Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite

New Kindle Paperwhite takes digital paper a step further

LIGHTER than a paperback, yet storing a small library's worth of e-books in its innards, the Kindle Paperwhite update is a crash-course reminder of why e-book sales are booming.

How does it work? By doing one task exceptionally well: reading books. The Kindle Paperwhite uses a special black-and-white e-ink display that's more akin to looking at the printed page than staring at a tablet screen, resulting in good screen clarity even in bright daylight.

And this updated model refines the impressive technology of the 2012 Paperwhite still further, with crisper, blacker text, faster page turns and a whiter display. It is easy to hold one-handed and simple to navigate.

So what can I do with it?

Borrow books via the Amazon Prime lending scheme, or browse through Amazon's two million titles, sampling before you buy. You can also use it for accessing newspaper subscriptions and it even has a built-in web browser - although its slow, full-screen refreshes and 16-level grey scale (rather than full colour) make this an area best left to a bona fide tablet.

Does it work? For reading Fifty Shades of Grey on the sly, an e-reader is essential; for reading Fifty Shades of Grey in the dark, the new Paperwhite works even better, thanks to its 25% brighter and more evenly spread guide light. Amazon says that despite the extra illumination, you can still expect more than eight weeks' worth of battery life, too. The new model also has a nifty annotation trick up its sleeve called vocabulary builder, that lets you compile flashcards of tricky words.

Any drawbacks? Anyone more accustomed to using a tablet might be surprised to see the slow update of the screen when you turn a page. There's still the annoying flash of black refresh between some page flips, too, though with the latest model this is now relegated to just once a chapter, rather than every six pages. It's also still too easy to accidentally annotate text while reading, and occasional wrist movements can turn the page accidentally.

Is it worth buying? The Paperwhite offers a light, pocketable device and the best overall e-reading experience on the market.

Kindle Paperwhite

Price: From $178

Capacity: 1100 books

Weight: 206g

Screen: 6-inch 1024 x 758 Carter e-ink display

Battery life: Eight weeks

Size: 169 mm x 117 mm x 9.1 mm