Kindle Paperwhite In UK From October 29 – Mixed Reviews And Limitations

The new Kindle Paperwhite is launching in the UK from October 29th, much sooner than anticipated. This new Kindle has a special Paperwhite screen with a built in light which lets you read at night and a matte screen so you can read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room with no glare.

Reviews – The Kindle Paperwhite was released earlier this month in the US and received numerous glowing reviews from tech journalists. However, early reviews from actual Amazon buyers in the US are more worrying – the Paperwhite currently has just 3.7 out of 5 star ratings with disturbing reports of unevenly lit or discoloured screens and doubts raised about build quality.

Following this unfavourable feedback, the US Paperwhite page now includes a get out of jail free clause ‘We want you to know’ link near the top of the product page. This links to a disclaimer page listing limitations and changes ‘to help make an informed purchase’.

One of its key points is that “Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even”. This is the exact opposite of the very top claim in the main product page: “built-in light evenly illuminates the screen to provide the perfect reading experience in all lighting conditions”. [My italics]

Naughty. Even naughtier is the fact that (at the time of writing) the UK Paperwhite product pages do not include a link to any such disclaimers which might help buyers make an informed purchase… It could be well worth reviewing the US comments and the disclaimer page info before jumping in to place an order.

Main Features

  • Higher resolution – 62% more pixels
  • 25% more contrast
  • 212 PPI resolution/pixel density compared to the 167 PPI of previous models
  • Built in light
  • 8 week battery life, even with the light on
  • 2 point multi touch interface (instead of 5 way controller or keyboard of other Kindles)
  • Weight – 213g (Wi-Fi) or 222g (3G). [Note: the basic Kindle weighs just 170g so the Paperwhite is at least 25% heavier]
  • Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech
  • 2GB of storage – hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device

It will be sold in 2 versions – available to pre-order:

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader, Wi-Fi

Kindle Paperwhite, Free 3G + Wi-Fi

Paperwhite TV Ad

Conclusion

The new Kindle Paperwhite looks good – on paper, if you’ll forgive the pun. However, do consider the early reviews of the US models before making a purchase and read the caveats mentioned in the US site disclaimer – it may not be quite the shoo-in that many reviewers predicted.