Review: Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite lets you read faster with less eyestrain

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Updated: July 23, 2015 9:16:21 AM

The new Kindle Paperwhite comes with a sharp, high-resolution screen and advanced hardware for a good digital reading experience.

Kindle PaperwhiteAmazon’s New Kindle Paperwhite comes with a sharp, high-resolution screen and advanced hardware for a good digital reading experience. (Image: Amazon)

I love reading books. I even like the smell of them, especially the old ones; that weirdly intoxicating scent that haunts libraries and second-hand book stores. I feel that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Besides, reading keeps you mentally stimulated, significantly reduces stress and everything you read fills your head with new bits of information. In our increasingly Internet-dependent world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multitask through every day. When you read a book—I can say this with my personal experience—all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you are absorbing.

While we all do some amount of reading—browsing, if I may put it pointedly—on our mobile phones, tablets and laptops, e-readers from Amazon have managed to keep the reading habits alive in many among us. But their new Paperwhite can really help you lose yourself in a book. I have been hooked on to the new Kindle Paperwhite for the past few days and the best thing I like about this device is that unlike tablets and phones, it doesn’t distract you with social media, emails, and text messages. It doesn’t even beep at you or tire your eyes when you read for hours at a time. In my opinion, the new Paperwhite is purpose-built for reading and creates a sanctuary so you can lose yourself in a book. The new Paperwhite Wi-Fi version is available at Rs 10,999, while the Wi-Fi+3G version is priced at Rs 13,999.

Interestingly, no set up is required. The new Paperwhite arrives pre-registered so you can start reading immediately. Being a big fan of the father of the nation, the first book that I downloaded on to the new Amazon e-reader was The Story of My Experiments with Truth, the autobiography of Mohandas K Gandhi. The new Kindle display delivers laser-quality text, making it easy to read comfortably at any font size.

Basically, the new Paperwhite is an updated version of the widely popular and best-selling Kindle globally. It adds to Amazon Kindle’s high resolution Paperwhite display, delivering the same 300 pixels per inch that readers love about the top-of-the-line Kindle Voyage. Even with the new higher resolution display, the new Paperwhite delivers battery life that is measured in weeks (six weeks on a single charge) rather than hours. It offers Bookerly, an exclusive font designed from the ground up for reading on digital screens. Warm and contemporary, Bookerly is inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books but is hand-crafted for great readability at any size.

The new Paperwhite also offers an all-new typesetting engine that lays out words just as the author intended. For instance, it adds hyphenation to break words at the right place, creates paragraphs with consistent lines, and adjusts the space between words. This results in more natural word spacing and more words on each page, which allows for faster reading with less eyestrain.

Then, new kerning and ligatures automatically adjust character spacing to make it easier to recognise words at any font size. Similar to a typesetter formatting a print book, the new Paperwhite will look at neighbouring pairs of letters in context and adjust the character spacing to suit the word, removing distracting whitespace between letters and making the shape of the word more beautiful to help with word recognition speed. For example, in the word quietly the tail of the first “y” loops under the “I” to make the letters of the word fit better together. In the word “first”, the “f” and “i” are drawn together to make a ligature.

Here’s another improvement. We have seen that print books often use drop caps to add emphasis and beauty to the first page of a chapter. In e-books, this is challenging to replicate given the ability to adjust font size and line spacing. The new typesetting engine presents drop caps, text, and images on the new Paperwhite just as the author intended, and lets dynamically adjust the layout as the reader changes the text size. Trust me, you have got to see it to believe it.

In addition, one of the benefits of reading on Kindle is that you can customise the font size based on personal preference—over half of Kindle customers take advantage of this feature and use a font size larger than the default. As you increase the size of a font, fewer words appear on each page, often creating distractions like large white space or broken sentences. Now, the new Paperwhite automatically adapts when a reader chooses the largest font sizes, customising the margins, columns, borders, and drop caps to keep the page easy to read.

Among other interesting features, Whispersync saves and synchronises your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations across all of your devices and Kindle apps, so you can always pick up where you left off. Worry-free archive is another feature that automatically backs up your Kindle books in the cloud.

After using the new Paperwhite for a while, I can confidently say that the screen on Amazon’s new e-reader is simply lovely and the sharp text is pretty much easier on the eyes. It is the best digital reading experience money can buy.


Dimensions: 169 x 117 x 9.1 mm

Screen size: 6 inch glare-free screen with built-in light

Page turns: Touchscreen

Resolution: 300 ppi

Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free 3G

Battery life: Battery life lasts weeks on a single charge

Estimated street price: Rs 10,999 (Wi-Fi version); Rs 13,999 (Wi-Fi+3G version)

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