The Amazon Kindle 4th generation recently received a 2012 refresh when the company started selling the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle HD. How does it rank up against the original and is it a viable investment in today’s landscape of glowing e-readers?
The big selling point behind this new e-reader is the unit is now black and boasts 15% faster page turns. The text is noticeably crisper when comparing it to the previous Kindle 4 2011 model.
The new Kindle features a six ink e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 600×800 pixels. It has 167 PPI and 16 levels of greyscale. It has 2 GB of internal memory, but only has 1.25 GB of available space, once you account for the OS and default books. There is no expandable memory via SD or MicroSD.
Battery life is fairly solid with the lifespan totaling around 4 weeks and it only takes 4 hours to charge. You charge the device via the MicroUSB port that is on the device. You also use this port to load your own content such as books and pictures.
The unit itself features the same hardware as found on the prior Kindle 4. You have manual page-turn buttons on the sides, that easily allow you to quickly flip pages. There is no touchscreen in this model, so you are completely reliant on the D-Pad and navigation menu buttons.
The device is fairly light and easily fits in your back pocket. It is extremely portable and you can use the built in WIFI internet to buy newspapers, magazines and eBooks. If you own this unit outside the USA, you will still have access to content.
Software and Reading
The new Kindle Paperwhite has a proper homescreen that shows you the cover art of your books and has a funky navigation bar that allows you to visit your library, bookstore and settings menu. This model has the older GUI that simply lists your books, D-Pad navigation is snappy and responsive because the software is fairly basic.
Reading on this unit is fairly solid! You get to enjoy all of the standard Kindle augmentation tools to customize the fonts, line-spacing and margins. You get to pick between six different font types and eight different font sizes. This will allow you to really craft your own unique experience. In the videos below we compare the older version vs. the newer one, so you can see the crisper text and faster pageturns for yourself!
The Amazon Kindle Store offers Kindle Singles, Serials, Bestsellers and Free eBooks. There is around 1.6 million books, newspapers and magazines you can buy. The store itself remains consistent across their entire e-ink line. It is quite easy to find what you want within one or two clicks, which makes buying new stuff a breeze.
There is no point in re-hashing the same initial review we gave the 2011 version of the Kindle 4. It is in essence the exact same reader in terms of hardware and software. The only noticeable change is faster page-turns and crisper text. Side by Side, you have to really look at them both closely to see any big changes.
If you are looking for a very cost effective gift, that will be in stock during the holidays, you might want to go for it. It costs around $79 in the USA and the price changes depending on what market you are in.
Michael Kozlowski is the editor-in-chief at Good e-Reader and has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past fifteen years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.