Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Return of the classic ereader, but with even more features

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Best in Class

Our Verdict

The Kindle Paperwhite takes a lot of what we love about the more expensive, high-end Kindle Oasis and brings the core features into a more affordable package. This is a must-have ereader if you're after a way to read ebooks but you don't want to spend over $200 or £200.

For

  • Waterproof design
  • Audiobook integration
  • A great reading experience

Against

  • Plastic design
  • Limited color options
  • Still uses microUSB

Amazon is the number one household name when it comes to ereaders, and the latest version of its Kindle Paperwhite comes packed with loads of features that are usually reserved for top-end devices.

The Paperwhite is the best-selling product in Amazon's Kindle range, and the latest version takes some of the best elements of the top-end and more expensive Kindle Oasis (2017) device and packages them into a more affordable ereader.

That includes a waterproof design and the ability to listen to audiobooks on your ereader too. There’s a lot to love here, but is this the best Kindle for you right now?

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite price and release date

You’re able to order the latest version of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on the retailer’s website now, and it should be shipping from today (November 7).

The price starts at £119.99 / $129.99 / AU$199 for the 8GB version, and then there's a 32GB Wi-Fi only version that costs £149.99 / $159.99 / AU$249.

If you want mobile internet on your Kindle, you'll get a 32GB version for £219.99 / $249.99 / AU$369.

Some countries have the choice of buying each Kindle with or without special offers, and the pricing above is for the ereader that does show you the special offers. You'll be spending around $10 or £10 more to get rid of those adverts. If you’re expecting to use your ereader a lot, we’d recommend doing just that.

Design and display

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The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's mid-range ereader, sitting between the affordable Kindle and the top-end Kindle Oasis in Amazon's range, and the design reflects that.

It doesn't feel as premium as the Oasis - mostly as it has a plastic rear - but we found it easy to grasp, and it doesn't look bad. All of that said, we found it did quickly get quite grubby with fingerprints on the rear.

On the bottom edge you'll find the power button as well as the micro USB slot for charging, but apart from that the edges are clear of buttons, so you can comfortably grip the device without pressing anything by mistake.

The bezels around the screen are thicker than on some more upmarket ereaders, though. 

These sit flush with the display, giving the Paperwhite a more high-end look than its previous iterations and ensuring it now looks similar to the discontinued Kindle Voyage.

One omission is that there aren't any hardware buttons for changing the page. Instead you'll be using the touchscreen to flip through pages. We’ve found this to be reactive to the touch, so you won’t struggle scrubbing through pages in your latest book. 

The display itself is 6 inches with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, which is the same as the last Paperwhite, and the perfect resolution for reading text.

The brightness has been slightly improved here, although it's not something we noticed particularly. 

That said, the last Kindle Paperwhite was already bright enough, but you may appreciate this change just a touch more when reading on a sun lounger.

If you want to change the look of your Kindle Paperwhite, you can wrap it in one of five cases. There are woven material options as well as two leather ones, and you can see the whole selection below. 

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These can be bought from Amazon, with the woven material starting at £24.99 / $29.99 and the leather at £34.99 / $39.99. You can't currently buy these in Australia, so you'll have to opt for a third-party case for now.

A big upgrade over the original Paperwhite, and one of a few features inherited from the top-end Oasis, is the fact the Kindle Paperwhite (2018) now comes with a waterproof design.

That means you can happily read in the bath, or while lounging by the pool, without having to worry about it getting splashed or dunked. It can survive up to 60 minutes at depths of up to 2 meters.