An e-reader is a perfect way to read books on the go. Amazon has dominated this space over the last decade, and its latest products offer exciting new features at affordable price points.
Much like Xerox and Velcro, the Kindle brand name is now synonymous with e-readers. Amazon not only dominated hardware sales over the last decade, but it also managed to build the most comprehensive e-book catalog in the world. The new Kindle Paperwhite is a great starting point if you’re looking to pick up your first e-reader or are looking to upgrade from an older model.
All-new Kindle Paperwhite
Now with IPX8 water resistance and 8GB storage
The latest Kindle Paperwhite is thinner and lighter than its predecessor and comes with IPX8 water resistance. Storage has doubled to 8GB, allowing you to store thousands of books. Couple that with a high-res e-ink screen with 5 LEDs and weeks-long battery life, and the Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader for most people.
Who should buy the Kindle Paperwhite?
Amazon is the dominant player in the e-reader space, but Rakuten-owned Kobo also makes decent products in this category. The Kobo Clara HD costs the same as the Kindle Paperwhite and also has a 6-inch display and 8GB of storage. That said, the Paperwhite wins out in two distinct areas: Kindle Store and IPX8 rating. The Kindle Store is leagues ahead of what Kobo offers, and the water-resistance means you can take your Kindle to the pool or read in the bathtub.
The Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect e-reader because it offers the ideal mix of features at an affordable price point. You get a 6-inch e-ink screen with 5 LEDs for uniform backlighting, water resistance, and 8GB of internal storage. The screen is flush with the body of the device, and the battery life is counted in weeks.
Is it a good time to buy the Kindle Paperwhite?
Absolutely. Amazon debuted the latest Kindle Paperwhite at the end of last year, and unlike phones, e-readers have a long life-cycle. That means it’s unlikely we’ll see a new Kindle Paperwhite for a few years. With the latest model introducing new features like water resistance, Amazon is blurring the line between the Kindle Oasis — its premium option — and the more mainstream Paperwhite line.
Reasons to buy
- 300ppi e-ink screen
- IPX8 water resistance
- Thinner and lighter
- 8GB internal storage
- Wi-Fi and 4G-enabled models
Reasons not to buy
- Charges over Micro-USB
Here’s why you should buy a Kindle instead of a cheap tablet
You can read e-books on a tablet, and there are plenty of apps available — like Moon Reader — that offer a decent experience. That said, a dedicated e-reader is a much better option. E-ink screens mimic the feel of paper much better than LCD panels. Your eyes don’t get tired even after staring at an e-ink screen for the better part of a day.
E-ink screens also don’t produce any glare in the sun, allowing you to read under bright sunlight. Then there’s the fact that the Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, allowing you to take it to the pool or read in the tub. You just won’t be able to do that on a budget Android tablet. E-readers are also significantly lighter; try holding up an iPad to read in bed, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. And the weeks-long battery life means you don’t have to worry about charging them every night.
The Kindle has transformed how I read books — and it’ll do the same for you.
Also, the Kindle Paperwhite is just affordable enough that you don’t feel like you’re spending a lot of money.
What ultimately swung the vote for me nearly a decade ago was the e-ink panel. I used to read a lot of e-books on my computer monitor and an iPad, but my eyes were fatigued continuously from starting at the brightly-lit panels. I bought my first Kindle back in 2010, and it immediately made a huge difference. I was able to read much more without my eyes getting strained, and the lightweight design meant I could carry the Kindle everywhere.
E-ink is much more conducive for extended reading sessions, and the backlight is perfect for reading at night. I routinely average a hundred books a year, and while I started picking up more hardcovers, 80% of my reading is done on a Kindle.
Even if you’re a casual reader and aren’t going to go through a book every week, a Kindle is a better investment to make. If anything, you’re going to start reading a lot more once you pick up a Kindle just because of the convenience it offers. The e-ink screen is fantastic for reading. And Amazon’s Kindle Store is the leading e-book library in the world, with Kindle Unlimited giving you access to millions of books for a monthly fee.
Great hardware coupled with a fantastic e-book library
The Kindle Paperwhite has been the benchmark for affordable e-readers for a long time now, and the latest model adds even more compelling features to the mix. The highlight is the IPX8 water resistance, which lets you take your e-reader to the pool. The Paperwhite can survive in up to two meters of water for an hour, giving you much more flexibility in where you can use the e-reader.
By adding IPX8 water resistance and doubling storage to 8GB, Amazon made its best Kindle even better.
Amazon has also doubled the amount of internal storage to 8GB, giving you the option of adding even more books to the e-reader. You can also connect a Bluetooth headphone to listen to Audible audiobooks from the device.
For me, it’s the design that makes the Kindle Paperwhite truly stand out. My main issue with the earlier version of the Paperwhite was that the screen wasn’t quite flush with the body, but Amazon rectified that with the new model. The screen on the Paperwhite is in line with the side bezels, leading to a better reading experience.
The Kindle Paperwhite has the same 6-inch 300ppi display as the outgoing model, and the five embedded LEDs provide uniform backlighting to let you continue reading at night. You’ll also be able to adjust the font type and size, and you’ll only have to charge it once a month.
A lot of Amazon’s success with the Kindle line comes down to the hardware, but the retailer has done an incredible job with its digital store. With the Kindle Store, Amazon built the most comprehensive e-book library in the world. Kobo and Barnes & Noble also make decent e-readers, but their digital stores are nowhere near as extensive as what Amazon offers on the Kindle.
Alternatives to the Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite gets most things right, but if you’re looking for something a bit more premium, the Kindle Oasis is a fantastic choice. Conversely, if you’re looking to save some cash, the 2019 Kindle is a great option.
The most feature-packed Kindle ever
The Kindle Oasis costs nearly twice as much as a Paperwhite, and for that, you get a larger 7-inch e-ink display with 25 LEDs and adjustable warm light, physical page turn buttons, ambient light sensor, and the ability to listen to Audible audiobooks. It is also IPX8 water-resistant and has a weeks-long battery life.
The Kindle Oasis has the same 300ppi display as the Paperwhite, but it has 25 LEDs that provide much better backlighting. Two other features are exclusive to the Oasis — physical page turn buttons and an ambient light sensor that automatically turns down the brightness in dark environments. Oh, and the 2019 edition also comes with adjustable warm light, making it even better to use at night. The design is also unique thanks to a sleek aluminum frame, and overall, the Oasis is the best e-book reader I’ve ever used.
All the basics, now with a front light
The entry-level Kindle has been updated for 2019 with a front light that makes it easier to read at night. The 6-inch display has a 167ppi panel, and like the Paperwhite, you get the ability to stream Audible audiobooks when paired to a Bluetooth device.
The entry-level Kindle is lacking some of the more advanced features as the Paperwhite or Oasis — like IPX8 and a high-res screen — but you’re still getting a lot of value for your money. The fact that it now comes with a front light is a huge deal.
The Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader for most people, and it is an absolute steal for what’s on offer. The new features — in the form of water resistance and 8GB storage — bridge the divide from the Kindle Oasis, and overall the Paperwhite is a no-brainer if you’re in the market for a new e-reader.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Harish Jonnalagadda is the Regional Editor of Android Central. A reformed hardware modder, he now spends his time writing about India’s burgeoning phone market. Previously, he used to ponder the meaning of life at IBM. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.