Product Review: #Kindle Paperwhite


My old 2nd generation kindle on the left; my new Paperwhite on the right.

I purchased my first Kindle back in 2010 (can’t believe it’s been almost five years). At that time, I bought the newest one available, the 2nd generation with 3G. It was the keyboard variety.

Twice I almost extinguished my Kindle by spilling water on it. I’ve dropped it many times, cracked it and had it taped it together. I don’t know if those accidents are related, but my Kindle had started to slow down. Even though I’d upgraded the software, I’d begun having trouble accessing the Kindle Store, and my Kindle would freeze up when I highlighted multiple passages. So I decided it was time trade up.

I was torn between the Kindle Fire, which gives greater internet access capability, and the Paperwhite, which I’d heard was primo for reading. In the end, because what I really wanted was a reader and not another computer, I chose the Paperwhite.

I’ve had it a couple of weeks now, and I love it. It is fantabulous, and it is generally more functional and more user friendly than my old 2nd generation. Here are the positives and negatives of Paperwhite:


  • Navigation with the touch screen is a breeze. It’s even easier to access the Kindle store, buy books, and use the menu functions.
  • The lighting on Paperwhite is awesome and far superior to 2nd generation. I can now read in the dark without having to turn on a lamp (great for reading in bed when the other person wants to sleep!)
  • Highlighting is so much easier when using my finger instead of the little toggle switch.
  • I can “go to”  a specific chapter or page instead of just the “location” so navigating within a book is much easier.
  • When I buy a book from a Kindle sample it opens to the spot where I left off reading. No more scrolling through to find my place.
  • The screen is the same size on both Kindles, but the overall size of the Paperwhite device is smaller because there’s no keyboard. It’s more akin to a mass market paperback vs. a trade paperback for 2nd generation. Paperwhite fits in my hand better than 2nd generation.


  • With the 2nd generation Kindle, I could create alphabetical “categories” and file my books so I could find them easier. I can create categories on Paperwhite, but it doesn’t remove the books from the home screen, so I end up with two copies. If I delete the book from the home page, it removes it from the device  completely! It’s still stored in the Kindle Cloud, but I don’t want it in the Cloud, I want it on my device, just not on my home page. What if I’m on an airplane and want to look up an old book? I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know if I don’t have the function figured out or if this is a design modification, but it’s the one thing I really don’t like about the Paperwhite.
  • I love my Triple Town game on my 2nd generation Kindle. But that game is not compatible with Paperwhite, so I’m stuck carrying around my old Kindle.
  • The Paperwhite did not come with the power “adaptor” that allows you to charge it from a wall socket. That’s an extra accessory. I failed to realize that when I bought it. I saw the “adaptor” but thought it was an electrical converter for use outside the US. You can charge the Paperwhite from your computer with the USB cord. Fortunately, my 2nd generation Kindle did come with a charger, which works with Paperwhite, so no harm no foul, but I think it’s pretty cheesy of Amazon to not include the electrical charger with Paperwhite.

A note about the cost:

A basic Paperwhite is $119. But if you want 3G so you can access the store if you don’t have wireless available, it’s $189. To get a Paperwhite “without special offers,” i.e. ads, bumps it up to $209. Add the special Kindle cover (which I highly recommend) and that adds $39.99 to the price. A two year protection plan, which I bought due my history of Kindle accidents, added another $29.99. (The power adaptor, which I didn’t need and didn’t buy is $19.99).

My $119 Paperwhite ended up costing me $258.98.

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6 Responses to Product Review: #Kindle Paperwhite

  1. Casey McKay says:

    So you spent $260 on a Kindle and they didn’t even give you a power adapter? Geez…
    I had a first generation Kindle for the longest time and just got a Kindle Fire for Christmas. While I do love it, my distractibility is at its peak because I will check my email every five minutes while reading. Lately I have taken to switching the wireless off while I read (it saves the battery too).

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I would do that too (check email, and my book stats!). Another reason why I’m probably better off with a Paperwhite.

  2. Laurel Lasky says:

    I had a kindle that my brother gave me. After a few years it stopped taking a charge. I called Amazon, sent in old kindle and for $60. Sent me a paper white without charger. I called and told them I had sent old charger when I returned kindle.
    PS.they sent me a charger at no cost.
    I still use it occasionally but tend to do most of my reading on my iPad. I also have a mini iPad and a kindle fire which I take to appointments when I have to wait.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Hmm…I wonder if there’s an official exchange program? Not that I’d surrender my 2nd generation because then I wouldn’t be able to play Triple Town. I am addicted to that game.

  3. First, kudos to Laurel for having more devices than my husband and I combined. 🙂

    I had the 2nd generation kindle and loved it, but love my kindle fire even more. I had forgotten about the ability to list books alphabetically on the old kindle and that was a nice feature. My old one had a cover w/light that was handy, though a bit like a laser so depending on how my husband and I were configured in the bed, he didn’t always appreciate it.

    But…as Casey said, I spend more time checking email and playing games on the Fire than reading. Maybe I ought to dig out the old one and use it a bit more often.

    Great post, Cara.

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