My Gen 2 Paperwhite

Because I have been a Kindle junkie for a while now, my new second generation Kindle was released and arrived in the mail today. I’ve been having packages shipped to my boyfriend’s place of employment, because they deliver things directly to his waiting hands, instead of leaving them out in the elements without ringing the bell (happens at home all the time) or in the middle of the floor of the entryway (like my diploma from Master’s degree–see below)

This is where the postman left my graduate diploma. I was very impressed by his care and due diligence.

This is where the postman left my graduate diploma (back in July 2007). I was very impressed by his care and due diligence.

Anyway, I told my boyfriend not to open it this time because I wanted to open it. Apparently the look of terror on his face when his colleague had the box half-way open did prevent my package from being completely opened. (Said colleague is also a bit of a Kindle junkie.)

I don’t need to post a picture of the new Kindle, because it is ascetically identical to my other Paperwhite, except that they back bears the Amazon logo instead of the word “Kindle” and slightly bolder font on the word “Kindle” on the front. It probably also weighs a pennyweight less, because I opted for the Wifi only (not the bells-and-whistles-3G that my other four generations have had). I mean, if I’m going to regularly recklessly blow money on tech toys (because I’m spoiled), I should try to be slightly economical, right?

Here’s my quick-and-dirty-impression. It is not as big of a jump up as previous generations have, but it is an improved reading experience and I do not regret the expenditure. The light is better, more evenly spread and I can turn it way down so that it actually appears to be off (even though it isn’t, but you can’t tell unless you close yourself in a windowless room). I mostly was unimpressed and uninterested in a light that would be on all the time. I have appreciated it in places like planes and reading in bed though.

The touch screen response is better. It doesn’t feel like I’m trying to punch an address into my GPS (yes, that little tech toy of mine hasn’t been updated since 2010–gasp! They are probably better now). It’s pretty good… not an iPhone, but good enough.

And the other little features Amazon has added are cool. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the browse-within-your-book-without-losing-your-page. (Okay, this one merits a picture…)

browse-within-the-book-feature

You can drag the scroll bar at the bottom to browse a book without leaving your spot!

Highlighting and word-lookup seem improved to me. For example, if you screw up and need to re-do the highlight, you don’t have to start over, you can just extend it. Or leaving a definition doesn’t require hitting the little x-button; you can just click off it now. I’m also intrigued by the Vocabulary Builder feature. Dealing with accidentally-added bookmarks seems easier–you can x-button them to delete them. Also, there’s a little confirmation + when adding a bookmark to be sure that you actually WANT it there. (I’ve made so many accidental bookmarks, this is a good thing!) Notes and highlights are now navigable from a tab in the “Go To” menu. Much better.

And I cannot WAIT for Goodreads integration, which I believe is coming as an update soon.

The screen is indeed crisper, clearer and brighter. I don’t know how that was possible, but it is, once again.

I am sure there are other small joys I will discover, but for now, I am satisfied. Did I need this new toy? No. Was the first Paperwhite lacking? Not really. Do I regret the ones that I bought for my classroom or gifted my little sister, thinking it would have been better to hold off a little longer for the better model. Nah, not at all. Both Paperwhites are great devices…

And yes, I still prefer my e-reader to physical books. One-handed reading is boss. So is not minding it in my purse or bag at all times.

Paperwhite and the Four Kindles

My new Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, was delivered on Wednesday. It’s been one of those weeks though, and I really didn’t get to check it out for real until this weekend. It’s my fourth Kindle and let’s just say, it’s the best yet.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a Kindle junkie. My boyfriend says that I should get a commission from Amazon, because I am constantly selling people on them. I love them and I am convinced that anyone who considers themselves a reader would never be the same.

You say, “I would miss the smell of the pages/the feel of the the book in my hand.”

Maybe. But I don’t. I thought I would. But I don’t–because reading one-handed is INCREDIBLE. I can bundle up on the couch and just stick one hand out of my blanket and not have to expose a draft when I need to turn the page. I can lay on my side or my back or however I feel like and not get a tired neck or hands from keeping it at a good angle.

And it’s lighter than any book I would ever read. And smaller too. So handy that it’s always in my purse or bag. At all times. This means that I am almost never without a book. Back when I read paper books, if I was reading anything that was more than two inches thick, the Harry Potter books, for example, they mostly sat on my bedside table and they didn’t get read every day.

It’s also nice to be able to change the font size, font style, margins and line-spacing. You can’t do that in a paper book. I also love that I can look words up on the spot. I like highlighting and annotating right in the e-book. I can see my notes and marks in my Amazon account and print them out from the internet if I want.

Yes, you could get a tablet like a Kindle Fire or an iPad and then you can read and go on the internet and have apps… but the reading experience is nothing like e-ink. Good luck reading that tablet outside or in a sunlit window–too much glare. E-ink actually looks better the more light there is. No glare, just the look of letters on paper.

I got my first Kindle as a Christmas gift in 2009, the Kindle 2. It was a pretty awesome start and had a battery that lasted 4 weeks, the longest of any e-reader on the market at the time. The downside was that I couldn’t read EPUBs or check out library books.

Then came the Kindle keyboard, which I upgraded to in September 2010, when it released. The battery life doubled to 8 weeks. And the screen was even clearer.

In November 2011, I got the Kindle touch (also when it released, because at least point, I just had to have the next best thing). So much smaller and lighter. The touch screen was fine, but I did think the bevel was kind of steep. The screen didn’t seem as clear as the previous generation, but the weight was awesome. I didn’t like the feel of the leather case for this one though and eventually went for a sleeve.

Around this time also came the possibility to check out library books on the Kindle with OverDrive. Amazon also launched the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime membership (which I do, but I have honestly never taken advantage of.) I never thought I would care about library Kindle books, just because there’s always a wait list and I liked having a new book instantly when I wanted to read it. I put myself on a few wait lists, and since then, I’ve pretty much been plenty occupied with those for awhile that I haven’t been reading many purchased ones.

As for the Paperwhite, it’s a hair thinner, the bevel is just right, the touchscreen works better and the screen resolution is even clearer. I never would have thought it could be so good. The weight is about the same (this one weights two grams less than the Touch–that’s like two paperclips, I think). The front-light is okay; it definitely does the trick, if you want to read in bed or something, but I don’t think I’ll use it much. When the front-light is on, it seems like the screen is kind of blue and I’m not sure I like that–seems a little like an LED/LCD. I hate reading on backlit LED/LCD screens like the computer or the iPad, thus the appeal of e-ink for me. They took away the Text-to-Speech feature, which I never really used anyway, but I know my ESL students did use it sometimes when they read on the Kindle keyboards in my classroom–so this wouldn’t be the greatest model for them. It’ll work for me though. In fact, I’m as happy as a clam.

Even if I haven’t sold you on the Amazon Kindle, I do believe that dedicated e-readers are the way to go, especially if you consider yourself a reader. If you’re a Barnes and Noble fan, the Nook is great too (though I still don’t think it can compete with the Kindle’s battery life). If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll read even more once you have an e-reader.