Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  The best e-book reader gets better

We called the Kindle Paperwhite the best e-book reader when we reviewed it. The next model has launched in India now, and after spending almost a month with the device, it’s clear that it’s still the best e-book reader in the market.

But what if you already bought the Paperwhite last year? There’s still enough reasons to prefer a new Paperwhite, certainly, but is it worth 10,999?

Before looking at the differences between these devices, let’s go over the basics. The Kindle Paperwhite is a dedicated e-book reader like the previous versions—there is little you can do on this other than read books. The Paperwhite uses an e-ink display that is a lot easier on the eyes than a tablet’s LCD screen, and includes a “front" light technology which can be used to light up the page if you’re reading in a dark room. To turn pages, search for books or navigate through the interface, you simply tap and swipe the screen.

The USP is the built-in light—e-ink isn’t backlit and earlier, you would need to keep the lights on, or buy a cover with a built-in light, to read at night. The Paperwhite lighting technique is both less disturbing than full lights, and much more effective than a smaller light because it uniformly lights the whole screen, and lets you adjust the brightness from a dim light to being as bright as a typical LCD screen.

Spending 10,999 to buy a device which lets you spend more money to buy books seems excessive particularly when you can get a reasonable Android tablet for the same price. However, the advantages of a dedicated e-book reader are manifold.

For one thing, you always have your entire library in your pocket. The fact that a Kindle needs to usually be charged only around once a month definitely adds a lot of value. And then there’s the fact that Amazon regularly holds sales and giveaways, which means that you can very quickly, and cheaply, build your library. Aside from that, you can leave notes, make bookmarks, search for key words in text, and the books are synced over the Internet between the Kindle and any devices you are using which have the Kindle app as well. Another new feature is called X-Ray, which scans a book, and helps you find locations, characters and terms throughout the book.

So if you read regularly (more than two books a week) and don’t already own a Kindle, then buying the new Paperwhite is a good idea, and absolutely worth the money.

Between the old Kindle, and a new Paperwhite, it’s a somewhat harder choice to make, but the Paperwhite still seems like a good upgrade. The new and improved screen, with a greater selection of fonts, adjustable brightness and the smooth touch-screen experience make the Paperwhite a lot easier to use. It is also lighter, smaller, and has a better display.

If, on the other hand, you bought a Paperwhite last year, then it might be too soon to upgrade. The differences are palpable—the lighting is now completely uniform; the older Paperwhite lit the screen in arcs near the bottom, which is a little distracting when you reach the end of each page.

The screen is also clearer—Amazon claims 25% better contrast—and the result is a more comfortable reading experience, particularly outdoors or during car rides. The new display is also running at a higher resolution, but this seems to have a lesser impact. We read a lot of comics and magazines, and the pictures do look very clear, but even the older Kindles were actually very good at rendering clear images.

There have also been tweaks to improve the user interface, and you’ll find things just a little bit smoother—it’s a small difference, but one that definitely matters.

Despite improving the display, illumination and increasing power, the fact is that the upgrade isn’t enough to make replacing your one-year-old Paperwhite the right choice. Unless you are an early adopter who needs to be on the cutting edge of technology all the time, it’s very hard to justify that switch.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is available on for 10,999.

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