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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, December 14, 2012, 09:20

BOOKWORMS may be going a little hungry this year as, for the first time, Amazon announced sales of its ebooks surpassed those of traditional hardbacks and paperbacks.

The online retailing giant's Kindle branded ereaders lead the market and the device's latest incarnations were launched in October, with the first-ever backlit Kindle Paperwhite and a new basic Kindle at its lowest ever price point (£69).

The Paperwhite is the new innovation that offers a permanent glow to its six-inch touchscreen, meaning no lamp is needed to continue reading into the wee small hours. The device also has a sharper screen than previous Kindles at 212 pixels per inch, meaning more defined text.

The Paperwhite is also said to have 25 per cent more contrast with blacker blacks and whiter whites and it certainly looks impressive making it equally adept at being read by the pool in the blazing sunshine or in darkness. Brightness can also be adjusted. The one glitch is slight shadowiness at the bottom of the screen but it is minor.

There are no physical control buttons (other than an on/off switch) but the touchscreen is reasonably intuitive to operate and has a slightly abrasive paper-like feel.

It comes in 3G and wifi versions with "free" 3G – at an upfront premium of £60, over the standard Paperwhite (£109) – and no ongoing contract charges. The 3G enables books, magazines and a number of UK newspapers to be downloaded via Amazon (with more than 1.5 million titles), and Wikipedia use, in a host of countries.

Sadly it does not allow wider web browsing using the device's "experimental browser", which is useable over wifi but limited.

The ereader has 2gb of memory, which holds more than 1,000 books. A number of classics are available free and many books are cheaper than their paper equivalents but some are pricier.

A clever feature tells you how long it will take you to finish a chapter or a book at your reading rate.

The Paperwhite weighs 222g and is comfortable to hold but is noticeably heavier than the standard Kindle which is a feather-light 170g.


■ Sharp backlit ereader that offers crisp text that is equally readable in bright sunlight or in darkness.

■ Good two-month battery life, when 3G and wifi is turned off.


■ The Paperwhite is heavier than the basic Kindle.

■ £60 premium for 3G version only worth it for keen downloaders on the move.

Verdict: The Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for technological bookworms looking to carry their library in a device that is easy to read in all conditions. But those wanting a lighter, cheaper ereader could consider the basic Kindle. Visit www.



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