Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Signature Edition): Love rekindled

The features on Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Signature Edition) are big enough to make it the gold standard in e-reading

Excellent display and USB-C support make the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Signature Edition) user-friendly.

Mathures Paul


Published 28.11.21, 12:12 AM

It’s 2.30am and the beer can is almost empty… just like Rachel Samstat’s life in Nora Ephron’s fantastic book, Heartburn. “I’ve done what I usually do — hidden the anger, covered the pain, pretended it wasn’t there for the sake of the story,” worries Rachel in this story about the implosion of a marriage. Words crash into each other beautifully with every page turn on the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Signature Edition). After a long time I have picked up a Kindle device and now it’s almost impossible to put it down even though there are plenty of choices when it comes to devices that support the Kindle app.

The relief of having a device dedicated to books is indescribable. There is always a tablet but distractions are plenty. There is the smartphone but the screen is too small. And there are entry-level Kindle Paperwhites that appear slow in the age of smartphones. In fact, it’s a conundrum when asked about what device is best suitable for reading books, especially in 2021 when there are several form factors available. What the new Paperwhite does is offer a clear answer.

For clarity, graphic novels and comics are important for my sanity, so the iPad is not going away. But a considerable time is spent reading books, especially at night when most in my world are covered in heavy quilt, dreaming of a holiday on the beach sometime soon. The new 6.8-inch Kindle is the middle child in the category that’s perfectly priced and has all the makings of a long-term device. Kindle Oasis is slightly expensive for my pocket (though not comfort!) while the entry-level option is as fast as the fan setting in winter. The Signature Edition is just perfect and gives mid-range devices a good name.

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Perfect display for reading

The software running the show is fluid —page turns are quick and swipe downs and taps are registered instantaneously, a complain that I have had with previous generation options. In fact, the interface is easy to navigate, almost like a phone. It’s also easier to change between the home screen, library and your current book.

Of course, it’s all about the e-Ink display, which is superior than before. What makes Paperwhite, paper-white is LED lights underneath the display. Earlier there were four of them and now there are 17, which means the screen gets very bright when set to max setting.

There’s more to it. There is adjustable warm light setting, which can be set to a schedule. It ensures the screen is always easy on the eye no matter the lighting around you. Plus, brightness can be set to auto mode, allowing automatic adjustment depending on the environment. These may appear like small features to someone who may not have used a Kindle Paperwhite but to book readers, it makes a world of difference.

And here’s something all book readers will enjoy: You can put the cover of the book you are reading on the locked screen (an optional feature), bridging the gap between traditional and virtual books. Of course, there are a few things I want to tweak on the software side, like you still can’t format text in multiple columns, like you can on the Kindle app on the tablet.

Big changes

When it comes to setting up the device, it’s as easy as tapping a link on the Kindle app on your phone after which it hardly takes three minutes to get things running. The matte finish on the screen is great for reading under sunlight but the rubbery back and screen are fingerprint magnets, which is acceptable and a compromise that I don’t mind, especially because of the number of updates that come on the Signature Edition.

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Longtime Kindle device users have wanted USB-C charging for many reasons. First, if you travel a lot, you don’t need to remember to pack an extra cable, that is, a micro-USB cable. The same wire you charge your Android phone with or some laptops can be used to power the Kindle. If that’s not enough, Amazon has thrown in Qi charging. Wireless charging is not something I had ever expected in a Kindle but it’s here.

The display is such that it consumes very little power when it’s changing state and what you get is battery life measured in weeks. Even with backlight set to a third, battery drop per day is less than four per cent. A full-charge takes 3.5 hours using a 10W Qi charger and 2.5 hours using a 9W USB charger but I haven’t been able to kill the device after 10 days of usage. So it won’t be surprising to easily get a month on a full charge for an average reader.

Another reason to go for Kindle rather than the Kindle app on your mobile phone is your eyes. When you are reading on a tablet or the phone, there is some degree of strain on the eye. Not on a Kindle Paperwhite as the display is like paper. Further, it’s a device with IPX8 waterproofing, making it a great beach-read companion.

Focus matters

Agreed that we live in an era of folding phones and the progress that’s being made by Samsung with its Fold phones is impressive because the form factor is perfect for reading books. Or for that matter, many are using Microsoft Surface Duo. And the time-tested iPad continues to go strong. Each of them supports the Kindle app and comes with an ever-improving do-not-disturb feature. Yet, having a dedicated device for a task helps. I don’t want to walk into a five-star restaurant for coffee or visit a cafe for steak. Given Amazon’s sway over the publishing business, Kindle devices are constantly evolving to stay relevant. No wonder the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Signature Edition) is gold standard when it comes to reading ebooks.

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At a glance

Device: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (32 GB)

Price: Rs 17,999

High notes

• Better screen

• USB-C and wireless charging

• Battery easily lasts a month

• Adjustable warm light

• Interface works quicker

Muffled notes

• You can’t format text in multiple columns


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