Ronny Lam

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Kindle Paperwhite Review

John Gruber has a perfect analysis of the Kindle Paperwhite:

Page-turning is a bit of a setback. It’s good that you can use the touchscreen to turn pages, but why not include dedicated page-turning buttons as well? The e-ink Kindles are designed to do one thing really well: display long-form text. Page-turning is at the heart of the Kindle reading experience. An active Kindle reader is going to go to the next page hundreds — in some cases, I’m sure, even thousands — of times every week. There should not just be buttons for page-turning, but great buttons. Buttons exquisitely designed and engineered to be perfectly placed and delightfully clickable. The problem with using the touchscreen to turn pages is that you have to move your thumb, from the bezel to the display and then back to the bezel after tapping, each time. With page-turning buttons on the bezel, like on the old pre-touchscreen Kindles, you never had to move your thumbs while reading.

The lightning seems, and is, a nice feature. However, on this very first model there seems to be a downside:

it’s unevenly lit at the bottom of the display. It’s shadowy — like the opposite of backlight leakage. This is apparently common, or perhaps even normal. With the backlight set in a certain way (you can adjust the levels to suit the room), I can see a couple of shadows that intrude slightly into the page’s bottom line of text. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but it is disappointing, and gives the Paperwhite a sort of low-end feel.

The summary of the screen resolution and typography part:

Amazon’s goal should be for Kindle typography to equal print typography. They’re not even close. They get a pass on this only because all their competitors are just as bad or worse. Amazon should hire a world-class book designer to serve as product manager for the Kindle.

The first two items are deal-breakers for me. I won’t yet bother to get one to Europe until Amazon updates this hardware a little bit. John is very right in his last sentence: “Amazon should indeed hire a world-class book designer to serve as product manager for the Kindle”.