Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite was first introduced back in October 2012, so it’s fast approaching its tenth birthday. To celebrate a decade as one of the most popular eReaders around, Amazon has given the range a significant upgrade, with a bigger display, a handy screen-warmth setting as well as some software improvements.
So, should you be passing on your old Paperwhite to a friend and breaking out the credit card once more? Here’s our full Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review.
Design & Build
If, like me, you’re a long-time Paperwhite user, then the most obvious change with the new model is the larger size. The frame itself is only slightly increased, going from the 167 x 116 x 8.18mm dimensions of the 2018 model to a 174 x 125 x 8.1mm configuration.
Weight has also grown a tad, with the 187g of the older model now moving up to 205g. Don’t worry though, this is still a very comfortable device to hold that doesn’t feel heavy at all even during extended reading sessions.
In fact, the small expansion of the width arguably makes it more comfortable to read with two hands than the previous efforts.
This extra space has one prominent benefit though, in the form of the 6.8in display which replaces the 6in version on the previous models. This isn’t the biggest screen we’ve seen on a Kindle so far, as the Oasis sports a 7in panel, but when you hold the two Paperwhites side-by-side the 2021 model does feel significantly more spacious.
Amazon achieves this by slimming down the top bezel, which has the added benefit of moving the text up to nearer the top of the device, while still giving you a roomy bezel at the bottom where you can grip the device without accidentally turning a page or opening up the menu.
One other change is the move from a micro-USB charging port to the more modern USB-C, although you only get a (quite short) cable in the box, not a charger.
Otherwise, it’s a very similar design to its predecessors like the Paperwhite 2018. The front panel is smooth, not the photo-frame style of some earlier models, and attracts fingerprints like an avid collector.
You still have the grippy surface on the rear that means you don’t worry about dropping the device, but should that happen when you’re reading in the bath, it’s not a disaster as the IPX8 rating is there to ensure the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) will survive the dip.
Amazon does still persist with putting the power button on the lower edge of the chassis though, which remains the daftest position it could occupy. Maybe the next generation will see sense and finally move it to the top.
If you want page turn buttons, you’ll have to look to the Kindle Oasis.