Longer Term Review – The Kindle Paperwhite

I’ve had the Kindle Paperwhite since it first came out (October 2012). As an owner of a Touch, I was less than impressed when I received it. I didn’t feel that the extra pixels did much and the “white” light is a misnomer, unless you had it cranked up high. Now that I’ve put a solid 5 months on it, here’s what I can report:

  • I didn’t buy the Amazon case. For three reasons: Overpriced, no hand strap on back, and I was mad at them for making the unit just different enough to not fit a Touch case (we’re taking a very few millimeters). All subjective, I guess, but it didn’t make me a happier customer.
  • I bought a third party leather case with a hand strap. While it was protective, the case was heavier than the Kindle. And bulkier. But it did have the hand strap, which I loved. It’s SO much easier reading with the hand strap.

So, the light was “okay” and the cases sucked and the pixels were not noticeable (to me, at least). Not exactly the “wow” I had when I got the Touch.

Never one to leave well enough alone, the case issue got to me first. Originally, I got the case for two reasons: (a) to flip is closed when cats arrived to step on me/it and (b) for protection. Flipping closed never happened. It was easier to just put the unit face down on the bed. Protection was excellent, though at the price of bulk (both weight and dimensions).

I had an extra (and cheap) Nexus 7 case which I wasn’t using much. And it has — had — a hand strap. With a sewing kit I removed the strap and super glued it to the back of the Paperwhite. Yes, super glue. Function over form, in my book. Here is the result:


DSCN2670 (Medium) DSCN2668 (Medium)

It’s be best thing that every happened to my Paperwhite. Now I could take full advantage of its excellent size and weight, without bogging it down with a case. The strap works perfectly and the glue has not let loose. Plus, the rubber back of the Kindle gives you an even better grip. This is the way a Kindle should be held. I can walk around with it, on my hand, with my arms at my side, and it won’t slip loose.

What about protection? Well, like a said, if a cat comes running, I just hold the thing in the air, or put it face down. If I’m on travel, I still have my protective 3rd party leather case.

What about the lighting? I stand by my original review on Amazon — Paperwhite is a marketing term. The light is excellent, but to make the screen “paper white” you have to crank up the light to uncomfortable levels. And what’s the point of having that pumped up, and taking juice, if you are in a well lit room?

That being said, my nighttime reading is far more enjoyable with the Paperwhite. Still too bright at low levels, it does a good job and making the screen easy to read in all conditions. And the pixels, while I’m still not sold, do make a difference. It is a sharper reading experience, especially on some small fonts (usually quotes) in certain books.

The battery — I still say it is worse than the Touch. To the point where I now keep it in Airplane mode all the time and download books over USB. Keep in mind that I read quite a bit — I’ve read 55 books on it since October.

So, 5 months and 55 books, what’s the verdict? It’s my preferred eBook reader. I love love love being able to take out eBooks from the Austin Public Library — it has boosted my reading dramatically. The light keeps me reading in dim/dark conditions. And now that I have my strap solution, I’m much happier.