Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) Evaluation: The Finest E-Reader for Avid bookworms

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

RRP $ 139.99

“The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite meets all the important criteria with USB-C, a larger screen and an improved reading experience. It’s one of the best e-readers you can get. ”


  • Bigger, brighter screen

  • Warmer color temperature adjustments

  • USB-C charging port

  • Waterproof


  • Screen smears easily

  • No automatically adapting light

The Kindle Paperwhite was released in 2018 has been due for an upgrade for three years – meaning it’s been a year past Amazon’s Kindle upgrade patterns. During this time, other readers have been given features like USB-C, bigger screens, slimmer bezels, and more. Amazon itself has some of these bells and whistles in its own high-end models like the Kindle Oasis, but they haven’t filtered down to the cheaper Paperwhite range – until now. After three long years, Amazon finally has the Kindle Paperwhite (2021), to answer my prayers for a stylish, modern e-reader.

After spending several days getting my initial Excitement turned to bliss: How could I have lived for so long without a Paperwhite like this one? With a few small tweaks to an already great device, Amazon has once again consolidated itself as the heavyweight champion of the e-reader market.

Design and size

The new Paperwhite comes with two big design improvements: a bigger, better screen and a USB-C charging port. The latter has long been one of the biggest requests from Kindle users. USB-C ports are becoming more and more universal and carrying multiple charging cables is a hassle. The latest model brings USB-C, which makes it faster and more compatible with chargers, cables, and devices you already have. Just one thing to note: this model doesn’t support wireless charging, so you’ll need to invest in the higher tier Signature Edition if you want this feature.

Paperwhite (2021) in palmistry.

The 6.8-inch screen with the narrower bezels is a huge improvement for most people, although I must admit that when Amazon announced it, I slammed the design to remove the space on the bezel that provided a better grip. I stand by that belief as I still find it harder than the Barnes & Noble Nook Glowlight 3’s thicker bezel, but I understand that this is a minority opinion.

I pulled out my old Nook GlowLight 3 and found these units were roughly the same size, even though the new Paperwhite had a bigger screen. However, if you’re used to a smaller footprint e-reader like the affordable Kindle 2019, the Paperwhite is noticeably larger both in terms of screen area and overall size. In my travels, even an extra inch of space accounts for my carry-on baggage, so this is something to consider if portability is your priority.

These are all minor flaws, but the new design has one major drawback. As far as I can tell, the flush screen lacks fingerprint resistance. Every time I touch the screen, including the frame area, my fingerprints leave enough marks on the display that I want to douse my hands and the e-reader with hand sanitizer and Lysol. It’s impossible to stay clean, and even after just five minutes of use, the screen looked smeared and dirty.

Paper white USB-C charging port.

On the plus side, it’s nice to know that the Paperwhite is waterproof. I tossed it under the sink for a wash and the only minor problem was the same one I had with my Skagen Falster 3 smartwatch – it registered the running water as inputs, resulting in page flips, but this isn’t exactly your average use case. Older models only had freshwater IPX resistance, while the new model was designed for both fresh and saltwater, allowing up to 30 minutes of IPX8 water resistance in saltwater environments, so perfect for beach days or when you just want it in a hot tub relax.


Since its release in 2019 the Kindle oasis did offer readers adjustable warm light, but the older Paperwhite lacked those eye-friendly features. Other competitors, such as the Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3 and the Kobo Clara HD, which already have warm light built into their respective devices. In other words, it was long overdue for this 300 pixels-per-inch (ppi) display.

It’s really refreshing too Pull out an e-reader and know that the warm light automatically turns on after 5 p.m. via an automatic scheduling feature so I can read crisp, clear letters on the e-ink screen. I can’t tell if the e-reader will automatically adjust to time zone differences, so be careful – you may have to manually reset a schedule. It comes with a 10% brighter LED light in the display that works wonderfully when reading at night.

Paper white with screen on.

The Paperwhite has no automatic adjustments or page orientation options; In fact, I would have liked more (optional) automated functions that are integrated into the characteristic anti-glare display. In all honesty, I want to be lazy with reading, and while lazing around with this device, it annoys me having to tap more buttons to get an adjusted brightness level. But when you consider that competitors in the same price range don’t offer fully automatic light adjustment, this is still pretty revolutionary. The new Paperwhite also features a dark mode that inverts the colors on the screen, which was also a nice, comfortable touch to reduce eye fatigue.

Reading experience

With my father’s Kindle Oasis to run some testing, I decided now is a really good time to read dune in time to see the theatrical release. The Amazon Kindle Store claimed it was 890 pages long, and for such a large book, it took just 4.93 seconds to download on the Paperwhite versus 5.90 seconds on the Oasis. When flipping pages, I also noticed that, unlike previous iterations, Paperwhite felt like it had a really seamless page break. In all of my years of working with e-readers, I have always had a brief delay in turning the pages. The seamless transition in the new Paperwhite allowed me to focus more on what I was reading without constant micro-interruptions.

It also turned out to be incredibly quick when flipping through the Kindle store or browsing a digital library. As with previous models, the 8GB storage is great for downloading thousands of your favorite books, but that’s the only storage option you have. It would have been nice to see slightly larger storage capacity without the high price tag of the Signature Edition Paperwhite, as all books downloaded using the Bluetooth enabled Audible features inevitably take up that small amount of space. However, I don’t think it makes sense to invest in the Signature Edition if this model performs with the same gusto in terms of speed.

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

There are two types of books that just didn’t come for me on this device: comics and cookbooks. As much as I wanted to try The Umbrella Academy, the screen is still too small to reveal the details of the graphic novel (it has no color either). It’s also hard to follow cookbook instructions on a 6.8-inch screen. Maybe that’s possible with the Kindle 10 HD Fire, which has a much larger colored surface, but not so much a small black and white e-reader for chapter books.

Kindle Paperwhite over other e-readers.

One downside to being a Kobo user is that Amazon doesn’t have library systems or apps like. has worked together Libby build an e-book lending program, and probably never will. Library e-books are still not compatible with this e-reader and there are a number of confusing and annoying steps to take to get around this.

Price and availability

the Kindle Paperwhite costs $ 139 for the ad-supported model and $ 159 for the ad-free versions. If you want to invest in more storage and wireless charging, you have to drop $ 189 for it the signature edition.

Our opinion

The Kindle Paperwhite ticks all the important boxes that e-reader fans have asked for. It comes with USB-C and offers even better water resistance, dual-band WiFi, faster page turns and surfing, a bigger screen, more color temperature options, and slimmer bezels. For most people, it will be the best e-reader out there.

Is there a better alternative?

It depends on your needs. In terms of hardware, the Kindle outperforms all of its non-Amazon competitors for price, including the Nook and Kobo lines. The design isn’t quite as ergonomic as the Oasis or even the chunky Glowlight 3, however, as both have physical buttons. aesthetics That being said, Amazon could have done a little more to make the Paperwhite the ultimate e-reader, such as adding more auto-brightness features and more storage space, but that means you’ll have to spend more on the Signature Edition.

If you’re not a fan of the Kindle range then the Kobo Clara would be a similar device in terms of design and function. You lose some of the Amazon Kindle Store’s key software features, like Daily Deals, in place of OverDrive’s e-lending library, but it can be worth it if you want to support your local library with free books.

How long it will take?

The Paperwhite comes with the standard one-year warranty and you can expect software updates to last for at least five years. Unlike phones or tablets, you can stick to an e-reader for years without upgrading.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. The Kindle Paperwhite offers a seamless, smooth reading experience for all ages, USB-C charging, a bigger and better screen, and improved water resistance.

Editor’s recommendations

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