I’ve been using my Kindle on the daily for years and years, its various manifestations carrying me through different lives in different cities and states and, of course, different phases of my reading journey. No matter what, I’ve always been sure to keep a Kindle close for situations where it made more sense than a book, which isn’t always.*
The new, waterproof Kindle Paperwhite has one of the most important upgrades to the e-reader I’ve ever seen. And it barely shows up in reviews: Its screen is now flush with its bezel. And while that may seem like an obvious feature for a tech device, it hasn’t been the case for the Kindle until now.
Version after version gave me a screen whose edge sunk into the body of the device, drawing dust and schmutz into those corners. Since it’s a touchscreen, trying to scrape or brush anything away always sent me to new pages or chapters. And yes, of course, I could turn it off first and handle the chore of cleaning but in the moment it’s inconvenient to suddenly stop the flow of my reading for such an insignificant reason. So I usually chose to truck on, ignoring the dust and eventually forgetting about it right up until the next time I turned on my Kindle and began reading, remembering what I’d forgotten and repeating the emotional rigamarole from the beginning.
I read in different ways and at different times — and the new Kindle cares to adjust for me. Released months before the new Kindle Paperwhite came out and changing how I was using my then-most-recent Kindle edition, the new Themes available in the e-reader have forever changed how I read. It’s like this: Whatever settings you have active at any time — from the page orientation to its margins, the font, the size of the text, and so on — can be saved as a custom theme that you can name and come back to later. That’s a huge benefit for me. It saves me a lot of my time every single day, namely because I read at the gym but also because I sometimes read in bed or a car and for each environment require different settings. For example, when I read on a treadmill, I want the screen to run sideways so the bottom power button doesn’t interfere with my reading when I swipe to the next page. I also need the text to be large and serif — focusing on small text would otherwise hurt as I’m moving a lot. When I’m in bed or on the subway, I can hold the Kindle upright and get the text real tight and small so I can get the most of each page before swiping.
Flush screen aside and themes aside, the newest model also packs in Bluetooth connectivity, which is a game changer for on-the-go readers and listeners. If you’re like me, you can’t help yourself when a Kindle book you buy offers you a discounted Audible audiobook for it. When the reading and listening experiences seamlessly sync the way they do across devices, it’s a very tempting proposition and one I used regularly. The 8 GB hard drive is plenty large to fit all the books you’ll load onto it and if you go the route of audiobooks, you’ll still have plenty of storage for as many as you’re likely to find yourself reading at the same time. It’s the thinnest it’s ever been and its battery can still last you weeks (yes, weeks). A built-in and adjustable light means you can read in bed without waking your partner or enjoy dusk at its darkest navy blue outside without squinting at the pages of your book. Of course, you can download books onto the Kindle through WiFi without your phone and switch between them with a click, never carrying more than the compact e-reader in your bag. There’s a variation of the Kindle that includes free cellular service, too, so you can download and sync content on the go. If you’re considering upgrading your Kindle anytime soon, don’t forget to take a look at the essentials bundles Amazon has to offer or the Kindle Unlimited subscription for an entire library of books to choose from as you please.
*People really love choosing the Kindle or the non-Kindle life: You don’t have to choose. Generally speaking, I find non-fiction to be better for Kindle and paper better for fiction — but there are many exceptions to both of those buckets. The thicker the material or the more you might want to annotate it, the more I’d say leaning to the Kindle edition is wise. The more whimsical the text — or if you just want to borrow a copy from a friend — the more a paperback makes sense. Hardcover books? Well, they don’t really exist for reading on-the-go, to put it gently. But all that’s just me, of course. You go ahead and Kindle however you see fit.
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