Nearly flawless. Critics love the Kindle Paperwhite's performance scheme. The display packs more pixels than even the base Kindle's superb screen, pages refresh speedily, and the text contrast is second to none. The Kindle bookstore is easy to access and browse. The Paperwhite's light distribution is more even than on the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (*Est. $120), although variations can appear at the bottom of the screen under certain conditions.
All that and more. In addition to the lighting feature, the Kindle Paperwhite offers the abundance of extras found in the base Amazon Kindle (*Est. $70 and up). These include a web browser, dictionary, a massive catalog of books to download, free borrowing via Kindle-to-Kindle lending and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, and WhisperSync technology that saves your page across multiple Kindle devices and apps. A Paperwhite-exclusive "Time to Read" feature estimates how long it will take to finish your chapter based on your previous reading speed.
Amazon keeps costs down by including Special Offer advertisements on the lockscreen; an ad-free Kindle Paperwhite costs $20 more. Similarly, the Kindle Paperwhite is Wi-Fi only, but a 3G version (*Est. $180 and up) is available. Reviewers worry about the Kindle's lack of expandable memory, missing ePub format support and proprietary e-book format, but not enough to ding the device. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight includes expandable memory and vast format support, but few of the Paperwhite's additional features.
Mostly excellent. Navigating books with the Paperwhite's touchscreen controls works flawlessly. Some reviewers prefer the physical page turn buttons like those on the touchscreen Nooks, but most say it's all a breeze whether you're flipping pages or browsing the Kindle bookstore. Experts report, however, that the Kindle Paperwhite feels a bit bulky compared to the base Kindle or Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.
All about the light -- and the ads. If you want a lit e-book reader, the Amazon Paperwhite with Special Offers is a decent deal. If you don't mind using an outside light source, however, the base Kindle and Nook Simple Touch (*Est. $100) offer great e-reading experiences at a much lower cost. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight ditches the Paperwhite's ads -- and most of its special features -- for the same price.Bottom line
If you're looking for a top-notch e-book reader with a lit screen, reviewers say the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite's incredibly detailed E Ink display, fast and responsive controls, abundant extras and massive book library make it a great choice. However, it's not without some minor issues.
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org examines several different variations of the Kindle Paperwhite as part of its exhaustive e-book reader coverage. Testing is done and ratings are provided, but editors fail to discuss their findings in depth.
Review: E-book Reader Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite earns an Editors' Choice award and the top slot in CNET's list of the best e-book readers. Carnoy likes its incredibly crisp and responsive screen, and lighting function, but makes note of the device's heft and lack of expansion options.
Review: Kindle Paperwhite Shines, David Carnoy, Sept. 30, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent The Kindle Paperwhite nabs another Excellent rating and Editors' Choice award at PCMag.com. Lendino loves everything about its display and Amazon's giant bookstore, but calls the 3G Paperwhite (*Est. $170 and up) a bad value. He recommends sticking to the Wi-Fi enabled model.
Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi), Jamie Lendino, Oct. 5, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent Engadget.com reviews don't include numerical ratings but are very extensive, and Heater's coverage of this device is no exception. "The Kindle Paperwhite has once again made Amazon's e-reader the one to beat," he says, although he reveals several minor quirks that could convince readers to choose the Barnes & Noble Simple Touch with GlowLight instead.
Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review, Brian Heater, Sept. 30, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good PC World's review of the Kindle Paperwhite redirects to its sister site, which focuses on non-PC-related gadgets like e-book readers. No numerical rating is provided, but Perenson's evaluation is lengthy and full of hands-on impressions. In the end, she considers the Kindle Paperwhite a worthy competitor of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.
Review: Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Really Shines, Melissa J. Perenson, Sept. 30, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Lisa Gade subjects the Kindle Paperwhite to a long, picture-packed review, and comes away impressed enough to give it an Editor's Choice award -- the first ever given to an e-book reader here. Like some other experts, she wishes the Paperwhite included physical page turn buttons.
Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Lisa Gade, Oct. 6, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Wired's review of the Kindle Paperwhite isn't as detailed as some other sources, but it's still lengthy and full of personal observations. Comparing it to the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, Baldwin says, "I'd still recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. It has the better software features, the stellar screen and the unstoppable ecosystem. It keeps its crown as king of the e-readers."
Review: A Clean, Well-Lighted Face, Roberto Baldwin, Sept. 30, 2012