Steve Rix

Tech Reviews and Thoughts

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Here is my not so great experience with Amazon’s latest Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite. From reports on the internet it seems like I am not alone with these problems which are a major defect.

Quality control? What quality control?

Kindle Paperwhite: Number 1

I received my first Paperwhite on 25th October 2012. After ripping it out of the box my excited face quickly changed to that of disappointment. Immediately after the Paperwhite booted up I could see that was suffering quite badly from the backlight shadows and hotspots. Also adding insult to injury, the left hand side of the screen was suffering from a pink hue blotch! The pink hue is quite difficult to capture on a photograph, but you can see below the extent of the backlight shadows which extend up to the 3rd from bottom line of text.

After speaking with Amazon customer services I was told that they are unaware of this problem, specifically the pink hues. After reading forums it seems that many others are also experiencing problems with the backlight on their Paperwhite. These colour blotches can vary, some owners are reporting various shades of pink, green or blue.

Kindle Paperwhite: Number 2

My replacement Paperwhite was delivered on 31st October 2012. Immediately I could see that the screen blacklight bleed at the bottom of the display was far less prominent. However all was not perfect. The bottom right of the Paperwhite display suffers from (this time!) a blue patch of colour to the right of the display which extends up from the bottom to the middle.

What is very interesting is the difference in colour temperature between my first Paperwhite and the second replacement. The first is much more cooler (blue) in colour temperature while the second is less brighter but more whiter. A little difficult to capture on a photograph, but here is one anyway. The first Paperwhite on the left and the replacement on the right.

It seems likely that this is a problem with imperfections with the defuser layer within the screen, which job is to evenly spread the light from the three LEDs. I can live with the backlight bleed at the bottom of the screen of the second Paperwhite I received I can live with, but the patches of colour are unacceptable.

Amazon’s stance and statement is a little arrogant, owning up to a less than perfect screen and informing the public that this is normal. It shouldn’t be normal. It’s a good idea which has been poorly executed. I am guessing the Paperwhite has been rushed out to be available for before Christmas.

If the Paperwhite was priced half of what it is, I don’t think I would have too much of a problem with the imperfections. However at £109 for a product which has a name that implies a paper like whiteness reading experience, Amazon are bordering on being guilty of false advertisement.

There are people out there that have a decent screen. Maybe I’ve been doubly unlucky. But with the amount of complaints there are out there this is definitely a problem. At very best Amazon’s quality control has fallen greatly. I’m somewhat alarmed that none of the large tech/gadget sites out there aren’t picking up on this problem.

I am currently waiting for my 3rd Paperwhite to arrive….

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