
Wireless LANYes
Display Screen TypeE Ink
Text FormatsTXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, DOCX
Cellular Data Connectivity Technology3G
Height170.2 mm
Width116.8 mm
Depth9.1 mm
ColourBlack
Image FormatsJPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG
ManufacturerAmazon.com, Inc
Product NameKindle Paperwhite 3G
Manufacturer Part Number53000264
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amazon.com
Marketing Information

Unsurpassed Resolution

Our Paperwhite display offers 62% more pixels, and renders exceptionally sharp, clear text and images.

Stunning Contrast

Kindle Paperwhite 3G's screen has 25% higher contrast. Crisp, dark text against a brilliant white background makes for the perfect read.

Innovative Built-in Light

Paperwhite guides light towards the display from above instead of projecting it out at your eyes like back-lit displays, thereby reducing screen fatigue. You can adjust your screen's brightness to create a perfect reading experience in all lighting conditions, from bright sunlight to bedtime reading.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Host InterfaceUSB 2.0
Weight (Approximate)222 g