UPDATE: I also have a longer review.
I opened up (my friend’s) new Kindle Paperwhite this morning.
These are my very quick initial impressions. Even though I have seen the statistics about the size and weight, it is smaller than what I thought. Essentially it is the exact same size as the Kindle 4 (Kindle Basic).
But also as soon as I picked it up I noticed that it feels much more solid. It is heavier by 2 oz than the Kindle 4 (and one oz less than the Kindle with Keyboard). The Kindle 4, which is what I primarily use, feels almost hollow when I hold it. The Paperwhite feels like it is a solid object. My guess is that much of that is battery. The Paperwhite battery, with the light on, is supposed to last twice as long as the Kindle 4 with no light.
Visually, the screens do not seem much different. I took a couple of pictures outside in sunlight with the Paperwhite’s light off to show the difference.
There certainly are more fonts. There are now six different fonts for the user to choose from. These are all common font types but reportedly Amazon has modified them slightly to optimize them for the eink screen.
It is really only at the very smallest fonts (which I can’t use comfortably any more) that you can see the increased DPI of the screen.
The star of the Paperwhite is the light system. And it really does look nice. It is not a backlight. It is a front light. The light is in the screen and shinning down on the screen, not behind the screen shinning out like and LCD computer screen. This should mean less wear on your eyes.
The screen with the light on looks much whiter than with the light off. Excuse this fuzzy iPhone picture, I wanted to shoot them together inside without a light on to show the difference. I could read on the Kindle 4 in this light. But the Kindle Paperwhite is much clearer and brighter.
The Paperwhite is also an entirely touch screen device. I prefer buttons on my Kindles. But the touch screen is responsive and feels faster that the original Kindle Touch. However, you still feel the slight lag.
A nice touch is that the library now has the covers, not just the titles. That means you show less books per screen, but you can see the covers, which helps when books have similar names.
Also Amazon has finally enabled parental controls. The controls allow three different (independently controlled) actions. You can restrict access to the cloud archive (where all your books are stored). So you can load a kindle with kid appropriate books and not worry about the child opening up and reading your 50 Shades of Grey. Also you can restrict access to the web browser and prevent purchases from the kindle. These are all welcome additions to the software.
I am going to read a whole book on the device before sending it to my friend that ordered it. I will come back with more impressions later.