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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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December 2014
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Kindle Paperwhite Hands-On Review

Having used the Kindle Keyboard for quite some time and enjoyed it to the point of returning my Kindle Touch when it didn’t quite meet the same standards (it was fine and had its own perks, but wasn’t as strong in some of the areas I cared about), I didn’t jump on the Paperwhite when it was first available.  I’ve played with it enough to know what I’m talking about in various capacities, but only recently have I picked up my own.  Aside from one small complaint, it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be.

Screen Quality

The contrast of the Kindle Keyboard was pretty much ideal for me.  It created the experience of reading an old, familiar paperback.  The new screen was troubling at first because the contrast was actually too extreme.  I would say that it more or less resembles a newer high-gloss trade paperback.  Not my favorite presentation, but it was very simple to get used to and quickly became a non-issue.  All the other benefits of E Ink displays were naturally still around.

Lighting

The Paperwhite’s signature feature is obviously the front-lighting technology.  It was definitely an improvement over the Nook Simpletouch w/ Glowlight.  The light was more evenly distributed and brighter without creating a greater drain on battery life.  The issues with banding on the bottom of the display are not exaggerated necessarily, but they also have little effect on reading.  I found it somewhat annoying to have trouble seeing the progress bar at some points when reading in complete darkness, but the dark areas are still readable and don’t tend to extend into the text in any meaningful way.

Reading Experience

The overall experience beyond simply the screen is also worth noting.  The loss of 1.2 ounces compared to the Kindle Keyboard makes a small difference overall, but I could see it being meaningful over long reading sessions for some people.  As a reader used to holding the old model for hours at a time, it didn’t stand out as particularly useful (especially if you’re using a case anyway) but the reduction was still big enough to note.

The “Time to Read” meter is better than expected.  It comes up with an accurate measure of your reading pace after a few minutes, basically enough time to fall into a measured pattern, and generally gets things right from there.  Obviously it can’t account for breaks and distractions, but how could it?

Recommendation

If you’re in the market for a new eReader, the Paperwhite is the only real option at the moment.  Nothing else comes close to offering the same quality.

Is it enough to consider going out of the way to upgrade from a previous model?  Under most circumstances I would say yes.  The only really obnoxious shortcoming the device has is a lack of physical page turn buttons.  In every other way it’s a functional upgrade.  For me, the weight of the accumulated features made the Paperwhite an appealing option, but it isn’t at all unreasonable to consider that a make or break factor.  If you can, give it a try and find out for yourself.

Kindle Fire Wins Over The Family Technophobes

The appeal of the whole “Post-PC World” concept that accompanies is rise of the Tablet PC is the extreme simplicity of use.  The lack of power inherent in the portable design doesn’t come into play as much as one might expect, since you are obviously limited from the start to things that don’t require heavy use of full keyboards, mice, etc.  This basically means that devices like the Kindle Fire are ideal from conception as a means of leisurely computing and nothing more.

Now we all know somebody, no matter who that might be, who is either unwilling or incapable of using a computer in any meaningful way.  My family has a couple of them.  I figured that the ideal way to gauge the user-friendliness of the Kindle Fire‘s interface was to get them to take a test drive on it.  The results were impressive. To understand the nature of the reviewers here, it is worth noting that one of them initially refused to even consider it because of how confusing and overwhelming trying to use an iPad was.  I’m told that birthday gift didn’t last a week.

Reviewer One:

It’s fun.  I can get all my stuff by clicking on the word for what I want and then next time it’s waiting on the screen for me.  The buttons for the game look silly next to my books, but if you read a few things they go away.  The best part was the button shelf (Favorites Bar), so that I didn’t lose the important stuff.  The magazines don’t make sense though.  The screen is too small for that.  I think I’ll be keeping mine.

Reviewer Two:

I really only want something to read on.  I tried the old Kindle, but it was too dark for me.  This one is pretty good.  I figured out how to get books from the library and they’re easier to read at night.  I don’t think I’ll ever watch movies on it.  They look good, but the screen is way too small.  I’d rather use my TiVo.  I’m glad they made a Kindle like this that was small enough to read on still.  I’ll probably take it with me on planes.

Reviewer Three:

This one is a lot easier to hold than the iPad.  I know people like that one, but it just did a lot of things I don’t care about.  This lets me check my email, read books, and doesn’t make it seem like I should be doing more.  I’m going to give it a try and maybe even learn how to take it to the library.

Obviously I prompted a little bit there about likes and dislikes, but you get the picture.

In terms of the Kindle Fire‘s simplicity of use, not much else could have demonstrated things better for me.  It’s going to be a common gift this holiday season as a result.  Remember that Amazon has a 30 day return policy for Kindles, making it possible to audition even when you’re not 100% sure that it will go over well.  I don’t think that the family I talked to are getting every possible use out of their new tablets, but that doesn’t mean they failed to enjoy.