Like Hoover, Jaffa Cake and Airfix the word Kindle has become synonymous with eBook readers despite there being a number of other devices available from the likes of Kobo, Nook and Sony. Now the most popular of them all, the backlit Kindle Paperwhite, has had a major overhaul which promises a host of new features and an all new display. Is that enough for the Paperwhite to keep its crown as King of the eReaders?
The 2013 model is very similar in terms of physical design to the previous model. It retains the soft touch body and at 9.1mm is pretty slender. The display is still a 6-inch 16-level grey scale affair and there is still 2GB of internal storage, an 8 week battery life and an integrated back-lit display. The rear still curves gently at the edges which allows you to hold it comfortably while at the bottom you will find the lock button, speaker for audio books and a microUSB cable port for charging.
At 206g the new model is 7g lighter than the one it replaces but that is still 21g heavier than its main opposition, the Kobo Glo. I'd rather hoped Amazon would have been able to shave a few more grams of the 2012 model.
New to the 2013 Paperwhite is a display exclusive to Amazon called Carta e-paper. According to Amazon it delivers a higher contrast ratio and less surface reflection. It certainly has a clearer and brighter screen, presenting the text in a far more vivid way than the old Paperwhite. When put side by side with the 2012 model the new device's enhanced contrast ratio is obvious to the eye, as is the brightness of the new backlight. The backlight is not only brighter but also less patchy.
Amazon has also updated the Paperwhite's processor so it's now 25% faster than before, meaning the eReader is more responsive to your touch. It also has a much faster page response time, especially when navigating through menus.
But it’s the Page Flip feature that really grabbed my attention. The feature allows you to digitally keep your finger on a page while you skip backwards or forward in the book to check something else. It’s a handy new feature that makes the eReader experience a little more like reading a real book.
Any word you look up in the dictionary on the Paperwhite 2013 is added to the Vocabulary Builder, which offers you the chance to expand your vocabulary via flash cards that test your knowledge. The Dictionary itself now comes with a full definition courtesy of X-Ray and offers the Wikipedia page for that term or person too. This really improves the Kindle's power as a reference tool.
The new Kindle Paperwhite will be available from October 9th for £109. If you are after a new Kindle I'd suggest waiting until then before you part with your hard-earned as the new model is faster to use and easier to read and that's what eReaders are all about.
Price: £109 (Wi-Fi) / £169 (Wi-Fi & 3G)