eWritable > E-BOOK READERS LIST > Kindle Paperwhite > Kindle Paperwhite Review: The BEST Kindle in the Current Range (IMO)

Kindle Paperwhite Review: The BEST Kindle in the Current Range (IMO)

Kindle Paperwhite
Overall rating

Pros

  • Decent e-reading software
  • Crisp and clear screen
  • Very good frontlight (with warmlight)
  • Waterproof
  • Integrates seamlessly with Amazon ecosystem

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Locked in to Amazon ecosystem

Where to buy?

Amazon,

The Paperwhite is currently Kindle's best value e-reader, combining a great-looking screen with a nice set of hardware features at an affordable price point.

The Paperwhite (and Paperwhite SIgnature Edition) is Amazon’s mid-range e-reader that slots neatly between the basic Kindle 2022 and “premium” Kindle Oasis in terms of both price and features.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing the Paperwhite and delving into the reasons that I think this is the best Kindle on the market today.

Software

I won’t go into too much detail about Kindle’s e-reading software because I’ve already written about that elsewhere.

But I do really like using Kindles for e-reading, primarily due to the software’s simplicity. Features include:

  • a very good dictionary (along with Wikipedia definitions and translations)
  • the ability to adjust font-size and type
  • the ability to highlight passages of text and insert sticky notes (which can be displayed and downloaded as a summarised list)
  • Table of contents and bookmarks
  • Text search
  • Vocabulary builder and X-Ray

It really has everything you need to enjoy reading a book.

As long as you buy your ebooks from Amazon, a Kindle just works without having to mess about with any settings. If you just want to start reading with a minimum of fuss and effort and without a complex learning curve, a Kindle is always a good choice.

However, this simplicity is also a bit of a double-edged sword because it also means that you don’t have some of the more powerful features of other e-readers (e.g. Boox e-readers) such as auto page-turn or custom margins for PDFs. Similarly, Kindles do not open as wide a range of file formats as Boox e-readers and cannot open ADE DRM-Protected files purchased from third-party bookstores (for this, you would need a Kobo or Pocketbook e-book reader).

Whilst it is possible to upload other (DRM-free) PDFs and EPUBs to your Kindle, these files are converted into Amazon’s proprietary KFX format and some files (particularly PDFs) may not be displayed correctly. Not to mention the time it can take to transfer your ebook library over to Kindle, which can only be performed via email or the send to Kindle app.

So, if you already have an existing library, the Kindle software is not really all that cooperative in helping you to migrate. Similarly, it can be tricky to move e-books bought from the Kindle Store onto other e-readers.

But if you are new to e-readers or have no issue with being tied to the Amazon ecosystem, then you can’t go far wrong with a Kindle. And, in my opinion, the Paperwhite is the best Kindle in the current range.

When buying the Kindle Paperwhite, there is an option to have around $10 knocked off the price by allowing advertisements on the lock-screen. My recommendation from my personal experience is to pay a little extra and have lock-screen ads removed because they can be slightly irritating.

I don’t have an issue with the ads themselves (although there is the potential that a ‘personal recommendation‘ could be embarrassing if the wrong person looked at your Kindle). My issue is with the additional time it takes to unlock the e-reader from sleep mode. Without the ads, you simply press the power button and continue reading. With the ads, you press the power button, and then another advert is shown, and then you have to swipe the screen to close it. It may not seem like a great hardship but having to do this every single time you want to use the e-reader soon becomes tedious – and right now, I’d gladly pay $10 (or more) to have it removed.

Design & Build

The chassis of the Paperwhite is made from dark-grey plastic, much like the Kindle 2022, and has many of the same advantages. However, the plastic used on the Paperwhite does feel slightly more premium than that used on the Kindle 2022 – I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what the difference is, other than it just feels ever-so-slightly softer.

Unlike the sunken screen of the Kindle 2022, the Paperwhite’s screen is flush with the bezels, which also adds to the feeling of a more premium design.

Although the rear panel is smooth, it is not slippery, and there is enough friction to get a good grip whilst reading without feeling that it may slide out of your hand. The thicker lower bezel also provides a resting place for your thumb without obscuring the screen.

The physical dimensions of the Paperwhite mean that it can be stuffed into your pocket fairly easily, however, it is a little bit of a squeeze, and the Kindle 2022 slips in a little more comfortably. Similarly, some people may find the 205g Paperwhite to be a little too heavy to hold comfortably for long periods, however for me this was not an issue.

Overall, I really like the design of the Paperwhite. It feels hardy and robust whilst also being comfortable to hold and having an eye-pleasing design. I wouldn’t say it is the most elegantly-designed e-reader, but it does combine practicality and aesthetics very nicely.

Hardware

For me, the 6.8″ screen is the happy medium between reading comfort and portability. The 300DPI screen is sharp and crisp and the frontlight illuminates the screen perfectly for all ambient lighting conditions. This is further enhanced by the warmlight, which gives the screen a gentler red tone for nighttime reading. Unfortunately, there’s no auto-brightness so frontlight settings do need to be configured manually (however, this feature is available with the Paperwhite Signature Edition).

In terms of connectivity, the Paperwhite supports wifi and USB-C. It also has Bluetooth for the connection of headphones or a speaker. It ships with either 8Gb or 16Gb of storage space, which should be sufficient for most user’s KIndle libraries. In addition, it is waterproof, which means that you will not have to worry about reading poolside or in the bath/hot tub.

There are no page-turn buttons on the Paperwhite and the screen does not auto-orientate itself when you rotate the e-reader (it is really only designed to be used one-way-up). However, these features will probably not be major buying factors for many users.

Overall, the Kindle Paperwhite has a nice set of hardware features that support comfortable reading in most environments.

Overall Verdict

Out of all the Kindle e-readers, the Paperwhite is my favourite.

It seems to balance a decent and durable design with the most important hardware features (frontlight, warmlight, and waterproofing). The Amazon ecosystem is easy to use (but not as versatile as an Android e-reader) and is ideal for those that simply want to read books with the minimum fuss and effort.

The Paperwhite Signature Edition offers some additional features, however, I personally don’t think the additional cost is worth it. For a smaller, lighter, and cheaper Kindle, the Kindle 2022 isn’t a bad shout but you do sacrifice some features (such as the warmlight and waterproofing). And the Kindle Scribe is for those that will be doing more than reading (e.g. writing notes and annotating PDFs). Steer clear of Amazon’s top-of-the-range Kindle Oasis – I found it to be utter garbage for price it commands.

For an overview of all KIndles, I have written an article comparing them here. And you can check out my fully-searchable e-reader comparison matrix here.

About the author

Me and my e-ink tablets
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Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.