Thursday, 1 November 2012

There's Always A But...

I've recently written a review of the new Kindle Paperwhite on the Amazon UK web site. It is titled "Best Kindle so far, but..." and gives a four start rating. I thought it'd be a shame for me not to also publish it here, too.

So, without further ado, and without changing a single word, here it is:








THE GREAT

Screen
When backlit properly (ie, according to the room light level) the screen, and the reading experience, are gorgeous. It might be that this differs by a particular unit, but I don't see the dark "blotches" along the borders to be a) as bad as some claim, and b) as distracting as one might think from just reading the reviews. One needs only compare this with the lighted cover or any external reading light on any of the previous Kindles to be convinced that Kindle Paperwhite gets it right, period.

Borrowing books
Yes, you have to shell out £49 per annum for Prime membership, but being able to borrow 12 books a year, combined with free next day delivery on many items must make this a bargain. And the lending library is not, as some claim, as small as 5,000 titles. As of yesterday it topped 200,000. It could be easier to search and navigate, and it would be nice to be able to access it outside of Kindle itself, but this is still quite a boon.#

THE GOOD

Touchscreen
I've had touchscreen e-readers in the past, and I must say Kindle Paperwhite as the best one around. It actually works as I expect it to. I do not class it as great as it does sometimes lag too much, and also sometimes feels like your touch is missed or misinterpreted. Still, this is a very good addition to the eInk Kindle line.

Reading progress indicator
I am still to see if it is accurate enough, but the idea of telling me how long until the end of chapter and/or book is very good. I wish more readers had it.

X-Ray
A good idea, having easy access to something that has a potential to be index-on-steroids. Whether this potential is realised depends on the publishers, so only good for now, with potential for greatness.

THE BAD

Page turning mechanism
Even though I always found it cool to flip e-book pages by flicking across the screen I still miss the hardware buttons. It is not always comfortable tapping or flicking across the screen. It was great having buttons just where the fingers held the bezel. Also, the tap areas feel too sensitive, and the screen being more flush with the now smaller bezel makes accidental page turns too frequent. Yes, we will probably train ourselves, but that's not the point...

THE UGLY

I haven't identified a single "yuck" feature, or lack thereof, so far.

SUMMARY

In summary, Kindle Paperwhite should be awarded 4.5 stars, for all the reasons listed above. I'd have dearly loved to give it 5 stars, but can't as the page turning leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I would recommend this even as a straight upgrade over the previous Kindle 6", and I think it's certainly worth the £40 price difference from the current cheapest model (if you can afford the £40, that is).