Kindle Paperwhite Video Review and First Impressions

I’ve been having fun testing out the new Kindle Paperwhite since it arrived so I thought I’d better go ahead and take some time to write down some initial first impressions and put together a video review showing the Kindle Paperwhite in action for those of you eager to know more.

The video gives a complete walkthrough of the new features and shows the Paperwhite’s screen next to the $69 basic Kindle (pictured together above), the GlowLight Nook Touch, and the Sony PRS-T2 with the lighted cover to get some perspective on the new screen and the nature of the frontlight.

The first thing that struck me about the Kindle Paperwhite’s screen is that it really is a lot whiter than regular E Ink ebook readers and is definitely a step up from the GlowLight Nook Touch in terms of how even the lighting is and the overall contrast.

In short, I’m a big fan of the frontlight and will probably use the Kindle Paperwhite as my primary ebook reader because of it, but the lighting isn’t as perfectly uniform as I’d been hoping.

At the bottom of the screen there’s a faint wavy shadow where the four LED lights are located, and in certain lighting conditions there’s sort of a bluish shadow toward the upper center of the screen. Otherwise the lighting is very even. And during the day and in brighter lighting the shadows are almost invisible; they are more noticeable in lower lighting, like a dark room when reading at night. It seems to depend on the amount of ambient light.

The second thing that struck me about the Kindle Paperwhite is the odd fact that the light can’t be completely turned off. It’s always on, even at the lowest brightness setting. The only time the lights turn off is when the Kindle is turned off.

That makes it very hard to directly compare the screen with other ebook readers to get a feel on overall screen contrast and clarity with the new HD screen and the fact it has not one but two layers over the screen—the frontlight light guide layer and the capacitive touchscreen layer.

The only thing that really stands out when comparing the Kindle Paperwhite side-by-side with the $69 basic Kindle is that fonts are slightly sharper and clearer on the Paperwhite, especially smaller fonts. Text is slightly bolder on the basic Kindle, but is rougher around the edges.

Overall I’ve been impressed with the Kindle Paperwhite and its new screen. The lighting isn’t perfect but it’s close. I like how much whiter the screen is than without the frontlight at all, even during the day in regular light.

I’ll post a full review and some comparison reviews over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more.

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