Your new Kindle Paperwhite (and the wi-fi password glitch)…

I have a shiny, new Kindle Paperwhite.  For Kindle newbies, the quick start guide shows where to plug in the USB power lead (in the USB port – oh, wow!). And, er, that’s it.

Turn it on,** though, and no matter how computer and Kindle literate you might be, you are forced to go through a familiarisation routine. And I do mean forced – there is no Thanks very much, I’m not an idiot, option. The assumption is that you are an idiot, you’ve never used a touchscreen in your life, and you must be indoctrinated (OK, I know at least one person like that), but anyone who needs to be led by that hand like this is going to forget anyway (but see below re the manual).

**Press the on/off button and nothing will happen – you have to press and hold. Clearly a precaution against it being accidentally turned on, but I prefer the Kindle 3’s slider.

Note: You don’t get a charger, just a USB charging lead.

There is no text-to-voice option on this model, and no mp3 facility either, neither of which bothers me as I didn’t use them. However, people might order this assuming they’ll get the same functionality as the K3, but with an illuminated touchscreen, and they won’t be pleased. So, if you’re in the market, do be sure to read all the information on Amazon.

Talking of Amazon, I bought mine in the first release, so how come Amazon is already littered with reviews, since no-one will have received theirs before me?

But what of the famed Paperwhite screen? First of all, if you turn off the light, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to look like a K3. Instead, it’s utterly unusable. You have to use the light, and about 80% of max seems reasonable in room lighting. The LED lighting creates shadows at the bottom of the screen, but as this doesn’t impact on the text, it’s of no consequence.

Looking at my two Kindles side by side, the screen of my K3, with which I had been happy, now looks very dull indeed! It’s possible to select identical text size and spacing though, and it synchronises nicely to the last page read in my current book, so that’s cool.

Unlike my K3, the Paperwhite allows selection of individual books from the cloud, rather just  a basic synchronise operation, which is good, as I want to use the Paperwhite for my unread fiction and, when I have a moment, archive** and then empty the K3 and just load my reference books and dictionary.

**Connect you Kindle to your PC. Go to Computer (or My Computer, depending on your version of Windows), double click the Kindle icon, locate the folder called Documents (this holds all your books), and copy and paste it to somewhere safe.

Kindle also creates a folder called My Kindle Content in (My) Documents, but if you have a lot of content from non-Amazon sources, as I have (mostly from Project Gutenberg), then that folder won’t be complete – the one on the Kindle, is.

Having had a canter through the Paperwhite, I can see no problems with it, other than the initial tendency to treat everyone as if they’ve lived in a cave on Mars for several years, and totally missed the touchscreen “revolution”. The thing is, though, a lot of buyers, or recipients at Christmas, won’t have the foggiest notion about touchscreens or Kindles, and a manual, if only on the Kindle, is a must and, as if by magic, one has appeared on my Paperwhite!

But here’s the thing. It wasn’t there when I first switched it on, which is when many people will need it, it’s auto-downloaded at some point while I’ve been typing this.

By default, the Home page displays the book covers. It also displays an ad from Amazon which borders on the unacceptably intrusive. Switching to list view, which is far more convenient anyway, gets rid of the ad.

One final comment. K3 asked for the wi-fi password, which confused a lot of people (I wrote a blog post clarifying it, which still gets loads of hits), and that’s repeated in Paperwhite. By password, it means your Network key. Your ISP should have provided you with that, or you can access your router via your browser (if you know how – sorry, I can’t help with that, you need the http access code), and look it up there. If all else fails, contact your ISP.

And by the way, don’t feel smug just because you know that the wi-fi password is the Network Key – many thousands of people don’t know that, as the hits on my original post on the subject will testify.

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8 thoughts on “Your new Kindle Paperwhite (and the wi-fi password glitch)…

    • Absolutely. Not found anything I dislike about it, and even with the cover fitted, it’s lighter** than the K3 and vastly superior to the Kobo Touch.

      **K3 with cover is 404g, Paperwhite 336g. Not a hell of a lot, maybe, but when you hold the thing for several hours at a stretch, it makes a difference (Amazon’s half an hour reading a day – for battery life estimates – is risible!).

      Though, as with the K3, I remain unconvinced that the “leather” case is anything but polyurethane.

  1. Hmmmmm – I still think I’ll leave it for a good while and wait to see if any problems do crop up later on down the line. I was actually a touch screen virgin until my son sent me his no-longer needed Iphone 3g. I did know about the password but only ‘cos I’d had to set up hubby’s PC, hubby’s laptop and my kindle as well as my iPhone!
    I do wonder if Amazon are going to make a couple of the kindles obsolete now, which would be a shame really as I’m not too keen on the Kindle Fire.
    I’m saving up my money for a huge amount of books to download just before I go into hospital as I’ll be there for about 8 weeks! I will make sure that I back all the books up on my PC and cloud, (or is it automatically backed up on cloud anyway?), before I go in as I know I can use the iPhone or the laptop (if I can get away with it at the hospital) should anything go wrong with my kindle.
    I’ll see what you have to say in a few more weeks Ron re: the Paperwhite and then go from there.

    • What’s to go wrong? The touchscreen technology is well-established, the bugs winkled out, and the Amazon version has been around for a while in the Kindle Touch. What’s new in the Paperwhite is the screen and the illumination system, which is LED-based and should last forever. Unlike my Kobo Touch, the Paperwhite works smoothly, without hiccups or page transition errors, and has an exceptionally clear screen. Vastly better than the K3 – and in hospital you can read as long as you like, without anyone moaning about the light!

      The list by author function never worked well on my K3, but I see it’s fixed on the Paperwhite. That was the only gripe I had, and I honestly don’t think you’ll be seeing any complaints. I don’t see why it shouldn’t prove as satisfactory as the K3, though I have a suspicion they might be a bit creative with the battery life predictions!

      Novices might have problems with page transitions in Home pages, as you swipe, not tap (if you tap pou just open a book), as you do in the books, but that’s easily figured out and might actually be in the manual (by the time the manual auto-downloaded from the cloud, I’d figured the thing out anyway – it’s really not hard).

      Amazon ebooks live in their cloud now, but downloads take seconds – faster than previously. There’s just one potential point of confusion – in Cloud mode, tap a book to download it, and a Pending flag appears for a few seconds – just ignore it, the minute time delay is too short to need a pending flag at all.

      I find that Kindle for PC is a bit balky now, but downloads direct to Kindle from the cloud are slick and fast. Kindle for iPad still seems to be fine though.

      Amazon have already pensioned off the w-fi version of Kindle 3, leaving only the 3g version (which, if you have a smartphone to connect through, you don’t need). I suspect that pretty soon Amazon will contract the Kindle range to the Paperwhite – with and without 3 or 4g – and the Kindle Fire. It would make commercial sense.

  2. Well I trust your judgement and will start saving for one :) My books for the hospital come first (as well as Christmas -sigh) – so after that I can start concentrating on a Paperwhite. I just hope my kindle lasts but having said that, I’ve had no problems whatsoever and I still say, it’s the best thing I have ever owned! I still love books and always will, I have many bookcases to prove the point, but could you imagine trying to take books into the hospital for 8 weeks! It doesn’t bare thinking about. I know that they could be brought to me in dribs and drabs but still – I think I’d need a ward to myself :)
    I’ve not tried the Cloud mode yet – I’m still trying to figure out the iPhone! It’s all alien to me – but thanks for the warning about the pending flag.

    • As long as you don’t do anything dumb, like stand on it (are you reading this, Alan?),or drop it on a hard surface, Kindles seem pretty indestructible. I got mine in the first UK release, middle of 2010, so that’s almost 2.5 years ago, and it’s in use for maybe 3-5 hours a day, every day (and sometimes right through the night). It goes wherever I go (which admittedly, of late, hasn’t been very far), and is still as good as the day I got it.

      Thing is, apart from the buttons, it has no moving parts, so there’s almost nothing to wear out except the battery, and mine’s still fine. With care I see no reason it shouldn’t be good for 10 years or more if the battery can be replaced. And with the Paperwhite there’s not even buttons.

      Try this site http://manybooks.net/ loads of free stuff – just be sure to select the Kindle format from the download menu. It’s legitimate too – it’s the the outlet for Project Gutenberg.

      I got the Paperwhite partly because the Kindle is hard to read without the main light on (not impossible – your eyes adjust, but it gets a bit tiring), but because sooner rather than later I’m heading for a spell in hospital too. In the cardiac ward you get treated like infants – lights out and curtains drawn every afternoon for a nap! Bugger that, I want to be able to read!

  3. I love my basic Kindle but, would really benefit from the in built light; Having scoured the reviews on Amazon I found them varied and quite often simply incoherent, so thanks for your clear & personal thoughts

    Might have to say £ please, when the family ask what do you want for Xmas to buy it xx

    • Well, Jayne, having read the thing for about 5 straight hours last night, I’m happy to say it works perfectly.

      There is one feature, the Reading Time gizmo, that’s annoying. This calculates how long it’s going to take you to read a chapter, and displays a countdown time. I found it incredibly distracting and it tended to make reading into a competition – can I beat the clock?! Utterly pointless, so I turned it off, at which point it defaults to displaying the location number, like the K3.

      Other than that, all is well.

      The light is excellent. It takes a little tinkering to get it exactly right, but that’s easy enough. I find setting No. 17 provides perfect illumination either in full light or in the semi-darkness of my reading light.

      And you’re right about Amazon reviews. It always amazes me that people posting reviews of books, or of reading devices like the Kindles, can’t actually write standard English, spell, or punctuate – so exactly how well can they read? And how much faith can anyone have in what they say?

      The thing is, if you read a lot, those three faults are more or less self-correcting – or at least they were when I was young. And it’s also quite clear, very often, that many complaints are down to user error.

      I’m not over-keen on the “leather” cover, but it does have one advantage – it switches the Kindle on and off when you open or close it, which bypasses the auto-shutdown and should extend battery life.

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