Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) evaluation: Can’t put it down

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I had been attempting to complete The Approach of Kings, Brandon Sanderson’s 1,250+ web page fantasy epic, for roughly two years earlier than I began my evaluation for Amazon’s newest Kindle Paperwhite. Nonetheless, only a week and a half into my evaluation interval, I polished off that first ebook within the “Stormlight Archive” collection, not less than partly due to how a lot I just like the Paperwhite as a tool. It’s absolutely higher than the chunky paperback I had been toting round but additionally higher than the overwhelming majority of different e-readers I’ve used. It’s not excellent—I do miss the devoted page-turning buttons of older and dearer fashions—however the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite supplies a near-perfect mix of efficiency, dimension, and worth. Plus, it lastly ditches MicroUSB for USB-C. Reward be. 

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite at a look

The $139 Paperwhite represents the center floor in Amazon’s Kindle lineup, between the $99 base mannequin and the $279 Oasis. The Paperwhite presents the next:

  • 6.8-inch e-ink show
  • 300 dpi display screen
  • IPX8 ruggedness score
  • USB-C charging
  • Constructed-in gentle with adjustable energy and shade temperature
  • WiFi connectivity (no mobile choice)
  • 8GB and 16GB storage choices
  • Inexperienced, Black, and Denim shade choices
  • $20 worth discount for permitting adverts on the lock display screen
  • 7.23-ounce weight

The Kindle Paperwhite design

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite compared to a library book and a paperback
The Kindle is extra compact than even a small paperback. It’s quite a bit smaller than that outdated library copy of The Fifty 12 months Sword. (PS: If anybody truly understands that ebook, please clarify it to me.)

In case you’re used to earlier, entry-level Kindle fashions, you may count on the display screen to sit down recessed from the entrance of the gadget—a small edge trapping all the pieces from Cheez-It crumbs to canine hair. The Eleventh-generation Paperwhite avoids that with a display screen that’s flush throughout the entrance of the gadget. I didn’t count on that to make an enormous distinction in usability, however the flat entrance does really feel like a drastic design enchancment when you’re in the actual world. 

The Paperwhite lacks bodily page-turning buttons—you’ll should do all of your navigation utilizing the touchscreen. In case you’re useless set on a Kindle with bodily page-turning buttons, you’ll should improve all the best way to the $279 Oasis. 

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite bottom angle stacked with a paperback book.
We’re so glad to see that USB-C.

When it comes to dimension, the Paperwhite is sort of excellent. Regardless of solely having grown a fraction of an inch bigger than its predecessor, the brand new Paperwhite display screen can accommodate a number of extra traces of textual content on every web page (relying on how giant you retain the font). Something that leads to fewer web page turns is a plus in my (digital) ebook. 

The Paperwhite weighs lower than half a pound, so it doesn’t tax your hand or wrist however doesn’t really feel flimsy or low-cost. I opted for the material cowl, and the entire package deal weighs in at 11.15 ounces, greater than eight full ounces lighter than my chubby little commerce paperback copy of The Approach of Kings.

The Kindle Paperwhite studying expertise

As soon as the Kindle is charged up, related to WiFi to obtain your books, and able to learn, the brand new Paperwhite feels snappier than earlier variations. Amazon claims web page turns occur roughly 20% sooner than earlier than. It’s a noticeable enchancment, although it’s necessary to do not forget that e-ink is inherently slower than the super-quick speeds we’re used to on smartphone or pill touchscreens. To go ahead, merely faucet the web page on the proper facet of the display screen. To return a web page, contact the left facet. It’s easy and intuitive and surprisingly immune to unintentional web page turns. 

Navigating your library and different settings takes a bit getting used to, but it surely’s easy when you’ve accomplished it. Contact close to the highest of the display screen to deliver up the menu and navigation. Faucet the underside left nook to cycle between web page numbers, time left within the chapter, and different metrics. 

Tapping on the textual content lets you share passages or depart notes on them, simply as you can with earlier fashions. Once more, it took me a couple of tries to get a really feel for the timing and placement required to focus on particular passages, but it surely rapidly turns into second nature. 

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The built-in gentle

The Paperwhite presents a complete of 13 LEDs to supply its illumination. That’s significantly greater than the 4 discovered within the base mannequin Kindle, which leads to a extra even gentle throughout all the web page. The brand new Paperwhite gentle shines 10% brighter than the earlier mannequin, although I sometimes didn’t must go previous 75% in most conditions. 

I do actually respect the Paperwhite’s capacity to vary shade temperatures. It permits for hues between cool blue and heat orange, relying in your setting or choice. I sometimes depart it someplace within the center however skew extra towards the nice and cozy finish of the spectrum. 

In case you step as much as the dearer Kindle Paperwhite Signature Version or larger, the backlight mechanically adjusts to match your environment. 

Kindle Paperwhite shopping for choices

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite with fabric cover
The material cowl supplies a lot of safety and a pleasant steadiness.

Proper out of the field, I’m thrilled that the newest Paperwhite prices by way of USB-C as a substitute of the woefully outdated MicroUSB. The gadget comes with a cable however doesn’t embrace a charging brick. You possibly can, nonetheless, improve to the $189 Necessities Bundle, which comes with the material cowl and charging brick. 

I purchased this Kindle Paperwhite slightly than requesting a evaluation unit, so I opted for the mannequin with adverts on the lock display screen. I discover them extraordinarily unintrusive as a result of I by no means even discover the lock display screen, so I used to be completely happy to avoid wasting the $20 and have it to spend on books. In case you actually hate adverts, nonetheless, you may pay to not see them. I personally don’t assume it impacts the expertise in any respect, however you might really feel otherwise. 

Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle

In case you plan to take your e-reader out into the world on a frequent foundation, then I completely advocate upgrading to the Paperwhite. The bottom Kindle lacks the Paperwhite’s IPX8 ruggedness score, which makes a regular Kindle extra vulnerable to wreck, particularly when you learn within the tub or on the seaside. The bottom Kindle additionally lacks the flush-front design, so you may count on all types of crud to get jammed between the bezel and the display screen. 

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Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle Paperwhite Signature Version

The Signature Version improve provides an mechanically adjusting backlight and wi-fi charging. And that’s about it. At $189, the Signature version is already significantly dearer, and also you’ll should shell out much more for a Qi wi-fi charger when you don’t have already got one. The Signature Version does, nonetheless, provide 32GB storage, so when you’re planning on carrying an absolute ton of books round always, the additional house could also be definitely worth the splurge.

Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle Oasis

The Oasis represents the top-of-the-line mannequin with regards to customary Kindle e-readers. (You possibly can step as much as the Scribe, however we contemplate that its personal gadget class.) The Oasis boasts a 7-inch display screen, bodily page-turning buttons, and mobile connectivity so you may obtain books even when there’s no WiFi accessible. In case you’re a real ebook nerd who reads for hours daily in varied places, then this is likely to be price the price. The identical goes for individuals who need the very best of the very best with out regard for the price. However the Oasis is overkill for me, and the identical is probably going true for many common readers on the market. 

The Kindle Paperwhite verdict

The most recent Kindle Paperwhite represents the candy spot in Amazon’s e-reader lineup. It’s a implausible dimension, doesn’t tax your wrist throughout lengthy studying periods, presents thoughtfully upgraded illumination, and doesn’t permit gunk to get jammed between the bezel and the display screen. Whereas another e-reader manufacturers provide their very own distinct benefits, the newest Paperwhite is the simple suggestion for these purchased into the Amazon e-book ecosystem. I may not get via the fourth Stormlight ebook this month—perhaps not even the second—however with the Paperwhite, I’ll get pleasure from working my means there.