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USB-C is only half the story

When it comes to e-readers, Amazon’s Kindle wallet is the first thing that comes to mind. For many avid bookworms, Kindles has become synonymous with digital reading, thanks to its clear e-ink displays and its ability to hold thousands of books in a small, portable form factor. The latest addition to the lineup is the new Kindle Paperwhite (2021), which fits perfectly between the entry-level Kindle and the Oasis. But is it still one of the best e-readers out there? Let’s find out in Android Authority Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review.

What you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with the screen showing the cover of a book, on a table, next to a cup of coffee

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 (8GB, with ads): $ 139.99 / € 129.99-139.99 / £ 129.99
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 (8GB, no ads): $ 159.99 / € 149.99 / £ 139.99 / Rs. 13,999
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Signature Edition (32GB, No Ads): $ 189.99 / € 189.99 / £ 179.99 / Rs. 13,999

Like its predecessors, the new Paperwhite, now in its fifth generation, occupies the “mid-range” space in Amazon’s line of e-readers. However, it does include several enhancements to further differentiate it from the current 2019 entry-level Kindle. It has also borrowed many features from the more expensive 2019 Oasis.

Namely, it now offers a larger 6.8-inch screen with the same 300ppi resolution as the previous Paperwhite model (aka Paperwhite 4), but with smaller bezels. The headlight is powered by 17 LEDs, compared to five on the previous model, which can be adjusted from cool to warmer temperatures. It has also inherited the updated processor from Oasis, which promises faster overall performance.

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 focuses on USB-C port and power button

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

After releasing over twenty different Kindles, Amazon is finally giving us a USB-C port for charging. There’s Qi wireless charging too, though you’ll have to pay an extra $ 50 to get the Signature Edition if you want the feature. That premium price also gets you 32GB of storage, instead of 8GB, as well as a light sensor that adjusts the brightness automatically.

Aside from these changes, this is the same Kindle Paperwhite you know and love. It allows you to access Amazon’s extensive library and carry all your books in your pocket. The e-ink panel is as close to a paper book as possible; it is sharp and perfectly legible indoors and outdoors. Waterproofing and Bluetooth connectivity for Audible audiobooks round out the spec sheet.

The reader is obviously available on Amazon, but you can also find it at Target, Best Buy, Staples, and Gamestop. Now only a black option is offered, unlike its predecessor, which has three more color combinations.

What is good?

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with screen showing screen warmth temperature setting

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Of course, the standout feature of this new Kindle is USB-C charging along with longer battery life. I read two books on my unit in the span of two weeks and the battery was still at 67% so charging will be the last thing on your mind when using it. Better yet, when you need to recharge it, you can use the same cable as your phone (as long as you don’t have an iPhone!). This has allowed me to remove the micro-USB cables from my nightstand and duffel bag, as my old Kindle was the only device that still needed them.

Read plus: The best Amazon Kindles to buy

It is also nice to have the bigger screen. Amazon didn’t sacrifice portability to achieve this, and I didn’t notice any major difference in size or weight when holding the new Paperwhite. In general, the bezels are easier to ignore, there is more text on the screen, and the experience is getting closer and closer to a physical pocket.

All the additional LED lights do not result in any brightness enhancement, but allow you to manually or automatically set the display’s color temperature. If you like to read at night, you will enjoy the warmer tones after sunset. The Kindles only emit a negligible amount of blue light, so this setting isn’t so much about that as it is about comfort. Warm light looks less harsh in the dark and cool light is better suited for well-lit environments.

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 next to Paperwhite 2015, lying on a table, showing a book

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

When I first started using the new Paperwhite, what surprised me was how fast it felt compared to the 2015 model (aka Paperwhite 3, pictured above) that I’ve been reading for years. Amazon says there is a 20% increase in page turning speed compared to its direct predecessor, the 2018 Paperwhite, which runs on the same CPU as my 2015 unit. I don’t have the 2018 release to make a direct comparison, but what I can tell you is that everything happens in half the time compared to my slightly older Kindle.

What surprised me was how fast it felt compared to the 2015 Paperwhite that I have been reading for years.

Waking the screen from sleep, opening and closing books, scrolling through the library, changing settings and accessing menus, turning pages, everything was considerably faster. About twice as fast I would say. It almost makes me forget that this is an e-ink screen that takes a while to refresh and redraw each page. Almost.

What is not so good?

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with the screen showing recommended books

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

It’s hard to find anything substantially wrong with the Kindle Paperwhite (2021). But if I wanted to be really picky, I’d say I’ve noticed a few more accidental touches and page turns compared to my old Kindle. They are caused by the smaller bezels and the fact that my thumb doesn’t have enough room to rest on the side of the screen.

It’s hard to find anything substantially wrong with this Paperwhite.

The power button at the bottom is also less sturdy and sits right where my little finger usually rests when I hold the Paperwhite, resulting in inadvertent screen locks while reading. Both incidents are rare enough not to call them deal breakers, but I am envious of the ergonomic design of the Oasis.

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 focuses on the Amazon logo on the back

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Amazon still uses the same rubberized plastic finish on the back of the Paperwhite, which easily attracts greasy fingerprints and smudges. Even raindrops leave a trace there. A wet wipe is the only half decent way to clean it that I have come across, so I would recommend purchasing a case if you don’t like stained gadgets.

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Side Shot Leaning on Anker MagGo 622 Power Bank

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Small annoyances aside, perhaps the biggest downside to this new Paperwhite is its price. Amazon has raised the price of the ad-supported 8GB base version by $ 10 and is locking in some additional features behind a hefty $ 50 premium on top of that. Both wireless charging and automatic brightness adjustment are only available on the Signature Edition, which comes in at $ 189.99. That’s dangerously close to Kindle Oasis territory, without that device’s ergonomic design or page turn buttons.

Kindle Paperwhite (2021) Review: Should You Buy It?

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with the screen in dark mode showing a book, on a table, next to a cup of coffee and a plant

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is one of the best e-readers on the market, if not the best. It’s lightweight and portable, packed with nice upgrades, and still as pleasant to use as ever. Reading on it is so much better than a tablet or phone, and possibly better than grabbing a regular old book. You can turn on the brightness at night, store more books than you’ll ever be able to read, and adjust each format setting to make sure the text is perfectly readable to your eyes.

The Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is one of the best, if not the best, e-readers on the market right now.

The only obstacle to entry is the price. If this is your first e-reader and you’re on a tight budget, the basic 2019 Kindle ($ 90) is great value for money and is often discounted by $ 60 or less. But as long as you have a little more leeway or want to upgrade from an older Kindle, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the Paperwhite line. The 2018 version can still be found online ($ 100), but I’d say it’s worth splurging and getting the new one. Faster performance, screen warmth, and USB-C charging are great quality-of-life improvements and worth the extra $ 30.

The Signature Edition, however, is quite expensive for what it is. If you’re considering it, you should probably also look at the Oasis ($ 279). Sometimes it’s $ 200 off, and at that price, it’s very close. Sure, you lose the USB-C and auto-brightness, but it might be worth the little hassle for a more ergonomic reading experience.

Keep reading: The best e-book reading apps on Android

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle Papaerwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is a mid-range e-reader with great features. It has a relatively large 6.8-inch screen with a 300ppi resolution, screen illumination for reading in the dark, and an astonishing battery life that will last for weeks.

Top Kindle Paperwhite Questions and Answers (2021)

Q: What other names is this Kindle known by?

TO: The Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is also known as the Kindle Paperwhite 5 (it is the fifth model in this lineup) or the 11th generation Kindle Paperwhite (all Kindle lines and generations included).

Q: What is different between the regular and Signature Edition versions?

TO: The basic Kindle Paperwhite (2021) has 8GB of storage and comes in ad-free and ad-free versions. Signature Edition has 32GB of storage, shows no ads, supports wireless charging, and has a light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment.

Q: Is the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) waterproof?

TO: Yes, it is IPX8 rated against accidental submersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes. It can also handle up to 0.25 meters of seawater for up to three minutes.

Q: Does the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) have cellular connectivity?

TO: No. It only supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for audible hearing.

Q: Does the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) have page turn buttons?

TO: No. This feature is only available in the Oasis lineup for now.

Q: What color options are available for the Kindle Paperwhite (2021)?

TO: It is only available in black for now.

Q: How long does the battery last on the Kindle Paperwhite (2021)?

TO: According to Amazon, it can last up to 10 weeks with half an hour of daily reading at medium brightness and with the wireless connection turned off.

Q: How long does it take to charge the Kindle Paperwhite (2021)?

TO: Amazon says it takes 2.5 hours to fully recharge it when using a 9W wall charger.

Above article first published by . We curated and re-published.

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