The New Kindle Paperwhite Reignited Our Enjoyment of Reading Books

Despite having flaws, the latest Kindle is so nice to hold and look at that I can’t go back to regular books.

The New Kindle Paperwhite
The New Kindle Paperwhite

The New Kindle Paperwhite

It’s not that I dislike books or struggle with comprehension or anything like that. Instead, my specific brand of ADHD makes it challenging to find motivation to start and stay focused. Also, I’m not a big fan of holding books in my hands, especially depending on their size; paperbacks and hardcovers can be a bit cumbersome to handle, especially when reading one-handed like I prefer.

I’m pleased to report that the 2021 edition of the Kindle Paperwhite is nearly perfect for people who want to read more but are bothered by the little annoyances of reading. Both the ad-supported $140 model (used for this review) and the ad-free $190 Signature Edition have larger 6.8-inch displays that look fantastic in any lighting, weeks-long battery life, and a flawless form factor suited for lazy one-handed readers like myself.

Despite some concerns about price and performance, Amazon’s latest Kindle can reignite your interest in reading.

The New Kindle Paperwhite: Superior to Books

In its first Paperwhite update since 2018, Amazon stayed close to its previous efforts. Both the more affordable Paperwhite and the Signature Edition have nearly identical specs:

  • A 6.8-inch display with 17 LEDs and 300ppi, an increase from the 6 inches on the 2018 model.
  • The new USB-C charging port provides up to 10 hours of battery life on a full charge.
  • The Signature Edition is compatible with wireless Qi charging.
  • The $140 model has 8GB of storage, while the Signature Edition boasts 32GB.
  • It has an IPx8 waterproof rating, allowing full submersion.

Amazon increased the screen size by almost a full inch without making significant weight sacrifices. Weighing 205g (208g in the Signature Edition), it’s only slightly heavier than the 182g model from three years ago, possibly due to the much thinner bezels around the screen.

As mentioned earlier, I don’t read as often as I should because I prefer lounging with one hand free. Some physical books don’t fit this lifestyle well due to their size and weight. The Kindle Paperwhite strikes a balance, being just heavy enough to feel solid without hindering one-handed readers.

This Kindle relies entirely on touch, with no buttons for turning pages. A simple tap or swipe is all it takes. Tapping the top of the screen while reading brings up a quick toolbar with options like returning to the home screen, changing font sizes and styles, and enabling a simple page turn animation. Swiping down from the top reveals another menu for turning on Bluetooth for Audible audiobooks, adjusting screen brightness and warmth, and toggling dark mode.

You can also highlight passages, look up word definitions, and bookmark pages. However, all those handy features take a back seat to reading books, and the exceptional Paperwhite display adds to the delight.

The text remains sharp even when holding the device close to your face. The glare-free screen is highly legible and pleasing to the eye in various lighting conditions. I’ve read Frank Herbert’s sprawling epic, Dune (I’ve got sandworm fever, what can I say?), on the new Paperwhite outdoors in the bright sun and indoors at night with the lights off. In both scenarios, it was as comfortable as reading off an actual page with a light shining on it. Even at high brightness, the screen didn’t strain my eyes. You can truly take the new Paperwhite anywhere and enjoy reading.

I must highlight the small but crucial addition of a USB-C charging port. Moving further into a USB-C world, this is a godsend, likely overdue, considering the 2018 model lacked it. It sits on the device’s bottom next to the power button, the sole button you’ll find here.

It should be clear by now that I loved everything about the new Kindle Paperwhite’s physical design. It’s an ideal e-reader for me once you have a book ready to go on the screen. Unfortunately, reaching that point can be somewhat troublesome.

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