My updated review:
Now that I've been using the Paperwhite for a couple of weeks, I am raising my rating to 4 stars (from 3 stars, on Amazon).
Reading at night is still a bit strange, but in my case it does *not* cause eye fatigue. What you lose in book-like feel at night you gain back by being able to crank the light way down - it doesn't shine in your eyes (a la the dreadful Kindle Touch built-in cover light), nor does it bother your sleeping companion.
For day use, I'm liking the Paperwhite more and more. The screen doesn't quite have that look of text being right on the surface but the contrast is good and the smaller sans-serif font sizes are crisp. I'm hoping they can tighten up the serif fonts in a firmware update. You can't be afraid of using the light during the day - you can dial in exactly the amount of contrast you want, even in bright rooms. I put it up just underneath the threshold of the blue hue which it takes one at high brightness (and is unavoidable at night). I kind of wish you could set it and forget it (like iPad brightness controls) but I'm OK with doing this manually.
Also: the touch screen is an improvement over the last model in that it is more responsive and suffers from fewer accidental page turns. The new menu system works well. The size and weight seem ideal. The new optional cover is much higher quality than the last cover and, in my opinion, a must have. Love the fact that shutting and opening the cover takes the Kindle in and out of sleep. The wake up swipe is a good move too. Battery life is only OK if you're a heavy user; it is better than the Touch but not an order-of-magnitude improvement.
The only thing in everyday use that drives me nuts is that they've buried the ability to turn wifi OFF a couple menus deep. That's a pain, because wifi still burns a lot of battery, so you want it off when not using it. Also hoping this is fixed in a software update.
So, overall, despite my disappointment that the screen is not perfect, and some other quibbles that can be fixed in firmware, I'm happier now than when I initially used the product.
Originally Posted by BobDyl
Hello, I'm new to the forums but a long time Kindle user. I've owned every version of the Kindle (and multiple copies). I'm a screen quality junkie. By far the best Kindle screen I've ever seen was on an early K3 keyboard - the background was very white, the text very black, just amazing.
Regarding the new Paperwhite:
- Form factor is the best so far (it could be a little lighter but that's a quibble).
- I'd like page turn buttons but I fear those are gone forever...
- Cover is the best integrated and highest quality yet. The sleep/wake on close/open is terrific.
- Touch performance is also the best yet. Page turns are fast as is menu manipulation.
- Battery life, so far, is excellent.
- The new OS is pretty easy to use but why bury the wifi on/off deep in the menus?
Which brings us to the Paperwhite's raison d'etre, the screen:
- Lighting: I'm very torn on the new front lighting technology. It's great that you can dial it up and down. The fatal flaw of the Kindle Touch is that the integrated cover light forces you to hold it at a certain angle to prevent that damn light from shining directly into your eyes (and all over the room). The Paperwhite light will never shine in your eyes and can be dialed down to the point where it won't bother your sleeping partner in any way. BUT ... is it better to read with? I'm not so sure. At night, in a dark room, with the light dialed down, the text looks soft against a strange glowing blue background. This doesn't resemble reading a physical book in any way. If anything, it feels like the Kindle is now competing against backlit screens, but about 10 times softer and fuzzier.
- Text rendering: I've said this in another thread but there's another difference now that the screen technology has changed. When I compare my Paperwhite to my Kindle Touch side by side (light off on the Paperwhite), the text on the Touch is both crisper and somehow "closer" - the Touch text looks printed on the screen while the Paperwhite text sits "under" the surface. Also I think the fonts for the Touch have been better optimized. This I hope can be fixed with a firmware update on the Paperwhite.
- Contrast: The problem with the new front light technology is that the higher you push it, the whiter (or more blue) the background but the grayer the text. I can see why Amazon never turns the light off and why they call it "Paperwhite" rather than "Textblack." I'd prefer a super high contrast screen in its native (non-lit) state.
- Uniformity: Another OCD point to make in comparing the Paperwhite and the Touch. The background on the Touch, gray as it may be, is more uniform and smoother-looking than the new screen. In certain lighting conditions, you can actually see the pixel matrix in the Paperwhite screen.
So do the improvements to the product balance out some of the screen issues? I'm just not sure. I think the old Pearl screen is still easier on the eyes which seems to be the whole point (otherwise I'd just read on an iPad). I will definitely wait for the first firmware update to see if the fonts can be optimized. I'll also spend the next few days and nights reading a lot and see how the old eyes feel.
I'm liking the Paperwhite but not loving it. Will report again in a few days.