Amazon’s New Kindle Paperwhite Review: Its Best eReader Yet
A few weeks back, I told you about Amazon’s latest Kindle Paperwhite and called into question what this means for its flagship model, the Kindle Oasis. Now that I’ve gotten some hands-on time with the final version of the Kindle Paperwhite, I’m even more worried for the Kindle Oasis.
Suffice to say, until Amazon gives the Oasis a big upgrade, there’s no other device I’d rather read on (other than, well, actual books). Why? Let’s take a look.
- Larger screen
- Adjustable LEDs brightness and temperature
- Faster processor than previous generation Kindle Paperwhite
- Bigger battery
- USB-C connector
- Premium features like wireless charging and auto-adjusting LEDs are in more expensive edition
- No page turn buttons
- 10th gen covers not compatible
Kindle Paperwhite: Technical Specifications
Display Size: 6.8″ glare-free | Storage: 8GB | Screen Resolution: 300 ppi| Front Light: 17 LEDs | Connectivity: WiFi only | Weight: 205g | Battery Life: 10 weeks (max)
Just in case you didn’t read my original article, here’s the rundown of the newest Kindle Paperwhite.
The all-new Kindle Paperwhite has a (relatively) huge 6.8-inch screen (up from 6 inches), an absolutely gorgeous 300 ppi (pixels-per-inch) display, and an adjustable light with warmth setting (so that reading in the dark is easier on your eyes). It’s the same size and form factor as the previous Kindle Paperwhite, shrinking the bezels around the edges of the tablet to accommodate the larger screen. The Signature Edition adds an auto-adjusting front light and Qi wireless charging. It has either 8 GB of storage for the base model or 32 GB for the Signature Edition.
It adopts the USB-C connector of the base-model Kindle, giving you the ability to fast-charge your device to around 25% in 15 minutes. It only takes around 2.5 hours to charge the Kindle Paperwhite completely. Not that you’ll have to charge that often, since the bigger battery should last you around 10 weeks. You’ll see a performance boost with a 20% faster processor as well. Like its predecessor, the all-new Kindle Paperwhite is also waterproof.
Which all sounds great. But how does it actually translate to an in-hand device? Amazon sent me a Signature Edition and cork cover to try it out. So let’s take a look.
The all-new Kindle Paperwhite works wonderfully with Amazon’s new Kindle OS refresh. Made to be more like the Kindle app, it’s easy to navigate and familiar to anyone who’s snuck in a few pages on their smartphone or are transitioning from a tablet.
Out of the box, it takes practically no time at all to sign in (using said Kindle app) and, if you already have a Kindle, you’ll see your library and the book you’re currently reading all on the Home screen. There are few distractions to keep you from diving right into your latest read.
Kindle Paperwhite Reading Experience
The Kindle Paperwhite’s 300 ppi screen is the same as the Kindle Oasis and is crystal clear in any lighting condition. The backlighting ensures that the screen stays legible no matter if you’re in a dark room or sitting in full sun. And the auto-adjusting lighting of the Signature Edition makes the experience even better, ratcheting the lighting down as the ambient light dims so that you’re not staring into a searchlight. The warmth adjustments are good for this as well, casting a more sepia tone on the screen as it gets later. You might lose sleep to a good book, but it won’t be because of blue light.
The screen itself is huge. Just .02 inches smaller than the Kindle Oasis, you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference, even when they’re side-by-side. It means that you can tweak the font to fit even more of what you’re reading on each page or make the font bigger without feeling like you’re reading a children’s picture book.
If you’re coming from a Kindle Oasis, you will notice the uniform form factor. There’s no notch in the back to encourage one-handed reading or page-turn buttons. Indeed, if I was going to level a complaint at the all-new Kindle Paperwhite, it’s that there’s only one “correct” way to hold it. There’s no flipping the Kindle Paperwhite around and to your other hand. The virtual buttons are fixed, so you’ll need two hands to flip back and forth.
Charging and Battery Life
Suffice to say, the USB-C and Qi wireless charging are vast improvements over previous gen Kindle Paperwhites. The previous charging connectors were finicky and prone to breakage. Most of the Kindles in my house have been abandoned simply because they eventually stopped charging altogether.
Not that you’ll need to worry about charging that often with the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. Having been reading a few hours for the past five days, starting from a full charge, I’m still at 50% charge. A lot of the credit for this goes to the auto-adjusting brightness of the Signature Edition.
Honestly, though, one of my favorite features of the new Kindle Paperwhite isn’t part of the device at all. Amazon developed cork covers for the new Kindle Paperwhite and they’re absolutely lovely.
They come in light and dark versions and are considerably more sustainable than the fabric or leather covers (though the fabric cover is still the only waterproof option). The cover folds… not completely flat, but flat enough, and feels comfortably soft under your fingertips.
The magnets embedded in the cover wake the Kindle Paperwhite when you open it and click satisfyingly to the back of the device when open. It’s good enough that I hope we see more cork incorporated into other Amazon devices.
Availability and Pricing
The all-new Kindle Paperwhite is shipping today, and you’ve got a few different options to consider. There’s the base model for $139 that gets you 8 GB of storage. The $189 Signature Edition with auto-adjusting lights and 32 GB of storage. There’s also a Kid’s Edition which comes packed with a year of Kids+ and a kid-friendly cover for $159.
All models have the improved screen, better power management, and impressive lighting. Honestly, unless Amazon makes a substantial improvement to the Kindle Oasis (or you have to have a cellular connection for your Kindle, the Paperwhite doesn’t have a Whispernet connection), I can’t see recommending anything other than the Kindle Paperwhite.