Amazon’s Kindle e-readers come in several different flavors to choose from. There’s a base model, which is simply called the Kindle, then there’s the Kindle Paperwhite which offers a better screen, waterproofing, and more storage, and then the Kindle Oasis, which is the most premium and offers an elegant metal body and a larger display.
The entry-level Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite are the most popular options. Both are reasonably priced and offer large e ink displays. But there are some notable differences between the duo. If you’re torn between the base Kindle and Paperwhite, here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Specifications
|Specification||Amazon Kindle 10th Gen||Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 11th Gen|
|Dimensions & weight||
|Display||6-inch glare-free E Ink display||6.8-inch glare-free E Ink display|
|Resolution||167 PPI||300 PPI|
|Adjustable Warm Light||Not supported||Yes|
|Battery life||Up to four weeks||Up to ten weeks|
|Water resistance||No water resistance||IPX8 water-resistant (up to 2m of fresh water for 60 min)|
The base Kindle hasn’t been updated since 2019, and its design is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. It has chunky bezels and a plain plastic body. The bezels are raised, which look out of place in 2022.
Amazon refreshed the Kindle Paperwhite late last year when it introduced the Paperwhite 11th Gen. This e-reader is also made out of plastic but has thinner borders and a flush design, giving the device a more premium look and feel. The Paperwhite is more durable than the basic Kindle as it has IPX8 water resistance. That means you can use it around water or wash it under tap water without worry. The basic Kindle 10th Gen doesn’t offer this convenience, and it will be wise to invest in a case for extra protection.
The Kindle Paperwhite is taller and heavier than the basic Kindle. It only comes in a single Black color versus the Black and White colors for the entry-level model.
In terms of physical controls, both devices come with a power button but don’t have dedicated page-turning buttons similar to the Kindle Oasis. The basic Kindle charges via the ancient micro USB port. For Paperwhite, it depends on the model. The old 10th Gen Paperwhite has a micro USB port, while the newer 11th Gen model comes with a USB-C connector.
The base Kindle 10th Gen and the Paperwhite both use an E Ink display. But they differ in terms of size, resolution, and lighting. The Kindle 10th Gen features a 6-inch glare-free E Ink display with 167 pixels per inch. The Paperwhite 11th Gen, on the other hand, has a bigger 6.8-inch panel that is also much sharper at 300 pixels per inch.
Both models feature a built-in front light for nighttime reading. However, the Paperwhite has a clear edge here as it has 17 LEDs compared to 4 on the basic Kindle. More LEDs mean the display can get brighter, and the lighting is more uniform at all brightness levels. The Paperwhite also offers Warm Light, which lets you shift the display color from white to amber for a more comfortable reading experience at night.
Battery & Performance
All e-readers generally have excellent battery life thanks to the low-power E Ink display, and the Kinde and Paperwhite are no exceptions. Amazon says the Kindle 10th Gen can last up to four weeks on a single charge if you use it for half an hour daily with wireless off and lighting set to 50%. The Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, can last up to ten weeks. There’s also a huge difference between both devices when it comes to the charging port and charging speed. The Kindle has a microUSB port and takes close to 4 hours to fully charge, while the Paperwhite comes with a USB-C port and takes about 2.5 hours to refuel.
E Ink displays inherently have slow refresh rates, so you’re bound to see some flickering and lagging on both the Kindle and Paperwhite. This may be especially noticeable if you’re coming from a smartphone or tablet with a high-refresh-rate display. In terms of overall performance, the Paperwhite 11th Gen is much better as it packs a newer chipset and promises up to 20% faster page turns.
Storage and Connectivity
The entry-level Kindle packs 8GB of storage, and that’s the only variant. Meanwhile, the Paperwhite can be configured with up to 8GB or 32GB of storage. 8GB is more than enough if you just want to read books. However, this can become an issue if you plan to listen to audiobooks via Audible.
Another big difference between the basic Kindle and the Paperwhite is connectivity. While the Kindle only comes in a Wi-Fi variant, the Paperwhite is available in both Wi-Fi-only and cellular variants.
Which Kindle should you buy?
The Kindle 1oth Gen is priced at $89, while the Kindle Paperwhite 11th gen can be had for $139. Whether you buy the basic Kindle or the Paperwhite, you’ll be getting a glare-free E Ink display tailor-made for reading.
If you just want to experience the goodness of an e-reader without any extras or fancy features, the base Kindle 10th Gen is just fine. It has the same kind of display as other Kindle e-readers, albeit with lower resolution and adjustable front light for reading in the dark. 8GB of storage you get is more than enough for storing thousands of ebooks and is only a concern if you plan to consume a lot of audiobooks. It’s also a good device if you just want to dip your toes into the world of digital reading, thanks to its lower cost of entry. So if you aren’t sure if you will be doing a ton of reading and do want to just experience an e-reader first, we’d recommend sticking to the base Kindle.
If you can spend an extra $40, the Kindle Paperwhite 11th Gen offers so much more. It has a bigger and shaper display with adjustable Warm Light, thinner bezels, faster performance, IPX8 water resistance, longer battery life, optional cellular connectivity, and the convenience of a USB-C port. This is the Kindle we would recommend for most people, simply because it provides a much better cohesive experience. But it is relatively expensive compared to the base Kindle, so you need to be more confident of your digital reading needs to justify the premium. We do feel that the price increase is justified, so if you can spend the extra dollars, the latest Kindle Paperwhite remains our go-to recommendation.
What Kindle do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!
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