Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: What’s the Difference?

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite featured image

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: What’s the Difference?

Since first emerging onto the scene in November of 2007, the Kindle has been a brand name synonymous with e-readers. Amazon — still on the up and up at the time — had a serious hit on its hands from the very beginning. Since then, Amazon has tested out Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, Kindle Voyage, and Kindle Touch.

Not everything has stuck, but two definitely have: the Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite. How do they compare? And which is best? To find out the answer, have a look at our Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite comparison below.

Kindle Fire vs. Kindle Paperwhite: Side by Side Comparison

Kindle FireKindle Paperwhite
Release DateNovember 15th, 2011October 1st, 2012
Latest ReleaseFire 7 (12th iteration)Kindle Paperwhite (5th iteration)
Starting Price$59.99$139.99
Screen TypeTouchscreen glass displayE-ink display with LED backlight
Storage16 GB, 32 GB8 GB, 16 GB
Battery Life10 hours10 weeks
FeaturesFront and rear cameras, app store, Alexa, productivity suiteWaterproof, glare-free display, long battery life, warm light mode
Upcoming ReleaseFire HD 8 (2022)TBA

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: What’s the Difference?

Despite their obvious differences in price and display, the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite have a number of key differences worth going over in-depth. From its battery to its internal specs, the Fire and the Paperwhite are distinguished by more than just their names. Overall, these are the key differences between the Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite.

Fire 7 tablet, 7" display, 32 GB, (2019 release), Black
  • 7" IPS display; 16 or 32 GB of internal storage (add up to 512 GB with microSD)
  • Faster 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
  • Up to 7 hours of reading, browsing the web, watching video, and listening to music
  • Hands-free with Alexa, including on/off toggle
  • 1 GB of RAM
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01/17/2024 03:09 am GMT

Screen Type

The first difference between the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperweight is their screen. The Kindle Fire features has an LCD screen which is backlit and provides a full colour display and touchscreen capabilities. However, the Kindle Paperweight has an e-ink display with an LED backlight. This unique display is designed to replicate the appearance of traditional ink on paper and provide an appearance that closely resembles a physical book. It is also glare-free which makes it a better device to read from than the Kindle Fire.

kindle paperwhite
The Kindle Paperweight offers a screen that is easier to see in direct sunlight.

Battery Life

When dealing with e-readers, is there anything more important than battery life? After the actual display itself, there’s little that matters more to the quality of an e-reader than how much reading time you’ll actually be able to get out of it. With this in mind, the most recent Fire tablet boasts up to 10 hours of battery life. Granted, this would require users to keep the brightness low, limit Web browsing to a minimum, and reduce the use of apps. In reality, taking into consideration the average tablet user’s activity, the battery is likely much lower.

The Kindle Paperwhite tells a similar story. The fifth iteration of the Paperwhite advertises an astoundingly 10-week battery life. If this seems too good to be true, that 10-week life would require a user to turn the brightness way down, turn the wireless connection off, and limit reading time to less than 30 minutes a day. In reality, this means the Kindle Paperwhite’s battery is much closer to 30 hours or less. That’s where the 10-week life comes from; stretching those hours out to 30 minutes or less a day. Still, the Paperwhite’s battery soars above the Fire’s.


kindle paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite offers superior battery life, but it is slimmed down in features compared to the Fire.

This brings us to the next key difference – functionality. The Fire tablet and the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader offer very different, very distinct features. For instance, the most recent Fire tablets offer HD displays, cameras on the front and back of the device, and also support streaming and social media apps from Amazon’s app store.

In addition to reading, Fire tablet users can watch Netflix, scroll TikTok, browse Facebook, stream music, and more. Its functionality is not unlike a smartphone’s, minus the calling and texting aspect. Reading is definitely not the top priority here.

The Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, does not have many features or functions to boast outside of e-book reading. As a matter of fact, most of Paperwhite’s functionality pertains to its reading experience; warm-toned backlighting, long battery life, an e-book store, and waterproofing. If you’re looking for a device that also allows you to browse the Web, use social media, or stream the latest movies and television shows, Paperwhite is not the device for you. It sets itself apart from Fire by keeping the focus strictly on literature.

Best Waterproof Design
Kindle Paperwhite
  • 6.8-inch 300 PPI glare-free display
  • Up to 10 weeks of battery life
  • Available in three different colors
  • Now includes 20% faster page turns
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01/17/2024 10:15 pm GMT

Internal Hardware

The Kindle Fire boasts a massive storage capacity of up to 64GB.

Last but not least, let’s consider the internal hardware of the Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite. For one thing, Fire has far more storage than Paperwhite. The latter’s base models top out between 8 and 16 GB, while the Fire’s storage stretches to as much as 64 GB.

16 GB is plenty of storage for the Paperwhite — it’s equivalent to around 5,000 e-books — while 64 GB can go pretty quickly for a tablet. From social media apps to video streaming, storage can get used up significantly faster on a tablet than on an e-reader.


Comparatively, the memory of the Fire and the Paperwhite tells a similar story. The fifth-iteration Paperwhite has 1 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the Fire 10 HD has as much as 3 GB of RAM. Once again, that’s a lot for the Paperwhite and not a lot for the Fire. The Paperwhite has plenty of memory to recall where you left off, how much you have left to read, and so on.

Contrarily, Fire faces the risk of running out of memory and slowing down performance when running too many apps at the same time. 3 GB is around the same as your average smartphone.

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: 5 Must-Know Facts

  1. There are currently over 12 million books on the Amazon e-books store.
  2. Amazon dominates 68% of the e-book market. Looking at indie books, that market further bumps up to 83%.
  3. Surprisingly, Amazon has never released figures themselves. Nevertheless, analysts estimate that the company has sold anywhere between 20 and 90 million e-readers since 2007.
  4. Amazon allows independent publishers to release their own books on the Kindle e-book store.
  5. The Fire tablet dropped the “Kindle” name in 2014. It’s now known simply as the Amazon Fire.

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: Pros and Cons

Pros of Kindle FireCons of Kindle Fire
Retails for as little as $60Fire 7 tablets are presently not HD
Fire 10 HD tablets have 1080p displaysPales in comparison to the iPad
Can stream audio and video from all the top servicesBattery life significantly lower than on the Paperwhite’s battery
Front and back camerasReading can be distracting
Pros of Kindle PaperwhiteCons of Kindle Paperwhite
The battery is remarkableMore expensive
Plenty of storageAmazon takes a long time to release new models
Warm light mode makes reading in low light much more comfortableAd-based models can be annoying
WaterproofNo mobile data; relies on Wi-Fi only

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which One Is Best?

The sheer number of differences between the Fire and the Paperwhite speak to the distinct uses for each Kindle product. The Fire is a tablet first and an e-reader second, putting more emphasis on tablet functionalities than e-reader capabilities. The Paperwhite, however, is solely an e-reader.

There are very few things a user can do with a Paperwhite beyond reading e-books and listening to audiobooks. As such, the best Kindle is whichever one suits your needs best. Are you looking for a tablet full of apps, or are you looking for an e-reader full of books?

Final Verdict

Nevertheless, it’s still possible to name an objective winner between these two Kindles. Judging by their functionality, their features, and how they compare to the competition, is there a true winner between the Fire and the Paperwhite? If one had to be ultimately named, it would have to be the Paperwhite.

There are plenty of tablets that offer more than the Fire, but no e-reader does what the Paperwhite can do as successfully as the Paperwhite. Basically, the Fire is a successful tablet-Kindle hybrid that ultimately fails to beat the iPad. That’s why Kindle Paperwhite is the best of the best.

Kindle Fire vs Kindle Paperwhite infographic


Frequently Asked Questions

When was the Kindle Fire first released?

The Kindle Fire was first released on November 15th, 2011.

When did the Kindle Paperwhite come out?

The Kindle Paperwhite was first released on October 1st, 2012.

What's the cheapest Kindle?

The cheapest Kindle is the Fire 7 tablet, which retails for less than $60 on average.

Is the Kindle the same as a Nook?

While the Kindle and the Nook are both e-readers, they come from different developers. Kindle is Amazon’s product, while the Nook is Barnes & Noble’s.

Why does my Kindle have so many ads?

Kindle offers ad-supported versions at a cheaper price than ad-free versions. To get rid of ads, you’ll need to upgrade your Kindle to an ad-free version.

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