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My review of the Paperwhite is based on the Wi-Fi model which is the technology used when you need to connect to the Amazon Kindle Store for purchasing your choice of literature. With dimensions of 117 x 169 x 9.1mm (W x H x D) and weighing 213g, this eBook Reader gives you a 6-inch viewable E Ink screen area for your reading material delivered at a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Adding to the screen touch capability introduced with the previous model, the Paperwhite’s screen emits an adjustable glow for those situations where additional light is required for a more comfortable reading experience.
Following the pattern established by the previous Kindle offerings, this eBook Reader places its power control on the base of the unit. This is a push button type control that is positioned almost flush to the body of the unit to help avoid any accidental switching on/off. A micro USB port allows for charging the Paperwhite’s internal Li-ion battery which should give you up to 28 hours or reading time. Positioned between the USB port and power button is a small pinhole for use if there is a system freeze. I have yet to encounter one of these on the Paperwhite but have not been so lucky with the original Kindle but that’s another matter.
Amazon has continued with its policy of not providing additional storage with the Paperwhite. With no SD card access, you are limited to the 2GB (a halving of the 4GB supplied with the previous model) of storage. Of this amount, 1.25GB is available for the user to store their purchased books. Amazon estimates that you should be able to store 1,100 books which should be ample for most people. Amazon has removed the option to use a headset with this model so listening to audio books is not an option.
Apart from powering on/off, all the other controls are available from the touch screen. Touching and swiping actions provides the means to move backwards and forwards through pages and accessing the various features supported by this eBook Reader. While moving, in either direction, between pages was generally smooth with barely any delay, it was noticeable that there was, what could best be described as, a double flicker. The first flicker brought up the next or previous page depending upon whether you touched the right or left side of the screen. This action was followed instantaneously by a slight adjustment to the screen’s contrast and brightness in order to produce the optimum viewing experience. This effect was more noticeable at the start of a reading session and tended to become less obvious the more you read.
Selecting a particular word from a passage will bring up a dictionary definition with an option to interrogate Wikipedia for more information. You can also add your own notes for future reference. Tapping the top of the screen brings up a menu bar with various options.
You can change the font being used with six types being available. As well as the font type you can also adjust the size of the font with eight pre-defined settings. The ability to change the font size can also be achieved by either a two-finger pinch or spread. A choice of three line spacing and margin settings are available while you can also adjust the screen brightness from 24 levels. Rather than use page numbering, the Kindle Paperwhite opts for a system of locations to help identify your position in the book. Using the menu bar at the top of the screen you can go to a particular location. The current location is displayed at the bottom of the screen along with the percentage of the book that has been read.
A separate drop down menu, again access by tapping the top of the screen, provides access to the Amazon Kindle Store. You can also access a Vocabulary Builder that automatically records any words you have looked up in the Dictionary facility. These words and their meanings can be displayed as flash cards. Other options include parental controls, linking to a network via Wi-Fi and managing any notes you may have created.
As with all Kindle devices, you are tied to the Amazon book store with its wide range of offerings. Any of your purchases will be available for reading with a smartphone or tablet that has the free Kindle App. The Paperwhite supports AZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI and PRC formats. Those with an Amazon Prime account can also take advantage of a new service whereby you can borrow one book per month without any restrictions or time limit. If you are happy to tie yourself to the Amazon Book Store then the Kindle Paperwhite is well worth considering. It is priced at £109.
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