Kindle Paperwhite 2 Review

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I know, I’ve been on hiatus for months but writing workshop and certain cases of plagiarism did drain some of my enthusiasm. I’m getting the groove back, don’t worry. Yes, feel free to blame Dragon Age and Mass Effect trilogy for this too.

But I am working on a science fiction romance (while I was restructuring back my Malaysian Urban Fantasy novel, on contrary of what people say, Malaysian folk myths are extensive, I might just get an anthropology degree with this amount of work). I’ve been busy writing and rewriting and editing that I don’t really devote my writing hours on reviews. The science fiction work is in my pseudonym. I am not interested in writing a ‘Malaysianesque’ scifi, so you guys don’t really need to get all hot and bothered about this.

If you don’t follow me on twitter, you wouldn’t know that I received a Kindle Paperwhite (with a catch and merely weeks before the announcement for Kindle Paperwhite 3 but there’s not much differences except for slightly higher PPI). Unlike my previous experience with Kindle 4, somehow I tempered my excitement and I manage to get to know the Kindle better before I start reviewing it.

Specs
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Pros

  • Kindle Paperwhite looks and feels like a buttonless Kindle 4. It was noticeably lighter than the fourth generation Kindle Touch. I remember the first time someone handed me their KT for comparison, it really feels like I’m holding a slab of glass.
  • Black color made it feel sleek and expensive. I just hope it doesn’t scratch or rub off easily like the silver case in the older gen.
  • E-ink is great in general for reading under sunlight. Which is good if you’re an outdoorsy type but I’m living in a tropical country and now its El Nino. Nobody should stay in the sun longer than they need to be.
  • Fortunately, the ereader is great for indoors with bad lighting and for night reading. I notice that I sleep a lot easier with the front lit reader than with back lit tablet.
  • Additional fonts (Baskerville/Caecilia/Caecilia Condensed/Futura/Helvetica/Palatino) for the font-sensitive. This is where high PPI can be useful as it allows the screen to render these fonts with sharper darker text.
  • Darker lines which is great for black and white manga (remember to read it from right to left.. which is great for left handers)
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  • and comics…screenshot_2015_08_10T03_44_46+0800

and then he became this hunk… hyaaan…

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  • Touch sensitive. This is the part that I like. It was way easier to type on the Kindle than any glossy touchscreen. I didn’t need to hold the keys longer than necessary.
  • Less visible ghosting and fast refresh rate. The only way I could find significant ghosting was when I was browsing on the experimental browser.
  • Fast charging even when the battery was depleted at 50%. Which is great considering…
  • Kindle Freetime as the new user-friendly parental control feature for kids. I thought the feature was pretty neat even though I didn’t exactly use it for kids but it was a cool feature to activate especially with Word Wise on.

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  • And gamification! I adore these~~screenshot_2015_08_10T03_34_00+0800

Cons

  • Officially, Kindle are not available in Malaysia. Third-person vendor don’t really offer warranty or easy replacement. Kindle generally could last for years if kept in good condition and you don’t really need to replace it that frequently but if anything happen to your device, you’re on your own.
  • You need VPN and American-address account and credit card to buy books on Amazon. A lot of publishers region-restricted a lot of their ebooks to Malaysians. Most of the time it isn’t because of Amazon themselves and a lot of digital ebook market do have regional restrictions.
  • Kindle Paperwhite can come in 2GB and 4GB version. Fortunately, I have the later version but the actual space that was allocated to you was around 3GB. I don’t really like transferring my books into the cloud. It wasn’t exactly click-drag-drop like Dropbox or OneDrive.
  • Which means, if you need additional storage so much, you’ll fare better with ereaders that came with SD slot especially if you like reading larger PDFs (manga, textbooks, picture-heavy books).
  • PDF viewing on a 6 inch screen aren’t really that impressive. I find its harder to navigate when the screen struggle to render and scroll.
  • Battery drain faster than unlit ereaders. I really could last a month on single charge because the device would only use its power when changing pages. With a lit ereader, the device is still working even when if you’re not actually reading. Fortunately, it will shut by itself after a few minutes.
  • Touchscreen interface means you’ll be swiping a lot. Don’t hold your device with one hand while riding a train or something, I won’t be responsible if you drop it.
  • Buttons > Touchscreen. There’s a lot of reasons why I still use phones with buttons in this age of touchscreen phones. I know gestures seems futuristic but I appreciate precision.
  • Not very left-handed friendly. You need to eyeball the page turn area and accidental page turns are expected. I’m not left-handed but I do use my left hand to read when my right hand became tired.
  • Dust-magnet and it hates oily fingers (I’m still looking for decals but shipping is just as atrocious as with local decals resellers)
  • Experimental browser can be problematic. But I found the solution for certain issues that bugs me.
  • Since the device wouldn’t read epub (whatever Apple…), you need Calibre to handle most of file conversions so that they’re compatible with your device.
  • Kindle Freetime need Wifi to switch from the kid-friendly mode to the regular reader mode.screenshot_2015_08_10T03_40_01+0800
  • And it can only sync ebooks from Amazon cloud. This also includes the achievements 😦
  • Goodreads-sync can be a hassle. I can’t really control what types of update from my Kindle to the site and I haven’t explored much of Goodreads via Kindle but I find its easier to navigate on the actual site.
  • I don’t really like that the Kindle would immediately sync your reading progress. I want better control on my reading progress and I can’t do it from the reader.

Overall, I do like Kindle Paperwhite but I would be just as happy with a regular Kindle. There’s no drastic change from the previous and current versions and it is the best reader in the market. If you find that you need one, Kindle is always a cheap alternative compared to other China-made ereaders.

and the first few things I learn from my previous experience as a Kindle owner;

  1. Do not unload all your digital library into the ereader. You want to read these books, not endlessly swiping to find which books that caught your interest. Its a single-purpose device for reading. Not your digital bookshelf.
  2. Take care of your USB cable. It was your lifeline.
  3. Stock up on Amazon gift card!!!!!
  4. No. You aren’t betraying your physical books by reading ebooks. And for certain books, it was more feasible to read in actual physical copies than in ebook form.
  5. And seriously, if you miss the smell of books so much, just grab a random book and sniff it and then get back to reading. In my humble opinion, badly-written dead trees books always smell nice too.
  6. No. You’re not stuck with ‘Amazon ecosystem’. Even if anything an ebook apocalypse do happen to Amazon, there’s always other options. Amazon isn’t a bookstore and it thrive on other marketplace to profit and survive unlike a lot other ebook stores.
  7. If you have time, do organize your Amazon cloud manager, so it won’t be a headache later.

EDIT:

I didn’t realize I was reviewing the ereader while it was on version 5.6.2.1, basically I’ve been reading on gimped ereader for months, lol. The update file is too large for my Kindle to update on its own so I have to update version 5.6.5 via USB transfer.

I found that Amazon did made the PDF experience bearable but ghosting is still prevalent with image heavy book. If you’re reading books in PDF format, I do think it does reading a tad easier but not as perfect as on a tablet.

There’s some subtle additional features but most of all was the addition of a new typeface.

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Thief (Sevy #1) by Sarah-Jane Lehoux

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If you ever love Arya Stark, you gotta love Sevy. “Thief” began with a story of teenage Sevy live together with her friend Trena inside a stable  in the city of Eloria. Its a hard life for children living in city where girls sell their bodies or living a criminal life. Then fate lead her to Jarro, a young man who lead one of the city’s notorious criminal gang who save her and was kind to Sevy. She fall in love with him but he never seem to notice her and instead he was occupied by the beautiful elf, Irea. But things never went as it should be. Interestingly enough it took until the middle of the book that everything in the blurb happen and yes, its painful as it sound.

Sevy is a very enjoyable character and somewhat mysterious. She’s determined, crass, intuitive and also bad ass. In the unforgiving environment she’s in, against all odds Sevy survive only to lost things she hold dear to her. The story is quite dark even when the first part held the vein of most YA Fantasy and reminded me of Tamora Pierce’s Allana series. The worldbuilding was quite minimal for a fantasy but recognizable enough with its own cultures, religion, magic, politics and its magical creatures that held some realism.  Sort of like Skyrim. In fact, Eloria have some similarities with Winterhold with Dark Elves at the bad part of the city and the Nords racism with the elves and of course, the crimes.

Although there’s some awkward phrases and weird use of words but most of it aren’t distracting. There were some moments inside like prostitution, polygamy, incest and rape which added a dark vein in this book and does enhance the storylines by realism and its struggles but it can be offensive to casual immature readers. That does sound like Game of Thrones right? But GRR Martin uses these elements for shock and titillating the audience while women authors tend to be more subtle and at times thought-provoking while  tackling the issue. I understand Sevy’s frustration with Trena and there were moments with character selling their body made me cringe but at its core, it does not skimp at the reality of it and how woman are being treated. Overall, the story is very well-written, well-edited and enjoyable even if it’s a self-pub.

e-BookReader : CaseCrown Oxford Zip Case for Kindle 4

around a month ago, I got an e-reader from a singapore Kindle reseller. The wait is excruciating but the reader helped me in many ways including reading and studying so the benefits outweigh everything. Its far better option for me instead of saving up for expensive telephone these days (mobile gadgets get outdated rather easily these days.. emm hello, people remember Motorola and Sony Ericsson on ads?) However, when the Kindle arrived, it came with its barest form, simple light flat e-Ink screen. So I had to get a case and screen since I get small scratch marks from the keys in my bags and the kindle does fell off the bag and kids like to throw around it since its not their mom’s tablet (grrr). Its quite rare for Malaysian sellers to sell Kindle case so I had to order it from Amazon via a third person in LowYat.net

although it took nearly a month for the item to reach Malaysia (the item arrived to the Seller’s US address) and then the seller’s house, fortunately the seller send out my parcel early so it got to my house in record time 🙂

I had morning class today so my sister fetched the parcel for me. My parents were like “budak zaman sekarang” with my ‘gadget’ purchases… sigh… dear parents, Malaysian these days don’t find the appeal of having ebook readers when they saw tablets like samsung tab. Even my nieces grew bored when I show them my books. Oh well.

There were only three colours in this oxford case series (including the one without zip) and I found the pink one to be the most striking. I dislike the brownish checkered and the BW checkered looks like a chef/kitchen’s trousers…. and most of all, I can detect my pink kindle a mile away than a grey kindle…. weee…

To my astonishment, the pink is not really that pink. Its actually dark pinkish-violet which are not the usual fluorescent pink case. An actual tasteful pink!

I like and I’m not even a obsessively pink-loving girl.

Front : the case does changed colour in different lighting (its actually slightly warmer in real life) I suppose its the filters..

back : bluer… when it should be warmer.. hmm

inside : its actually a sturdy case and very high quality product for something made in China and then travelled to US then to Malaysia…. but considered I bought this 70% off, the quality is worthwhile

the sides: one thing that I like about the case was the zipper. It does make me feel assured that the kindle wont fly out from the case or something.

labels : what a cute name…. kinda like japanese company with penguins…. errr…. dunno where that came from

I’m not kidding, this case have ‘luxury item feel even the english is correct *cough* for something in Made in China

The placement : Velcro flap are actually very sturdy.  You can tightened it more and it won’t budge.

the bottom : I thought the buttons will be hard to reach now but my fingers aren’t too clumsy even with the thick fake leather in the way. I do need to dig into the buttons to get things going. So if you have thick thumb…. just grew your fingernail (I have to keep mine short for kitchen stuff – lol, tak serajin camni for my labs lol)

The product carries unmistakeable PVC smell and the felt material are actually cloth felt – front and back. I hope the felt stays soft for a long while but safe to say, its quite waterproof . There’s a sturdy hard back on both sides which is very neat since you can place it next to something without worrying it will crush the kindle. Sigh.. my kindle is so beloved even my cheap samsung phone and its cousin the galaxy tab felt envious of it.

I like the idea of having this leather zipped case protecting my kindle on a rainy day and it does protect the kindle for accidental spills or let’s say, when you got a cold drink in your bag and I don’t like it next to my screen. Cold drinks can sweat into an electronic and… well, if that happen, all you can do is just cry and then get new one from the amazon.  *cough*

The case is padded rather thinly (probably the black shock absorber it came with) and I actually felt the board under the paddings which is not that problematic but it does what it does.

The weight of my Kindle in g

The weight of the kindle now with the case (in g)… Honestly if weight is an issue, then you should consider a sleeve.

 The stitching aren’t crooked like any rm50 case you get from the usual shop. And I’m still not kidding, this thing is RM50 with Malaysia shipping. awesome right? The actual price was USD$31 which is perfectly awesome at 70% off price. So Malaysian Kindlers out there, do consider this brand which was currently still on sale on Amazon. Before this, I’ve considered buying simple 7 inch tablet sleeve but frankly, everywhere I see, its still above rm50 mark price. Honestly, even the mobile gadget sellers didn’t know what a Kindle is, so why waste time asking me what I want anyway.

While reading, I do change hands when my arm began to tire. The flap aren’t bendy enough to read left handed so if you are a left-handed person, the case is not friendly for you.

And I bought screen protector from the guy. and frankly is rm10 that are NOT well spent. there’s no direction which sides that have addissive  (china’s english-translated labels.. damn it) so when I pull on one plastic labelled number 1, I didnt realise its actually the stick part. #facepalm…. and there was some sawdust on them and my kindle have these glare-catching air bubbles now with small wood thing and sigh…. its reattachable (I sprayed it with the LCD cleaner several times and it stick well) but really the dusts from the parcel made me annoyed with this thing.

I might be getting more screen protector but not now. Pissed me off… grrr..

Its cheap and easily available, so ummm,… whatever buy somemore la