Just a year ago, Amazon unveiled its first generation Kindle Paperwhite. It replaced the previous generation of Kindles that came with keyboards and instead featured a full touch screen E-ink display. At just $119 (or $139 without ads), Amazon cemented its dominance once again in the e-reader market. Since then, Barnes and Nobles reported that it would be shifting manufacturing of its tablets to a third party after experiencing significant losses with its Nook devices. Who is left now? Kobo. Good luck there.
The new version of the Paperwhite is at first glance, an incremental update. Internally, it has a higher contrast display, faster processor, and improved lighting. With the faster processor and a new feature Amazon is calling Page Flip, skimming books should be a much smoother experience. Design-wise, it looks exactly identical as before.
After being acquired by Amazon in March, Goodreads is now integrated in the new Kindle, allowing readers to connect, share favorite books, and figure out what they should read next.
Another feature you can expect is called Vocabulary Builder, which indexes the words you’ve looked up, allowing you to easily review them later in the form of flashcards. It will bring back fond memories of studying for the SATs.
Overall, the most important takeaway from this new generation Paperwhite is that Amazon is making further improvements on tackling one of the biggest problems that e-readers lack versus physical books: navigation.
First, Amazon has improved the processor, making page turning much more fluid and responsive. When it comes to touch screen displays, every millisecond that can be shaved in every swipe interaction is monumental.
Second, Page Flip lets you skim pages and chapters quickly, skip to the end of chapters, and preview other pages without losing your current place. If you’ve ever read a book like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and were constantly referring to maps and family trees to recall important names and locations, you will understand how important that is.
Lastly, the Kindle’s Smart Lookup is much smarter (pun intended?). It now combines X-Ray (a feature that lets you scan mentions of ideas, characters, places, and topics across a book), Wikipedia, and a full dictionary. With just a tap of a word or phrase, you can access more information without ever leaving your page.
When I reviewed the first generation Paperwhite last year, one of my biggest complaints was that page turning was abysmal. Flipping through books was cumbersome and didn’t feel as quick as using a psychical book.
With the new version of the Paperwhite slated to be released at the end of September, has Amazon finally delivered a solution to that problem? I certainly hope so.
Preorder the new Kindle Paperwhite now for $119.