After its initial 2012 introduction, Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader has seen a few revisions over the years. In the most recent iteration (2021), Amazon included certain high-end specs often reserved for the more expensive Oasis model, but at a more accessible price point.
The front LED light and dimmer make the 6.8-inch screen’s text and visuals look crisper and more vivid than ever. Despite having a somewhat larger display than the previous version, it is still easily portable and lightweight. The new Paperwhite is the second Kindle device to include water resistance and a durable exterior.
The Kindle Paperwhite is the e-reader I currently most frequently use, especially while I’m on the road. It’s the best e-reader for the money, whether you’re a casual reader or a voracious consumer of literature.
The 2021 Paperwhite’s 6.8-inch touchscreen is a significant upgrade over the 6-inch display on the 2018 model, and the e-17 reader’s front LED lights and 300-PPI resolution make it the sharpest-looking screen I’ve used to date. There are 24 levels of brightness adjustment, but I’ve found that 13 (the level recommended by Amazon) works great both during the day and at night.
Paperwhite’s page-turning gesture, which employs the screen rather than buttons, is quick and accurate. The Paperwhite has no delay between tapping the screen and turning the page, unlike some other touchscreen e-readers. It takes very little time to adjust things like font size and color scheme.
The tablet has the same slim profile as a credit card (0.32 inches), the same lightweight (7.23 ounces), and the same proportions (6.9 x 4.9 inches) as a tiny paperback. It also features a textured back and a bezel around the screen to make it easier to handle. You can now take it to the beach or the pool without worrying about it getting damaged. It’s a simple gadget otherwise, with only a few buttons on the face of the unit.
Since there is no cellphone service, you can’t access the internet or download any books unless you use WiFi. Wireless headphones and speakers, such as those that use Bluetooth, can be linked together for listening anywhere. The lack of a headphone connector is unfortunate, but if reading is your main hobby, you probably won’t miss it.
The 8GB of storage space that comes standard with the Paperwhite is more than enough for most users. For an additional $50, you can purchase the Amazon Paperwhite Signature, which comes with 32GB of storage, wireless charging, a no-ad lock screen, and an automatically adjusting front light, making it ideal for those who have a sizable collection of e-books or other digital entertainment.
Easy to Set Up
Still, setting it up is a breeze: After charging it (using the provided USB-C adapter), turning it on, and establishing WiFi, all you need to do to begin downloading books from Amazon is sign in using your account information.
In addition to buying a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon, you may connect it to your account before it ever arrives. Ebooks you’ve purchased in the past are always available for re-download from the cloud. In addition, you can borrow ebooks from public libraries by using programs like OverDrive and Libby.
All Kindle models use the same menus and controls, so users won’t have to learn anything new. Understanding the Kindle’s interface is simple, so even if this is your first e-reader, you’ll be able to borrow or purchase books, comics, and magazines in no time.
The Kindle shop is accessible from the main menu, while the library section stores all of your books and allows you to sort them by reading/unread, format (book, comic, magazine, etc.), and source (library or Kindle Unlimited).
Using Amazon‘s suggested brightness level of 13, which the company claims will last 10 weeks based on a half-hour of daily reading, I put the Paperwhite through its paces. In order to write this evaluation, I used it daily for approximately a month, for an average of one to two hours each time, and the battery life had never dropped below 50%.
When compared to other e-readers I tried with the same screen brightness, I discovered that its battery lasted the longest on this one.
To extend the life of my Kindle’s battery, I disable WiFi and Bluetooth when I don’t need to connect to the Kindle online store. However, if you want to utilize wireless headphones with your Kindle so that you can listen to Audible audiobooks, you’ll need to have the Bluetooth turned on.
What It’s Like to Read on The Kindle Paperwhite
My everyday reader was the first Kindle before I started testing other devices. After a month on the Kindle Paperwhite, I’m not sure I can go back to a traditional book.
At first, I preferred e-readers with physical page-turn buttons (like the Kindle Oasis and some Kobo models), but now that I have the Paperwhite, I rarely use them. The rubberized finish and moderately rounded edge make it comfortable to grasp.
Furthermore, the e-light reader’s weight allows it to be held comfortably with one hand, however, this is limited to the right hand. Unfortunately, you can’t alter the page turn settings, therefore the right side of the screen will always advance the page by one. And it’s just big enough that you’ll need both hands to hold it and flip pages comfortably with only your left.
You can customize the look of a book to your desire by changing the font, text size, line spacing, and margins. Your Kindle allows you to highlight passages and make notes, which you may then upload to your Goodreads account. Additionally, the integrated dictionary is really helpful when you need to quickly look up the definition of a term without having to pull out your phone.
The screen color on the 2021 Paperwhite may be changed from “white” to “warm,” in addition to brightness. Amazon claims this feature reduces eye strain caused by blue light, but I found it to be most beneficial when reading in the evening. Another option is a night mode that flips the color scheme of the screen.
The Kindle Paperwhite has been fantastic for long periods of time reading.
Should You Buy It?
Yes. The Kindle Paperwhite is one of the greatest leaders you can buy unless you want to spend over $100 extra for the Kindle Oasis’s page flip buttons. Although the standard Kindle can be purchased for less than $100, the Paperwhite’s superior features make it worth the additional expense.
Remember that the $139.99 price tag only applies to the ad-supported version. When the device is locked, advertisements for Kindle Unlimited books will appear on the lock screen. As they only appear when the Kindle is unlocked, they do not disrupt the reading experience.
Ad-free versions of the Kindle Paperwhite can be purchased for $159.99, or you can pay a charge to remove ads from the lock screen.
Although you can always buy books individually, Amazon Prime members have access to a selection of free books through Prime Reading, which could add up to significant savings over time. With a Kindle Unlimited membership and an extra $9.99 each month, you get access to more than a million books.
What Are the Alternatives?
Earlier we stated that Amazon has announced a new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, which improves upon the original model with 32GB of storage space, wireless charging, and automatic brightness adjustment (previously available exclusively on the Kindle Oasis). The Paperwhite Signature is the best e-reader for those who need a lot of space but yet want a touchscreen.
The Kindle Oasis, which has a 7-inch screen and is equally excellent, is far more expensive than the Kindle Paperwhite, despite sharing many of the Oasis’s advanced capabilities.
Rakuten Kobo is a good option if you’re looking for an e-reader other than Amazon. When compared to the Kindle Paperwhite, the Clara HD ($119.99) comes closest in style; however, it has a smaller screen and is not waterproof. We recommend the Kobo Libra 2 ($179.99), which has a similar-sized screen with page turn buttons.
The Bottom Line
We think the Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader currently available and strongly suggest you get one. It features a wide, brilliant screen that makes reading a pleasure, and it’s light and simple to hold. In addition, you can shop through the Kindle store, which offers a wide variety of books and regular digital discounts.