In my ever-growing quest to read more, I have enjoyed spending time with a good book with drink in hand while sitting in a comfortable recliner. However, said book is not a physical one. I have outgrown physical books and have gone all-in on reading on devices.
Since I do most of my personal computing on an iPad Pro, I thought that reading on it was going to be my preferred device. After reading a few books, I realized that an LCD screen for reading is not the best approach.
After long reading sessions in the evening, my eyes would tire and I would get slight headaches. I knew it was the screen, so I setup the screen to dark mode but it still didn’t feel quite right. I decided to stop reading on the device and look at other options.
Kindle me surprised
I have an old Kindle at home somewhere. I looked for it everywhere and couldn’t find it, a result of my fine organization and memory skills. I got frustrated so I did what a logical human being would do. I purchased a new one! 😬
When I registered the device with Amazon, all of my old digital Amazon books (all 84 of them) downloaded. I then purchased my first Kindle book in a long time and wanted to see how the Kindle experience had changed since the last time I had a kindle a decade ago.
All Whitey Then!
I got the new Paperwhite Kindle, which was the latest generation. I was surprised how small it was and how solid it felt in my hand. I bought a case for it so that I don’t destroy it, and though I’ve kept it on for a few months, I am considering just going with a naked Kindle. Holding it with a case gives it bulk and it just doesn’t feel natural.
The screen is really white (thus “paperwhite”), and the text on it looks delightful. My old Kindle’s screen was very greyish and the text looked more like reading a newspaper than a book. Also the text on the old Kindle looked jagged against the screen. The Paperwhite Kindle’s text is sharp and “high-definition”. The text really pops and it feels good to the eyes.
Lastly, even with the screen light, it looks good and doesn’t tire my eyes out. Screen is lit up in a way that the light doesn’t hit your eyes directly, but only the text. I can read for hours at a time and my eyes don’t get weary like they did with the iPad or any LCD device.
The result is a pleasant and mobile experience that allows me to read comfortably at home, on the road and anywhere I want. The device is also water proof so I can read while showering (no, I don’t do this) and on the pool if necessary (I don’t do this either).
The device isn’t without its flaws. As great as the device is to actually read, I found a few things that annoy me.
First, the home screen of the device is not very user friendly. You get to see the cover of the book you are reading on the top followed by your reading list in smaller format on the side. Under that, you have:
- recommendations based on your reading.
- upcoming releases for you.
- recommended for you.
- books from your Goodreads friends.
You can turn off Store recommendations and reading lists in settings and this will show you the books in your library with your current read as the first one.
I don’t like either option, but I prefer the look when you turn off recommendations.
Lastly, though I do like that there are no buttons (my last kindle had a full keyboard and next/previous page buttons on the right), the tap to turn page is a bit unstable. Sometimes it advances with the slightest touch and causes a lot of accidental page turns. Also, the area to turn a page back is so small that when I think I’m turning page back, it still goes forward. As a result I have decided to swipe forward and back instead. It works, but it’s still gimmicky.
Even though the Kindle is not perfect, it happens to be the perfect device for reading. A device is good enough when it does what it’s supposed to without fail. In this case, if the device disappears when reading and you are left with just your imagination and the words of a good book, the device succeeds at being the right tool. This it does well.
I often just get lost in a good book and don’t worry too much about the physical details of the device and just enjoy the actual practice of reading.
What I was really looking for, was a way to read books without my eyes getting tired by light and pixels. The Kindle Paperwhite has succeeded in that respect and I have read more on it than any other device.