Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

MSRP $139.99

“The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ticks all the major boxes with USB-C, a bigger screen, and an improved reading experience. It’s one of the best e-readers to get.”


  • Bigger, brighter display screen
  • Warmer coloration temperature changes
  • USB-C charging port
  • Waterproof


  • Screen smudges simply
  • No auto-adjusting mild

Released in 2018, the Kindle Paperwhite has been due for an improve for 3 years — which means it’s gone a yr past Amazon’s Kindle normal updates patterns. In that point, different readers have gotten options like USB-C, greater screens, slimmer bezels, and extra. Amazon itself has a few of these bells and whistles in its personal higher-end fashions just like the Kindle Oasis, however they haven’t filtered right down to the extra inexpensive Paperwhite lineup — till now, that’s. After three lengthy years, Amazon has lastly launched the Kindle Paperwhite (2021), answering my prayers for a trendy, fashionable e-reader.

After spending a number of days with it, my preliminary pleasure morphed to bliss: How might I’ve lived so lengthy and not using a Paperwhite like this? With a couple of minor tweaks to an already nice machine, Amazon has cemented itself as soon as once more because the heavyweight champion of the e-reader market. 

Design and dimension

The new Paperwhite comes with two main design enhancements: A much bigger, higher display screen, and a USB-C charging port. The latter has been one of many greatest asks from Kindle customers for a very long time. USB-C ports have gotten extra common and having to hold a number of charging cords round is a problem. The newest mannequin brings USB-C, which provides it quicker and higher compatibility with chargers, cables, and gadgets you have already got. Just one factor to notice: This mannequin doesn’t assist wi-fi charging, so you’ll have to put money into the higher-tier Signature Edition in order for you that characteristic.

Paperwhite (2021) in hand reading.

The 6.8-inch display screen with the slimmer bezels is a superb enchancment for most individuals, although I’ll confess that when Amazon introduced it, I slammed the design for eradicating bezel area that provided a greater grip. I stand by this perception since I nonetheless discover it tougher to grip than the thicker bezel of the Barnes & Noble Nook Glowlight 3, however I understand it is a minority opinion. 

I pulled out my previous Nook GlowLight 3 and located that these gadgets had been about the identical dimension, regardless of the brand new Paperwhite having a much bigger display screen. However, when you’re used to an e-reader with a smaller footprint just like the inexpensive 2019 Kindle, the Paperwhite is noticeably bigger each when it comes to display screen actual property and total dimension. In my travels, even an additional inch of area will make or break my carry-on-only packing, so that is one thing to think about when you worth portability. 

These are all minor quibbles, however there’s one massive draw back to the brand new design. The flush display screen lacks fingerprint smudge resistance so far as I can inform. Every single time I touched the display screen, bezel space included, my fingerprints depart sufficient marks on the show that I wish to douse my palms and the e-reader in hand sanitizer and Lysol. It’s unattainable to maintain clear, and at the same time as little as 5 minutes of use made the display screen look smudged and filthy. 

Paperwhite USB-C charging port.

On the plus aspect, it’s good figuring out that the Paperwhite is waterproof. I tossed it underneath the sink for a rinse and the one minor concern was the identical one I encountered with my Skagen Falster 3 smartwatch — it registered the operating water as inputs, leading to flipped pages, however this isn’t actually a mean use case. Older fashions had simply freshwater IPX resistance, whereas the brand new mannequin is designed with each recent and saltwater in thoughts, permitting for as much as half-hour of IPX8 water resistance in saltwater settings, so it’s good for these seashore days or when you’re simply eager to calm down in a sizzling tub.


Since its 2019 launch, the Kindle Oasis has provided readers adjustable heat mild, however the older Paperwhite lacked this easy-on-the-eyes options. Other opponents, equivalent to the Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3 and the Kobo Clara HD, already integrated heat lighting into their respective gadgets. In different phrases, it was lengthy overdue for this 300 pixel-per-inch (ppi) show.

It’s actually refreshing to pull out an e-reader and know that after 5 p.m., the nice and cozy mild will mechanically activate through an auto-scheduling characteristic so I can learn crisp, clear letters on the e-ink display screen. I can’t say whether or not the e-reader mechanically adjusts to time zone variations, so vacationers beware — you could have to go in manually for a schedule reset. It comes with a ten% brighter LED mild within the show, which functioned superbly throughout nighttime studying.

Paperwhite with screen on.

The Paperwhite doesn’t include automated changes, nor web page orientation choices; in reality, I might have appreciated to have seen extra (elective) automated options constructed into its signature antiglare show. Quite frankly, I wish to be lazy after I learn, and having to faucet extra buttons to get a personalized brightness stage annoys me when lounging with this machine. But contemplating opponents in the identical value vary don’t supply absolutely automated mild adjustment, it’s nonetheless pretty revolutionary. The new Paperwhite additionally provides a darkish mode which inverts the colours on the display screen, which was additionally a pleasant, snug contact to cut back eyestrain.

Reading expertise

Using my dad’s Kindle Oasis to run some checks, I made a decision now was a very good time to learn Dune in time to observe the theatrical launch. The Amazon Kindle Store claimed it was 890 pages lengthy, and for such a big e-book, it solely took 4.93 seconds to obtain on the Paperwhite versus 5.90 seconds for the Oasis. I additionally seen when flipping pages that, not like earlier iterations, the Paperwhite felt prefer it had a very seamless web page flip. In all of my years of working with e-readers, I all the time skilled a quick lag throughout web page turns. The seamless transition within the new Paperwhite allowed me to focus extra on what I used to be studying with out fixed micro interruptions. 

It additionally proved to be extremely quick when flipping by means of the Kindle retailer, or looking by means of a digital library. Like earlier fashions, the 8GB storage works for downloading 1000’s of your favourite books, however that’s the one storage choice you’ve. It would have been good to see a barely greater storage capability with out the hefty price ticket of the Signature Edition Paperwhite since any books downloaded with the Bluetooth-enabled Audible options will inevitably eat up that small area. That mentioned, I don’t suppose it is smart to put money into the Signature Edition when this mannequin performs with the identical gusto when it comes to velocity. 

Paperwhite (2021) next Glowlight 3.Kindle Paperwhite (left), Nook Glowlight 3 (proper)

There are two sorts of books that simply merely didn’t ship for me on this machine: Comic books and cookbooks. As a lot as I wished to strive The Umbrella Academy, it’s nonetheless too small a display screen to evoke the graphic novel’s particulars (it doesn’t have coloration both). It’s additionally arduous to observe cookbook directions on a 6.8-inch display screen. Maybe that’s potential with the Kindle 10 HD Fire, which provides a a lot bigger colorized interface, however not a lot a bit of black-and-white e-reader designed for chapter books.

Kindle Paperwhite on top of other e-readers.

One draw back when you’re a Kobo person is that Amazon has not but collaborated with library techniques or apps like Libby to construct a lending e-book program and sure by no means will. Library e-books nonetheless are incompatible with this e-reader, and to work round it requires a plethora of complicated and annoying steps. 

Price and availability

The Kindle Paperwhite will set you again $139 for the ad-supported mannequin and $159 for the ad-free editions. Those who wish to put money into extra storage and wi-fi charging must drop $189 for the Signature Edition

Our take

The Kindle Paperwhite ticks all the most important containers that e-reader followers have been asking for. It comes with USB-C and has even higher waterproofing, dual-band Wi-Fi, quicker web page turning and looking, a much bigger display screen, extra coloration temperature choices, and slimmer bezels. For most individuals, it’ll be the perfect e-reader to get. 

Is there a greater different?

It relies on your wants. In phrases of {hardware}, the Kindle surpasses all of its non-Amazon opponents for the worth, together with each Nook and Kobo traces. However, the design isn’t fairly as ergonomic because the Oasis and even the chunky Glowlight 3 since each of these have bodily buttons. Aesthetics apart, Amazon might have carried out a bit of extra to construct the Paperwhite into the final word e-reader, like incorporating extra of the auto-brightness options and extra storage, however for that, you’ll must spend extra on the Signature Edition. 

If you aren’t a fan of the Kindle line, then the Kobo Clara could be the same machine when it comes to design and performance. You’ll lose among the key software program options of the Amazon Kindle Store, like Daily Deals, in lieu of the OverDrive e-lending library, however it could be value it if you wish to assist your native library with free books.

How lengthy will it final?

The Paperwhite comes with the usual one-year guarantee and you’ll anticipate the software program updates to final for at the very least 5 years. Unlike telephones or tablets, an e-reader is one thing you may maintain onto for years with out feeling the necessity to improve.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. The Kindle Paperwhite offers a seamless, clean studying expertise for all ages, USB-C charging, a much bigger and higher display screen, and improved waterproofing.

Editors’ Recommendations


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here