As someone who truly values technology in his life, having the latest and greatest tech is my happy place. Whether it’s a new computer, phone, tablet, or even a new car, I like to have the latest. In addition to having the latest, I like to make sure I’m using new technology wherever I can replace “outdated” tech.
In this case, it’s both paperback and hardcover books I hoped to replace many years ago. Thankfully, the Kindle helps me forget about printed books. Easily one of my best purchase decisions ever, using a Kindle Paperwhite is my happy place for reading. Not only is it easy to read on, but it allows me to carry hundreds of books at a time. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to all of my book backlog, but I’m going to try!
Kindle Paperwhite History
The Kindle Paperwhite was first announced on September 6, 2012, and released one month later. At the time of its release, the 212 PPI screen offered 758 x 1024 resolution with four built-in LEDs to help illuminate the screen. This was one of the first Kindle devices that allowed you to read in the dark.
A second Paperwhite was launched a year later and introduced an upgraded e-ink display. With stronger contrast available and an improved processor that offered faster page turns, the Paperwhite was growing in popularity.
A third Paperwhite model was announced on June 30, 2015. This release upped the display PPI to 300, which is 2x the screen quality of the original Paperwhite. Fast forward 3 years to 2018 and Amazon introduced a new Kindle Paperwhite. This generation included an edge-to-edge screen, support for Bluetooth, and IPX8 waterproofing.
Last but not least, the version I use is the latest Kindle Paperwhite from 2021. This time around, Amazon jumped the screen size up to 6.8 inches. Additionally, the 2021 model offers an even brighter screen for reading outdoors, which is a nice addition for someone who lives in South Florida.
Why I Purchased a Kindle
For as long as I can remember, I have read every night before bed. Like clockwork, after everyone in the house is sleeping, I sit down on a comfy couch in my office and get ready for at least 20-30 minutes. My favorite book types run the gauntlet of topics but political thrillers are often a staple of my book collection.
As much as I love my Kindle Paperwhite, my iPad Pro is arguably my favorite device. Unfortunately, reading on the 11-inch display isn’t ideal. As good as Apple’s Books app is, it’s just not as eye-friendly as the Kindle, at least in my opinion. I’ve tried to ignore ongoing debate as to whether or not reading on an iPad is good for the eyes. It’s never really bothered me, but it’s just not as good as the Kindle Paperwhite in my humble opinion.
What I’ve learned is that whether it’s a membership to Kindle Unlimited or using OverDrive at my local library, the volume of books I can get for my Kindle without spending a fortune is high. Sure, I buy books when they aren’t available through either service and I just can’t wait, but for the most part, there is always something to read from Kindle Unlimited.
What Makes the Kindle Paperwhite Great?
Undoubtedly my favorite part of the Kindle Paperwhite is its 6.8-inch screen. It’s large, comfortable, and very easy to read. Whether I’m sitting by the pool, on a sofa, or on the balcony of a cruise ship late at night, the screen just works so well. E-ink is undoubtedly the single best display technology for reading. Forget blue light glasses and tablets or computer screens, e-ink is the way to go.
With a resolution of 1448 x 1072 and 300 pixels per inch, text across any different type of ebook is very sharp. All text looks crisp and no matter the type of lighting around you, text is very visible. Even if my Paperwhite doesn’t get as bright as the Kindle Oasis on paper, I’ve never had an issue where I struggled with the screening not being bright enough.
One of my biggest complaints about using the iPad as an e-reader is its size. Now, this isn’t any fault of Apple as they don’t make the iPad solely for reading. However, the 7.23-ounce weight of the Kindle Paperwhite (2021 model) versus the iPad Pro at 1.03 pounds is a difference you will feel while reading. Look, I recognize neither device is all that heavy but the reality is that you can feel the extra weight of the iPad when trying to read for 30 minutes or more.
On the sofa, I can rest the iPad on my stomach or legs to help prop it up but with the Kindle Paperwhite, I don’t need to jump through these hoops. I can hold the Paperwhite for hours on end without feeling any fatigue.
As someone who lives in Florida, pools are everywhere, including my own home. One of my favorite activities, especially in the evening as it cools down is reading by the pool while everyone else is occupied. While the likelihood I’m going to get splashed while sitting at the pool by myself is low, knowing the Paperwhite is waterproof gives me total peace of mind. With an IPX8 rating, the Kindle Paperwhite can be immersed in water for up to 12 feet for 60 minutes. This makes it more than capable of handling a splash if I’m relaxing by a pool.
So Many Books
As I expressed above, you have the option of grabbing so, so many different books. Having the ability to carry hundreds, if not thousands of books on the Kindle Paperwhite just makes me happy. Unfortunately, my book backlog is about as lengthy as my PlayStation 5 backlog, which is terribly embarrassing. Even so, I love the idea of knowing I have more books with me than I can ever hope to read in one sitting.
I remember one of my first Kindles, the Amazon Kindle Keyboard, which came out in 2010, and its love-it-or-hate-it keyboard. With the Kindle Keyboard, there was no backlight, which made it all but impossible to read in the evening without a bright lamp. Today, with the Kindle Paperwhite’s backlight, I don’t even stop to think about whether I have enough lighting to read. I just read.
Notes and Annotations
This is undoubtedly one of the most underused yet best reasons to own a Kindle Paperwhite. Having the ability to highlight certain parts of books or make notes is so great that I can’t stop doing it. This comes in so handy when I’m reading a business book, biography, or something else I need to remember.
The Paperwhite makes it so easy to highlight text and I don’t know why more people don’t take advantage of this feature. It takes no effort to do as Amazon has made these features integrate seamlessly into the Paperwhite controls.
What’s So Special About the Kindle Paperwhite?
This is a really great question and one that has many different answers. It’s also a very subjective question as what are we comparing the Kindle Paperwhite to? If we’re looking at it compared to similar products from Kobo or Barnes and Noble, the answer is a little easier. If you’re comparing the Kindle Paperwhite to an iPad, the answer is more complicated.
For me, the Kindle Paperwhite is special because it opens the door for me to read whenever, wherever. With battery life that can last weeks, I don’t have to worry about charging. In fact, the last half dozen trips I have gone on haven’t even included a charger for the Paperwhite. All I do is charge it up before I go and don’t think twice about battery life.
It’s also special because it forces me to read even on nights when I may not want to. The last thing I want to do is add yet another piece of technology to my ever-growing array of tech products that sit unused. Having the Paperwhite stare at me while sitting on my desk reminds me that reading before going to bed helps my mind wind down from work, family, current events, and just life in general.
How does the Kindle Paperwhite Differ From the Competition?
It would be dismissive to say the Kindle Paperwhite is the best all-around e-reader with no exception. Both Barnes and Noble and Rakuten Kobo devices offer solid features and strong reasons to buy. This said the Kindle Paperwhite is widely considered the best all-around e-reader for numerous reasons.
Kobo e-readers are great products, but their pricing isn’t all that better, nor is the text on the screen. You might get a few more books on the Kobo lineup but what’s 5,000 versus 4,000 books really going to do for anyone?
The same can be said for the Barnes and Noble e-reader selection. The least successful of the 3 main competitors in this space hasn’t really moved the needle as of late. Nook devices have been around for a long time and are still trying to make a dent in the e-reader market. This is especially true with the Nook GlowLight 4 Plus, which offers a wonderful 7.8-inch display. If you want something slightly larger than the Kindle Paperwhite, the GlowLight is your best bet, but don’t expect a huge community around it. You can also expect to pay around $200 against the Paperwhite’s $140 price tag.
Substance over Style
No one is ever likely to look at a Kindle Paperwhite and call it a better-looking device than an iPad mini. The thing is, that’s totally okay as the Paperwhite is all about substance over style. There is little reason to look at the Kindle Paperwhite and focus on its looks more than its function. The Paperwhite isn’t by any means a bad-looking device, on the contrary. However, it’s not as fun to look at it as the Retina screen on the iPad mini.
This said, it really doesn’t matter as the Kindle Paperwhite does one thing really well and that is to let you read books. This is why I love the Paperwhite so much. Everything about it just helps me forget all about everything else I can do on an iPad.
When I’m on my iPad reading, a notification can come in from Facebook, the News app, or another social media platform, and boom, I’m distracted. This isn’t the case with the Kindle Paperwhite as I’m lost in its single purpose. It’s all about reading and that’s it, and for that reason alone, it’s one of the best devices I own.
So, Is the Kindle Paperwhite Worth It?
Any question of whether a Kindle Paperwhite is worth purchasing can be summed up by a single word: yes. It’s the only answer that needs to be given. Yes, a Kindle Paperwhite is absolutely worth owning. It’s worth it three times over if you are a voracious reader like me. The same applies to even someone who casually wants to pick up reading again.
The ease of use, cheap book prices, or subscriptions like Kindle Unlimited and great battery life make it a no-brainer purchase. Add in that Amazon seems to discount the Kindle Paperwhite at least once a month, which makes it all the more compelling and an easy purchase decision.