Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kindle News: Kindle Paperwhite - 1st reports and reviews - UPDATE3

First user reports  from Kindle forum are coming in and I'll mention the first few and get on with excerpts from the regular print reviews, which are, fittingly, glowing like a front-lit Kindle.  :-)

  I'll add that when I saw the Paperwhite, in early Sept, I wondered how could it NOT sell like crazy?  This piece sells itself, just sitting there.  But, as I've said, it's very responsive too, which some of you saw in the video I took.

  The Kindle Paperwhite started shipping officially yesterday, on time, and the first quick report I saw in the Kindle Forum today was by J. Davidson -- the message thread will grow, so you can watch it for as long as needed:

' Short review.  Just received mine and best Kindle ever!!  Light OMG I love it!

  [ Pressed for more, J. added:

'...Love the touch screen feel.  Power button is harder to push, so no accidental pushes...have found I need more light to read and this Kindle is what I've been waiting for.'

bookloveranne says:

'  'Mine just arrived. I seated it in the case and hooked it up to the charger.  I haven't messed with the fonts yet, but what I've played with so far, I love! '

They mention there are a few negative reviews in the Amazon customer reviews area from people upset that it doesn't have audio.  It shouldn't be a surprise to shoppers who read the details before they buy though.  I mentioned it early, in the Notes, so that  people would know in advance, and many others have discussed it.

  In another thread, started before delivery date, someone points out,

   "Experimental Web browser faster than on KK, for sure...."

It's always fun on the first day to read the high anxiety over the (non)arrival of  UPS or FedExpress, while some do sentry or greeter duty at their front doors.  One dog got excited, alerting the family to The Arrival,  but it turned out to be Jehovah's Witnesses, whose booklets were not on a Paperwhite.

The Paperwhite product page already has some very helpful, detailed early customer reviews.  The gist of these reports is that other e-Ink upgrades were skippable but the reviewers there feel this model is different  It's not only the front-lighting, it's also the responsiveness of the capacitive screen (Touchco's) vs an infra-red one (the latter type is on the current Nook Glowlight and the Kindle Touch). [See updates on this further down.]

  On the left or just above  is an image from the video I took of a very good demo of what it's like to use the Paperwhite, and if you didn't see it earlier, it'll help to take a look.  I had just tried out a few menu options and asked a Kindle Team member to show some of the features and functioning for the blog.

  OK.  What do the Net Tech Sages have to say?
Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner - "Forget Everything Else, This Is The E-Reader You Want" is the headline.

  Description:  "The Kindle Paperwhite is a pivotal step forward for the technology of ereaders.  It makes previous generations feel like a pulpy paperback held up next to an ornately illustrated tome.  In short: this is the best ereader you can buy."  Wagner is one who has loved the Nook readers.'
  I'm pausing here as, one of his many points is fairly key.  I wrote, on Sept. 21, that the the screen would probably be "less fragile" than an earlier front-lit one.

  Kyle Wagner was the one who had accidentally dropped something onto his Glowlight, causing a "light tunnel" to form and he blamed himself but warned that people should not drop things on it, and his column was followed by Nate Hoffelder's story on his key-drop tests.

  At the Amazon announcements, I asked a Kindle Team member about the strength of the screen, because I was concerned the Paperwhite might have the same problem, and the Kindle rep said they had, in fact, done several tests on this, dropping even a brass object on it, without bad effect  (no warranty on that, of course).  We're talking relative strength.  That was reassuring -- but I was talking to what I thought was a knowledgeable salesman with a technological bent.

Sidenote and Update:

I've just discovered who it was, and it turns out to have been Amazon's Director of Product Management  at Lab 126, Laurent Sellier.  No wonder he was so immediately responsive about the drop-on-screen tests.

  Only the VPs wore name tags at the press conference demo area and others involved on the team didn't, and, although I asked, I wasn't able to quote him by name (rules of the day) at the time.  But he said OK to a photo and,  because of something I saw in Amazon's explanations of how they got Paperwhite to work after several years of development (boosted by the acquisition of Oy Modilis), I saw a French name, put 2+2 together and verified who my capable demo'r was.  The work they've done has certainly paid off in results. [End of Side note and update]

  Wagner, who'd dropped a remote control on his Glowlight and probably read about Nate's series of dropped-keys tests (from 4 ft), has this to say on that topic:

' We tossed a set of keys onto the screen a few times from about three feet  (don’t tell Amazon), and didn’t wind up with any light pillars shooting out of the display.  So it’s sturdy.'
Be sure to read Wagner's full review as it's VERY detailed.

  Other Reviews
 Chicago Sun-Times' Andy Ihnatko - "Industry-best e-reader gets better"
  [Although he refers to a "backlight" (as many still do), he knows it's front-lighted but continues to refer to "backlighting" throughout his story.]

  [Ihnatko says the unit is  "noteworthy" because Amazon]

 " added the illumination to the Kindle in a smarter way... its true function is to make the apparent contrast of the display even greater...the Paperwhite’s background truly looks as white as a sheet of paper.

 "... At the end of five hours of brain still thought it was paper.  My eyes had none of the complaints that often come at the end of a long session staring at a conventionally backlit tablet or notebook screen.

: ... The backlighting doesn’t seem to affect the device’s battery life in any way that was obvious during a week of use."

  [Ihnatko mentions that the 3G model lets you download books and content when away from WiFi but he probably doesn't know about an important feature that most reviewers won't run across:

    With the 3G model, you get 24/7 Wikipedia on Free 3G -- that's from anywhere that an AT&T phone works, and this feature also works outside the U.S. when you're on vacation.]

Read his full review.  Fun last line.

Endadget's Brian Heater really likes the added contrast and adds,

  "The Nook Simple Touch, on the other hand, loses contrast when bumped up to the GlowLight version, offering fairly uneven text throughout...

... On the whole...the light distribution is far, far more even than on the GlowLight."

  Engadget's photo is a bit dark but gives an idea of that.  Here's the full article.

Slashgear's Cory Gunther - "For those worried about this new light and capacitive touch technology to hinder the reading experience, it’s safe to say that isn’t the case.  Reading is simply awesome and we’ve loved our limited time with the new Paperwhite — and you will too.

"... the concave back on the NOOK is still something we favor

"... [Amazon has] even added a few awesome additions to make things even better. We have time to read, x-ray, and tools for readers all available with ease. X-Ray lets you instantly find any and all details of any character, place, or moment in a book. Amazon explains this as letting you explore the “bones of the book” with a detailed breakdown, and so far we love it.  Seeing and jumping to exact points in a 400 page read with ease is an awesome new feature for those diehards...

.".. We also have instant translations by simply highlighting a section for easy translation.

 "...So far I’ve read a little daily for the past week and a half and haven’t seen the battery meter drop one bit — so take it as you will..."   Full article here.

TIME's Harry McCracken - "The Screen Makes It the Best E-Reader Yet"

"... The Nook with GlowLight’s light-up screen is good.  But the one on the Kindle Paperwhite?  It’s spectacular — the best thing to happen to e-readers since the original 2007 Kindle came along.

"For one thing, it’s the first e-reader with illumination that’s designed to stay on all the time, not just when it’s absolutely necessary. It turns on every time you press the Paperwhite’s power button. In dark rooms, it makes the display readable when the previous Kindle would have suffered a blackout. But it also helps in brighter environs and even outside in direct sunlight, largely eliminating the unappetizing greyish look of E Ink."   Full article here.

TechCrunch's John Biggs - "The Kindle Paperwhite Is A Reader’s Dream"

"...To be fair, the Paperwhite does have an absolutely beautiful screen when backlit and it looks almost perfectly white while the Nook still has a tinge of grey.

"My recommendation, as well, is to pick up the 3G version, as it makes it easier to grab books on the go than the Wi-Fi-only model...

"...I’m wildly impressed with the simplicity and beauty of this device.  If ever there was anything similar to the fabled Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this is it."   Full article here.

CNet (group review) -

"...for the moment, the Kindle Paperwhite has jumped to the head of the e-reader pack.  It may not be perfect, but it's definitely the Kindle a lot of people have been waiting for."

  CNET's David Carnoy - An Update November 30 to add this one by Carnoy, as I missed it in the original blog article (and saw it referenced today on the Kindle forums), but it's the most detailed I've seen insofar as features are concerned, indicating he had already used the device in depth (this is unusual in mainstream reviews) by Sept. 12.  It's very well written too, which is why I looked, this late, at who had written it.

  Titled "Kindle Paperwhite shines," his bottom line is that "With an excellent built-in light and Amazon's best-in-class e-book selection, the Kindle Paperwhite rises to the top of the e-reader pack."
  Carnoy describes, in detail, reading features that many others miss and he points out some that are missing from this model although they were included in previous e-Ink models.  The pros and cons of hardware and software elements are given good context.
  Caution, I normally have extra pop-up blockers on (tech sites talk about Amazon ads, but these are really In Your Face, so I had not known most are greeted with these huge ads, which I saw, going in via a tablet w/o sufficient pop-up protection.  I really like ads to be more subtle instead of the 'BUY HERE' type.  What happened to CNET?

That should give a pretty good idea of what the reception is like.  If I see any unusual ones, I may add more later, but there have been so many rave reviews since this was first posted, that I felt one would do unless there was something new being said.  If you've received a {a[erwjote and would like to add your thoughts, pro or con, to the reports, that'd be helpful.

UPDATE2 and 3 - The Light Panel - Some have mentioned that the bottom-most slice or row has uneven lighting that's noticeable when the room light is very low.  That's where the four lower-power LEDs are, underneath the bezel, where they're the light source for the fiber optic sheet of the display.

  The light travels about 1/2 inch, as it is, before it becomes evenly diffused, and you'll see some darker portions at that lowest space.  This is not very noticeable in daylight but is seeable in the dark and is to be expected (but not mentioned in the marketing materials, and so people have wondered if it's normal).

  Amazon explains that their design uses "nanoscale optical diffractive patterns" to enable 'fine-grain control" over the direction of the diffused light.

  Here's a very good video of this bottom area, with explanation, by phototristan, shot in a darkened room.

Updated to include the portion showing the same Paperwhite in normal room lighting before he turned the lights off.

  The patents involved with this are an interesting read (for some).  Considering the light guide layer is above the touch screen (front-lighting it), it's impressive that the screen is as responsive as it is.

      UPDATE 3a

Some have reported discolorations.  Prismatic in look.  For some, they've disappeared after a few days.  For others, they remain.  If they do remain, Amazon Kindle Support (1-866-321-8851) is replacing them.

[ End of Update 2 and 3]

NOTE - The Paperwhite is more or less backordered, as too many of us know, but to see it earlier you can go to places like Staples and Office Max.  While the stores should get something from carrying them, I should also mention one thing that I ran up against when I bought a Kindle for a family member at Staples.  They're nearby and I needed it quickly.  They mentioned that while Amazon has a 30-day return policy, Staple's is 14 days.  It was worth it to me.

   Kindle return policies (from Amazon Help Page)

Amazon's language:  "Note: If  [sic] want to return your Kindle for a refund and you purchased your Kindle from a third-party retail store, you must return your Kindle to the retailer where you made the purchase according to the retailer's return policies."

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones

    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. It looks like some kind of external book light is still needed for reading in very dark conditions:

  2. Anonymous, thanks for the link. I don't think an external book light is needed as much as the reported unevenness of the lowest strip (where the 4 source led lights start sending the light that's diffused through the rest of the display) in darkest rooms is distracting.

    People are different -- if it's too distracting when actually trying to read in the dark, then those units should be returned because some people are more sensitive than others to things like this.

    Others report that it doesn't bother them and is a lot better than using external lights or other lit-e-readers they've used. I won't get mine until the 24th or so. But the two units I saw closely were fine in normal room light and I would probably be happy enough to be able to read in the dark. All my lighting has been uneven, so this would just or mainly be at the bottom and I wouldn't have to add a light to it (which always leads to uneven lighting)...

    1. I agree. I really cannot see anyway that an external light would be better than the built in paperwhite lighting solution. I have used external lights for my touch and its not very pleasant at all though I tolerate it because I want to read at night. I really can't see how a slighter darker strip that covers less than 5% of the screen where no reading text is displayed could diminish the experience to the point where I would use an external light with it or instead of it.

    2. Yes, I think some people have inflated expectations about the lighted screen. Is it better than using any book light? Yes. Is it better than Nook GlowLight? Yes. Is it better than Kindle Touch screen in normal light? Yes. (defective screens excluded from comparison) Will the next one be even better? Yes. Is it a revolution? Not really.

      I'll finally be able to see for myself when I get home tonight. My PW is waiting for me...

    3. QZA,
      Glad yours is not troublesome for you.

      Tonight? Will want to hear. What's odd is that Amazon and B&N (and Kobo) have been presenting marketing images of pure white screens (marketing goes for "ideal" situation) since the earliest GRAY days, which some of us remarked on... The Paperwhite in normal daylight is closer to white than many or most of my paper books... Sometimes I actually wish for something a little grayer :-) I'm oversensitive and turn down my NookColor's brightness to about 7% and my KF light to about 45%.

      To both of you, remember to move your brightness between 9-14% if having evenness probs to see if that helps. I do hope to hear from the regulars here about their own reactions pro or con when theirs arrive.

  3. The bottom-area unevenness with the lighting is something that is distracting, for sure. Not so much so to overcome the positives the device brings, though. I will say that the lack of page turn buttons was a big turn-off for me, and the only-2GB-of-storage-when-all-others-seem-to-have-4GB-at-this-price-point was even more so.

    I like mine, though I think Amazon has some SERIOUS competition from Kobo Glo; basically, all the same features (well, no whispersync or xray, but I don't use those), plus enhanced fonts and a microsd slot, for $10 less than a non-SO PW. I'm curious about their screen - exactly the same resolution as the PW, and the lighting system appears the same? I thought that was patented? If the Glo had come out first, or at the exact same time, I would have very likely went for it instead of the PW, because of the SD slot and cover browsing actually working (see below).

    On a serious downside, for me anyways - the covers of the books I sideload (and I sideload almost everything) never show up unless I check an 'experimental' checkbox in Calibre and upload as MOBI, and even then they show up as "Personal Documents" and not "Books." So, for now, I'm not uploading my whole library in hopes that this bug is fixed. This browse-by-cover feature was something I was really looking forward to and I cannot use it on the PW because of this bug. The Mobiread forums have a couple of threads going on it that I'm following, hoping earnestly for a solution from Mr. Goyal. Though as my collections grow, I'm not certain I would use browse-by-cover, now that I've seen it - List view shows twice as many listings per screen.

    1. Tyler,
      I don't keep up enough with Calibre. If they do eventually have a personal doc cover feature people can take advantage of, could you let us know?

  4. Tyler,
    My Notes on the new Kindles which I currently link people to from many places, which are an extension of the media-event notes, have stressed that the Paperwhite has only 2GB and has no audio. The lack of page buttons was evident on the product page. You're probably saying you bought it despite knowing the latter two though?

    Re the lighting unevenness at the bottom, I had to look hard to find the light sources in a well lit room and didn't notice until toward the end that there were shadows there. In my video they usually don't show up, and then mainly when the exposure is a bit under, they show up.

    The TechBuffalo video which is fairly long, and very close up, doesn't show them at all, which the forum people are wondering about. But it seems to be a matter of the (1) degree and quality of ambient light AND the (2) light settings you're using. People who at first were unhappy said that if they turned the settings to somewhere between 9 to 14, they'd become almost unnoticeable, but it seems that if there are no other lights (a situation that many bought it for), then you'll see that 1/2 or 1/4 inch of alternating shadow light before it is diffused across the rest of the device. Though it doesn't seem to affect words, some find it distracting though the forum people tend to say they didn't notice it after awhile (even in the dark).

    Personal docs - I've uploaded a few since some time ago and they just show up as personal docs with a title. The only value of their being on the server is it's
    1. free backup
    2. downloadable again at any time
    3. annotations are backed up by Amazon though these are not Amazon books
    4. last page read is tracked like Amazon books

    I don't know what the Glo's screen is but Amazon and Oy Modalis have the rights to that, so they're using something else.
    What I do know is that the reviews Kobo gets on their software functioning have almost never been good (buggy, slow, awkward) but Kobo are ahead of everyone else in other-language support.

    Remember that you have 30-days to return it for a full 30-day refund though! You can still get the Kobo instead...

    1. Andrys, the other lighting technology is Looks similar to what Amazon is doing, although the web site doesn't go into details about how exactly it works.

    2. You're right on, my review on Amazon says so too (I mentioned your blog in it! :) )... I knew about the lack of audio and page turn buttons and bought it anyways. I could honestly care less about the audio - I find it odd when other people complain endlessly about the lack of audio, when it's an e-READER, not an e-READMYBOOKTOMEPLEASE. :) I mean, it's a nice feature on occasion (I'm listening to Dorian on my Fire HD in the car on commutes to and from work now), but come on... it's gimmicky at best, IMNSHO.

      The page turn buttons - I'm getting used to the lack of them. Not a big deal, really. And the darkness at the bottom is not noticeable to me except in dark rooms or when the light is cranked up. All in all, it's the near-perfect e-reader, and I'm absolutely satisfied with my purchase. Interesting about the screen tho - the Glo is, in pictures/video, almost IDENTICAL to the Amazon, even with the dark patterning at the bottom. Maybe they're licensing the tech? Maybe flexlighting is licensing it for Amazon to other e-reader manufacturers?

      The cover art thing - yeah. Well. I was really looking forward to it, but ironically, now that I have it, I really don't need/want it all the time. It would be nice to have a working option though. The List view is what I use. Similar thoughts, now, on the screensavers - I mean, with a case that sleeps the device for me, why do I care what's on the screen when the cover's closed? :) Amazing how priorities change. I'd like an option to turn off wireless even while reading a book (without going home), the ability to change the system font, and a "space used by" in Device Information to see how much room's left. Oh, and I miss the progress bar, but the Time To Read MORE than makes up for it. :)

      The thing about the Glo - I'm portable between ecosystems, though I normally make my purchases from Amazon. The thing about the Glo is that I can expand space at will, which is future-proofing the device. But then again, my current library is around only 150 books, and that takes up 146MB of space. So I have room to grow, and likely by the time I "need" the space, a new model will be out with that option.

      BTW, the solution to the cover art is one of three methods:
      1) Send the doc to yourself in the Cloud. It will be downloaded, but not as a Book, as a Document, and will have an ugly "Personal" banner superimposed on top of it.
      2) Convert (or re-convert) the book in Calibre as a MOBI file, with the option to "Enable sharing via Facebook." Same results as (1) - ugly banner and all.
      3) Convert (or re-convert) as an AZW3 file, using the same option. Same results as (2), but the cover art is smaller, for some reason.

      Basically, if Amazon or Calibre solve the cover art thing, then I'm only really "concerned" about the 1.2GB space limit. I'm amazed at how good the device is and how used to being without page turn buttons I've gotten already.

      All in all, an AMAZING device. But for those that are new to e-readers, the Glo is a serious competitor. Possibly enough so that, on the hardware level, the PaperWhite is already obsolete, four days from shipping. :)

    3. Tyler,
      Thanks for the add'l feedback. As for the technology, Amazon acquired Oy Modalis, but of course Amazon wouldn't mind making money off licensing that technology but I have no idea whether or not they did. I'd have thought they'd want it exclusively for a short while.

      I'd really like more info on whether Kobo finally has its reading and navigation software up to par because that has been its biggest drawback (and then some), and no amount of hardware will make up for that. My Wi-drive can serve as added storage for all Kindles (and other devices) with WiFi on them (and it streams to up to 3 devices at the same time w/ no problem). Since I already have one, no added cost.

      It'll be interesting to follow up on what front-lighting the Kobo's using. Am counting on you! ;-)

    4. >>>it's an e-READER, not an e-READMYBOOKTOMEPLEASE. :) I mean, it's a nice feature on occasion (I'm listening to Dorian on my Fire HD in the car on commutes to and from work now), but come on... it's gimmicky at best, IMNSHO.

      Hang on there. I have a Follower on Twitter who is nearly blind and the Text To Speech feature on her Kindle has allowed her to read books again. It's rather smug of you not to consider such people. They are readers and Kindle owners too.

    5. Mike, I agree.

      I think it was a budgetary thing though, while they're all racing to see who can sell at the least $ because that's what most people (and reviewers) want.

      Also, the Keyboard one has audio menu guides and they'll need to program these in also (in the future).

  5. Andrys said:
    "I don't know what the Glo's screen is but Amazon and Oy Modalis have the rights to that, so they're using something else."

    There IS another company out there developing a screen front-lighting technology specifically for licensing, although I cannot think of the name right now, but I have been on their site before. It's a different approach from Amazon, but it looked very promising. In fact, when I first read that Amazon bought a light technology company, I assumed it was the company I read about until I saw that the name was different. If I can find the name I'll pass it along.

    I must say I've been disappointed with the reports coming in regarding screen aberrations. I don't mind the "hot-spots" at the bottom of the screen so much, but in some cases it looks like there's some light diffraction going on that's causing color blotches in other areas of the screen; there have been some pretty good photos showing this. While cameras cannot always accurately capture what the eye sees, especially when it comes to color temperatures, that same limitation makes them ideal for highlighting changes over what should be a homogeneous field.

    Due to the disappointment over the lighting at the bottom, the product rating distribution has suffered. As of this writing, 34% of the ratings are 3 stars or less. In fairness to those customers, Amazon asked for it by showing nothing but photo after photo of perfect screens, leading customers to believe their units are defective somehow. Well, in some cases they ARE defective. One poor fellow posted a photo of the screen demonstrating that a section of the text is inexplicably bolder than the rest of the screen. If I had all the time in the world, I'd be tempted to go through all of the reviews and separate negative reviews into two groups: those dissatisfied with the lighting at the bottom of the screen (which is considered normal), and those who really seem to have a problem with other screen aberrations, just to get an idea of the defect rate.

    1. Blackbeard,
      I guess I missed replying to this earlier! So you saw something indicating another company developing something similar uses a different approach.

      Re perfect screens, I've now seen a lot of videos which I may link to later showing 'perfect' screens in normal indoor light but showing the shading differences in very darkened rooms (which is where many want to use the device). People have to look at all these vendors' images knowing they will show only the ideal. What's good is Amazon's no-nonsense 30-day full refund policy.

      The fellow you mention no doubt has a defective one and should get it replaced. Amazon is replacing any possibly defective ones more quickly now, apparently holding some copies for that after initially asking people to wait. And people can keep their functioning ones until they get it (after which they have 30 days to return it).

  6. Finally have it in hand. I like it, I think.

    The only trouble in mind for me is that the blacks are not as black, even with the light turned all the way down. It still seems just as readable, just 'different', like reading books printed on different types of paper. I think I'll get used to it, and come to prefer it.

    The 'dark cones' mean you have the brightness turned up too high. One is looking for 'paper-like,' not the white of an LCD screen. In full sunlight I can't see any cones even at level 24, but then it is also fine without any light at all unless you are going for 'white'. For indoor lighting 12-14 is more appropriate, and of course much lower levels in the dark.

    In low light I am seeing some very pale color, probably prismatic effects of the thin capacitative layer (which it is said is a spray-on layer). It remains to be seen if that will really bother me once I figure out what light level is optimal and my brain has a chance to ignore it, or maybe it will just smooth out over time.

    As I suspected (and Amazon should put this in their marketing), Kindle Paperwhite passes the ziplock test! I'm able to operate it just fine inside a standard freezer ziplock bag. Bathtub reading is back! (I prefer showers, however.)

    Japanese dictionary! There's also a Japanese keyboard setting but I don't understand the input method beyond confirming that it is possible to enter Japanese script. Would like some more keyboards to support E Europe Latin, Cyrillic as well but this is a good start.

    The only bugs I've found so far are:
    - it always asks for 'Delete' confirm when removing things, even when they are stored in the cloud, where I've come to expect 'remove from device'. It's hard to know what is in the cloud and what is not, so they should keep the language distinction that's been used in the past.
    - panel view (comic books) always zooms the panel to fit the screen. This often results in fuzziness due to rescaling defects, as there is no way to display at 'actual size'. They need to add zoom options like Kindle Keyboard, which ironically displays much crisper images when you set the option to 'actual size', despite having 50% fewer pixels to do so.

    On the whole, I'm not sure the screen, nice as it is, justifies shelling out $180 (I got 3G), and orphaning my Kindle Touch. I doubt I'll return for a refund, but that's a lot of money I could spend on books. I do like the UI enhancements (finally Recent sort order on Archive/Cloud list!), but we'll probably see some of them appear on Kindle Touch before too long.

    1. Tom,
      Interesting. Some say they've used the light in normal light because it adds contrast (said to be darker than their KTouch's). Obviously not the case with yours.

      Your settings findings are similar to the recommendations I've seen from users who explored the effect of up'g or decreasing amount of built-in light used. It was recommended to use from 9-14 in normal indoors light.

      Re the pale color, probably prismatic effects -- A few reported on Kindle forums that this went away after a couple of days. Don't know if that would always be true. I've seen them in pictures and videos when seen from certain angles. They'd be more visible in the dark.

      :-) Love the Ziplock test and findings.

      Amazon just sent out a request the other day for app development for Japan, which fits the many rumors that Japan is next and maybe not that far off for the Paperwhite.

      I agree re using 'delete' wording - which used to mean there was no copy in the cloud, vs 'remove from device' ... ( I hope you mention this to them).

      Panel View: No pinch unzoom? I hated the zoom options and prefer the gradual shift up or down, but it sounds as if you cannot pinch unzoom. ?

      Re 3G version. Why not return it and get a non-3G version? If it's not worth $180 for you. $119 seems more sensible in that case and you'd feel better about it.

      Me? I opted for 3G because I'd hate being outside and not being able to look up something (Wikipedia or store) and not be able to download something when I want...

      Thanks much for the report. Keep us updated when you find other things?

    2. Re contrast, I would say contrast is fine, it is just difficult to compare it directly with Kindle Touch because the screens are so different and the fonts don't render the same. But in absolute color, the more the light is turned up the lighter the darks get (on Home screen the black bar at the top looks lighter than the bezel). The background is lighter too, so contrast is maintained. It would be nice if the prismatics clear up but even so it is probably not going to bother me much.

      The Panel View zoom, like image zoom in general, does not let you make an image smaller that it was to begin with. So if it starts at 180% (fit-to-screen) there is no way to get it down to 100% or 150% where scaling artifacts might be minimized. I'd at least like 100% option for sharpness, then if I had some trouble reading it small I can zoom it up. I think KK defaulted to fit-to-screen also but then I discovered the Aa options, and 'Actual size' (100%) works much better there. Very sharp, just as the publisher intended (the option chosen in panel view applies only to panel view).

      I'm afraid I must have 3G even if it is not 'sensible.' I regretted not getting it on my first Kindle Touch and eventually got a 3G model to replace it (ironically at WalMart for $109) That might change if I ever get a smartphone w/tethering but it's unlikely that I'll do that in the next year or so. Wifi only is great at home but most of my reading occurs at work and elsewhere so I like not having to rely on finding wifi just to download from my library or do a wikipedia lookup. $60 extra is still worth it for me. As devices go, Kindle is cheap fun.

    3. Tom, thanks for explaining more. That makes sense. Contrast is maintained (though some Paperwhite owners view it as increased, maybe depending on room light?).

      These seem to be 'whitest' when in an office setting or other well-lit interior, and when you need to deal with a darker room, things become less even. One person got a 2nd paperwhite and it was a much brighter light, s/he reported, at the same setting, but there was something about #1 that the person preferred nevertheless. I think these lighting-additions probably morph a lot :-).

      I'm sorry to hear about not being able to down-size to original size (!) in panel zoom. I'd hit Feedback with that one right away. Picasa and Flickr were doing the same with people's original-size photos uploaded, and you can imagine the reaction on that. Both sites paid atttention to the feedback and adjusted back to original size, not enlarging it, which always produces artifacts.

      I don't suppose you can long-press the panel-views and resize them? Usually images on even e-Ink Kindles can be adjusted that way, but the Paperwhite seems to be a different animal.

      $60 is a big difference, to get 3G, definitely gives pause. But I figure I'll use it for 2 years (but the way things are going ... since my KK was 2010 and my KTouch was 2011 ...
      I can't stand not being able to look up things when WiFi is not available and, really, it's not THAT available unless one spends time only in the office or at home. I don't know anyone who goes to Starbucks or McDonald's just to use WiFi. My Safeway has it now, but the free public WiFi's carry their own security problems. I do have tethering on my smartphone and it works well, but phone battery life can be important.
      And it's extra fussing to do.

    4. Bless Mobileread. I asked how you do screen capture on PW, and it is done thusly: tap in upper right and lower left at the same time. Screen will flash and capture is found in root folder (it is .png format now).

      Saw another report of spontaneous healing of the rainbow screens. It's only been a couple of days for mine and I might be imagining it but it seems a little bit less than yesterday.

      Seems there are a few problems selecting typeface on PW. I have one book, for example, which does not allow typeface to change from Caecilia (Thomas Pynchon, "V"). Works fine on Kindle Touch, where I can select any of the three there. Not clear it is the publishers fault. I've never seen issues like this on any other Kindle or Kindle app. There's a thread on Mobileread with other variations being reported.

    5. Tom, Mobileread members are hot! Or, is that 'cool' ? :-)
      Thanks very much for the forum tip to the thread. I'll look for it.

      I remember that, early on, Mobileread Forum had a poll and at the time I looked 29 were seeing no probs (or accepting the bottom shadings maybe?), 8 were seeing problems, and 8 were 'not sure.' This must be a new thread because I'm not getting email on that one anymore.

      Amazon Kindle forums also has people wondering where the prismatic discolorations went.

      For 'Nobody' (who is sensitive to contrast and cancelled her original DX Graphite for that reason), it went away but came back a bit. Most do say it seems to have gone away or gone way down. Some think it's like airing out whatever was used for the various bindings.

      Kindle Touch has support for KF8? I remember that someone was asking something about this for Paperwhite. I would think they'd work that in. Amazon was going to put this in to all 'gen 4' Kindles eventually.

      I did read this at the Amzn Kindle forums:

      "Posted on Oct 2, 2012 9:23:08 PM PDT
      J. Allen Day says:
      Unfortunately there are some problems with the KF8 . . . they generally pop up when the publishing is a (lazy?) straight export from Word. With the older formats, any font sizes and families are ignored in favor of user preference.

      With KF8, explicitly defined fonts and font sizes in the ebook sometimes override all of the Kindle settings. As previously suggested, send feedback to Amazon -- it's the only way these things will get fully resolved."

      What you mention doesn't seem to fit into that, though...

    6. From the same thread I quoted from at Amazon:

      "Last edited by the author on Oct 2, 2012 11:24:07 PM PDT
      Dorsie says:
      It may be helpful to know that the book allows font changes on the latest firmware for Kindle Touch, which does use Kindle Format 8.

      That means you have probably found a software bug in the way publisher default font is handled in this book on the Paperwhite.

      Please report it to Amazon because a specific comparison like this is very useful for debugging. When I get my Paperwhite, I will test the book on that and report the problem if I get it, too."


    7. Just wanted to add that Paperwhite does support KF8.

    8. Checked "V" on Kindle Fire. Can't change typeface there, either. I can't imagine what sort of markup would cause this. This is in KF8.

      Interesting story about this particular ebook. As you may know, it was only a few months ago that Pynchon agreed to have his books released as ebooks. Ironically his publisher digitized the 'unauthorized' first US edition, which does not contain modifications he made prior to its publication in Britain and found in some but not all later U.S. editions. The UK ebook edition is of the 'authorized' edition but of course we can't get that edition in the US. You really have to wonder how the publisher of such a prominent author managed to do this.

      BTW I haven't been able to repro the delete vs remove from device error. It is behaving as expected since the one occurrence.

      I was getting some 'Out of Memory' errors when opening PDF files. Restart seems to have 'fixed' that but obviously there are some memory leaks lurking about.

      One omission is that swipe up/down to navigate chapters (as found on Kindle Touch) is gone now. Not mentioned in the User's Guide either (as it was with KT). It still works on periodicals to skip articles. It's annoying that they'd remove this. I'd actually like to see them leverage gestures more, not less. I realize they have to make Kindles sort of idiot proof but they could add 'experimental' gestures that you could turn on in Settings.

      They've also removed 'turn wireless on/off' from the menu. You have to go to Settings to turn it off now, though turning it on just requires doing something that requires it (wikipedia, sync to furthest read, kindle store etc.), and it offers to connect. I can see why they think this is better but people who are concerned about conserving battery storage will experience it as an inconvenience. I don't mind leaving it on and charging more often.

      Still waiting for my rainbow screen to heal (sounds a little new age-y). I will try giving it a bath of golden crystal sunlight..

    9. [Redid this one.]
      Tom, thanks for the follow up on this. Really odd about that typeface oddity on KFire too - it was the first to get KF8 support. Re the e-book itself, I suspect the publisher wanted to rush it to market and this was the easiest way (digital rights problems requiring more time and work to sell UK version here -- but wouldn't they just have those rights? Confusing situation).

      Glad to see about the 'delete' vs 'remove from device' prob. It could be that they discovered that and fixed it in the coding for the Paperwrite. Re memory lurks lurking, I've experienced this with my NookColor, the Kindle Fires, and my Samsung 10.1" Galaxy Tab. When it happens, I know it'll work after a power-off. This includes effect on WiFi working well (in all 3 models) and whether apps will run smoothly.

      Re Kindle Touch and the ability to swipe up and down in that model but not in Paperwrite. I wonder if it was because the need to swipe down to get further Home listings of books was confusing people WHILE reading books, as I saw a lot of complaints that they were reading and suddenly wound up quite far from the page they'd been reading. It had happened to me and did irritate me, although I found out you can press the 'back' icon and get back to that page. Most would not realize this though.

      But the ability to move to the next chapter is key, so I'm sort of shocked if they really don't have a (at least a secret shortcut) way to do that now, with books for which publishers did make chapter markers.

      Strange too because the Home page has a progress bar that indicates the start of each chapter (where the publisher has identified that). No way, as in the past, to get the progress bar when in a book and move to it, that I've seen in the manual. What an odd thing to have removed.

      As for Menu/Settings/Airplane mode, I sometimes wonder if their newer teams coordinate with the older ones or thoroughly check the documentation for the most current model at the time to make sure they are continuing with something that makes sense to long-time Kindle users and not removing more convenient navigation methods.

      I do hear that golden crystal sunlight has been known to remove surface blemishes! :-)

  7. This is completely off topic, but the DX is now listed at $299.99 on the Caribbean Amazon at least the is the new regular price.

    1. QZA, I am not up with all the new Amazon stores, apparently! Didn't know you had an Amazon there!
      It's $299 in the U.S. also, unannounced, and the DX is once again in the 'Family' headers where it had been missing since the 6th or so :-) I had found it in the Table below, so this is quite interesting. It's beautiful and for PDFs, I would tend to use that one but I haven't needed as many lately. (And for me, ezPDF is very, very nice on the KFire HD, but some are less happy with it than I am though I can't remember why, but it had to do with a change that was not a good one for many.)

  8. ok this was posted just hours ago:

    I'd lke to point out this line, after the author used a paperwhite for "several days":

    "The front-lit technology inside the new Kindle does a splendid job of distributing that light uniformly across the 6-inch screen"

    I just don't get it. All of the "professional" reviews are, well, glowing. None of them seem to mention the problems that are posted in reviews by customers:

    - "Headlight" effect at bottom of screen; a recent review on the product page mentions the light on the left is brighter than the others.

    - Color bands on the screen; MANY mentions of this.

    - Some areas "bolded"; it's almost as if there's a lensing effect under a part of the screen.

    Somehow, none of the professional reviewers see this. The number of 3-star-or-less reviews is up to over 37%, and they're not all unreasonable people complaining about the lighting at the bottom of the screen. Many of them are very specific regarding the above problems. To be sure, there are some 5-star reviews from people who just love their new reader. But I truly believe that there are a lot of production defects coming out because the pictures don't lie, and there is commonality regarding the specifics of the complaints. I've also seen comments in the reviews about getting their units a lot sooner than the estimate. Amazon is usually pretty good about estimating delivery time, so I'm wondering if a bunch of cancelled orders moved the shipping schedules up.

    1. Blackbeard, The ones I cited tended to have the Paperwhite for a week or so. Almost all of them mention a little unevenness at the bottom but they are not so affected by them. I think (unless one has a defective Paperwhite), it's affected by the degree of ambient light, the angle, and the brightness setting. In low light comes the more obvious light-start at the bottom and others say that if you turn the brightness down it's not as noticeable, which is why it's recommended.

      If someone has an undue brightness on the left they should change it. I saw MANY of these on tables when I went to that event, but the room was pretty nicely lit, though not so lit I didn't have to use a somewhat higher ISO rating on the camera. They say you see these things more, in the dark, if you have the brightness set high.

      Re the many mentions of prismatic color effects -- in the forums, I've seen mentions of these and, again, about their disappearing or lessening with time. When they don't, they should be returned. The reports I've seen are about 5 of them against a lot of people who aren't seeing the same to the degree that it's noticeable unless they look for it, they say. In the reviews section, the 5-stars will be like the print reviewers you mention -- some will notice the light source at the bottom and some alternating shading in the first 1/2 inch. In my video I can see it sometimes and othertimes it looks totally even, so it's all odd. It never occurred to me in spending about half an hour with two of them and seeing about 10 of them as I walked by and checked them out that there was a problem ==in that one lighting situation==.

      Some areas bolded: that would be a serious defect. I saw nothing like that. I don't remember: did you get one and are you having these probs?

      Pictures: exposure settings and angle are huge factors. I say that as someone who has tried to photograph any device reflecting light. The camera lens has difficulty with photographing dark material (text) against light that is also emitting from that same area.

      But the bolding, any discoloration that's evident that doesn't go away? I'd say those were likely part of a bad batch. But again, there was usually a mention of the bottom lights and shading and one reviewer's cohort found it too distracting while the reviewer didn't, so it's *partially* a matter of sensitivity to light too, maybe.

      I've cited videos - one that shows it almost all white and even, by that same video maker, and then he turns the light off and you see the more uneven qualities -- and in that case it becomes a matter of what the viewer sees plus the possibility of a bad batch.

      Amazon also changed the purchase limit for each person from 5 (that was not smart) to 2 about a week ago...

      One might wonder about the suppliers and quality control too. In the same household, one member sees no problem for the most part and another is totally distracted. We'll see.

    2. Andrys, to answer your question as to my purchase status, I'm "in the queue."

      Regarding the boldness problem, I've seen at least three photos showing the effect, and it's odd- it would definitely drive me nuts. It's as if there's an area of the screen where the characters seem like, as in offset printing, there was too much ink on the plate. I don't know if the same screen area consistently exhibits the effect across page turns, as none of the posters addressed that point. In the first photo I saw, the poster explicitly cited words on specific lines, the effect was very obvious, and there was no reason why the words would have been bold in the context of the text on the screen. On another two independent photos, the effect was more subtle, but there. You know what they say, one is a fluke, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend; if I knew I'd be posting here, I would have kept citations. As I saw the first two as one-offs, I didn't make much of it at the time. Although a quick Google search of "Paperwhite bold letters" turned up this result on the first page:

      Whatever the issue is, hopefully it's a software issue. I know they use a 3rd-party font product called iType.

    3. Blackbeard, I've read almost every Paperwhite thread on Amzn forums and Mobile read as of this moment. The bold-facing problem (which would mean a defective unit and I'd return it) is extremely rare from the bulk of reports unless one is specifically searching problems.

      Discoloration is the most prevalent actual problem and most of them seem to diminish considerably and so people are devising theories that it happens and then disappears. As I said before, if it doesn't disappear, then it's defective.

      At this point, for yourself, I think you may be overworrying. But as a theoretical exercise, it's interesting, but you do seem to be concentrating on the worst problems which indicate defective units.

      If it were just a software issue it would involve 100% of them. It's more likely something from how these are put together that some arrive with seeming problems. Again, most of the discoloration problems just go away and there are many theories about why that is and what caused it in the first place...

      No font should be partly bolded on one part of a screen for no reason... That's just definitely defective.

    4. Andrys, I suppose it does seem like I'm overworrying, although I'm not trying to "cherry-pick" the data. If I were to sum up my observations in a single concise sentence, it would be that it seems the dissatisfaction rate for this generation of the product seems higher than previous generations. A lot of that I think has to do with the expectation level that Amazon's marketing set with regard to the quality of the screen, and not with actual defects.

      As is the case with all products, the lens of time will clarify the issue. I"m a patient person, as is evidenced by the fact that I wanted a Touch all the back in last December, but decided to wait for the next generation since I do a lot of reading in the dark and an integrated lighting solution would be ideal, although not critical; you should see the lighting conditions under which I'm willing to read! But I wanted the Touch more for direct access to the screen since I read books with a lot of notes (as in footnotes) and I use the dictionary heavily, and having to "navigate" to a word or footnote number is a real drag. So even if Paperwhite lighting isn't as perfect as Amazon has promoted it to be, it'll still be better than my current situation, plus I'll get the touch screen I really need.

    5. Before the Paperwhite, Amazon's illustrations showed a white screen for the gray e-Ink readers. That's from studio lighting and emulating the kind of white-like look with a lamp shining on it. Marketing is what it is -- it shows the ideal.

      I'd prefer it wasn't so, but the other ereader vendors do the same. So one of them won't be starting a "Let's show the gray instead" or "Let's show what it looks like at the bottom when it's darker. Marketing means exactly that. I still think they had a couple of bad batches probably from what I've seen of people's replacements in photographs of original and replacement.

      As mentioned, the discolorations seem to disappear with exposure to the air after a few days. If not, then those should be returned to Amazon for replacement...

      I loved the Kindle Keyboard and still use it occasionally, getting the Touch only because of the blog. But I've found I now prefer it and I also happened to get a rather white background on my KTouch and the fonts are as dark as on the Keyboard if not even darker, so that's what I use.

      I am on the KFire HD all the time as a secondary viewer while working, and I like the KTouch enough that if not blogging and needing to explore it and explain some workings or probs/solutions, I probably would just be happy with my KTouch ! I wear a Beam N Read, so I always have good light...

  9. Andrys, I have a question based on your comment in update 3 about calling Kindle Support for a replacement. I would think that if you wanted, you could just return the Kindle the way you return any other product, by going to your previous orders, and selecting return. So, hypothetically (it hasn't arrived yet,) if my Kindle had discolorations that didn't go away and I wanted to replace it, wouldn't I be able to do that by just initiating a standard defective product return? I'm just wondering if they make you call to initiate a return of a Kindle.

  10. Blackbeard, by calling them to identify a problem, they send you another one but you get to keep the one you have until you get another one and then you have another 30 days before that must be into them. You get the replacement usually within 2 days (unless it's backordered, which in some cases, the Paperwhite is). At this point if you order a new Paperwhite, it'd be almost November before you get another one.
    If it's defective, then Amazon pays the shipping back. Normally this kind of thing has to be discussed.

    If you return a new product because you don't like it, then it's strange to turn around and order another one...


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