Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and iPad mini
Just before Christmas I got an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite as a gift from a credit card company. I was an early Kindler and I've had my eye on the illuminated Paperwhite for some time. I couldn't justify buying one because, as an iPad owner, it seemed simply superfluous. However, I decided to jump on the gift horse and asked for the Kindle instead of a case of plonk. Now I am left wondering whether a drunken binge would have been a better option. What's the point, I wonder, in having yet another toy to fit the same bill?
When I unpacked the Kindle I loved its solid (if plasticky) feel and I much preferred the touchscreen paradigm to the old keyboard Kindle which is still gathering dust on a shelf. The screen is very clear in all conditions, the touchability is adequate but not up to the speed we are used to with modern tablets. For £109 it's a good buy and highly recommended if all you want to do is read books. I like the built-in dictionary, the X-Ray view and the direct access to the Kindle Store (which Apple refuses to allow in the iOS Kindle reader application). Above all, I like the Amazon Kindle store and the eco-system that goes with it.
On the negative side, the Kindle screen sports unfashionably wide borders, something of a shock if you are used to the skinny bezel of an iPad. But at 6in (diagonally) the screen is just about ideal for reading almost anywhere. The iPad mini has a 30% larger screen with a diagonal measurement of 7.9in. However, because of those small borders, the iPad doesn't feel 30% bigger or heavier.
Do I prefer the Kindle to the iPad mini? Well, no. For the first two or three weeks I carried the Kindle around the house, propped it up in bed and even took it walkabout outside. I enjoyed using it. But then I sort of slipped back into using the iPad Mini and I now realise I haven't used the Kindle once since the New Year. Perhaps it will turn out to be just another fad but, at least, I didn't actually pay for it. Nor can I drink it, more's the pity.
On of the problems is Amazon's WhisperSync which works so well on iOS devices. Since I often read on the Mac's Cinema Display or, at the other end of the scale, on my iPhone 5s, I am used to having my books in sync all the time. It's something I just don't think about, it just happens. Unfortunately, the Kindle Paperwhite has no cellular ability and on several occasions I found myself away from home with an unsynced reader. After a number of such occasions, when I had to set up my iPhone as a hotspot in order the synchronise, I began to wonder if it wouldn't be better to stick with the iOS devices.
I will keep the Kindle for use around the house, where it can synchronised over wifi, but it will not be my primary reading device. Furthermore, on balance, I prefer the iPad for reading (with the iPhone coming second best). I cannot overlook the convenience of their multi-tasking, go-anywhere capabilities. The Kindle Paperwhite is an effective, very convenient one-trick pony but isn't the answer for me.