Monday, July 21, 2014

Product Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation)

No, I am not a professional photographer.
Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite Wifi plus 3G.  With special offers.  That was what I purchased last March from Amazon with their once-a-m0nth payment plan.  It seemed like the safe thing to do as I liked the idea of having mine own dedicated e-reader that I could read at night without having to turn on the nightstand light at potentially disturb Conklederp.  I had also been using Conklederps Kindle Fire so I had some experience using an e-reader and by then I had gotten used to swiping to turn pages and having an entire shelf worth of library books in the palm of my hand.  

I've become a sitting advertisement for Amazon.

But wait, there's more!

There is more, actually.

The other reasons for acquiring said Kindle was that it was the second generation of Paperwhite, which I was holding out for after reading some known issues with dead pixels and the backlight doing things it wasn't supposed to be doing.  Additionally, there was the XKCD comic from god knows how long ago.  Plus, the touted eight week battery life, so I could, hypothetically bring a hand-crank usb charger and have a good number of my books at my disposal come the apocalypse.  Or you know, intergalactic hitchhiking.

So I bought the Kindle Paperwhite with Wifi and free 3G (while 3G signals are still active) and presently I love it, but it took a while before my feelings reached their current level of feelings.  My first hang up was transitioning from the Kindle Fire to the Paperwhite.  I knew, somewhat, what I was getting into technology-wise in that the Paperwhite uses Amazon's "E Ink" technology whereas the Fire uses a standard LCD tablet-type screen.  Turning pages on the Paperwhite looked nothing like the Fire and that took me the longest time to get used to.  I liked seeing pages turn when I swiped the screen and now instead of the screen would do a little flash and the page would change.  I am now perfectly content, but that effect was one of my biggest concerns that I may end up not liking the Paperwhite.

Another feature that I knew about, but was a little disappointing was the "Experimental Browser" that is used to view webpages.  I do not mind the black-and-white and reformatted look of the web pages and I realize that browsing web pages using the Paperwhite is going to be much different than using either my phone or my computer, so those aspects I am fine with.  A couple of times while using the web browser, I have had the program close itself due to "an unexpected error" occurring.   At least one time I had to force close my Kindle because the webpage froze and I could not get back to the home screen.  I only hope that Amazon has occasional firmware updates that fixes the known issues with the program. 

Browsing Wikipedia can be cumbersome at times too.  While I do wish that there was a dedicated button that opened up a Wikipedia browser (similar to the dedicated Goodreads button on the home screen), I am perfectly fine with using the Experimental Browser to look up articles.  The issue I have is when using the search field is that the screen zooms in and the "search" button cannot fit on the screen so unless there is definitely an existing article that opens a search results tab below the topic,  I am unable to search and be directed to a list of Wiki articles that are/might be connected.

The eight week battery life is a bit of a misnomer too.  The requirement for the Paperwhite lasting eight weeks on a single charge is to have the backlight set at 10 (to note, in the dark, I have the light set at 6 and in any other light, at 0), the Wifi set to off (Airplane Mode) and only reading for 30 minutes a day.  I usually read for more than 30 minutes and I usually have the Kindle in Airplane Mode if I am not looking up a book or downloading one and I have never had the light set at more than 6, even in bright sunlight and I am positive that a single charge has not lasted me 8 weeks.  While a bit disappointing, it was not a reason to return the Kindle as a defective product or false advertising.

Let us move onto aspects that I either did not realize or had forgotten about after having purchased this electronic reading device.  Upon purchasing the Kindle, I was given an email address so that I could email format specific documents to read.  I was kind of surprised that that bit about having Amazon convert documents to the MOBI format automatically upon emailing documents to yourself was only listed in that little second-t0-last sentence at the end of the page.  I think this is amazing.  I was able to take a PDF version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream that I had acquired through, emailed it to my Kindle with "CONVERT" in the subject and received a MOBI formatted copy of the story.  Granted the converted book does not contain a searchable table of contents and is not navigable to the extent that a standard ebook is, but for what it is, I find the service great.

Lastly, once a month, Kindle owners who are also members of Amazon Prime receive a free book, out of a choice of four ebooks that will be published the following month.  Books that I have picked up (and have yet to read) include I Am Livia, Moving Day: A Thriller, Supreme Justice and As Red As Blood.  I do plan on reading these at some point, possibly after I finish the Summer Reading BINGO, but in the meantime, they will be among the many free books that I have acquired because they are either in the public domain or because they simply looked interesting.  Then there is the Humble eBook Bundles which is looking to be a permanent thing, which is both exciting and terrifying, especially for my bank account.

And, if you call within the next 30 minutes, one of our operators will be happy to take your order.  Or something along those lines, you get the picture.


1 comment:

  1. 2 things:

    One of these days I want to get an e-reader. It was nice reading your review.

    Secondly, 'I have no mouth and I must scream' is the most wicked sounding title I've (maybe ever) heard! I really want to hear what you think of that one.