The Kindle Paperwhite's main attraction is its display. Like all of Amazon's ebook readers, it uses E Ink, which provides some real advantages over devices like Apple's iPad 4. The non-reflective screen can be read in direct sunlight, and it makes extended periods of reading easier on the eye.
Yet the Paperwhite's screen is unlike those of previous Kindles models. First there's the increase in resolution. The previous model, the Kindle Touch, had an impressive 167 ppi (pixels per inch), which the Paperwhite manages to best with 212 ppi. Text, no matter the font, no matter the size, simply looked crisp, clear and incredible.
As impressive as high-density screens like Apple's Retina display might be, the Paperwhite is easier on the eyes. It simply does an excellent job of mimicking actual paper.
Another distinguishing feature is the front lighting, which is quite different from the traditionally backlit solutions. The screen is actually comprised of three separate layers: the first is the actual E Ink display, and directly on top of that is the capacitive touchscreen. On top of that is the fiber optic-like system that illuminates everything below.
Simply put, this is best E Ink display of the market today. There has also never been an e-book reader display that is so pleasing to the eye.
The goal was to ensure a reading experience with minimal eyestrain, even in the dark. Amazon has met this challenge handily. With 24 levels of brightness to choose from, no matter how sensitive to light your eyes might be, the Paperwhite can be adjusted for your best possible reading comfort.
Yet it's not absolutely perfect. Some might see the Paperwhite's 2GB of storage as a bit of a step back, since past models had 4GB. However, when you consider that this reduction is probably how the device achieved its minuscule form factor, and that the Paperwhite can still hold around 1,100 titles, it's not much of a sacrifice.
More irritating are some lighting irregularities near the bottom of the screen, which creates slight dark spots. We personally had no issues with the matter, but did notice them when using the Paperwhite in low light situations. They were hardly distracting, and since it was at the very bottom of the page, it never disrupted the actual text.
Yet enough people have complained for Amazon to issue a statement, in which they stated that their hardware is not defective, just not 100% perfect. A few might take issue, but probably the same amount of people who feel that 1,100 books makes a low-capacity ereader.
There's no doubt the non-uniform glow is disappointing, as the thought of a pure white display would be stunning; in reality it doesn't really matter in day to day use though, so we would barely even call it a negative.