- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
The Best E-Reader: Why You Should Buy the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Are you thinking of buying your first e-reader or shopping around for a replacement? I have recently done the same and thought I'd share my two cents and why ultimately, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is my clear winner.
A little background information
Ebooks are usually a lot cheaper than regular paperbacks, sometimes up to 50% cheaper. This, as well as limited shelf space enticed me a few years back to treat myself to an e-reader. The ebook market is basically divided between Amazon and everyone else with competing (and copy-protected) file formats. Back then I opted to buy myself the Kobo Aura HD. Without cumbersome and potentially illegal tricks to remove the copy protection and convert the file format, this meant Amazon's Kindle Store was off-limits to me.
The reality is that I never figured out how to buy from the scattered and less easy to use competing stores out there, so I limited myself to ebooks without copy-protection. I did not use my e-reader much. Worse, because Amazon has made it so incredibly easy to buy e-books (literally in one click) from the Kindle store I found myself still buying Kindle ebooks but reading them with the Kindle app on my phone and tablet. This of course completely defeats the purpose of why I bought an e-reader in the first place!
You don't need more than a few minutes with an e-reader to know for sure that reading on one is infinitely more comfortable than on your phone, computer or tablet. I finally decided to buy myself a proper Kindle e-reader and ditch my old e-reader.
If this sounds at all familiar and you too have set your mind on buying a Amazon Kindle e-reader: do keep reading!
Amazon Kindle e-readers
Unlike competing brands, all Amazon Kindle models come in one screen size only: 6 inches. Coming from a larger 6.8" Kobo Aura HD I was hesitant at first. I always thought ereaders ought to be (including bezels) the size of a regular paperback. That just made sense to me. Sure, the very nature of e-books means that the size of the e-reader does not really matter (as text will simply reflow to fit the device used), but there is such a thing as a convention, right?
After a few months with my Kindle? Nope. Amazon definitely nailed it! They sure did their homework. I don't know why precisely, but 6 inch really does seem to be the ideal size. I now in fact prefer its size over a paperback book.
So if you are looking to buy an Amazon Kindle, size is not a consideration: 6" it is.
Amazon currently sells a few different models of its e-reader device: the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis.
The cheapest model, simply named Kindle, sells for just $79.99. An absolute bargain and one I personally seriously considered. Unless you are strapped for cash however, you really ought to treat yourself to a Kindle Paperwhite.
The Kindle Paperwhite, sold at a steaper $119.99, has two very important tricks up its sleeve over the regular Kindle.
First, the display. Where the regular Kindle sports a decent 167 ppi E Ink Pearl touch-screen display, the Paperwhite tops it with a 300 ppi display. This is a big deal, at least to me. I can see the jaggies on the letters on the regular Kindle, enough to be distracting, while on the Paperwhite… wow! No jaggies whatsoever. It is not just comparable to print, it is better. I have quite a few paperbacks where, if I look closely, I can see the publisher skimped on quality print. A thing of the past with the Kindle Paperwhite.
Second, the built-in light. The regular Kindle does not have a built-in light, whereas the Kindle Paperwhite does for reading in the dark or in low-light situations. Surprisingly useful. Please note that this is not comparable to the backlit screen on your computer, this frontlit light does not hurt your eyes at all.
These two advantages make the Kindle Paperwhite a much better choice than the regular Kindle.
It is hard to see who would buy the Kindle Voyage or the Kindle Oasis, the other two models Amazon has on offer.
The Voyage ($199.99) improves upon the Paperwhite with an adaptive light. The Paperwhite has a manual built-in light. It also features PagePress: to flip the pages you don't tap the screen but the bezels. Great. I guess.
The Oasis ($289.99) is much more expensive than the Kindle Voyage. You'll get a battery that lasts months instead of weeks (yes, weeks!) and dedicated buttons to turn the pages. It has a asymmetrical design, unlike the other Kindles. If you are a lefty like me you don't have to worry as the device has a built-in accelerometer, so the display’s orientation flips depending on whether you’ve got it in your left or right hand. But still, it just looks… weird to me. Flipping left and right by pressing the top or bottom button, that's just counter-intuitive and unnecessary?
The right choice
Unless you are really strapped for cash, you should skip the regular Kindle and go for the Kindle Paperwhite. It is definitely worth the extra money.
As for the Voyage and the Oasis? I can't fathom why anyone would buy the Kindle Oasis to be honest. The Voyage offers only minor improvements for almost double the money. It might be worth a closer look if it fits your budget. You can buy quite a few ebooks however on the money you save by buying the Kindle Paperwhite...
Still unsure? Just buy yourself the Kindle Paperwhite. I promise you will love it!
Please note that the prices above include "special offers". Special offers means that when your Kindle is powered off, it will display information about an ebook Amazon thinks you might like. They also show a tiny banner on the home screen. It does not bother me in the slightest, but if you prefer you can buy a model without special offers, which sets you back an additional $20.
This article would not be complete without a special mention for Calibre.
Simply put, Calibre is hands-down the best e-book manager you can get. Calibre allows you to organize all your ebooks, convert as needed between formats and sync your e-book library with your e-reader. It supports all popular ereaders out there and you can't beat the price of absolutely free (and open-source). It is an outstanding piece of software!
I became a fan in my Kobo Aura HD days and thought I would have to leave Calibre behind now that I am a Kindle user: Amazon does not allow Kindles to be connected and accessed on a computer like other e-readers, so Calibre cannot sync my e-books, rendering it useless. Or so I assumed. Wrong!
Turns out Amazon makes it possible to e-mail ebooks to your Kindle (a somethat bizarre 'solution' if you ask me), a process which Calibre has automated. Whenever I tell it to add an e-book to my Kindle Paperwhite at the press of a button, it converts the format if necessary, e-mails it to my device and presto! The ebook appears on my Kindle. It is even easier as I do not have to connect my Kindle to the computer or even have it anywhere near me.
While I buy most of my Kindle ebooks directly from Amazon, Calibre continues to be a indispensable tool for adding all the e-books I already previously owned to my Kindle.
Which ereader did you decide to buy?
So, do you share my view that the Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-book reader currently on the market? Or not? Please leave your comment below!