I know some of you out there aren’t ready to give up paper books just yet. I was like you… Then I had the chance to try reading digital books on the Kindle. The convenience of having entire libraries and bookstores in the palm of your hands cannot be understated. Particularly when it’s 2am and you’re Jonesing in for the next book in a series, you can’t beat the convenience of Amazon Kindle e-reader. Amazon has launched its Kindle Paperwhite (technically the 11th generation) with some new features. I’ll take a look at what’s new and different, what it’s like to read on a kindle, and if I can recommend this device for you—or a reader you love.
The newest generation of Kindle Paperwhite devices feature a 6.8-inch display (a smidge bigger than the previous generation), up to 10-week battery life, USB-C charging, and an adjustable warm light, among other updates. There’s also a slightly smaller bezel on the new Paperwhite, which means more screen real estate.
The all new Paperwhite is waterproof like its predecessor, something those bathtub readers will be cheering about.
Also Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
There is also a new Signature Edition which is a slightly upgraded version that adds a few features onto that: it’s got more memory and storage room, the screen light will automatically adjust, and it’s the first to support wireless charging via a Qi wireless charger. Amazon also claims that the e-ink display response is 20% sharper, allowing for faster page turns. The standard version has 8GB of storage, and the Signature Edition offers a whopping 32GB, giving you room for as many books as you can read and then some.
Like all Kindles, there’s a wealth of battery life inside this reader. Battery life is up to about ten weeks between charges, which is outstanding.
Buying books is simple; you can surf the Kindle store for options and click to purchase individual books right on the Kindle. The book then downloads to your device for offline reading. There’s also Kindle Unlimited Subscription where you can read or listen to some books at no additional cost for Prime and Kindle Unlimited members.
Audible AudioBooks on-device
The all new Kindle Paperwhite has support for audiobooks via Audible, right on the device, and even in Canada I was able to access the service, as previously it was missing on the Canadian edition.
You do need to pair your Kindle Paperwhite to a compatible Bluetooth device like headphones or a speaker, sound bar or TV to stream the audio through a speaker so you can hear it. Delightfully, the Bluetooth connection worked well and switching among sources is easy enough.
When you’re sitting right next to your Kindle, or you have it very close to the speaker, the connectivity between the Kindle and speakers works just fine. But when you start to move around, and particularly if you’re putting any walls between your headphones and your Kindle, you’ll start to notice digital break up and dropouts.
With warm light feature on high.
Why do I need Warm Light on an e-reader?
One of the significant improvements over the 2019 Kindle Paperwhite is an adjustable “warm light” feature. There are debates about whether the colour tones of smartphones and e-book readers affect sleep. Various studies show that blue light emitted from screens can make it harder to sleep, so being able to employ warmer light as you’re reading to fall asleep should help your circadian rhythms in theory.
The amount of warm light available can be controlled from the quick actions menu, and you can adjust both the brightness and warmth of the display from there. You can also create a “warmth schedule,” which will add the warm light for a specified period of your choosing. There’s also a Dark Mode which will invert the screen to a black background with white text.
The biggest drawback to a Kindle has previously been the fact that you Couldn’t take some versions into the bath or the tub or the steam room with you, at least not without being very careful or using some kind of case or cover. The new Paperwhite is IPx8 rated, meaning it can withstand rain, jets of high-pressure water, and full submersion up to two metres in freshwater for up to an hour. Amazon doesn’t clarify how deep, but it’s probably safe to take your Paperwhite down a waterslide without worry.
Let’s talk about the software. Amazon’s Kindle software still remains some of the best in the industry. There are a ton of customization options, including changing the formatting, fonts, font size, boldness levels, page spacing, margins, and many more. Additionally, you can adjust font size with a pinch-to-zoom gesture.
One of the other great features about e-readers is you can customize the screen for you. Change font style and size, adjust margins and set the orientation, backlighting and more.
It’s just a reader…
The Kindle is a simple e-reader and that’s all it can do. If you choose a device like a tablet, you can play games, web, even watch videos. But with an E reader like the Kindle Paperwhite, all you can do is read books. This is a godsend for folks who just want to lose themselves in a paperback, er, novel and avoid distractions. But others will find this limiting.
One of the other options you do have is to use the Kindle app on other devices.
You can use your Kindle app to read on Fire OS, iOS, or Android devices. The Kindle app lets you read from your phone, tablet, and PC and seamlessly pick up where you left off, regardless of which device you’re reading from. All your notes, bookmarks, and highlights will automatically be organized and accessible on all Kindle apps and devices.
What’s it like using an e-reader?
The reading experience is easy on the eyes, and the type on the page is clear and crisp, and there is something to the lack of distractions. The size of the device and the thickness, coupled with the rounded edges and lack of buttons (there’s just one) and bits, make it easy to hold, light weight, and highly portable.
It does take a few minutes to get used to navigating around the device and accessing the menus and the settings. Once you’ve got yourself oriented, everything is pretty easy to find and well within reach.
The adjustable light setting on the Kindle Oasis are easy enough to use. Touch to get the menu bar at the top, and choose Settings, then you can adjust the brightness or warmth. This creates a noticeable difference, dramatically saturating the screen from blue to yellow, and there’s a lot of variations in between so you should be able to find just the right tone for your personal preference.
With the Book Covers setting turned on, you can see the cover of the book you are currently reading on the lockscreen of some Kindle devices, like the Paperwhite. Turn this feature on by going to Settings, then Device Options and select “On” for Display Cover.
Word Wise , X-Ray and Smart Lookup
X-Ray lets you explore the “bones of a book,” keeping track of characters and key terms. With Smart Lookup, you can look up words in the dictionary, translate text to a different language, and explore Wikipedia while reading with a tap.
Smart lookup lets you see short, simple definitions above difficult words so those learning a new language can keep reading with fewer interruptions.
Whispersync and Whispersync for Voice
Saves and synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations from your Kindle eBooks and Audible books across all of your Kindle devices and apps, so you can pick up where you left off on any device, whether you’re reading or listening. To get started, go to Settings, then Advanced Options, and select “Whispersync for Books.”
Fonts and Highlighting
One of the cool things about reading on a Kindle is that you can change the font size and typeface to your preference. You can also highlight text by tapping, holding and dragging.
Page Turn Animation
Love that flippy page turn like a real book? Amazon added a page transition in most books. This adds animation to the page turn. You can try this feature by going to the ‘Aa’ menu in a book, selecting More, and then enabling Page Turn Animation.
The animation seems to smooth out the jump to the next page but it’s not as visual or impressive as it could be.
Overall review: all new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
If you’re looking for an e-reader that will keep distractions to zero and allow you to focus on quiet reading, you’ve come to the right device. If you’re looking for a multi-use tablet that goes beyond reading, this isn’t it and doesn’t pretend to be.
When it comes to the pros the Kindle is lightweight, slim, lightweight, and an easy access portal to entire libraries and bookstores’ worth of reading. The text on the no-glare digital screen mimics paper beautifully and is easy on the eyes, With the addition of adjustable colour light, and warm light for evening reading, you won’t be up all night from lack of sleep unless Michael Connolly is to blame.
Downsides? Loading and open times are slow compared to other tablets and devices and the page turning, though Amazon has said it sped things up, may also seem a bit laggy. The screen can also be glitchy during downloads and deletions. The Bluetooth connectivity also isn’t super strong if you’re trying to connect to Audible.
Overall if you’re looking for a no-nonsense digital reader the Kindle Paperwhite is a good choice, if you can get past the downsides I mentioned.
The all new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite sells for about $149.99 and is available in Black. The new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is $209.99.
I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.