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Testers Keepers: Kindle Paperwhite review by Angela Zhou

Posted on 06 August 2019

Overall the Kindle Paperwhite is a very good model.

The Kindle was delivered in a median envelope through the letterbox. The package is sleek in blue and black, reflecting the two colour options of the current model. Inside the package, there is the Kindle itself, the charging cable and a small booklet.

At first look the device is quite well built, in a smooth matte finish. It is light in weight as the previous models. I can fit it in the old case I had for a Kindle 3 rd Generation. Without a case, it is perfect to slot into the side of a bag or jeans back pocket. The matte casing makes it easier to hold with less obvious fingerprints than the previous glossy versions.

The on/off button at the bottom makes it slightly awkward to use with a single hand, compared to the older versions with a home button. Waking-up takes about 2 seconds.

Compared to my old 3 rd Generation, the improved resolution is very obvious. The Paperwhite display is clearer and sharper. It continues to offer many options on font, size, background and page setting.

The Wi-Fi is always on once set up. There is no Wi-Fi on/off switch. The only way to turn off the Wi-Fi is to turn on the airplane mode. I guess given the long battery life, this does not matter too much.

The waterproof feature is very helpful for a rainy day or for beach/poolside reading. I left the device in the bath for about 5 seconds. It came out working okay. Storage is notably double that of the old versions. But it is never a problem for me, as I have a habit to delete the books when I finish.

Bluetooth continues to be a useful feature for audiobooks, although there is not yet a large collection. The web browser is still an unpleasant experience. It is glitchy and very slow to respond.

Even the Amazon store is very difficult to navigate. I ended giving up and ordered books on my mobile Amazon app then sync the Kindle to download the purchase. The LED lights are very useful that I could read at night. I would prefer a setting option to be able to switch it off during the day.

The price tag of £119.99 for 8G and £149.99 for 32G is reasonable compared to the much more expensive Oasis. However, the £50 extra on the regular Kindle might not be justified for better resolution, waterproof and flush front, if you do not bring it to bath or pool very often.

For me, the 8G model is better value for money given I do not need a large amount of storage. Kindle has always been my preferred device for reading, compared to mobiles and tablets, mainly for the anti-glaring screen. However, now my local library offers e-book and e-magazine services via app RBDigital, which works on IOs, Android and Kindle Fire only. This limits the use of Paperwhite for library readings.

Another let down is the very limited selection under the Amazon Prime Reading. It seems the device serves as a purpose to promote book sales for Amazon. Over time, I can see the Paperwhite value diminishing when more books are accessible for free from libraries, physically or via an app. For now, I would only recommend it to family and friends who do not have easy access to libraries and are used to reading on a device.

To improve the product, I would like first of all a better Wi-Fi connection and more user-friendly storefront. Then, more books under Prime Reading to make the scheme better value. It seems Kindle Unlimited might be the answer. Finally, there could be more colours (compared to the current two choices of blue and black) to appeal to younger generation.