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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013) review

Amazon's new Kindle is even better than before

Our Verdict

The 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle yet, it's the most cost effective ereader on the market at £109 (in this spec range) and it easily beats the Kobo Aura on performance and design. Amazon has managed to create a fast e-ink tablet with inventive reading apps.

For

  • Upgraded design
  • Faster processor
  • Incredible battery life

Against

  • Internal storage questionable
  • Dark spots on screen
  • Poor browser

Most of the updates have been made to aid in-book navigation. Kindle Page Flip is a new feature that lets users scan massive swathes of the book, rather than going page by page to get to where you want to be, without losing your place.

So you can go back and look at a page you read previously and see how it's relevant to what's happening later in the book.

There's also a new search feature called Smart Lookup, where the Kindle combines with Wikipedia to give you more information about certain phrases or words outside of a simple definition. The idea is that the Paperwhite will give you a definition of a phrase such as 'credit default swaps', rather than an individual definition of each word.

This works surprisingly well, given that it's the type of function that's likely to be riddled with errors. It does, however, only work with certain indexed books.

For books that aren't indexed, the search function is pretty useless, I searched for the word 'Holmes' in 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' and the search turned up with nothing.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Similar to the Kobo Aura series' 'Beyond the Book' app, Kindle has an 'X-Ray' feature that gives you background information on characters in the book and the author. For some odd reason, in the X-Ray menu of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the Paperwhite had no problem finding the multiple references to Holmes and other characters whereas the search function couldn't.

A strange occurrence and probably suggests some sort of disconnect. There also seemed to be an issue with switching books, when I closed one book and opened another - the Kindle simply opened the book that we were reading before. I had to wait for a minute or two before venturing into another book in order for the Kindle to catch up.

Amazon is apparently keen to help you improve your lexicon with its new Vocabulary Builder app. Words you have sought a definition of are stored in a list for you to peruse over later. You can quiz yourself with flashcards and test whether or not you've mastered the words at a later date.

This is certainly a useful feature, if not a bit silly. It's common to be stonewalled by a word you've not heard before but to spend time quizzing yourself at a later date with flashcards feels like you've time-travelled back to your English Key Stage 3 exams. Definitely something to do in private.

You can also share your thoughts on the book you're reading on social media sites, which is basically posting a status update from the Kindle - hardly groundbreaking but probably a feature that has to be included.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Browser

Titled the 'experimental browser', which doesn't exactly fill you with hope, the Paperwhite's internet browser is what you would expect from an ereader. It benefits from the Paperwhite's speed and responsive screen, but it falls down when tasked with anything remotely multimedia. Even basic browsing can a bit of a chore, there doesn't seem to be any forward or back buttons and some pages take an age to load - if they do at all.

That's not to say it is a complete disaster, however, you can still visit some websites, they just don't look very good. If you load up a content-rich website such as TechRadar you can happily read through the news, scrolling up and down without too much delay, and the text shows up very clearly.

But as I said before, you shouldn't buy an ereader for the multimedia experience and the browser is merely supplementary.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Battery life

As with previous versions, Amazon says that the Paperwhite can last for two months straight on a single charge - that's if it's used sparingly and with minimal backlight.

This is common with most ereaders, their low-power e-ink screens mean that they're more durable in the battery department than fully functioning tablets. I tested the Paperwhite and found that after two days' solid use, the battery only dropped by just under 10%.

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