As expected, Amazon is updating its Kindle Paperwhite line of eReaders with new models sporting bigger, brighter displays and support for adjusting the color temperature of the front light.
It’s also the first Kindle device to feature a USB-C port. The new Kindle Paperwhite is up for pre-order today for $140, and begins shipping October 27th. There’s also a a new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition that has four times more storage and support for wireless charging. It sells for $190.
That means the new Paperwhite has a starting price that’s $10 higher than that for the previous-generation, but it’s a pretty significant upgrade in most respects.
This year’s model has a 6.8 inch display, slimmer bezels, and 17 LED lights, while the 2019 model had a 6 inch screen with 5 LED lights. The new Paperwhite also adds support for color temperature adjustments, which allows you to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by the lights. Amazon also says the new model is 10 percent brighter when the lights are all the way up.
The new Kindle Paperwhite’s USB-C port means that you can use the same charger with your eReader as you do with most recent smartphones, tablets (including Amazon Fire devices), and even some laptops. The Paperwhite supports 9W charging, allowing you to take a battery from empty to 100% in about two and a half hours.
Amazon says the new model also has a faster processor which, combined with software improvements, leads to about 20% faster performance.
Despite the slimmer bezels on the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite, the new model is a little bigger and heavier than the 2019 model, but at just about 4.9″ x 6.9″ x .32″ and 7.23 ounces, it’s still a lot easier to hold in one hand than a hardcover book.
The entry-level Kindle Paperwhite now comes with 8GB of storage and “special offers” or ads on the lock screen. But you can pay $20 more to get rid of the ads.
Meanwhile the new Signature Edition model ships standard with 32GB of storage and it’s the first Kindle to support wireless charging. Amazon is taking pre-orders for a $30 charging dock that’s made for the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, but the dock won’t ship until December and the eReader should be compatible with any Qi wireless charger.
The Signature Edition also has an ambient light sensor for automatic frontlight adjustments, something that the standard Paperwhite lacks but which you can also find on the pricier Kindle Oasis.
There’s also a new Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition which is priced at $160. The hardware is largely the same as the entry-level Paperwhite, but the Kids Edition comes in more color options, has a 2-year worry-free guarantee (Amazon will replace broken devices, no questions asked), and comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ with access to age appropriate eBooks.
Here’s a comparison showing the differences between the two new Paperwhite models and the previous-gen model:
|Kindle Paperwhite (2021)||Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition||Kindle Paperwhite (2019)|
|Display||6.8 inch, 300 ppi||6.8 inch, 300 ppi||6 inch, 300 ppi|
|Storage||8GB||32GB||8GB or 32GB|
|Front light||17 LEDs||17 LEDs||5 LEDs|
|Adjustable warm light||✓||✓|
|Auto light sensor||✓|
Qi wireless charging
|Dimensions||USB-C||124.6 x 174.2 x 8.1mm|
4.9″ x 6.9″ x .32″
|116 x 167 x 8.18mm|
4.6″ x 6.6″ x 0.3″
|Color||Black||Black||Black, blue, sage, or plum|