Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Hands-On 2021. In September 2021 Amazon introduced a new trio of Kindle Paperwhite models – a pricier Signature, a kid-friendly model, and the standard version, which hadn’t been updated since the Kindle Paperwhite 2018.
The new version has some obvious improvements, like a bigger 6.8-inch display than the 6-inch screen on the 2018 model. There’s also some long-awaited upgrades, including swapping out the micro-USB charging port for USB-C.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Hands-On
The Paperwhite still starts at 8GB of storage, which is enough for plenty of books and some media. But now the larger 32GB version has been made into its own distinct model – the Kindle Paperwhite signature Edition with its own perks, including wireless charging, but the same design.
Thus, we’re looking at both devices here and will specify when we’re only referring to the standard and Signature editions.
The new regular Kindle Paperwhite has a bigger 6.8-inch screen (up from 6 inches) and thinner bezels, though it keeps the same 300 pixels per inch density.
Amazon has upgraded the display, claiming it gets 10% brighter at maximum brightness than the screen on the older Paperwhite, as well as a new capability to auto-adjust the front light based on the brightness of the user’s surroundings.
While the e-reader doesn’t have a drastically different design than its predecessor, keeping the e-ink front display and plastic back, the bezels surrounding the screen are smaller, allowing for more screen real estate without needing to make the device larger.
As such, it’s an improvement in the ways that matter for an affordable e-reader. Read on for our early thoughts on the Amazon Kindle 2021, and whether it’s worth it to pick up the Amazon Kindle Signature Edition.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Price and Release Date
The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 remains Amazon’s mid-entry e-reader between the basic Kindle and the Kindle Oasis and is priced accordingly. The standard Kindle Paperwhite has 8GB of storage and a price tag that is a bit higher than its predecessor, the Kindle Paperwhite 2018.
The Design and Display
The new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 hasn’t changed much from its predecessor in terms of looks, as it’s still an E Iink front screen and plastic black. New for this model is a USB-C port at the bottom in place of the aging micro-USB an upgrade a long time coming.
Next to the port is the power button, which is only in the way if you’re standing the e-reader up (say, for some product photos), so you’re unlikely to accidentally bump it and power off your device.
As previously mentioned, the new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a 6.8-inch e-ink display, which is noticeably larger than the 6-inch screen on the Paperwhite 2018. Don’t expect a sharper display, as it still has the same 300 pixels per inch density.
Yet the text is displayed clearly on the e-reader. The Paperwhite’s edge on the cheaper basic Kindle is its front light, allowing users to read in the dark without harsh blue light, though there’s the usual array of adjustable warm light and a white-on-black dark mode to ease the eye strain when reading in dim light.
Like most e-readers, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a non-glossy E Ink display that looks like paper when read and is easier on the eyes than the LCD or OLED displays on tablets.
According to TechRadar, Paperwhite is easy to hold, and pretty light at 205g (the Signature Edition is only slightly heavier at 208g) which is just a bit heavier than most smartphones.
Amazon claims that the Kindle Paperwhite lasts up to 10 weeks on a full charge. The e-reader includes a USB-C cable in the box, but not a wall charger – you’ll have to supply that yourself.
The maximum charge speed of 9W isn’t that high compared to other devices, but it’s not really needed, as you can juice the device back up to full in around 2.5 hours, Amazon estimates.
The new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 models offer a few crucial updates, like USB-C, charging, and an even bigger display but for the most part, it’s a lot of the same e-reader at a slightly higher price than its predecessor.
If you want a more premium experience but don’t quite want to pay for the Kindle Oasis, you can opt for the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Signature Edition, which adds a bit more storage and a couple of premium features, but they don’t feel worth the 36% price hike to get them.
Still, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is the best version of Amazon’s mid-tier e-reader that’s come out yet, so top adopters (or those who don’t want to deal with micro-USB cables) may find it worth picking up. Everyone else may be fine picking up an older Kindle Paperwhite 2018 at a discount.