Rekindling your love for books

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is an e-reader that brings together the convenience of modern technology with nostalgia for the printed word

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Tue 5 Dec 2023, 11:36 PM

With the advent of the computer and especially the internet, many a social pundit had forecast the demise of the humble book and by extension the written word – and for a time, it seemed as if their prediction would not be far off the mark. But then Amazon unleashed the Kindle 14 years ago, changing the world of reading in the digital age and heralding somewhat of a rekindling of the love for the written word – except on screen instead of on paper.

According to Amazon, the Kindle was designed to be a device that made reading easier and more accessible for everyone. And now that design has been reworked in its latest iteration – the Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite Signature Edition – to present a purpose-built e-reader that gives as close an image as it ever did of reading an actual physical book and helps readers get lost in their favourite titles.

This latest generation of Kindle Paperwhite devices feature a 6.8-inch display, up to 10 weeks of battery life on a full charge, USB-C charging, and an adjustable warm light, among other premium updates.

An e-reader is all about the screen – and here the Kindle goes for the old school monochromatic look that mimics the actual printed page of your favourite paperback in its visual appeal. The screen size is now adequate enough to pull off this mimicry, with dimensions that encompass the page sizes of many paperbacks. The screen is also a glare-free 300ppi-resolution unit that stands up to various light conditions, whether bright sunlight or the nighttime darkness. It helps that the brightness has been increased by 10 per cent at the max setting, so if you want to take in the latest crime thriller while lounging on Jumeirah Beach on a bright Dubai afternoon, you can comfortably read your whodunnit through your shades.

Carrying it to the beach is now also easier, with a thin, portable design. And weighing in at only 205g for the Kindle Paperwhite and 208g for the Signature Edition, it’s not only easy to slip into your beach bag but also fatigue free to hold up and read for hours, whether beach or bath. And fear not, with the IPx8 rating, it’s solidly waterproof and dust and sand resistant.

There are several other improved features, especially for the look and feel, and the style quotient. With the latest generation E-ink display, the screen looks even more like the pages of a book, while the display now also has better performance and responsiveness, including a claimed 20 per cent faster page turns. Built-in adjustable warm light and dark mode offer added flexibility, so you can easily transition from daytime to nighttime reading without missing a letter.

You also won’t have to put down your Kindle for want of battery power right when that story you’re reading reaches its climax. The Paperwhite duo both provide up to a whopping 10 weeks of reading on a full charge, so you could probably finish the Encyclopaedia Britannica in one go if you so wanted. And when topping up is needed, a new USB-C port charges from zero to full battery in only 2.5 hours when using a 9W or larger adapter, so you can get right back to the volumes you still have left.

But tomes that take weeks to read are heavy, not only back in the era of brick-and-mortar books but also now in the click and order era where they take up storage space on devices. The Kindle has you covered, though. It matches its 10-week battery life with 8GB of internal storage on the Paperwhite and a whopping 32GB on the Signature Edition — so now you can truly carry that Encyclopaedia Britannica with you if you want to.

The Signature Edition also adds a few other features, such as an auto-adjusting light sensor, which automatically changes the brightness of the display to suit the ambient lighting around you. It also comes with a wireless charging feature that can be used with any compatible Qi wireless charger.

Recognising that some stories are best told with the enchanting lilt of a narrator's voice, Amazon has also seamlessly integrated Audible into the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. With Bluetooth capabilities, the e-reader transforms into a portable audiobook sanctuary, letting you seamlessly switch between reading and listening. This convergence of visual and auditory storytelling caters to diverse reading preferences, allowing users to savour the richness of a narrative through whichever medium suits their mood. It offers you a choice for an immersive literary experience that extends beyond the traditional confines of the written word.

Staying with immersiveness, while the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition does bring in a certain panache and je ne sais quoi to digital reading, in its focus on keeping the experience as close as possible to the analogue, it misses a vital trick — a colour screen. It’s all very well to try and replicate the feeling of paperbacks on a screen, but you do feel left out when it comes to illustrated books, especially those in colour. So fans of comics and manga will definitely be disappointed with the Kindle.

This is an even more glaring omission when you consider that the Kindle app on your mobile phone will give you a full-colour experience and everything that DC and Marvel and their ilk have given the e-book world will be displayed in all their multi-hued splendour.

Consider also that the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition retails for Dh749, which is as around as much as most people in the real world spend on their mobile phones. Apart from intangibles such as the style and design quotient, a certain visual satisfaction of a near-real look when reading a book virtually — and a bigger screen — there is not much that the Kindle gives you that downloading the Kindle app and using it on your mobile screen will not.

If reading a book is still an experience for you, however, and you’re still in love with the idea of a book printed on paper, the Kindle Paperwhite is the closest you can get to that feeling. In our digital age, this is a device that can rekindle your love for books.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition e-reader

Hits:

- Design and portability

- Stylish screen interface

- Battery life and storage

Misses:

- Needs a colour screen

- Pricey

Price:

Dh749

Rating:

4 stars


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