3rd Generation Kindle Paperwhite
Since the pandemic, my health has gone to the bottom of my priorities list. Before we were forced to stay and work from home, I went to the gym three times a week and was sleeping about 6 to 8 hours a night.
I probably slept around 6 hours more than 8 hours. For the most part, I felt okay when driving into the office each day and was able to work my regular 8-hour shift. Though, there were moments where I needed a mid-afternoon pick me up (like an energy drink or cold brew) to get me through the rest of the day.
Since losing my routine of driving and being at an office for work my lack of exercise and sleep has increased. I no longer have that forced separation between work and home, which has allowed me to work a lot longer and create bad habits. Many other factors are causing this, too, including drinking an immensely more significant amount of coffee throughout the day (home-made cold brew beware), but the most significant factor has been my high amount of screen use — especially in bed.
Since I realized this a couple of weeks ago, I have been making a terrific effort in getting back to healthier habits in both of these areas. I plan on posting something on how I am using technology for my exercise routine since working from home. But this post, I want to talk about technology when it comes to sleep.
Actually, I want to talk about one piece of technology, which you should know by now based on this posts title, the Kindle Paperwhite. I recently purchased a used 3rd Generation Paperwhite off of eBay but then realized that the 4th Generation had a lot of exciting upgrades and decided to compare them.
I do want to mention the elephant in the room if you have read any of my more recent Techuisite posts; What about iPad Pro 11-inch?
Since I have talked about the iPad Pro 11-inch being my everything device and reading books was a big reason why I bought it. I will address this later in my review, but ultimately my iPad Pro is still a big part of my reading needs, including books, but the Paperwhite has become my bed tablet, which I will go into much more detail.
The Kindle has always had a special place in my heart. The simple design and single-use case that the Kindle provides has still been appealing to me. Unfortunately, through my life of technology, and wanting to keep a minimalist setup, I always end up not using my Kindle. I have had an original Kindle, the 1st Generation Kindle Paperwhite, a Kindle Voyage, and even a Kindle Oasis for a little while.
Some have outstanding build quality, like the Voyage and Oasis, where others are still nice pieces of hardware but don’t feel as premium, like the regular Kindle and Paperwhite. With the new version of the Paperwhite, though, I think it took some great things about the, now discontinued, Voyage but keeping the rest of the Paperwhite similar to its previous model while staying at a great price point at $129.
The most significant differences between the 3rd Gen Paperwhite and the 4th Gen Paperwhite are the flush screen to the bezel, audiobook support, waterproofing, and a dark-mode setting. Other than those areas, I do not see a huge difference and is why I am going to end up just keeping the 3rd Gen Paperwhite since I got it for less than half of what a 4th Gen Paperwhite costs.
I did spend some time with the 4th Gen Paperwhite and did want to go over some of the unique features it offers and everything else that it shares with other Kindles that makes these devices great.
The hardware can come off as cheap, with the tacky rubber-like back and plastic casing. If you are not familiar with Kindles, these design aesthetics will come off as a lack in quality. But the plastic makes for a very light device that you will have no problem holding for a long time, and the rubberized back makes gripping the Paperwhite easy.
Amazon making the screen flush with the bezel, is something I liked about the Kindle Voyage and Oasis, and I am happy that they did this. This also allows the Paperwhite to be waterproof, which can be useful for those who like to read in the bathtub, at a beach, or a swimming pool.
Though, the beauty of Kindles is found in the e-ink display. Like the Kindle Oasis, the Kindle Paperwhite has a 300 dpi display making the text crisp and a joy to read on. The e-ink technology provides a paper-like experience allowing you to read a book as if it was a paperback. This is helpful for eye strain and glare if you like to read outside.
One thing that the Paperwhite’s e-ink display doesn’t have that its big brother, the Oasis, has is a color temperature feature allowing the screen to provide a more yellow tint. For reading in bed before going to sleep, this is a huge thing that I wish the Paperwhite had as well but decided ultimately that even a used model of the Kindle Oasis was not worth the extra $100+ cost.
Instead, I have started using my glasses with yellow tint coating for reading in bed. I usually wear these when I am working on my computer for long periods but feel they are more beneficial for me to be able to sleep more easily. So I have instead moved them to my bedside table next to my Paperwhite.
If it isn’t apparent by now, I realized that taking my iPad Pro to bed with me to read before falling asleep was not working out. My intention of taking my iPad Pro to bed to read a book or an article saved in Instapaper was good, but overtime was less likely to happen. Instead, I found myself on YouTube to 2 AM without even realizing it.
Now I leave my iPad Pro at my desk or the coffee table downstairs and instead read a book, or an article, that I sent via Instapaper, on my Paperwhite. After just a couple of days, I could feel that it was easier for me to fall asleep much faster. The e-ink display is much better on my eyes than an LCD or OLED display, plus the fact that the Paperwhite sports a backlight means I don’t have to have a lamp on either.
One of the new features on the 4th Gen Paperwhite was dark-mode. It is a pretty nice feature but didn’t find it as pleasant as having a white background with dark text, even in low light situations.
Having audible books available on the device was pretty neat too. Whispersync has been something I have loved about Kindle books for a long time now. When purchasing a Kindle book, I will usually buy the audiobook with it since you typically get a discount by buying them together as a bundle. Plus, the whispersync features help me read more books than I usually wouldn’t be able to — since I can read or listen depending on what I am doing.
One thing that is lacking with the Paperwhite, in having the audiobook available, is the ability to use both at once. Sometimes, when I read a pretty dense self-help book, I like to listen to the audiobook on my iPad Pro as I read the text. The Kindle app on the iPad will highlight the area that is being read aloud on the audiobook as it goes. This is not possible on the Paperwhite — you can either listen or read, but not both.
This makes sense since the hardware is not anywhere close to an iPad Pro to multitask, plus the e-ink display would need to refresh way to be often able to highlight text as it is being read, which would make for a bad experience in reading.
Overall I think the Paperwhite is a great Kindle and feel, both the 3rd Gen and 4th Gen, are a way better value than the $250 Oasis. The physical buttons, larger screen, and slimmer and more premium design are reasonable justifications for the Oasis. But for just wanting to read a book on a very lightweight simple device, you can’t go wrong with the Paperwhite.
Though the 4th Gen Paperwhite has a lot of very nice upgrades, I will keep the 3rd Gen Paperwhite for now since I did pick it up for only $50. Once I need a replacement, I will probably pick up a 4th Generation, or maybe even a 5th Generation Paperwhite.
As for its place next to my bed, purchasing the Paperwhite as my bedtime reading device has been huge in my improved sleep quality. Since working from home, I have been averaging about 4.5 hours of sleep. Again, this has to do with my coffee consumption and working too many late nights, but a significant factor was consuming so much content on my iPad Pro while in bed.
The last week since leaving my iPad Pro downstairs and only using the Paperwhite in bed, I have been averaging around 7 hours of sleep. So, the only technology I have on my nightstand, besides my iPhone, will continue to be my Kindle Paperwhite, and I have to say that, besides my wife, it has been a great bedtime companion.