Hoover, Yo-Yo, Sellotape, Kindle. Kindle? We’d be willing to wager that the Kindle name will live on for much longer than the boring “e-reader” label still clinging on for dear life. Because Amazon’s first stab at gadgetry really is living the dream: its name has become the product in many people’s minds.

So here it is, the world’s greatest is slightly greater and ready to trounce any other gadget’s bid (with the possible exception of the next-gen consoles) for oversized Christmas stockings. The Paperwhite has a contrastier screen, a better built-in light and a smattering of new features - not to mention the great Kindle store and same, honest-to-goodness eight-week battery life. Is it the perfect e-reader?

Paperbright and Whiter

More readable than ever, you can immediately spot the improvements to the Paperwhite’s sharp 6in screen, with noticeably blacker blacks thanks to higher contrast levels. The e-paper background looks whiter and fresher, too - not so ruddy and easier on the eye. With overhead office lights shining on the 212ppi screen, the new Paperwhite is slightly easier to read even with reflections bouncing off it. Take that, regular ink.

The Kindle’s screen has also been treated to a next-gen built-in light – it’s just as bright as before but seems to be a bit whiter, making the old Paperwhite look a little blue in tone when viewed side-by-side. Which you prefer will be a matter of preference but we’d recommend getting some eyes-on time with both if you’ll use the light a lot.

Amazon says it guides light towards the surface of the display to reduce eye strain and we didn’t encounter any peeper pain at all during our bedtime Malcolm Gladwell binges. It’s still great at avoiding registering accidental taps, with a more responsive touch grid, although being a touchscreen means snacks are best saved for before or after a Kindle session. Sigh.

To show off the Paperwhite’s screen: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space

If It Ain't Broke...

With an identical size and weight and the same soft touch back as its Paperwhite predecessor, Amazon’s decided not to mess with a good thing. Easy to hold and light enough to grasp both one handed and above your face for ages when lying in bed, the only cosmetic difference is that the 2013 Paperwhite now has the Amazon logo pride of place on the back, rather than the Kindle logo of old.

To read while fondling the Paperwhite’s rather nice build: Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products

Brilliant Battery Life

The battery life, too, stays the same. Phew. Predicted to go and go for eight weeks, we haven’t quite had the Paperwhite long enough to confirm this but reading two books in two weeks (a mixture of backlight and without), the battery didn’t even nudge the halfway point.

It charges quickly, too - in four hours or less via USB, which makes for the kind of device you’ll always have with you. It’s a bit stingy of Amazon to make you buy the power adapter separately, though.

To read and read until the battery finally dies eight weeks later: The Luminaries (832 pages)


Scoring perfect 10s, the 2013 Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader we’ve ever used. True, that’s almost by default on account of it being simply a slightly better version of last year’s Paperwhite, but that shouldn’t detract from its glory. It shoots straight to the top of our list of the best Geek Accessories known to man, replacing last year’s model, and confirms that Amazon really knows how to build gadgets.

With Kindle MatchBook (a service that gives customers a discounted or free Kindle copy when they buy a physical book that’s trialling in the US already and almost certainly destined for these shores in the very near future) Amazon’s easy to use, everyday e-reader is only becoming even more essential.

To go all meta on us: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Stuff says... 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013) review

Still fizzing, popping and burning bright, the improved Kindle Paperwhite is the winning formula made even more impressive
Good Stuff 
Kindle Store is unbeatable
Fantastically sharp, easy-to-read screen
Insane battery life
Light, comfortable to hold
Bad Stuff 
Pageturn/PageFlip stutters
Some ghosting