The new Kindle Paperwhite made me enjoy reading books again

Confession: I have finished a surprisingly low number of books since I finished high school.

It’s not that I don’t like books or struggle with understanding or anything like that. Instead, my particular brand of ADHD makes it hard to find the motivation to start and focus when I do, and I just don’t like holding books in my hands too much. Depending on their size, paperbacks and hard covers can be a bit cumbersome to handle, especially if you like one-handed reading like I did.

I’m happy to say that the 2021 edition of Kindle Paperwhite is almost perfect for people who would like to read more if not for all the boring little things about reading. The ad-supported $ 140 model (which I used for this review) and the ad-free $ 190 Signature Edition feature larger 6.8 inch screens that look fantastic in any light. , with weeks of battery life and the perfect form factor for lazy one-handed readers like me.

Even with a few price and performance issues, Amazon’s latest Kindle can, uh, rekindle your reading interest.

Better than books

The screen is bright without hurting your eyes.
Credit: molly flores / mashable

In its first Paperwhite update since 2018, Amazon didn’t stray too far from its previous efforts. The cheaper Paperwhite and Signature Edition have nearly identical specifications:

  • 6.8-inch screen with 17 LEDs and 300 ppi (instead of 6 inches on the 2018 model).

  • New USB-C charging port with up to 10 hours of battery life on a full charge.

  • Signature Edition supports Qi wireless charging.

  • 8 GB of storage on the $ 140 model, 32 GB on the Signature Edition.

  • IPx8 waterproof rating, can be fully submerged.

Amazon has managed to increase the screen size by almost an inch without making huge weight sacrifices. At 205g (208g in the Signature Edition), it’s only slightly heavier than the 182g model from three years ago, possibly due to the considerably thinner edges around the screen.

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As I mentioned before, one of the reasons I don’t read as often as I should is because I’m lazy and prefer to lounge around with a free hand. Some real pounds just don’t fit this lifestyle due to their size and weight distribution. This Kindle Paperwhite is only heavy enough not to feel cheap and fragile, without being a hindrance to the one-handed readers among us.

This is a fully tactile Kindle, with no buttons to turn the pages. A simple touch or swipe does the trick. Tap the top of the screen while reading to bring up a quick toolbar with options to return to the Home screen, change font sizes and styles, and enable a simple page-turn animation. By swiping from the top to the bottom, another menu allows you to turn on Bluetooth for listening to Audible audiobooks, adjust the brightness and warmth of the screen, and turn dark mode on or off.

You can adjust the heat of the screen to make it more comfortable to watch in different settings.

You can adjust the heat of the screen to make it more comfortable to watch in different settings.
Credit: molly flores / mashable

Highlighting passages, searching for word definitions and bookmarking pages are also present. However, all of these cool features are secondary to reading books, and the excellent Paperwhite display makes it a delight.

Text is crisp even when you hold the device against your face. The anti-glare screen is immensely readable and pleasing to the eye in all kinds of lighting. I read the winding epic of Frank Herbert Dune (what can I say, I have sandworm fever) on the new Paperwhite both outdoors under the bright sun and indoors at night with the lights off. In both scenarios, it was as comfortable as reading an actual page with a light on on it. Even at high brightness, the screen didn’t hurt my eyes either. You can really take the new Paperwhite with you all over and happy reading.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the small but important addition of a USB-C charging port. As we move further and further into a USB-C world, this is a godsend and was likely overdue, considering the 2018 model did not have it. It’s at the bottom of the device next to the power button, which is the only button you’ll find here.

It goes without saying at this point that I liked everything about the physical design of the new Kindle Paperwhite. It’s an ideal e-reader for me once you have a book ready to be displayed on the screen. Unfortunately, getting to this point can be a bit awkward.

Slow and above all regular

Amazon has no intention of making powerful iPad-level tablets with the Kindle Paperwhite line. You use these devices to read or listen to books, and that’s it. Amazon has promised better overall performance and responsiveness with the latest Paperwhite, and while my experience with this one has been generally good, I have encountered some technical flaws.

Just navigating the Kindle’s simple menus is sometimes more of a chore than it should be because this screen was only designed to display fixed text. Scrolling up and down through lists of books or settings is responsive and slow rather than smooth, as you’d expect from almost any other touchscreen device in 2021. It’s responsive enough that you can accomplish anything. you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s looking for a new book or changing the screen brightness, without much of a hassle. But you won’t have much fun doing it.

USB-C is always welcome.

USB-C is always welcome.
Credit: molly flores / mashable

I fully understand that Amazon is designing these Kindle to be very well to read books at the expense of doing, well, anything else. The huge form factor and premium display outweigh these little performance hurdles for me because, again, I don’t expect an iPad or even a Fire HD tablet here. Even with those low expectations in mind, however, he still feels a little late.

It doesn’t help that on one occasion the Paperwhite froze and became completely unresponsive in the middle of reading Dune. I waited several minutes for it to unlock and that did not happen. Holding the power button down for about 40 seconds reset the device and I was able to resume playing after that, but still thought it should be noted.

Aside from this abnormal freeze, performance on the Kindle Paperwhite was at least consistently at this level a bit too slow in my time. I respect consistency because at least I know what to expect.

A final aspect of performance to note is battery life. Amazon rates the new Kindle Paperwhite up to 10 weeks battery charge on a full charge. I have only had the device for a little less than a week, so it was not possible for me to fully verify it. With that in mind, however, the battery drained barely about 10% during that time. Maybe you won’t get 10 weeks out of it if you read for hours on end every day, but it will last a very long time no matter how you shake it.

Big jump to get rid of ads

I can learn to live with the slow performance of the Kindle Paperwhite and even the weird locking every now and then. Everything else about the actual use of the device is for the most part excellent and actually got me, a person with severe attention span issues, to sit down on purpose to read a sci-fi sci-fi screed. dense on religion and feudalism. The only thing that makes me think twice before recommending it to people is the price.

At $ 140, I think the standard 2021 Kindle Paperwhite might be a bit overpriced, but avid readers will get their money’s worth. It’s the Signature Edition, which offers an additional $ 50 for the privilege of not seeing ads, getting additional storage, and being able to have the Kindle automatically adjust the brightness based on the light level. in the room that bothers me. Tying storage and bonus features to a price hike is standard fare in tech, but the advertising is just sticky. Isn’t Amazon already making enough money?

The good news is, these aren’t your only Kindle options. The entry-level Kindle currently costs $ 90 and will likely do the trick if all you want is a competent e-reader. If you can afford to pay extra for the Paperwhite, you won’t regret it. The massive battery of this little book tablet, its beautiful and versatile display, and maximum hand comfort made me enjoy reading more in the few days I spent with it than many years before.

And if you are so severe Dune– stacked like I am right now, much better than lugging around a huge book.

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