[Edit Notes: While phones and tablets hog the gadget section limelight, there are those device categories that kicked off a trend but are somehow in the margins of attention. E-book readers are pretty much there. Vibhu Rishi – an avid gamer and gadget freak – shares with us his take on his time with one such device.]

I have been using the Kindle Paperwhite for a few months now, and oh boy – do I love it! True, it could be better – but for the purpose I want it , i.e. reading, it is really great.

When I got the PaperWhite,  it was not available in India. So, I had asked a friend to get it from USA for me. If you want it now, it is easily available through Amazon for Rs 10,999. It is a tad expensive – but with the import laws in India, and shipping costs, I guess this is a pretty good price.Kindle

If you read a lot of books – this is the device for you. I had checked out reading on other devices like the phone, iPad, Kindle Fire – but this device beats them all in the ease of reading.

Usability

Now, this is not a very well known E-book reader for some reason. People have heard of Kindle and Kindle Fire, but for some reason, they haven’t heard too much about this particular model.

What makes this device unique is that it has an e-Ink display with a touch screen. How awesome is that ?

An E-Ink display – has 2 advantages

Firstly – the battery lasts long. Very long. For me this means a month between charging the device. My reading is like a few pages per day. This is achieved as in an E-Ink display only the pixels which change use the battery. So, if the page does not change, it will technically not use any battery power. In fact, taking the awesomeness a step ahead, when you switch off the screen (e.g. screen lock) it does not really switch off, but has a cover page, which, in the model I have purchased is an ad for some book. Wow! How I wish this display was used in phones as well !

Secondly – I can read in sunlight. Just this convenience is well worth it ! I have had too many days of trying to read the text on the phone screen in sunlight as a detective process. With the Paperwhite – this is a breeze.

Now, add on the convenience of touch response. Turning pages is as easy as tapping on the left or right side of the screen. However, the real convenience is when you have to type in something – e.g. for searching a book or checking out something on the Kindle store. Anyone who has used a 4 way controller with select ( ‘Smart TVs’ anyone ?) knows how much of a pain that can be. But with touch, entering alphabets is quite easy. Also, since it no longer needs a physical keyboard, the display covers the entire device and gives it a much better aesthetic look.

And then, to top it off, it comes with a backlight! So, if you like to read in bed, you can without having a lot of ambient light.

Must have accessories

Out of the box you get the Kindle and a USB cable for charging from your laptop/computer. No other hardware and no other software. But there are 2 essentials that I think everyone should have.

  1. The cover – and I highly recommend the original Kindle Paperwhite cover from Amazon. You may be tempted to get a cheaper cover – like I did – but I recommend against it. The Kindle’s cover is an exact fit, covers the device completely and comes with a flip cover which also switches of/on the device when it covers/uncovers the screen. No more pressing the power button!
  2. Calibre – This is a free software for converting between various book formats and managing the books on your device. e.g. iPad/iPhone use the e-book format, but Kindle uses the mobi format. This makes it quite easy to convert your current library to the Kindle specific format – and also upload to the device – letting you know what books are already in the device.

Wishlist

Now, the device is quite good, but it has some glaring issues. So, here’s my wishlist if anyone from Amazon’s Kindle division is reading this 😉

  1. Faster processor. The current processor just works. For reading the books, no problem – after all you are just swapping pages. However, when you need to look at the books in your library, this is a problem as the refresh takes some time. Sometimes several seconds if you have a big library ( e.g. I have a lot of classics from Guttenberg on the device)
  2. A color E-ink display. Seriously – these are available and should become the screens of a book reader.

NextBigWhat Take

Given great reader apps on pretty much every platform and the popularity of multi-function devices that do a pretty decent job with e-books, is there space for a dedicated reader? Of course, it has an edge inasmuch as the screen is easier on the eyes, easier on the battery and zero distraction, unlike an uber-connected tablet, but are those reasons enough for consumers to buy and use another device?

On the other hand, think of it like picking a book from your collection at home and sitting down to read, and it might work.

A little too expensive for that?

Recommended Read: Making Google Chromecast Work in India: A Review

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