I would like to do more reading than what I get to do these days. So when I got the opportunity to review the new Kindle Paperwhite (yes, there is another Kindle Paperwhite in the market) I was looking forward to the opportunity to review the sixth generation of the ebook reader and second in the Paperwhite series.
However, even a week after I got there devices, I was just carrying it everywhere in my backpack, not really getting to read anything long or even play around with the newer features.
Finally, the opportunity presented itself in the form of a three-day official trip to Chennai. Due to the nature of the trip, I was sure there would not be much time to read once I was there. But nothing could stop me from reading at the airport and while flying. So that means at least eight hours of reading. Here’s my experience with the Kindle Paperwhite, recorded over two new airports and two rather old aircraft in between.
I am in the taxi en route to the airport. So I decide to take the Paperwhite out and download some stuff to read during the flight. This version has 3G, so I am not tethered to a Wi-Fi network for updates. I decide to first sync a few books that are already there in my Kindle account, either partially read or unread — I do use the Kindle app on my iPad to read books once in a while. I then buy Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi, a book I have been dying to read. I also find the cover of the Columbia Journalism Review (Evgeny vs the Internet) interesting and decide to subscribe to the magazine. It helps that the first month is free, after which I can take a call on whether I want to continue with the subscription. The entire process has taken me under five minutes, the 3G is quite fast on this one.
At the airport, I try and log in to the free Wi-Fi to see how the experience is. But I could experience a faster download, most probably because the airport Wi-Fi was being used by hundreds of passengers. It is not much of a difference in speeds and I am not really spending money as the 3G does not entail usage cost. Interestingly, the device automatically switches off the 3G when it is latched on to a wireless network.
As I try to log in to Goodreads, it is time to board the flight. The Kindle Paperwhite — like its earlier version — is not much larger than a thin paperback and can easily go inside my coat pocket. I wish I could do that with my second generation iPad.
In the flight, I cozy up with the CJR cover story on Evgeny Morozov. I have used or reviewed almost all Kindle devices so far, but this one undoubtedly has one of the fastest page flips. But this also means that if your thumb inadvertently touches the bottom right corner, you are in the next page. I have always found it a slightly awkward experience reading periodicals on Kindles. One articles flows into another and often you mistake this for a new chapter when it turns out to be a complexly new piece. But this also means you can finish a magazine from cover to cover without being bothered about anything else, just the kind of experience bookworms would love.
India After Gandhi starts with a rather long prologue peppered with footnotes. Clicking any superscript number on the text opens the footnote pop-up in a jiffy. It is as convenient, and much faster than clicking a link on a website.
The one day that I spend in Chennai does not afford me much time to read anything long. But I do use the device to check The Indian Express stories once in a while, after all this is Chennai where you cannot get a copy of the paper.
On my way back, on a very turbulent evening flight, I actually read much more than I have in ages. In two hours I am four chapters into Guha’s latest. Having seen the actual size of the book, I am pretty certain that this is the better way to read any book that is more than 300 pages long.
Back in Delhi, I select a line from the book and tweet it. I am actually on the way back home and on 3G. Yes, this is a good added feature, but maybe this is not the device for multiple tweets per book. You can easily manage a tweet per book. Plus, there is the fact that the tweet makes sense only for people on the Amazon ecosystem for the link that goes with it is one for the publication on Amazon.
At home, I use the Goodreads feature to log in to Facebook a create a shelf of the books I have read on Kindle. It also shows other people on my list who are using this service. Surprisingly, there were quite a few of them and with books that I would like to read, when I get the time. This seems like a better feature than the actual share option.
So, what did I think?
Overall, the Kindle Paperwhite has now become a device for the share-it-now generation. It is still the closest digital experience to the actual book and is at times a better experience, especially when you are on the move. A must-have for people who like to read wherever they are.
Price: Rs 13,999 (The version without 3G is Rs 3,000 less)