Kindle Paperwhite. Picture: SUPPLIED
Kindle Paperwhite. Picture: SUPPLIED

Kindle Paperwhite

Cool factor 5/5

Usability 5/5

Value for money 4/5

The best thing about the Kindle is its simplicity. It’s an e-book reader. That’s it.

In this age of Swiss Army knife gadgets with multiple uses, it seems almost silly to have a device that does only one thing.

But that is the Kindle’s delight. It lets you read books on its wonderful electronic (e-ink) screen, a beautiful black-and-white marvel that researchers have found is second only to actual paper for ease of reading. The Paperwhite, introduced in 2012, was the touch-screen model that has built-in lights, cleverly positioned around the edge of the screen.

Unlike previous Kindle models, you could read at night without a light or clumsy add-on light. It was a significant upgrade.

Released last year, the fourth-generation Paperwhite — the 10th-generation Kindle overall — has a noteworthy attribute: it’s waterproof.

It’s taken a while for this feature to become standard on Kindles — it first appeared on the higher-end Oasis model in 2017 — but it’s a worthwhile addition, especially as so many people read in the bath or next to a pool. It will still work after being 2m deep in water for an hour, an "ingress protection" standard known as IPX8.

Another upgrade is that the screen is now flush with the edge, which was previously raised.

The Paperwhite still has an excellent 15cm screen, which is more responsive to touch commands than ever. Its 300ppi resolution means sharp text for reading. I read voraciously and use my Kindle every day. And, you can store hundreds of books.

Another new feature is that you can download audiobooks from Amazon subsidiary Audible and pair Bluetooth headphones to listen to them. I’m conflicted about this extra functionality, but it doesn’t appear to inhibit the Kindle’s primary reading function so I can live with it.

The Kindle Paperwhite remains the best digital reading experience — and single-use gadget — you can get, and making it waterproof adds welcome peace of mind.

The price is R3,600. For more information, see circuitcity.co.za.