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Customer Review

588 of 653 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comparison - Kindle Keyboard, Touch & Paperwhite 2, 12 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi (Electronics)
Length:: 3:33 Mins

Edit 19/6/14:

If your Paperwhite starts to slow, which if my experience is anything to go by is pretty well guaranteed, please be aware that there is a terribly simple solution - restart it. To do this, hold the on/off button in for about 5 seconds until a menu appears offering three options: 'Restart', 'Screen Off' or 'Cancel'. If you aren't aware of that simple solution, the Paperwhite will irritate you as it'll start to lag.

I did that with mine today as I would touch the screen or a page turn; nothing happened; I pressed it again; then it turned two pages. It was being slow in other respects too. A simple Restart has meant that page turns are now immediate.

Before restarting, I suggest that you exit the current book and return to the main screen, and leave it on for a moment. This is because the Kindle only synchs book position, notes and any highlighting when in the Home screen. If you restart without doing this, you might lose any changes since the last time you were in the Home screen.

On a separate issue, my video shows me toggling the display in the bottom left-hand corner through 4 options: Location/Page/Time left in chapter/Time left in book/(Back to 'Location'). Two things:

1. If your Paperwhite does not display 'Page', it is because the ebook does not include page numbers. Only books that state 'Real Page Numbers' have this - this is declared on the web page, a couple of lines beneath the Kindle price (e.g. this book states 'Length 227 pages (Contains Real Page Numbers)' - it says this three lines beneath the price).

2. Good news for people who dislike the screen always displaying your progress through the book: you can now choose to blank it out. Since making my video, the software has added a 5th option - you toggle between Location/Page/Time left in chapter/Time left in book/nothing displayed/(Back to 'Location'). Selecting this also blanks out the percentage-of-the-way-through-the-book figure in the bottom right-hand corner.

Edit 14/4/14:

The Paperwhite 2 is in so many ways superb. The killer is the built-in light which makes it better than a physical book. I also love the 'Vocabulary Builder' feature, and (because I upgraded from a Kindle Keyboard) the fact that you can display your collection visually, with a large thumbnail of each book's cover. The disadvantage that I mention immediately below is actually an advantage for many users so please don't let my comments put you off buying it. That disadvantage remains factually true, though, so I leave my rating as 3 stars - I wish I could give a rating of 5 stars for most users and 3 stars for some.

Edit 8/12/13:

Amazon has recently released a software update (version 5.4.2) which was installed on my Paperwhite 2 (PW2) this week.

The software update includes 'Cloud Collections' which copies all the books you have ever bought onto your PW2 (it copies the name or thumbnail of the book, not their contents as that would risk maxing out the memory). If those books are in Collections, it will copy over the Collections too.

While I personally dislike the update (hence I've downgraded my star rating from 5 to 3), I can understand why some people like or indeed love it - they have lots of books on an old Kindle and do not want to have to manually transfer them across, or to recreate Collections - and you may feel the same way. The problem is that if you do not want it (and forums show that a significant number of people don't), you cannot prevent the update being installed, and once installed you can't opt out of displaying every book ever bought under 'Settings'. In addition, Kindle discussion forums show that the update can cause problems for some users (see below).

In contrast, Sony's Playstation requires you to consent to software updates before installing them, as do Apple with iPhones and iPads.

Some people have more than one Kindle registered to their account, which Amazon allows (e.g. a couple who want the option of reading each others' books). Before the software update, they could choose which books to have on their individual Kindles. They can't any longer. And they will now see not just their Collections but their partner's too. And one person's idea of a Collection called, say, 'Classics' may differ from another's - if they have different books in those Collections, the software update will merge them which is frustrating. People have complained about this on user forums.

There is one large benefit of the update: if your old Kindle breaks down/is lost/stolen, you won't lose any Collections on it.

I personally dislike the update as I went from 2 pages on my PW2 to 13 overnight. I also found that some of my books on my KK had somehow been copied into the wrong Collections on my PW2 (something that other PW2 owners have commented on in forums). I had Collections on my KK and PW2 with the same name but containing different books - the update merged them. This would all have been avoided had Amazon taken the simple step of requiring me to tick a box, asking if I wanted to install a software update.

While I accept that many people will welcome the update, forums show that some do not and it is a shame that Amazon enforces it on all users and then does not allow them to opt out under 'Settings'.


**Original review: ***

This written review goes beyond my accompanying video review:

For someone who has never had the original Paperwhite (PW1), the obvious advantage is the built-in light. The less obvious advantage is the faster processor speed - my Kindle Keyboard (KK) is as slow as honey in January and will freeze for a long time when I use the 'search' facility. I was also irritated that the KK does not order book collections alphabetically on the home screen (oddly, it does when allocating a book to a collection).



For PW1 users, the light is more even. For non-PW1 owners, it's great to have a light. I thought that the light was for reading in bed at night with all lights off but it actually significantly improves visibility and the whiteness of the screen even during the day under ordinary indoor lighting, as demonstrated in my video.

*Improved processor*

Searching for anything is so much faster than my KK.

*Vocabulary Builder*

Whenever you look a word up in the dictionary, it adds it to the Vocabulary Builder automatically. I like this. I have demonstrated and expanded on this in the video.

*Improved screen*

It is sharper and less reflective.


The trend since the KK has been towards lighter shades of gray - the KK was dark gray and the Kindle Touch was a lighter gray, almost silver. The PW2 is black, which I personally prefer.


For those of you who, like me, are upgrading from a KK, highlighting is shown as gray background behind text (like highlighting in gray in Microsoft Word). This is much better than the KK which claimed to highlight but just did a dotted underline.

* Restricting access - Parental Controls*

You can restrict access to the books you have bought, the Kindle Store and the web browser. So, for example, children can only access the books you have uploaded onto the device as opposed to any book you have bought, and they can't use it to surf the net or buy books.

*Buying book after downloading free sample*

If you download a free sample and then buy the book, the free sample is automatically deleted and replaced by the full book, AND your current position is transferred from the free sample to the new book. On the KK I was left with 2 books and had to delete the free sample, and then manually find where I had got to in the new book.


*Typical electronic problem, easily cured*

I've only just bought it and yesterday it started lagging - e.g. in an earlier version of my customer video it took 9 seconds between highlighting 'somnambulistic' and it displaying the dictionary definition (for the purpose of this review, I replayed that video and timed it). Today it suddenly slowed to a crawl - it was taking minutes to do anything. A restart (hold power button in for a few seconds and select 'restart') cured that.

I am really surprised that this happened so soon after buying it, and with a mere 10 books downloaded onto it. Had it not in effect frozen, I would not have restarted it and therefore would have been left with a slow machine with no idea how to cure it. I suggest that if yours slows down then you might care to restart it - the difference in speed on my PW2 is remarkable.

Edit - added 9/11/13

*Synching between Kindles*

I had a problem with my devices not synching the last page read or annotations & highlights - e.g. my PW2 would say I was on the furthest page when I had got further on my KK, and highlights made on the KK were not shown on the PW2. This was despite annotation backup being 'on' and manually synching the Kindle via the menu. The reason turned out to be simple - furthest page read, annotations & highlights are only uploaded to Amazon's servers when you exit a book and return to the Home Screen. Incidentally, if your device is wifi only, this can only happen if wifi is on and you are in an area with wifi. So, if transferring between devices, return to the Home Screen before turning your Kindle off.

If reading a book and making lots of notes/highlights, it would make sense to return to the Home Screen regularly in case your Kindle breaks or is stolen, in which case all notes/highlights since the last time in the Home Screen will be lost.

Edit - added 21/11/13


I got irritated that I would turn a page accidentally (by touching the screen), so I would turn back and yet not be on the original page. I found it very irritating as it made no sense.

I have since discovered that the reason is only a tiny margin on the left of the screen is interpreted as a backward page turn - the width of three letters. For example, in my current book the first word in the centre left of the page (against the margin) is 'home'. If I touch the 'e', it turns FORWARD a page. If I touch the 'm', it turns back. I have checked that on a different page and get the same result.

So, if you have that problem, that is why.

The advantage of such a narrow margin is that you can hold the Kindle in your left hand and turn pages forward using your left thumb. There is no need to use your right hand to turn pages.

*Packaging & ordering*

This ships in a 'No Frustration Packaging' box with 'Kindle Paperwhite' written on it, which has two disadvantages. Firstly, if it is a gift for someone it can spoil the surprise. Secondly, the box is designed to fit through a letterbox. If you do not mind your brand new electronic item being dropped on the floor from the height of your letterbox, that's fine. The solution to both is to tick 'This is a gift' in the checkout process as then Amazon will ship it in an ordinary box. I am not convinced that such a diminutive box protects it in the post or when dropped through the letterbox - ironically, I find the Frustration Free packaging frustrating.


Edit: A new version of this Paperwhite has been released. It is significantly better yet hardly any more expensive - well worth the extra money. I have video reviewed it (and the quality of that video review is a lot better). My review is (at the time of writing) the third one down. The new Paperwhite is here: All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers

*****On 3/8/15 ONLY, Amazon is reducing the price of anything over £50 by £10. Just enter 'BIGTHANKS' as a gift/voucher code at the checkout***.
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Showing 1-10 of 64 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Oct 2013 16:13:45 BDT
L. Green says:
Very helpful review, and nice look at the actual performance of the new PW. Particulary liked the attention to detail regarding things like how to change the % to page number.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Oct 2013 19:38:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Oct 2013 07:04:05 BDT
Mister G says:
That is very kind of you. Thank you. This is my first ever video review.

I covered more about the Paperwhite and the differences between the Kindles in my earlier attempts at video reviews but I couldn't upload them as Amazon has a 100KB limit for videos and mine were coming in well above that. On my camera, 100KB is equivalent to about 3 minutes 40 seconds - you don't get much time.

One of the things I cut was better examples of the difference in processor speed. And it's why I didn't demonstrate the Kindle Touch in action.

Posted on 21 Oct 2013 23:36:43 BDT
Excellent review, very helpful to see the Paperwhite in action. Thanks for sharing!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Oct 2013 18:12:28 BDT
natcox says:
I tried to get the page number In the bottom left hand corner it on location I pressed it it went on to time left in chapter I preesed it again in went on to time left in book I pressed it again and it went back on to location it is very annoyin!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2013 12:50:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Oct 2013 12:53:15 BDT
Mister G says:
Ah! Yes. I discovered that after I did my review when reading a different book than the one in the review. It is presumably because the book does not support page numbers, which seems to be a polite way of saying that whoever is responsible for the book has not taken the time to enter the page number details.

Page numbers are not automatically generated. They relate to the page numbers in the 'real' (hardback/paperback) book, so that e.g. if you are in a book club and someone refers to a page number, you are all looking at the same place.

I suggest you check that you do not have that problem with all your books.

Posted on 29 Oct 2013 13:14:24 GMT
Except it is not backlit it is front lighting.

Posted on 30 Oct 2013 20:36:56 GMT
Hopalong says:
THANK YOU! covered all the questions I had!!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2013 14:08:42 GMT
Mister G says:
@ Thom Merrilyn - You are absolutely right.

@Hopalong - Thank you.

Posted on 1 Nov 2013 23:58:09 GMT
A well thought out and thorough review thanks. Pity you kept the lamp on because the glare is distracting!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2013 14:30:53 GMT
Mister G says:
@ Dermot D. J. Weir - thank you. The light troubled me but I felt it was better with it on than off, and the glare came off the one Kindle that I was not showing in action so I thought that it would be OK. Clearly I was wrong - thanks for the feedback.
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