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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-reader Review


Along with getting in better shape and spending more time with family, my life-goal list includes the following: “Read more good books.”

This Christmas morning I was as excited as a child.  After weeks of waiting, I opened my new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader from Amazon.  This device replaces the Kindle Touch that was my gift the previous Christmas.

Kindle Touch versus Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite & Timbuk2 Case

The Paperwhite is a little more lightweight than it’s predecessor.  It’s a little smaller too.  However, the main feature of the Paperwhite—the self-lit, much clearer screen—is certainly worth the price of the new reader ($120 wi-fi or $180 for 3G—add $20 to either to remove ads/offers).

I’m a reader who likes to read in bed, just before going to sleep as well as on the couch, which is in a dimly lit area of our home.  With the older model I had to use a cumbersome gooseneck-style external light that made the reader unwieldy and unduly heavy.  With the Paperwhite, the crisp text is smoothly lit, easier on the eyes, and Amazon even boasts an 8-week battery life under ideal conditions.  I leave the wi-fi running and the light on a fairly bright setting.  Based on my use so far, I’m estimating that I’ll get 2-3 weeks of use on a single charge.  That’s still pretty amazing from my perspective!

In addition to reading more and losing weight, I also want to save money when possible.  To that end I subscribe to Michael Gallagher’s daily blog, “Free Kindle Books and Tips” that points readers to at least a few and sometimes dozens of free Kindle books each day.  It’s worth the dollar I pay each month to subscribe as I find at least 2-3 books each week to add to my reading list for free.  (Don’t want to pay to read it on your Kindle?  You can read it on the web for free.)

Pros and Cons of the Kindle Paperwhite

Pros: With a surprisingly responsive display, a much-needed built-in light, and a soft-rubbery back, it feels lightweight and great in your hand.  The e-ink display makes you feel like you’re really reading a book rather than staring at a computer screen.  The menu system and Amazon cloud interface is intuitive and makes buying and downloading books a quick and simple process.

Cons: Battery life doesn’t seem quite as good as advertised.  There is a slight dimness at the bottom of the screen but it doesn’t affect the reading.  The memory is less than on the previous model and there is no sound output for music or audio books.  Lastly, Amazon still hasn’t addressed the needs of readers/students who are blind or visually impaired with this unit.

Bottom line:  The Kindle Paperwhite isn’t a tablet PC for surfing the web or watching video.  It’s an e-reader.  When you read a book on it, you feel more like you’re reading a real book than staring at yet another computer-like screen.  Amazon has tweaked and refined their product to a point of near perfection.  If you’re looking for a great e-reading experience, you can’t go wrong with the Kindle Paperwhite.

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Need a case? In the picture above you may also notice my Timbuk2 Kindle Paperwhite Envelope Sleeve, which is certainly worth its $25 price tag if you like to throw your Kindle in your bag or suitcase.  Timbuk2 makes a great product!

What was your favorite Kindle book in 2012?  What’s on your “must read” list for 2013?  Tweet and let me know @FOForty

Kindle Paperwhite & Kindle Touch

Kindle Paperwhite (left) & Kindle Touch (right)


Not a paid review, just some input from a dad.

Wade is the father of a fifteen-year-old, a one-year-old and is expecting another baby very soon. He is the host of the "Fathers Over Forty" podcast. A former long-distance cyclist, weight loss guru and master gardener, Wade is sport-challenged, television-averse and constantly worried that his Man Cave pass might be revoked. When not at his full time job doing assistive technology for people with disabilities, he's reading, cooking, or spending time outdoors with his kids and his beautiful wife, Jenny. Connect with Wade at: or on Twitter at: @FOForty


  1. brandy

    January 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I habe the kindle fire and i love it. I read a book a week on this thing. I have wifi and best of all it’s ligjt weight and the books are crisp white to read :/)

  2. Prime Parents Club

    January 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    You know, I thought I was totally OK with my “old school” (heh) Kindle, but seeing the screen brightness in your pictures is now making me rethink. Is it OK if I use you as the fall guy (“But WADE said it was better!”) /jackie

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