Tag Archives: Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite 2013–My thoughts

pw_tnSo my wife told me to order the new Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday. I figured they would fix the issues with the screen and I could sell mine for a good price since, lets be honest, this latest version isn’t much of an upgrade. I went to read the reviews and the first one-star review I read gave me pause. He is experiencing the same screen issues I saw with the first-gen Paperwhite. The same issue that had me send my Paperwhite back several times. But it was only one guy, the other one-star complaints were bordering on ridiculous.

But then I scratched my head and I asked myself… what hardware differences exist between this model and last years? … Supposedly a faster processor – this wouldn’t matter to readers as we don’t have apps on this thing.. so whether or not this is true? Doesn’t really matter.

Secondly, they changed the case. There is now a large Amazon logo on the back. Some folks complained but Amazon explained that the name Amazon is more familiar worldwide than Kindle – which adorned the back of the first-gen Paperwhite. I’m not really one to care about stuff that is going to be hidden in a case anyway. I’ll call this a wash.

Finally, they redesigned the light guides so there are less uneven spots like what last years model had. This is the hardware aspect that interests me the most. I was promised even lighting in the first-gen model, and it took me a lot of returns to get one that most closely delivered on that promise.

So what changes will matter most to readers? Software. There are some new features, such as the device remembering when you look up a word. It tosses the word into a deck of on-screen cards so you can expand your vocabulary. This could be of some use to me since I tend to use the same twenty-six words over and over again. It’s true. This article was written with only twenty-six words. Count them.  .. okay, don’t. I lied about that. But it could come in handy. Who doesn’t like appearing well edju-ma-cated?

Then there is upcoming Goodreads integration. If anyone is patient enough to write a book review on the Kindle, they are a better person than I. The integration though seems to have more to do with what your friends are reading and recommending. Similar to what we saw with Barnes & Noble’s NOOKfriends software.

Another new feature is Page Flip. An option that lets you bounce between different areas of the book, like those maps in Game of Thrones without leaving the page you’re on. Improved footnote handling is also advertised. Now the callouts are handled on the current screen, without bouncing you to another part of the book.

There are a couple of other little things both hardware and software wise that seem less notable. But the biggest changes are software.. and it sort of irritates me that existing owners aren’t given the opportunity to purchase a software upgrade. I see nothing in that new software feature set that requires a faster processor.

I’m sure at least a few of you would consider a $20-$30 upgrade to the new software if you were interested in the new features. Especially considering $20-$30 is more than Amazon is making on the hardware they are selling. We hear all the time that Kindle’s are a loss leader; it’s the books and apps that they make money on. Why not make a chunk of change on the OS too?

I guess the whole point of this was to think my decision to buy out loud. I really like my Kindle Paperwhite 2012 but it does have just the tiniest bit of uneven lighting. It’s very minor. But I am very interested in some of the software features, particularly the upcoming Goodreads integration. And Page Flip will come in handy when reading Game of Thrones, so will X-Ray for that matter – but that’s not a new feature.

So yes, I think the Paperwhite 2013 is worth a shot. But you can bet that I’ll be getting a perfect model this time. No compromise. The Paperwhite 2012 is almost perfect, the new software isn’t compelling enough to accept ‘almost perfect’ again.

Wish me luck. This could be the last eInk eReader I buy for a very long time.

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My Take: Kindle Paperwhite

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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.