Don’t Get Soaked by the New Kindle Paperwhite

The new Kindle Paperwhite.
The new Kindle Paperwhite.

Just in time for the holidays, Amazon has released a new Kindle Paperwhite with some upgrades – starting at $129.

Before you dash to your digital shopping cart, let’s see if the newest e-reader is worth the hype – and your valuable dollars.


It’s waterproof – sort of

Amazon promotes this model as waterproof.

On its website, it states the Paperwhite “is rated to protect against accidental immersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes.”

Yet the fine print offers a few points to consider before you go swimming – or even in the bathtub – with your digital book collection.

According to the teeny insert in the packaging that most people will toss out in the trash without reading (italics all mine):

“Your Kindle has been tested to withstand brief accidental immersion in water under certain conditions. However, your Kindle is not intended for underwater use and may experience temporary effects from exposure to water.”

Do you want to risk your Kindle in water?
I don’t care what Amazon says: I’m not dunking this baby in the pool any time soon.

The insert drops a list of steps to follow if your Kindle Paperwhite gets wet, along with warnings of things to avoid – such as seawater, salt water, chlorinated water and steam rooms.

Perhaps it might be more precise to say the new Kindle Paperwhite is water resistant.

That’s hardly going to get them bundled in those Amazon delivery drones, is it?

The battery is stronger – than what?

Honestly, I’m starting to worry the good folks at Amazon are drunk when they talk about battery life.

From the Amazon item page: “A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.”

Sure. Anything lasts weeks if you’re not using it.

But I barely got through seven days and just reading about an hour a day. In that, it’s on par with the Kindle Oasis, Amazon’s premier e-reader, and that is so not a good thing.

It’s lighter and fatter

The new Kindle Paperweight hits the scales at a stunning 6.4 ounces for the Wi-fi model and 6.8 ounces for the Wi-fi and 4G LTE.

Comparing the Wi-Fi models, that’s actually .4 ounces lighter than the Oasis but .7 ounces heavier than the standard model.

No matter. It’s doubtful you’re going to suffer wrist strain from holding any Kindle.

But the new model has double the storage – from 4 GB to 8 GB – with an option to get 32 G.

I opted for 32 G because I have this niggling fear that I will run out of space. I own just shy of 900 digital books and never had any issues on my previous Kindle, so I’m guessing I’m set for life.

The Kindle wakes up.
Getting up in the morning is hard for everyone.

It’s had some work done

Yes, that’s right, the new Kindle Paperwhite has had a facelift.

This model features a level touchscreen – no more beveled screen that was a magnet for dust.

It also needs some help getting up in the morning.

When you open up your reader, the lock screen now flashes a warning: “Waking Up ….”

It only lasts a few seconds, but that’s a difference from every other model.

The homepage has also been redesigned.

On the older models, swipe with your finger and you go right to your library. Here, you just plunge further down in Amazon’s often curious recommendations for you. These are often worth a laugh. Somehow Amazon has in its algorithms that I’m in the market for romance novels. Yet it’s comforting to know that after all this time, the company doesn’t know me at all. To get to your library, you must select “Your Library” on the homescreen.

The touchscreen controls seem a bit hinky. I’ve had a few hiccups trying to advance a page. Sometimes the e-reader stalls. Other readers have made the same complaint to Amazon and I’m guessing the next software update will address this.

Do you need this?

If you’re satisfied with your current e-reader, I would say no. The differences are so minor as to verge on inconsequential.

If you don’t own a Kindle, you can still get a great experience with its basic model that starts at a mere $79.

The reasons why Amazon dominates in the e-reader field have not changed: Its devices are easy to use, with intuitive controls. Browsing and shopping is a dream. Digital books often are priced with hefty discounts. Downloads take seconds.

The ease of being able to carry a library in your pocket cannot be overstated. Whatever I’m in the mood for, I can find. I’m now in the middle of several books, ranging from a mystery anthology to a Roman history to a biography of the fabulous Eartha Kitt. I would break my back and then some if I had to stuff the physical books in my backpack.

Of all my devices, the Kindle is my favorite. You can have my iPad. You can trash my phone (please). But the Kindle gets me through my days with stories to take me into my nights.

Hey. Reading here.
Hey. Reading here.


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