If you’re in the market for an e-reader, you might be torn between two main devices from Amazon – Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite. Kindle e-readers offer incredible value for money, and there’s never been a better time to buy one. For only $90, you can get a Kindle e-reader that’s perfect for reading books or viewing documents on the go.
But for $130, you can get the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader which offers an even better reading experience in terms of contrast and resolution. While it is true that both types have different features and different strengths, there are also many similarities between them. In this Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite guide, we will compare and contrast the two e-readers to help you choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Side by Side Comparison
|6.3 by 4.5 by 0.34 inches
|6.6 by 4.6 by 0.3 inches
|800 × 600 pixels (167 pixels per inch)
|1,448 × 1,072 pixels (300 pixels per inch)
|8GB or 32GB
|4 weeks, based on 30 minutes of reading a day
|6 weeks, based on 30 minutes of reading a day
|Black, Twilight Blue, sage, plum
|1-year Amazon Kids+ subscription
|Sold separately starting at $4.99/month
|Sold separately starting at $4.99/month
Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Seven Must Know Facts
- Amazon Kindle is a series of e-readers designed and marketed by Amazon. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to browse, buy, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, and other digital media via wireless networking to the Kindle Store.
- The Kindle Paperwhite has a higher resolution and better contrast, making it easier to read in bright sunlight and darker rooms. It also features an adjustable front light that can be turned on or off, depending on your preference.
- Both Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite are two of the most popular e-readers on the market today.
- The basic Amazon Kindle comes with 8GB of storage, whereas the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite can be purchased with either 8GB or 32GB.
- The Kindle is not waterproof. Instead, opt for the IPX8-rated Kindle Paperwhite, which can survive up to two meters of freshwater for an hour.
- The entry-level Kindle has a 6-inch 167-ppi screen with four LEDs. The Kindle Paperwhite improves this by offering a larger, front-flush 6.8-inch, 300-ppi screen with 17 LEDs.
- The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is significantly more expensive than the basic Amazon Kindle, but it remains reasonably priced and comfortably undercuts the Kindle Oasis.
Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Key Differences
If you love to read and are in the market for a new e-reader, you may be trying to decide whether you should get a Kindle or a Kindle Paperwhite. Several key differences between these two devices might make your decision easier. Here are the features that set them apart from each other.
Both the Kindle 10th Generation and the Paperwhite have an E Ink display. However, they differ in size, resolution, and lighting. The Kindle 10th Generation has a glare-free 6-inch E Ink display with 167 pixels per inch. The Paperwhite 11th Gen, on the other hand, has a larger 6.8-inch panel with 300 pixels per inch.
Battery Life and Charging
Because of the low-power E Ink display, all e-readers have excellent battery life, and the Kindle and Paperwhite are no exceptions. According to Amazon, the Kindle 10th Generation can last up to four weeks on a single charge, if used for half an hour daily with Wi-Fi turned off and lighting set to 50%. The Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, has a battery life of up to ten weeks.
There is also a significant difference between the two devices in terms of the charging port and charging speed. Namely, the Kindle has a micro-USB port and takes approximately 4 hours to charge fully, whereas the Paperwhite has a USB-C port and takes approximately 2.5 hours to recharge.
Because E Ink displays have slow refresh rates by design, you’ll notice some flickering and lagging on both the Kindle and the Paperwhite. This may be especially noticeable if you’re used to a smartphone or tablet with a high-refresh-rate display. Overall performance is much better with the Paperwhite 11th Gen, which has a newer chipset and promises up to 20% faster page turns.
The 2019 Amazon Kindle price starts at only $90. On the other hand, the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite comes in three main configurations: an 8GB model with ads for $130.99, an 8GB model without ads for $159.99, and a 32GB, ad-free Signature Edition for $189.99.
If you cannot stand listening to advertisements, you can purchase ad-free versions of these e-book readers for an additional $20. As you can see above, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is significantly more expensive than the standard Kindle, starting at almost twice the price before discounts.
There isn’t much difference between the designs of these two devices. While both e-readers are available in black, the Kindle Paperwhite is also available in Twilight Blue, sage, and plum. Aside from that, the appearance is similar, with both devices having a fairly plain plastic body and large bezels around the screen. The bezels on the Kindle Paperwhite are flush with the screen, while on the standard Kindle, they are raised. As a result, the Paperwhite appears and feels slightly more expensive.
The dimensions and weight of the two devices differ as well, with the Amazon Kindle measuring 160 x 113 x 8.7mm and weighing 174g. In contrast, the Kindle Paperwhite measures 167 x 116 x 8.2mm and weighs 182g (or 191g if you opt for a version with cellular connectivity). As a result, the Paperwhite is slightly taller, wider, and heavier, but not as thick.
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is also water resistant. It is IPX8 rated, which means it can withstand being submerged in freshwater, up to 2 meters deep, for close to 60 minutes. As a result, you can read safely on the beach or in the bath.
The basic Kindle does not come with such assurances. Both have a power button and a micro USB port on the bottom edge, and that’s it in terms of buttons and ports. The touchscreen handles everything else. Unfortunately, neither model has a USB-C port.
Storage and Connectivity
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite has far more storage, up to 32GB, whereas the basic Amazon Kindle only has 8GB. This shouldn’t be a significant issue because e-book files are typically small, and if you buy from Amazon, they can be stored in the cloud when you’re not actively reading them.
However, storage space can become an issue if you intend to listen to audiobooks through Audible. Both e-readers support this feature, but it’s far more viable on the Paperwhite – though a smartphone is arguably a better choice. Another significant distinction between the basic Kindle and the Paperwhite is connectivity. While the Kindle is only available in Wi-Fi mode, the Paperwhite is available in both Wi-Fi and cellular modes.
Pros and Cons of Kindle
- Purpose-built for reading with a 167 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in direct sunlight.
- Adjustable brightness lets you read comfortably—indoors and outdoors, day and night.
- A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
- 8 GB of storage means thousands of titles on hand all in a compact size.
- Read distraction-free. Highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words, and adjust text size—without ever leaving the page.
|Cheapest price for a solid glare-free e-reader with built-in Audible capability and a large library of audiobooksLowest resolution Kindle readerKindle has a huge collection of free booksNot waterproofPortableNo built-in light for reading in the darkDictionary feature; Kindle has a built-in Oxford English DictionaryWi-Fi onlyOnline access to tens of thousands of e-books
Pros and Cons of Kindle Paperwhite
|Large 6.8-inch display
|No cellular variant
|Only black color variant
|IPX8 waterproof level
|No Kindle Unlimited free plan, just like in other Kindle models
|Sustainable production process
|No USB-C power charger included in the box
|No microSD card
|Extended battery life
|No adjustable light in the Regular version
|Poor support for non-Amazon books
|Unmatched e-book reading experience compared to tablets
|No headphone jack
|No eye strain, even when you read it in the dark
|Small, paperback book dimensions
Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which is Better?
So, which one should you choose; Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite? The Kindle base model is recommended for casual readers looking for an inexpensive e-reader, as well as those who are just getting started with e-books. While the base Kindle model has a much lower resolution than the Kindle Paperwhite, it still reads like actual paper and can keep you immersed in a book for hours.
However, if you simply want to enjoy the benefits of an e-reader without any extras or fancy features, the base Kindle 10th Gen is sufficient. It has the same screen as other Kindle e-readers but with a lower resolution and an adjustable front light for reading in the dark.
The 8GB of storage provided is more than adequate enough for storing thousands of e-books and is only a concern if you intend to listen to a lot of audiobooks. Because of its lower cost of entry, it’s also a good device if you just want to dip your toes into the world of digital reading. So, if you’re not sure you’ll be doing a lot of reading and just want to try out an e-reader, go for the basic Kindle.
But if you have an extra $40 to spend, the Kindle Paperwhite 11th Gen is far superior. That’s because it has a larger and more shapely display with adjustable Warm Light, thinner bezels, faster performance, IPX8 water resistance, longer battery life, optional cellular connectivity, and a USB-C port for convenience.
Interested in similar comparisons? Click on the links below:
- Kobo vs. Kindle: Which e-Reader is Best? Which is lighter, can last for longer between charges, supports more formats? Find out in this article.
- Kindle vs iPad: Which is best for you? Which is more affordable? Which is more convenient to use? Which is more versatile? Find out which is the better option between Apple’s tablet and the most popular e-reader on the planet.
- Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Full Comparison & Winner: Which e-reader has a more powerful battery, larger storage, and more pixels per inch? Discover which device is capable of offering you more in this article.