I removed the iPhone from the wireless charger and put a new Kindle on it. To be honest, I didn’t expect to write such a sentence. I know it’s not exciting, and it’s definitely the case in 2021. But if you think about it calmly, the pace of innovation for e-readers is exactly the glacier movement compared to other industries.
One of the reasons is that the number of competitors is decreasing. Once big companies like Sony withdrew long ago, and Barnes & Noble is still ostensibly still in the Nook business, but the days of its former glory. It’s already over. The big players are Kobo, which is still alive, and, of course, Amazon.
Realistically, Amazon will be better off in terms of size and presence in the United States. As in other areas, this giant retailer dominates this area. The overwhelming presence in the publishing industry and the world’s leading online advertising tower on the company’s homepage are contributing. And not to be missed is the fact that the company generally manufactures excellent e-readers.
Less competition in this area also means that fierce competition between manufacturers will never happen again. In other words, competition like smartphones, or competition like 10 years ago, is unlikely to occur.
That’s why the new Kindle is purely exciting. It feels like there is still vitality in this category. The Kindle has been behind the Echo and Fire TV for a long time, but in good years, a new Kindle is announced at a pace of once a year.
Introduced at the end of September 2021, the new Paperwhite brings some features that obscure the difference from the high-end Oasis, and some pure surprises. Among them, wireless charging and USB-C are in the latter category (however, both are “features available only in the signature edition. The model is $ 50 more expensive than the standard model[5,000 yen in Japan]). To be honest, it’s simply strange to see a new port at the bottom of the device, which has adopted microUSB for generations.
By adopting USB-C, the charging time is shortened, and the main unit can be charged in about 2.5 hours (about 3.5 hours in the case of wireless). However, the biggest advantage for me is that I have one less cable to carry with me when traveling. The Kindle was one of the last devices I use to use the microUSB. Of course, that doesn’t make sense anymore, given the battery life. The new Paperwhite is now battery-powered for 10 weeks (if you turn off wireless and read 30 minutes a day).
It’s longer than the previous 6 weeks, but as a battery for gadgets, 6 weeks is also very good. It’s one of the few consumer devices that can be used for weeks instead of days or hours. This sheds light on some common, strange point. The fact is that many of the features updated on these devices are focused on battery and charging. Certainly, audiobooks that use Bluetooth audio are more battery-intensive than normal reading.
At first glance, the new Paperwhite looks much like the previous generation. Like Oasis, the flattened bezel (the edge that surrounds the display) and the display add to the already solid skeleton. However, it doesn’t have the luxury of Oasis for $ 250 (29,980 yen including tax with 8GB ads in Japan). The Oasis has a metal back and physical page buttons, but the Paperwhite doesn’t have such a luxury part.
Interestingly, the screens don’t make a big difference. Both have a resolution of 300ppi (same as the previous generation), which is significantly higher than the standard Kindle 167. The size has increased slightly from 6.6 inches to the new model 6.8 inches. Slightly smaller than Oasis’s 7 inches. In addition, both models are equipped with IPX8 standard waterproof function, which is a nice specification for those who want to read in a place with water such as a pool or bathtub.
As for the front light, Oasis is superior to 17 Paperwhite with 25 Oasis (Paperwhite may have a smaller screen). The lights are uniform and do a good job when reading in the dark. The system will feature the tonal adjustment features introduced in 2019 at Oasis. It reduces the blue light that can adversely affect your sleep pattern on a schedule. The ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness is only available in the Signature Edition.
The installed storage is also a big difference between the standard version Paperwhite and the signature edition, the former is 8GB, the latter is 32GB. Wireless charging is unnecessary for most people to use an e-reader and justifies the price difference between $ 140 (¥ 14,980 in Japan) and $ 190 (¥ 19,980 in Japan). I don’t think it’s enough to do. Especially considering that the $ 30 wireless charging stand (3480 yen in Japan) is sold separately (I refrain from using Anker’s charger because it works fine).
In general, there are many additional features that are welcome. If you have a 2018 version of Paperwhite, it may not be worth the upgrade, but it’s recommended for anyone looking for a full-fledged e-reader. The new feature blurs the line with the higher-end model Oasis. The $ 250 Oasis (29,980 yen with 8GB ads in Japan) has a more upscale look, but for the vast majority of readers, the new Paperwhite makes a lot more sense.
Image Credit: Brian Heater
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(Sentence: Brian Heater, Translation:Nariko Mizoguchi）