The Paperwhite is probably one of the fastest ereaders we've ever tested. There's no nonsense when you turn the Paperwhite on, as soon as it's fully booted up (a matter of seconds) you're presented with your homescreen and you can dive straight into your book.
Navigating around the menu system is genuinely fast, especially for an e-ink screen, and blows other competition - like the Kobo Aura - out of the water. A common problem with e-ink screens is that every time you load a new page the screen flashes and refreshes, but the Kindle seems to have minimised this, and to good effect, because switching menus and flipping pages seems less cumbersome and ugly.
It's also exceptionally responsive to touch, you shouldn't find yourself heavy handedly prodding the screen to get a response. A good barometer of this is the keyboard.
We noted in our Kobo Aura review that the keyboard was sluggish - the Paperwhite is fortunately the opposite of that, with its well-spaced keys and fast response. It's one of the best e-ink keyboards on the market.
As we mentioned earlier, you can either view what's on your device or what's on the cloud. The on-device content is displayed across the top in a series of book covers, and you can find them categorised under the 'my items' drop down, which will be useful when you begin to reach that 2GB capacity. Interestingly, you can easily access your documents (PDFs, DOCs, JPEGS etc.) from the my items drop down too - a nice touch given that often it's not so simple to access non-Amazon content.
Scrawled along the bottom of the home screen, taking up half of the entire screen, are purchase recommendations. Adverts are essentially taking up half of the screen. We know that book recommendations are standard for most ereaders and they're welcome when prompted, but unprompted it seems a bit cheeky that half of the viewing space of the home interface is gobbled up by Amazon telling you how to spend your money.
Amazon is clearly banking on the fact that you can house your content on the cloud and that's why there's limited storage on the device.
Your cloud is accessed through the homepage and you can upload or download content at all. A good use of the cloud is the fact that purchases remain there and can be added or removed from the device at will.
You will always be able to see what's on the cloud (book covers are held on the device) so you should be able to better manage your on-device collection without getting caught short.
Act on impulse
Everything can be purchased from the Kindle store, which Amazon estimates hosts 1.5 million titles - two million fewer than Kobo. Downloads are quick, around five to 10 seconds depending on the size of the book, and appear immediately on the homepage.
Outside of the recommended books on your homescreen, the store gives you access to more tailored content. Along the bottom of the store are the editor's picks and the 'books to try' section based on previous purchases.
You get the feeling that the Kindle store is aimed at people who impulse buy. Most of the recommended content is on a limited deal, and the a third of the storefront is dedicated to 'featured' content - 'daily deals' and '£2.99 or less' are good examples.
There has clearly been a concerted effort to make magazines as pleasurable to read as possible. The black and white images and book layout give them an air of class, but don't fully replicate the magazine experience. A glossy magazine's main attraction is the high-quality full colour pictures - something you simply don't get on a black and white e-ink screen.
The basic function of reading presents no problems, but there's a reason magazines don't come as plainly coloured pamphlets.
The menu system is fairly straightforward, there isn't a huge learning curve when navigating around the homepage and Kindle store. There's a useful back button on the homepage, which quickly takes you back to the last thing you were reading once you're finished tweaking your settings.
Everything is clearly laid out on the homescreen, and anything important can be quickly done from here - for example changing the light intensity, opening the Kindle store or searching for books. It has been designed to launch you straight into either reading or buying books, but to be honest there isn't - or anything - to do outside of these two activities.
An interesting feature is the ability to send documents directly to your Kindle by email via an Amazon email address.
You can send a PDF to your kindle via an Amazon-issued email address and it will sync up and download to your device - provided it's connected to the internet. A useful and time saving feature if you want to quickly load content to your device remotely.