Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My view on the Paperwhite

Now I've been using the Kindle Paperwhite for a couple of weeks, and my conclusion is:
Yes, this is indeed the Kindle I've been waiting for, for five years. To put it simply: a Kindle I could use. And a good ereader for long-term reading.

As my regular readers know, I have long loved the Kindle, but to me it had a huuuge archilles' heel: the dark screen. I just couldn't live with it. It was emotionally unpleasant to me, and impractical.

The built-in frontlight on the Paperwhite handles it.
Sure, it's not perfect. Especially turned down a bit, it has an odd little bit of "muddiness" to it, and the blacks are not quite black. And it's uneven at the extreme bottom. But these are minor niggles. It's a great step up, and it handles what E-ink has not been able to do yet: the lagging brightness and contrast.

More than once I have found myself just checking up something on the Paperwhite which I had trouble hearing in an audiobook, and then twenty pages later found I was still reading on the KPW!

I'm looking forward to what frontlit displays look like in five years, but a milestone has been reached: for the sizeable minority who need a minimum of brightness on a screen, the Kindle has become useful.

Comparison photos: 
Below, iPad 3, very sharp and even. (The vignetting is due to the angles to the camera lens, also on the other photos.) (Oh, and the camera light meter also tends to make things medium-grey!

Bottom of Kpw screen: a little uneven. Nothing important.

Kpw screen: Not as sharp as iPad 3 of course, but better than earlier generations of e-ink. You may also be able to see the odd, uneven "muddiness", which comes from having such a specialized light source. It's subtle, but it's there. In this generation anyway.

Text excerpt from Iain Banks' Against a Dark Background. I love Banks. 


Janet Tokerud said...

The Kindle Paperwhite does have some appeal even in a world where the iPad mini exists.

1. Impulse Buy Range. It wins on price at $119 vs. $329. In fact the price is so low that you can regard it as an impulse buy whether or not you have acquired an iPad mini, Nexus 7 or what have you.

2. It wins on size and weight. Size is smaller in both directions and its weight is substantially less (7.5 oz vs 10.9). Long form reading for over an hour would favor the Paperwhite. Also, I hear the touch responsiveness is much better than Kindle touch which I have and don't like!

3. The much improved resolution helps it survive alongside a retina display but especially alongside an iPad 1,2 or mini.

Some aren't happy about loss of audio and text to speech and I would say that losing text to speech is a drawback because I don't think kindle apps on non-kindles don't do text to speech.

Still for $119, it's a great deal.

By the way, have you tried the free beta of Scapple from the makers of Scrivener. I'm really liking that right brain and simple way to look at notes and projects.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I would say that losing text to speech is a drawback because I don't think kindle apps on non-kindles don't do text to speech.

Right, and that's just... PpfppfpfppssppppffpfpffpT!!

For Android you can get a instaper-reader app, which together with the Ivona voice does a beautiful job. But we don't have that on iPad!

TC [Girl] said...

ROFLMAO re: your choice of screen shot text! Thanks for the chuckles; needed that! :-D

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Banks is often funny.
"You became very... popular with the young men..."

"I'd been a difficult child; I became an easy adolescent."

The protagonist of this book is the ultimate wild child and a young aristocrat. The type who'll drive a motorcycle at full speed at midnight on a mountain road with the lights out.

TC [Girl] said...

I'd better try reading that one; I don't know anyone who's ever been like that, in my life! ;-)