Amazon adds a "We want you to know" section to the Kindle Paperwhite product page
I earlier called attention (Oct. 5) in an Update about the first Kindle Paperwrite reports and reviews, to a situation developing in which some owners were concerned about the bottom 1/2-inch of the device, which, in darkened rooms especially, often shows some uneven light where the LEDs begin sending light to the rest of the screen and, at the start, the light isn't yet evenly diffused.
I described this and linked to a Youtube video that shows the same device in daylight indoors and in a room completely darkened.
Also, some units have arrived with what seem to be discolorations, usually in dark rooms, although with many of these, the colors aren't being seen after a few days of exposure to the air. In a very few cases, they've remained visible in all lighting situations and, if so, those should be returned to Amazon for replacement -- Amazon has been replacing these with no trouble, sending out replacements the same day.
The latter indicates a possible bad batch though, and the reported problematical ones are being sent to engineers to check out, per some customer rep responses to forum members. In the Kindle forums, some are upset by the normal bottom 1/2-inch unevenness and this is partly because Amazon's product illustrations tend to show the ideal display, as marketing materials will -- so for those buyers, it seemed a flaw.
In my early Notes for buyers, I drew attention on Sept. 8, in points 3 and 5 and in the "Things Buyers should Know" section, to the lack of audio capability in the Paperwhite and the lower storage capacity of 2GB vs the 4GB of the previous e-Ink Kindles (Aug 2010 and after). That was to prevent prospective buyers from purchasing without realizing these things. I also gave a couple of theories beyond what Amazon explains as of yesterday.
Yesterday Amazon added its "We want you to know" section on the Paperwhite product page.
Because it's so unusual, here is their advisory in their own words:
We want you to know...
Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we've ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about.
Thank you, and we hope you enjoy Kindle Paperwhite.
- Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.
- Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even.[Edited for the Kindeworld blog Dec 28, 2015, after an alert by Mr.Cyberdude in the Comments area on December 28, 2015:These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation.
Examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions accompanied the text on the product page for the original Paperwhite released Sept 2012, but now that Amazon has been on the Paperwhite 3 for a year or so, the product page for that first model is used only for selling Used Paperwhite 1's, and all the descriptive product text (except for basic specs) have been removed.
The smaller image I made at the head of this blog article is all that's left of the accompanying images.]
- The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.
- The Kindle Team '
Essentially, the 4 lighting situations shown include:
1. Daylight with maximum setting at '24'
2. Bright room with light setting not as high, at '20'
3. Dark room, light setting low
which they recommend for 'most comfortable reading'
4. Dark room light setting at full brightness,
which they do NOT recommend.
Amazon reiterates at the bottom of the 4 illustrations:
"In darkness, the most comfortable illumination level for most readers is a lower light setting." That's probably because in a dark room any light will stand out more.
Notice that (i) the bottom half-inch shadings are stronger when you're in a dark room and the light-setting is very high and that (ii) when you're in a dark room, and the light-setting is low, Amazon's photo shows some mildly pink and green discoloration at that level and may be what some have seen.
When these also appear in daylight to any noticeable or bothersome degree, that wouldn't be what's expected and a few forum members have returned those units for replacements which were usually better.
What Amazon doesn't mention, in a section that describes what they want people to know are normal appearance of the Paperwhite under very varied light, is what their battery rating is based on:
The ~8 wks battery life of the Paperwhite, customer reps have said, is based on a light-setting at '10' and with wireless Off most of the time.
Most owners report using their Paperwhites at battery settings from 9-14 for best appearance and comfortable reading.
News-site reactions to Amazon's additional information
Gizmodo's Casy Chan - "...an awesome, awesome e-reader. But it's not without problems! ... For the lack of audio and limited storage, there’s really nothing that can be done. If you needed those two features, you shouldn’t get a Paperwhite. As for the lighting issue? Well, watch your brightness levels."
Cnet's Roger Cheng - "How's this for honesty? Amazon took it upon itself to post a note today on its site listing the limitations of its newest e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite...For instance, Amazon acknowledged that the built-in light will provide uneven illumination under certain lighting conditions. The uneven lighting occurs in the margin where text isn't present...Of course, a cursory look at the product page would also reveal some of these differences. Amazon, however, has opted to be crystal clear about the differences between the Kindle Paperwhite and older models."
Their headline though: "Amazon preemptively discloses some potential shortcoming in its latest Kindle e-reader compared with previous models [That would be audio and space], most likely to get out in front of user complaints."
The Verge's Chris Welch - "So far as uneven lighting is concerned, Amazon readily admits that its front-lit solution isn't perfect while simultaneously calling the variations "normal" and assuring customers they mainly affect areas of the screen that display little to no text. The slight difference in uniformity didn't hamper our enjoyment of the device, so it's hard to fault the company here."
The comments to the article are an interesting read.
EXCellent Customer Video Review
This almost two-minute video review is especially apropos because the reviewer, on Oct. 1, was attempting to show, he said, the glow screen and address the comments about the LED lights at the bottom. He felt it was "no big deal" and found the screen very clear and bright.
Upshot - my take
From what I've seen of photos of Before and After replacements units, there -was- a bad batch, but also there are some who are a lot more sensitive than others are to the bottom half-inch variances as well as some who didn't expect any unevenness at all (probably because Amazon's marketing states that the lighting is even, top to bottom) and couldn't get past seeing them, while most owners I read found them no problem once they started reading.
So I think Amazon was wise in addressing what may be normal, as there had been no indication by them of any variances dependent on lighting situation and there'll be more realistic basic for expectations now.
Current Kindle Models for reference [as of Oct 13 2012 blog-entry only], plus free-ebook search links.
NOTES on newer Kindles [at that time]
Updated Kindle Fire Basic 7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free but slow web
Kindle DX -
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - £109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK - £169
Kindle Fire 2, UK - £129
Kindle Fire HD 7"16/32GB, UK - £159/199
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
* Kindle Fire HD to be released October 25, 2012 in listed European areas above;
Paperwhite to be released November 22, 2012 there.
For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
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UK: PubDate Popular
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|Most Popular Free K-Books|
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
Top 100 free
Top 100 free
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.
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