I know you‘re trying to decide between buying the standard Amazon Kindle or the upgraded Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. It‘s a tough choice since both e-readers are so popular and have lots to offer avid readers like us. Don‘t worry, I‘m here to help by comparing every feature side-by-side so you can determine the right model for your needs.
At a Glance: Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details, here is a high-level overview of how the two models differ:
|Price||Starts at $89.99||Starts at $129.99|
|Display||6" 167 ppi||6.8" 300 ppi|
|Water resistance||None||IPX8 rated|
|Storage||8GB||8GB or 32GB|
|Battery life||Up to 4 weeks||Up to 10 weeks|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi only||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular|
|Best for||Casual readers on a budget||Avid readers who want top features|
As you can see, the Paperwhite costs more but has a sharper screen, water resistance, greater storage, longer battery life, and cellular options. Let‘s explore each of these differences more in depth so you know exactly what you‘ll be getting!
Display Showdown: Kindle vs Paperwhite
The display is arguably the centerpiece of any e-reader since it can greatly impact reading enjoyment. Let‘s compare the screens on the Kindle vs Paperwhite:
- The standard Kindle has a 6" display with 167 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution.
- The Kindle Paperwhite has a slightly larger 6.8" display with a much sharper 300 ppi resolution.
Both utilize E Ink technology designed to replicate the look and feel of reading physical print on paper. However, at first glance you can notice the Paperwhite‘s screen is crisper and clearer at 300 ppi vs the Kindle‘s 167 ppi.
Why does resolution matter on an e-reader? The higher the ppi (pixels per inch), the sharper and more detailed text and images will appear. With the Kindle‘s 167 ppi, you may occasionally notice jagged edges on fonts and graphics. The Paperwhite‘s 300 ppi makes words appear as sharp as they would in a physical book.
In real world use, the Kindle‘s 167 ppi is certainly good enough for casual reading. But the book lover in me always appreciates the flawless sharpness of the Paperwhite when I‘m immersed in a story. It feels more natural and comforting for the eyes.
Here‘s another data point for you:
- The Kindle has 4 LEDs for the built-in front light
- The Paperwhite has 17 LEDs
This allows the Paperwhite to illuminate the screen more evenly with fewer dark spots or shadows. Whether you‘re reading in daylight or in bed at night, the Paperwhite‘s lighting feels more natural and reduces strain.
One last important display specification is glare. The Kindle‘s screen may suffer occasional glare or reflections in bright sunlight. But the Paperwhite‘s display virtually eliminates glare, even in full sun, thanks to its seamless flush-front design and 300 ppi density. This makes it easier to read outdoors on a park bench or at the beach.
Overall, while the Kindle display is great for the price, the Paperwhite screen is superior and provides a more immersive reading experience.
Design and Build Quality
Beyond the display, the overall design and build quality of these e-readers is worth comparing.
Dimensions and weight wise, they are quite similar with the Kindle measuring 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches and 6.1 ounces compared to the Paperwhite at 6.6 x 4.6 x 0.32 inches and 6.8 ounces. For most people, this minor size and weight difference won‘t be noticeable.
In terms of materials, both e-readers sport a plastic body designed to be lightweight and comfortable to grip over long reading sessions. The Kindle has a nice soft-touch finish, but the Paperwhite just feels a bit more premium in the hand.
Now one major design advantage of the Paperwhite is its IPX8 waterproof rating. This means it is tested and proven to withstand complete submersion in 2 meters of freshwater for up to 60 minutes. Accidents happen, and you can relax knowing your Paperwhite can handle splashes or even a dunk in the tub without damage.
According to a 2021 survey, 67% of consumers now view waterproofing as an important or extremely important feature when buying electronics. So Amazon made the right call by adding water protection starting with the Kindle Paperwhite back in 2018.
Meanwhile, the standard Kindle does not have an official waterproof rating. You need to be much more careful around water to avoid malfunctions. To me, the waterproofing alone is worth the extra cost for the peace of mind.
In terms of color options, the Kindle comes in either black or white. Pretty standard. The Paperwhite adds a bit more visual flair with color choices like Twilight Blue, Plum, and Sage. Not a huge difference, but the colors make it feel a bit more stylish.
Overall, while both models are designed well for their purpose, I give the edge to the Kindle Paperwhite for its sleeker look, waterproofing, and color options. It feels like a more durable, premium e-reader.
Let‘s move onto the internal storage which holds all your ebooks, audiobooks, PDFs, and documents.
The entry-level Kindle offers 8GB of storage. For comparison, digital ebooks usually take up about 1-3 MB on average. So the 8GB can hold thousands of titles if you primarily use your e-reader for reading ebooks.
However, audiobook files take up a lot more storage space. For example, a 10-hour audiobook may require around 700MB of storage. So audiobook lovers will need to monitor storage more closely.
That‘s why I appreciate that the Kindle Paperwhite offers double the storage with 16GB or 32GB options. Again, ebooks themselves won‘t take up much room. But if you plan to load up plenty of audiobooks directly onto the device, the 32GB Paperwhite is the way to go for peace of mind.
One nice thing about buying ebooks from Amazon is they get backed up in the cloud for free so they don‘t take up your device‘s storage space. But keeping dozens of audiobook files locally could be pushing the limits of 8GB. Personally, I‘d spend a little more for the ample 32GB model just to be safe.
Battery Life and Charging
For on-the-go use, few things are more important than battery life. Let‘s see how Kindle and Paperwhite‘s batteries compare:
- The Kindle can last up to 4 weeks on a single charge based on 30 minutes of reading daily.
- The Paperwhite lasts even longer, up to 10 full weeks per charge based on 30 minutes of reading per day.
Of course battery runtime will vary based on your specific usage, screen brightness, wireless settings, and other factors. But in general, you can expect weeks or even months of battery life from a full charge on either model.
The Kindle uses a standard micro USB port for charging. A full charge takes about 4 hours. The Paperwhite uses a more modern USB-C port and can charge fully in just 2.5 hours. So the Paperwhite gives you more battery efficiency both in daily use and when charging.
For comparison, most tablets or smartphones last just a single day before needing to be plugged in again. So e-readers are in a totally different league when it comes to battery performance thanks to their specialized E Ink displays.
No matter which model you choose, you‘ll be able to read for hours on end without worrying about battery life. But the Paperwhite does come out ahead in both overall runtime and faster recharging ability.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi vs Wi-Fi + Free Cellular
There is one key difference between the Kindle and Paperwhite when it comes to wireless internet connectivity:
- The Kindle is only available with Wi-Fi capability
- The Paperwhite comes in either Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + free cellular data models
The Wi-Fi only versions allow you to download new books or sync your library when connected to a wireless network. This covers use at home, the office, coffee shops, libraries, and any other Wi-Fi hotspots.
But the cellular models have a big advantage – you can download books anywhere without needing Wi-Fi access. This is possible through the free lifetime cellular connectivity included with the Paperwhite. It uses Amazon‘s Whispernet service that taps into 3G or 4G LTE networks.
So you can instantly get a new ebook on vacation at the beach, during your commute on the train, or out in the mountains with no Wi-Fi available. It‘s incredibly convenient not being tethered to a Wi-Fi network for book downloads and syncing.
And unlike most connected devices, Amazon picks up the tab so you never pay monthly fees for the cellular access. According to Amazon, the cellular models have become their best selling Paperwhite configurations since the freedom is worth the extra one-time cost.
For the ultimate in flexibility, portability and convenience, it‘s hard to beat the cellular-enabled Paperwhite. But the Wi-Fi only Kindle and Paperwhite get the job done fine if you don‘t need constant internet access everywhere.
Special Features and Software
The Kindle and Paperwhite share a number of software features that enhance the overall reading experience:
- Text-to-Speech – Have the e-reader read aloud your books via Bluetooth speakers or headphones
- Adjustable brightness – Customize the built-in light levels for comfortable reading in any environment
- Blue light reduction – Decreases blue light exposure that can strain the eyes
- X-Ray – Get more context on terms, characters, settings, and historical figures with a simple tap
- Goodreads integration – See recommendations, share quotes, and track reading goals and milestones
- Dictionary – Instantly look up any word without losing your place in the book
- Language translation – Seamlessly translate book text between different languages
- Family sharing – Share books with family members also on your Amazon account
However, the Paperwhite has a couple extra goodies:
- Color temperature adjustment – Make the screen lighting warmer amber hues to reduce eye strain at night
- Dark mode – Invert black and white text for better contrast and easier night reading
- Speed-Boost mode – Page turns are up to 20% faster than prior Paperwhite generations
Both models run on the same underlying software and Kindle Store ecosystem. But the Paperwhite introduces more advanced lighting control and improved performance.
Kindle vs Paperwhite: Price Comparison
With all these differences laid out, let‘s compare the pricing:
- The Kindle starts at just $89.99. There is also a Kindle Kids Edition for $119.99.
- The Kindle Paperwhite starts at $129.99 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model. It ranges up to $189.99 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular configuration.
As expected, the Paperwhite costs more for the larger high-res screen, waterproof body, extra storage, and cellular connectivity. But when you break it down, the Paperwhite really only costs $40-50 more than the entry-level Kindle so it‘s quite affordable for the big jump in features.
Also keep in mind Amazon frequently discounts their e-readers so you can often snag either model for 10-25% off if you watch for sales. For less than $100, the standard Kindle is a steal. And at $150 or under, the Paperwhite becomes a very compelling value.
One hidden cost to watch out for: the "with Special Offers" models show lockscreen ads and sponsored screensavers. Getting an ad-free Kindle or Paperwhite will cost you an extra $20 upfront. Personally, I find the ads annoying so it‘s worth paying a little more to eliminate them.
Overall, both e-readers provide excellent bang for your buck. But budget buyers can start with the base Kindle, while serious bookworms will gravitate toward the Paperwhite for the premium experience.
Kindle vs Paperwhite: Which is the Better E-Reader for You?
After comparing all the specs, features, and key differences – which model do I recommend as the best e-reader?
For casual readers who want an inexpensive, no-frills e-reader, the standard Amazon Kindle is perfect. It has the core features like an adjustable front light, text-to-speech, and dictionary to enhance your reading experience. At under $100, it‘s an amazing value for dipping your toes into e-books.
On the other hand, avid readers who want the absolute best e-reader experience should get the Kindle Paperwhite. The 300 ppi glare-free display with warm lighting looks and feels closer to real print. The waterproofing brings peace of mind. More onboard storage provides flexibility. And the free lifetime cellular connectivity option keeps you in books anywhere, anytime.
The Paperwhite improves upon the standard Kindle in almost every way and feels like an upgraded, more premium device. For bookworms who devour lots of books and prioritize the display, the extra $40-50 for the Paperwhite is easily justified.
Either way, I know you‘ll be thrilled when your brand new e-reader arrives! Whether you picked the Kindle or Paperwhite, it opens up a whole world of books both classic and new releases. Happy reading!