When we heard about Waterfi's custom waterproof Paperwhite, we were delighted at the prospect, but reserved final judgement until we could put it through the wringer ourselves. And after some highly scientific experimentation, we can confirm: This thing is a goddamn rock.
Of course, that it held up shouldn't come as a total surprise. Waterfi has plenty of experience in the gadget waterproofing game, with Fuelbands and headphones aplenty in its arsenal — all of which you buy directly from the company itself. The company covers devices inside and out with its "Dual Layer waterproofing process," but unlike some other waterproof-coating claims, the Waterfi's treatment doesn't change the look and feel of the end product. In the Kindle's case, the buttons are a little stiffer when it comes out of the (original packaging!) box, but Waterfi assured us through email that this goes away after about a month of use.
To start kick off testing, we gave our Paperwhite a simple water bath — no problems there. Since Paperwhites use capacitive touch, you obviously can't control it while physically underwater, but once we pulled it out, the few drops left on the surface didn't impair page turning to any noticeable degree.
Promising! So we decided to step it up a few notches; the grape soda, tomato sauce, vegetable oil, and honey notches, specifically. No matter what we covered our waterproof Kindle with, though, it even flickered. And perhaps most incredibly, no matter what the device had just been doused in, the touchscreen never stopped functioning enough to cause a problem. The biggest issue we had was after we'd covered the Paperwhite in oil, but even then all it took to operate was a bit more aggressive button-tapping.
In the interests of pushing our waterproof Kindle to its limits, we opted to wash it off between marinating sessions with a high-pressure hose. We blasted water directly into the mini-USB port. Not a pixel out of place.
The one thing we couldn't test was its 210-feet-under-water limit. But if for whatever reason you drop your Paperweight into a 210-feet-deep lake, you're probably never seeing that thing again anyway. In the majority of situations where a normal Kindle/traditional book just wouldn't do, this is about as close to perfect as you're going to get. Floating poolside, boating, makeshift litter box scoop; whatever it is, as far as we can tell, this thing will come out no worse for the wear.
The Paperwhite is already the best little e-reader around, but this takes it to an entirely new level. Of course, this beach-proof coating isn't cheap. At $US240, the the Wi-Fi-only waterproof Paperwhite costs about double its un-coated counterpart. You'll have to shell out $US300 for the 3G model. But if you have the means and are a reading-next-to-a-body-of-water enthusiast, you've just found your new best friend.