Amazon had released a new Kindle Paperwhite earlier this year and there are no changes as far as the specs are concerned, as compared to the 2015 edition. So what is different? Well this new 2016 Kindle Paperwhite is available in White! Does not sound like a big deal until you realise how many Kindle fans had been asking for this since forever.
Amazon finally heard their request and came out with this product. Our review will look at the hardware, software and see if the new color makes a difference.
Hardware and Design – Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2016
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3 has a e-ink Carta display screen with a resolution of 1430×1080 and 300 PPI. Yes, with that PPI mark it qualifies Steve Jobs’ idea of a retina screen. Compared to the Voyage and Oasis’ flush screens, the screen on the Paperwhite 3 is sunken. This is one of the major reasons for Paperwhite being affordable at Rs 10,999 for the Wi-Fi one and Rs 13,999 for the Wi-Fi + 3G one. The one we got for review is the latter.
Ppaerwhite 3 e-reader has a front-lit display, which allows you to illuminate the screen so you can also read in the dark. It has four LED lights that power the front-lit display, whereas the Voyage has six and the Oasis 10. And ofcourse, the Kindle Basic has none.
Underneath the hood is a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. There is 4GB of internal storage and the majority of your content will be held in the cloud. 4GB in terms of e-books is ample space to keep around 1000 books at any given time. Amazon does not include SD cards in their modern e-readers so you will not be able to increase the memory beyond 4 GB.
So coming to the main (Or not so important) question, does the new white color make a difference? One thing that is noticible is that the broad white bezels make the screen look more grey as compared to the black model. How does that make any difference? Well it does not. You will not be putting two differently colored Kindles next to each other to read two different books simultaneously.
Software – Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2016
The home screen and overall design of the UI on the were revised in 2015 with an all-new typesetting engine that lays out words just as the author intended for beautiful rendering of pages. With improved character spacing and the addition of hyphenation, justification, kerning, ligatures, and drop cap support. The Paperwhite 3 also has support for larger font sizes without compromising your reading experience. Page layout and margins will automatically adapt to work well at even the largest font sizes.
Amazon Paperwhite 2016 has software elements that no rival can match. X-Ray is one such great feature which allows you to get a sense of the people, places and things in a book and how often they are referenced. This is tremendously useful for people who juggle multiple books at once or come back to a book that they put down for a few months and forget who all the characters are. I felt this feature the most useful in Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles which has 7 books ranging 7+ years.
Further, Amazon Kindle Paperwhtie 2016 also has Wordwise, which gives you a list of synonyms and homonyms in a book, great for learning a new language. If you normally share your e-reader with multiple family members, Family Sharing allows you to share the same content using different Amazon accounts.
You can also take advantage of the translate capability by tapping any word or highlight a section to instantly translate it into other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, and more. Translations are provided by Bing Translator and you can even do it with PDF files, which is great and very useful. If I had this device back in college I would have easily doubled my productivity.
But, one of the biggest selling points for the Kindle devices is the social book discovery site, GoodReads. Placed right on the navigation bar you can talk about your favorite books with a community geared towards discussion and reviews. You can form or join a book club and bring a little bit of socialization to a otherwise solitary reading experience. You can follow your favorite authors and ask them questions, sometimes they even do community Q/A’s.
e-Reading Experience – Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2016
The Kindle Paperwhite 2016 has a font that was exclusively developed to make reading on a Kindle much more intuitive. Bookerly has replaced Caecilia as the new default font their e-readers, tablets and Amazons fleet of apps. Bookerly is a serif style of font that has been custom-made by Amazon to be as readable across as many different types of screens as possible. Like Google’s Literata, Bookerly is meant to address many of the aesthetic issues surrounding e-book fonts.
Does Bookerly actually make a big difference in reading an e-book? Well going by Amazon’s internal tests it’s about 2% easier on the eye. Seems insignificant? Well 2 % for millions of Kindle users reading billions of pages everyday adds up to a large amount. Though I must say in real life experience this font is a great improvement.
Another thing to consider about the Kindle Paperwhite 3 is that like its predecessors you can only load up .mobi files on it. Unlike Barnes and Nobles or Kobo, .epub files are incompatible. (Psst. google “Calibre for Kindle”)
Though it goes without saying that the .mobi format is much better than the .epub format as far as reading experience goes.
Prolonged reading on the Kindle is great. It has enough options to enhance your reading to your needs but also not so many to overburden you with features too advanced. You can adjust the margins, line spacing, choose between 7 fonts and have great control over the size of them. There are 3 different tabs that all of these options, which is a welcome change, since in the recent past all of these settings were on a single menu.
Solid Front-Lit Display
The Bookerly font makes e-book reading more intuitive
X-Ray, Whispersync, Flashcards etc.
Screen looks more grey then prior models
No SD Card
PDF experience is lacking
Wrap up – Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2016
The vast majority of the e-readers on the market even in 2016 are black or as Apple likes to call it, Jet Black. They can get monotonous and thus the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2016 is a welcome change.
I would be quick to recommend this device to anyone who wants to stand out in a crowd and doesn’t want to break the bank doing it. You can buy it off Amazon India for Rs 10,999 (Wifi) and Rs 13,999 (Wifi + 3G) and many times a year during festive season you can get it for Rs 1,000 cheaper.