The beard trimmer on my old shaver broke, so today I went to Bic Camera (a huge chain of electronics stores in Japan) to buy a new shaver.

And I walked out with a new shaver... and a Kindle Paperwhite 3G.

I already owned a Kindle Keyboard 3G (back when I got that one it wasn't called Kindle Keyboard because it was the only model available). But the shiny high-resolution, high-contrast, front-lit e-Ink screen of the Paperwhite convinced me to upgrade (that and the fact that my old Kindle is becoming increasingly temperamental; once every while it refuses to turn on and it takes about 5-10 minutes before I can coax it into doing a hard reset). I'd actually already considered getting one online but Amazon.com won't ship it, and I couldn't find if the one sold at Amazon.co.jp could have English UI (turns out it can), and in any case they had a late-January shipping estimate. I didn't even know these things were sold in brick and mortar stores, but there you go.

I just got home and played with it for a bit, and it's brilliant. The screen really is much sharper than the old one (and that one was already really, really good), and the contrast is great too. It's much easier to use with the touch screen, and it feels much snappier (plus it has a nicer UI which shows book covers rather than just a list of titles). It's smaller too without the keyboard at the bottom, and feels nicer than the very plastic feel of the Kindle Keyboard.

Then there's the light. It looked nice and bright in the light in the store, but I just turned my lights off in my apartment, and it's a thing of beauty. It's perfectly readable, completely evenly lit, and much nicer looking than a backlit LCD. This is going to be brilliant for reading on airplanes (where those damn seat lights are never angled quite right), while waiting at bus stops at night, or in bed (though I don't do that very often). I'll have to wait and see how the light affects battery life though.

On a side note, I did look at the tablets and they had a grand total of one Windows 8 and one Windows RT tablet. They were not advertised at all, they just sat at the end of a row of Android tablets (I didn't visit the software section (that's on another floor), so I don't know how much Windows 8 advertising there was in general; I remember there was quite a bit for Windows 7 so I imagine it's the same now).

The RT tablet was locked with a password so I couldn't play with it (I guess someone who played with it earlier had logged it out, either by accident or to be a dick). The Windows 8 tablet (a Fujitsu I think, don't remember the model) looked very nice though. It had an Intel Atom CPU, but the UI was really smooth and nice, both in the Metro bit and on the desktop. Screen was really nice too. No sign of an attachable keyboard though, which is the one feature that makes Surface attractive to me (otherwise I have no idea what I'd do with a tablet outside watching movies on airplanes, and I don't fly often enough to make that worth the expense).

There was some old dude being shown the RT device by store staff just as I left. I don't know if he asked for it or if the staff guy came up with it (I'm guessing it was the latter since the way the customer was talking I don't think he'd ever heard the words "Windows" or "Android" before, he just wanted a tablet to browse the web). He didn't buy it though because it was too expensive (he was looking for something around ¥40,000, which really puts him on the low end of the tablet market considering the prices I saw in their line-up).