With smartphones and tablets, we pack digital Swiss Army knives: tools that can multitask, from email and web browsing to streaming video and taking photos.
Amazon’s all-new Kindle Paperwhite, which starts shipping on Wednesday from $ 139.99, proves it’s okay to own a device that primarily does one thing, as long as it does that thing really well.
In the case of the Paperwhite, the latest addition to Amazon’s longtime Kindle line that has propelled its efforts into tech gadgets, it’s excellent for serving as a personal and portable library.
I have been fortunate enough to use the Signature Edition of the Paperwhite for about a week now. Reading books on Paperwhite is a delight, and Amazon has added a few key features that make it easier to dive into a book, wherever you are.
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The latest edition of Paperwhite has a larger screen at 6.8 inches. The screen is also brighter and glare-free according to Amazon. The device is also lightweight, weighing just over seven ounces.
The setup was straightforward. I opened the Kindle app on my iPhone to add my account and do a few more setup steps before I finished on the Paperwhite.
Like the previous Paperwhites and Kindle e-readers, this version has an E-ink screen, so the content is in black and white. E-ink screens are also not as responsive when scrolling as a smartphone. It’s more like turning a page up to “scroll” instead of the smooth motion you experience on a smartphone.
Amazon has enhanced the Kindle reading experience with an interface that makes switching between different reading modes effortless.
Let’s say you are getting ready for bed and want to read. Swipe down from the top of the screen and you’ll see various settings, including a white-on-black dark mode and adjustable warm light. You can also tap at the top of the screen to display the menu and quickly return to your library or access other features such as smart search to look up words in the dictionary.
Since I was going from day to night reading, this interface seemed essential to me when I wanted to go into dark mode without leaving my book page.
Standard and Signature editions are waterproof. The Signature Edition, which costs an additional $ 50, features wireless charging and a sensor that will automatically adjust screen brightness. You also get 32 GB of storage, compared to 8 GB on the standard model.
Amazon says the Paperwhites offers up to 10 weeks of battery life and can charge from zero to full in 2.5 hours if you use an adapter of at least 9 watts.
Of course, since we’re talking about Amazon, there are plenty of books to read. Kindles come with limited access to Kindle Unlimited, which offers millions of books, not to mention the countless titles you can purchase separately to fill your e-reader. It’s easy to build a large library on a Kindle.
So far, I have found the reading experience on a Paperwhite more enjoyable than a traditional smartphone or tablet. It’s the ideal size and weight, flipping through the pages is smooth, and it’s nice to focus on my book without getting eaten away by notifications periodically. If you are an avid reader of books or want to learn more, the Paperwhite is a great option.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite: A Great Device for Book Lovers