December 09, 2012 at 09:00 AM EST
Gift Guide: Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's latest ereader. After four generations of devices, Kindle users expected a slight incremental update from the previous Kindle Touch. But everything was improved in the Paperwhite, from the operating system to the display resolution. On top of that, Amazon added frontlighting. After two months of use, it remains the best reading device.
paperwhite gift guideShort Version

The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon’s latest ereader. After four generations of devices, Kindle users expected a slight incremental update from the previous Kindle Touch. But everything was improved in the Paperwhite, from the operating system to the display resolution. On top of that, Amazon added frontlighting. After two months of use, it remains the best reading device.

Long VersionFeatures:
  • Frontlit E Ink display (6″, 758×1024)
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • 3-8 weeks of battery life
  • Optional 3G connectivity
  • Everything is synced with your Amazon account
  • Works with the Kindle Store
Info:
  • MSRP: $119 (Wi-Fi) or $179 (Wi-Fi + 3G)
  • Remove screensaver ads for $20
  • Manufacturer/retailer: Amazon
The Kindle Paperwhite is…

… a major improvement over the Kindle Touch. With all the attention on the Kindle Fire, ereaders could have become an afterthought for Amazon. But with this device, the company knows that it is talking to its most devoted fans and to heavy readers.

The LED frontlighting system was an expected addition, but it wasn’t the only improvement. First, Amazon chose a more traditional capacitative touch screen instead of an infrared-based screen. It is much more responsive than the slow Kindle Touch. Navigating the interface or even just turning a page is much quicker.

The display finally received a resolution bump. For years, it was stuck at the original resolution of the first Kindle released in 2007, 600×800. Text looks better on the new display.

Buy the Kindle Paperwhite for…

… the avid book readers you know. The Paperwhite still shares the same DNA as previous Kindles. It has a great battery life, doesn’t cause eyestrain and is very portable.

Previous Kindle owners that have been waiting for a major change in the Kindle line can get this one. Since the Kindle 2, all models came with the “pearl” E Ink display, including the current $69 non-touch Kindle. The Paperwhite finally changed that.

Some will regret that Amazon still doesn’t provide a “next page” button on touch-based Kindles. It would certainly be a good addition as you have to move your thumb for every page turn instead of simply pressing a button. But you forget about that quickly.

Because…

… we are now living in an always-connected world. As a writer, following the constant stream of news and keeping up with your social network feeds can be tiresome. Many share the same feeling. Stepping away from that and reading a chapter or two, at your own pace, can easily become an important part of your day.

If you want to keep wireless on all the time as I do, get the Wi-Fi version. It will be much better for battery life and it will sync last page read without even having to think about it. I get around 3 weeks of battery life. If you buy the Kindle for yourself, buy it with the ads as you can always remove them later in your Amazon account.

The Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect gift for book lovers. Between smartphones and tablets, there is still room for dedicated reading devices. This year’s Kindle is certainly a good choice in this category.


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