I am an unashamed bibliophile. I love books. My idea of a vacation is one filled with trips to bookstores and time reading in a coffee shop. For years, the only thing I ask for at Christmas is book money. When I move, the majority of my efforts are spent trying to figure out how to move all my books without damaging any of them.
My favorite thing about books is reading them. I don’t care about collecting vintage books. I care little about first editions or fine covers. But I do love the look, feel, and smell of books. So I’ve always been wary of using e-readers or tablets for reading.
I did buy an early version of the Barnes & Noble Nook, but it didn’t do it for me. I used my iPad for a few weeks to read books, but it didn’t work for me either. It was too bulky, and I just didn’t like reading off its screen.
Enter the Kindle Paperwhite
But I was intrigued when I saw some ads for the Kindle Paperwhite. It seemed to solve all the problems I had with my old Nook.
The entire screen was a touchscreen, which made highlighting text as easy as dragging my finger across a line. I can read it in the dark, thanks to some nifty technology that lights up the screen. And since it is a Kindle, it has a wide range of books available from Amazon.com, including plenty of theology and philosophy books.
So I went out a few days after Christmas and bought a Kindle Paperwhite with some Christmas money. I’ve been using it for two weeks now, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
How Does It Look and Feel?
The Kindle Paperwhite looks and feels well-designed. It is lightweight. According to its specs, it weighs around half a pound. The screen is six inches, which is large enough to read comfortably and still make the device very portable. And the screen has a nice glow to it makes it easy to read in whatever lighting you’re in without being so bright that it hurts your eyes.
Is It Easy to Use?
In short, yes. It only took me a moment to figure out how to navigate around its menus. I don’t think it would be hard for anyone to figure it out.
It did take me a little longer to get used to the touch screen. You turn the page forward by touching one section of the screen. You turn back a page by touching another section on the left of the screen. You bring up the information about your location in the book by touching the bottom of the screen. And you bring up the menu bar by touching the top of the screen. It didn’t take me long to learn it, especially since the Kindle has a helpful tutorial that runs when you turn on the Kindle for the first time.
Kindle advertises that the battery life is around 8 weeks, according to the average user’s use of the device. Unlike all the other electronics in my life – iPad, iPhone, and Macbook – I never have to worry about whether it is charged when I take it with me.
A keyboard pops up on the screen whenever you select a text box (whether to search the Kindle store, search a book, write a note, etc.). I don’t have any big complaints about it. It works about like I expected it to: adequately, but not perfectly. The lag between touching a key and the character appearing is too annoying. I frequently type a word and then realize that the device is lagging behind, skipping some of the letters I’d pressed.
Reading on the Kindle Paperwhite
The big question that any reader would have is whether it works well for reading. It does. There are several reasons for this:
- Great selection of books that are just a click away. A little too tempting for someone on a tight budget.
- Very portable. I can take it anywhere and read from a wide selection of books.
- Pick up where you left off. It saves your place in every book. You don’t have to spend time looking for your place.
- Adjustable font, margins, and line-spacing. It is nice to get to alter the appearance of the text to suit my reading preferences.
- Reading at night. I’ve always stayed up later than my wife. I don’t have to worry about bothering her by keeping our lamp turned on.
- Searches a dictionary and Wikipedia for words or phrases you select. It’s nice to be able to highlight a historical figure and search for more information about it. It helps me better understand older books that mention people and places I’m unfamiliar with.
Anyway, I couldn’t be more happy with my Kindle Paperwhite. Maybe the iPad Mini would be better. But I’m not looking to spend that much money. I hope the Kindle line of products will be around for a while. They are well-designed for book-lovers.