Top positive review
Pinhole Bright Spots and Other Issues
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2018
Updated Review on Oct 6, 2019:
After nearly a year of using it, I noticed that the issues I mentioned in the original review were largely negligible while reading. The pinhole near the corner was never bothersome because I'd have to remember to look very closely to see it. The battery can last for a long time during hibernation, even for many many weeks if not used. I also hardly remember to notice the uneven screen color temperature. The only thing that's still a bit inconvenient is the glare. When near a window I'd have to adjust my reading angle to avoid the glare. It's something hard to overcome with a digital device and it's not a big compromise for light-weight and convenience. Therefore please take my original review below with a grain of salt, I was nitpicking on a device that I had a lot of expectations for. I also decided to change the 3 stars to 4 stars.
Original review on Nov 12, 2018 (with updates on Jan 26, 2019):
I have owned a Kindle Paperwhite since 2014. I really liked that old one and gifted it away a while ago. Perhaps I have had too much expectation for this new 2018 version (waited for many months for the release), I felt quite disappointed with a few of its issues.
First I must be clear that I am a fan of e-books, and I think Kindle Paperwhite has always been a nice device, light, easy to use, easier on the eyes than an LCD screen, easy to look up words, etc. I also used a Kindle Oasis for a couple of days, I don't feel comfortable with the hard slick aluminum back, and its front lights are located on the sides, so the slight uneven light can be observed from left to right; while for Paperwhite with bottom lights, the unevenness is from top to bottom, meaning within each text line, the light is usually even, therefore less distracting to reading.
Here comes the new 2018 Paperwhite:
I like the screen is flat with the bezels now. However, both the first device I received and the subsequent replacement have a bright pinhole dot under the screen (see photos). It's like a piece of tiny defect or dust above the e-ink text and located in the light distribution layer (my guess). When the front light is adjusted to a high level, the dot becomes quite bright and distracting. I was surprised the second device had the same issue (just my luck or something else is going on here?), but because it's near the corner, I decided to live with it. This pinhole bright spot issue apparently can be found on the previous generations as well based on many reviews, I am just astonished Amazon hasn't fixed it.
Also, I don't know what happened with the charging cable, it took me a lot of effort to plug it into the device, and pull it out, it's like as if the connectors are not made well.
(Update Jan 26, 2019: the difficulty of plugging in the cable only occurred during the first couple of uses, it became normal and smooth later.)
Also, the screen feels easier to smudge than my old Paperwhite. The texts appear slightly blurrier where there are fingerprints.
Another issue is that the screen has a ton of reflection from bright windows or light sources (please see my photo, taken under an east-facing window in the afternoon). I don’t remember if it has always been like this or it’s because of the new screen update. Even with the window blinds shut, I had to tilt Kindle to certain angles to avoid the glare, albeit softer than on an LCD screen, still quite distracting. Under the same lighting, a real paperback has no reflection glare issues.
Furthermore, when front light is on and when external ambient light is somewhat dim, my replacement Kindle Paperwhite appears a bit yellower near the bottom, especially on the left side, it’s distracting but hopefully, I’ll get used to it. It’s like real paper books getting old and parts of pages turning yellow—I try to convince myself.
(Update Jan 26, 2019: other reviewers have mentioned issues with poor battery life. My experience is similar that if I don't use it for a few hours, even with WiFi turned on, the device will enter something like a hibernation mode, which requires a bit more time to wake up, but it allows the battery to last for many weeks if left on the shelf. If I read about 1-2 hours a day with wifi on, the battery drains very quickly, and will hardly last beyond a week. However, If you keep airplane mode on during reading, it will significantly conserve battery, the only inconvenience is that if you don't know a word and the dictionary also doesn't have it, which is quite likely the case, Wikipedia won't be able to show up without WiFi.)
Perhaps I’m just asking too much for a digital device. Overall, it’s still a great device to read books, and Amazon still provided a fast replacement when I asked. However, with these experiences, I can no longer swear to e-readers. I don’t write reviews often, but I feel strongly about this product and sincerely hope it will help fellow costumers and help Amazon improve their devices.