The $89 Kindle and $139 Kindle Paperwhite are both compelling e-readers. But which one is really the best value? Let’s take a closer look.
The Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite are two of Amazon’s most affordable e-readers, but which one is ultimately the better value? Although they may not be the most exciting devices on the market in 2022, e-readers remain a vital niche. While it’s technically possible to read books on smartphones and tablets, the experience of reading on digital paper is infinitely better than any LED or AMOLED panel. It’s more comfortable, easy to see in direct sunlight, and just a better experience overall.
Furthermore, now that e-readers have been on the market for a few years, buying one has never been more affordable. The baseline Kindle is readily available for just $89, while the upgraded Kindle Paperwhite can be purchased for $139. The standard Kindle is the most appealing of the two for folks trying to spend as little as possible. However, the Kindle Paperwhite offers numerous upgrades for a modest $50 premium. If you’re not sure which Kindle is right for you, here’s a closer look at how the two compare.
Design-wise, the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite are fairly similar. Both feature touchscreen e-ink displays surrounded by a soft-touch plastic body. They’re also compatible with Amazon’s custom-designed covers, giving them simultaneous protection and an added pop of color. Beyond that, however, there are some differences to take note of. For one thing, the Kindle Paperwhite is a slightly larger device all around. It measures 4.9 x 6.9 x 0.32″, compared to the regular Kindle’s 4.5 x 6.3 x 0.34″ measurements. The larger size of the Paperwhite does afford it a significantly bigger 6.8″ display, enabling more reading room than the 6″ canvas on the baseline Kindle. Another design advantage of the Kindle Paperwhite is its IPX8 water resistance rating — protecting it for up to 2 meters of fresh water submersion up to 60 minutes. This is something the regular Kindle lacks entirely, meaning it’s not an ideal candidate for reading by the pool, bath, or beach.
Other Advantages Of The Kindle Paperwhite
Going back to the display, a larger size isn’t the only upgrade the Kindle Paperwhite sees over the regular Kindle. The more expensive e-reader also has a sharper resolution and additional front light LEDs. Where the baseline Kindle has 167 pixels-per-inch and 4 LEDs, the Paperwhite has 300 and 17, respectively. This means the text on the Paperwhite appears much sharper and easier to read. The additional LEDs also make the front lighting more uniform and enable users to change the temperature of the Paperwhite’s lighting (making it more comfortable in the dark or at night).
There’s also a big difference regarding battery life. The Kindle is rated to last up to 4 weeks on a single charge, while the Kindle Paperwhite can go for 10 weeks. The Paperwhite also has more convenient recharging thanks to its USB-C port (the regular Kindle has an older MicroUSB one). The playing field levels out a little bit on the storage front, with both models shipping with 8GB of space.
While both Kindles run the same operating system and have access to identical e-books/audiobooks, the experience of the Kindle Paperwhite is better in almost every way. It has a larger and sharper display, LED temperature controls, water resistance, over double the battery life, and more convenient charging. Those are a lot of upgrades for an extra $50. Anyone who can’t spend a penny more than $89 will still get a good experience with the regular Kindle, but if you can afford it, the Kindle Paperwhite is the Amazon e-reader we recommend.
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