Review: Bigger screen, better lighting make for a nearly perfect Kindle Paperwhite

Enlarge / The Eleventh-generation Kindle Paperwhite Signature Version.

Andrew Cunningham

It is essentially the most dependable improve in tech: take a factor that was already good, and make the display screen larger.

From laptops to TVs to telephones to sport consoles to tablets to watches, the time-honored custom of constructing the display screen larger has resulted in some wonderful upgrades, at the least so long as making the display screen larger would not screw up the rest.

And that is Amazon’s playbook with the $140 11th-generation Kindle Paperwhite. Subsequent to the Tenth-generation mannequin, the designs look almost equivalent, however the brand new one has a bigger display screen enabled partly by slimmer borders across the high and sides.

However simply because the larger display screen is essentially the most noticeable factor concerning the new Paperwhite does not imply it is the one factor. It now has a USB-C port for charging, changing the growing old micro-USB port. Efficiency is improved in small however noticeable methods. Its frontlight provides extra LEDs, so the illumination seems to be smoother and extra uniform, and it additionally picks up the auto-brightness sensor and heat mild options from the $250 Kindle Oasis.

All of that comes collectively in a $140 e-reader that’s the greatest Kindle—and, by extension, the very best e-reader—which you can at present purchase.

Larger display screen with a greater frontlight

The new Paperwhite (left) has a 6.8-inch screen, which looks and feels much larger than the old model's 6-inch display (right).

The brand new Paperwhite (left) has a 6.8-inch display screen, which seems to be and feels a lot bigger than the previous mannequin’s 6-inch show (proper).

Andrew Cunningham

The headline characteristic of the brand new Paperwhite is its 6.8-inch display screen, an enormous step up from the previous Paperwhite’s (and the usual Kindle’s) 6-inch show. It doesn’t change the Kindle’s person interface a lot, nevertheless it does imply much more phrases per web page whenever you’re utilizing the identical font sizes, margins, and spacing.

The house for the bigger display screen principally comes out of the Kindle’s high and aspect bezels, that are a lot slimmer than earlier than (although the underside bezel is somewhat thicker than earlier than, seemingly to make sure that you continue to have loads of room in your thumbs when you’re holding the gadget). Even with the bezel tweaks, the brand new Kindle is taller and wider than the previous one, however not a lot that it feels tougher to carry for prolonged intervals. The design of the Eleventh-generation Paperwhite and the Tenth-gen Paperwhite are in any other case equivalent, with bezels which might be flush with the show and the identical soft-touch plastic again.

The brand new Paperwhite additionally will get an upgraded frontlight that makes it much more just like the more-expensive Kindle Oasis. The frontlight now makes use of 17 LEDs, up from 5 within the last-gen Paperwhite and 4 in the usual Kindle. And it now has a warmlight possibility that may shift the show’s colour temperature from the usual cool blue to a heat orangey-yellow.

Two separate sliders management backlight brightness and the sunshine’s colour temperature. Even should you don’t look after the yellow show impact that the majority telephones/tablets/computer systems supply now, turning the show heat up just a few ticks takes the cruel edge off of the bluish Kindle frontlight and makes the show much more nice to take a look at. A built-in auto-brightness sensor additionally helps with this.

The Kindle Oasis has still-more LEDs in its 7-inch display screen—25, as a substitute of 17—however the Paperwhite’s display screen is so vibrant and evenly lit that I doubt I may inform the distinction even with the 2 units subsequent to one another.

Higher efficiency (with one critical bug)

Amazon claims the brand new Paperwhite has “20% sooner web page turns,” and whereas I didn’t measure something with a stopwatch, the Eleventh-gen Paperwhite did really feel extra persistently responsive than Tenth- and Seventh-gen fashions I usually use. That is true not only for web page turns, but additionally for navigating menus, highlighting passages, and typing out fast notes. The brand new Paperwhite continues to be sometimes vulnerable to the sorts of random, inexplicable minor hangups and hitches that each one Kindles I’ve used have typically suffered from, however these pauses take much less time to resolve themselves than they do on the older fashions.

That mentioned, I can persistently get the brand new Kindle to completely lock up by quickly adjusting the backlight and heat sliders after which opening a e book—virtually as if giving the display screen too many inputs in too quick a time makes it cease responding totally. The frontlight will nonetheless activate and off, however the show gained’t refresh or reply to enter till the gadget has been exhausting rebooted.

I think that this can be a bug that may be resolved with a software program replace, and it’s not one thing you’ll run into should you’re not tweaking the settings a bunch in a brief time period. Nevertheless it’s one thing to concentrate on—I’ve contacted Amazon to see whether or not this can be a recognized subject and if a repair is coming.

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