Let me begin with the caveat that this story is unfinished. It’s a work in progress and I’ll post additional details on my blog as the story continues and (hopefully soon) concludes.
I recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite. It was my first Kindle. I was a staunch Barnes and Noble NOOK guy. Is that a NOOKer? In any case, I got tired of defective charging cables. I got tired of customer service giving me the runaround. I got tired of being told to go purchase things with my own money and then mail in receipts for a refund.
I just got tired, alright?
I decided enough was enough and that I had to at least give Amazon a chance to wow me. And in some degrees they have and in others they’ve done so for the wrong reasons.
When I ordered my Kindle Paperwhite on November 3rd, I was told I could expect it on December 24th.
Happy Christmas Eve to me.
To my wonderment and delight, it arrived on November 20th. I was super excited but my enthusiasm was tempered pretty fast. I noticed there was the shadowing that I had heard others mention. Basically it looked like the screen wasn’t purely white, it looked like there were darker spots on the screen, like a shadow. Nothing big. I could deal. It wasn’t exactly as advertised, but it would do. But then I noticed something else.
There was a pinhole in the screen. Not a top layer because it was smooth to the touch but on a sub-layer of the screen and it allowed light to shine much brighter through that tiny hole.
You know how when you get a crack in your windshield how sometimes the sun hits it just right and it magnifies the light right toward your eyes? It’s sort of like that. I mean it’s not blinding like the sun, but it is a bit of a distraction. When I’m reading in that area of the page my eye always catches on it.
I called Amazon and they were very apologetic. They offered to send me a second device. They even sent it two-day delivery. I was impressed.
And then I got that device. It was worse than the first. It was pretty white, but it had three larger holes where the light came through. I called Amazon and again got someone great. They apologized and sent another device. I asked if I could hold onto my first while we worked it out and they said absolutely I could. I was pleased.
Device number three came 2-day delivery just like device number two. Another good experience. I opened the box. This one had terrible color and it had a pinhole of light too. In a different place on the screen but still there nonetheless. I called Amazon and got a woman this time who was nowhere near as nice as the first two I dealt with. She wasn’t mean or argumentative by any measure but she seemed uninterested and just going through the motions. The first two people I had dealt with seemed like they genuinely enjoyed their job, so she just paled in comparison is all.
Device number four came 2-day and it was the worst yet. It was like half the screen barely lit while there were still the light holes, also in a new place.
This time I was frustrated and took to Twitter and said: “Latest @amazonkindle Paperwhite is 2-tone. White on the bottom, brown on the top. Fourth Paperwhite is the worst one yet. So disappointed.”
I sat down to watch TV with the family when I got a call on my cell phone. It was Kindle Support. They indicated that they saw my Twitter comment and they were once again apologetic and offered me a couple of options. I could return my Paperwhite for a full refund or I could try another replacement. I told the guy that I want the Paperwhite, so please send a replacement. He said that he was hoping I would say that.
I got Paperwhite #5 in the mail yesterday while I was at work. When I got home I opened it and found that it was better than the last one. It had the same pinhole my first one does but it was far into a corner. I could live with that but when I went to turn the brightness up on it I found that it was already at its brightest setting. It was what I’ve affectionately coined a Kindle Paperbrown.
And that’s where I’m at currently.
Props to Amazon for issuing me Paperwhite after Paperwhite without friction. It’s a pain that I have to drive to the UPS Store to drop off my bad units, but I guess it’s better than them just telling me I should return my Kindle and be done with it. B&N has done that to me before. And I was in store next to a friend when the manager said it to him too regarding his NOOK Tablet. I also give Amazon props for calling me. I’ve never once complained about a situation and had that company contact me by phone to see how they can help. It’s just an amazing testament to how seriously they take their customer service. Well done.
So Amazon, I really want a Paperwhite that is pristine. I want one that is actually white when turned up. I’ll understand if there is a little shadowing. It’s not truly what was originally advertised with the whole “perfect uniformity of light” but I’m a reasonable guy. However, I cannot tolerate the pinholes of light. What do you say, Amazon? I’ve had four refurb’s now. How about a new unit?
To be continued…
Update 1: Amazon representative tells me that he is pretty sure they have been sending me new units all along. I doubt this since there have been “R”’s on the UPC AND they don’t come with the paper flier that my brand new one did. In any event, Paperwhite #6 is on its way.