The Kindle Paperwhite is okay, but certainly not ideal

imagesWell, I’ve been using this thing for two weeks now, I think. And it’s pretty good. Gets the most points for the navigation. It’s fairly easy to go back and forth. When you tap a footnote, it doesn’t zoom you over to some other section of the book–the footnote just opens up on top of your document. You can open the table of contents and flick forward or backward to check out what’s around, without ever having to sacrifice your current page.

I like the reading light a lot. It lights up well and evenly and it’s easy to adjust levels. They say you can’t ever turn it completely off, but when you put it to the lowest level, it’s pretty off. However, I’ve found that even when there is some ambient light, it’s often more comfortable to have the reading light on at least a little bit, so there’s more contrast (it helps to alleviate the classic e-reader problem, which is that, since the background is grey and the text is black, it sometimes wearies the eyes.)

I did, however, have to manually recreate my collections, which was awful. It easy took a few hours to do what (by using Calibre) I’d been able to do in a few minutes on the Kobo.

Furthermore, I’ve already experienced major technical glitches. For one thing, I noticed that my battery life was abysmal. I was having to charge it every two or three days. Now, new Kindles often have poor battery life because they’re indexing all the books you put on, so that they’ll be searchable. However, that usually takes a few days, not a few weeks. I eventually realized that the indexing had gotten stuck, so I deleted the index and forced the Kindle to reindex. It continued to get stuck. Most of the time, I managed to get the indexing going again by restarting the Kindle, but eventually it halted entirely.

Finally, I got fed up and decided to just do a factory reset and–from now on–only keep a few books on the Kindle. This is radically different from how I’ve normally done things (normally I like to have a larger number of options as to what to read next), but the alternative was to just accept extremely poor battery life.

However, the latest Kindle update includes the ability to store your collections in the cloud. This has, to a certain extent, made it a bit easier to keep fewer books in the local memory. Using the Kindle device I can (laboriously) arrange all my books into collections and browse through the titles in the cloud. It’s only when I am thinking about actually reading them that I need to tap on them and download them to the mirrored collection in my device’s local memory. And, hopefully, these cloud collections won’t disappear each time I upgrade devices or do a factory re-set.

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