Love reading books? This Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review is for you. This is the fourth generation of the Paperwhite variant of the Kindle e-reader. It is the tenth overall iteration of the Amazon Kindle.
As consumers, we have come to expect each new release of a product line to come with greater processing power, new bells and whistles, as well as a sleeker design. Meeting these expectations can be difficult with a Kindle device because the actual concept of this e-reader is to keep it simple. The simplicity of this model was apparent when we started our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review.
A Kindle e-reader boasts a no-frills interface that lets you focus on reading and not much else. This is why it only ships with features that are geared towards improving your reading experience. This means a few basic apps and limited support for things that would distract you from your reading. Given these constraints, how does the Kindle Paperwhite 2018 compare to its predecessors and its competition?
A closer look can shed some light on this.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review introduction: What’s in the box?
The device ships with a USB 2.0 cable for charging and data transfer. It also comes with a quick start guide. It is unfortunate that you do not USB get a 5W power adapter with the Kindle. Amazon wants you to pay a little extra for that. However, the cable will slot into any power adapter with a USB port, so if you want to charge the device from an outlet, you can use the head of your phone charger.
The team that worked on the 2018 Paperwhite made this device thinner and lighter than its predecessors. At only 0.3 inches thick, the Paperwhite is as close as you get to paper-thin. It measures 4.6” by 6”, which makes it compact, yet large enough to give the user the feeling of reading a paperback novel. The best part is that this kindle weighs less than 7 ounces. It is so light that you can hold it for a long while without tiring.
Being ultra-slim, the Paperwhite does not have much in the way of buttons and controls. There are no buttons to help you turn the pages; you will have to rely on the screen for that. The on/off button is on the bottom edge of the device, right next to a micro-USB port that you can use for charging and data transfer. With the power button at the bottom of the device, many people will find themselves turning off the screen by mistake.
You have your choice of colors when it comes to the 2018 Paperwhite. It comes in black and twilight blue. This Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review is just getting started.
Build and durability
The screen is made from tough, scratch-resistant glass. The screen material may be tough, but it does give out a small amount of glare in bright ambient light. However, the reflection will in no way blind you or prevent you from reading. Another downside of the glass surface is that it is not as smudge-proof as the plastic-based material used on previous Kindle models.
A notable selling point of the 2018 Paperweight is its IPX8 rating. The device is built to be waterproof and can withstand a 60-minute soak in two meters of water. You do not have to worry about wrecking this Kindle as you relax by the pool.
Chipset, storage and connectivity
The Paperwhite 4 is powered by an 800MHz/1GHz processor and a 512MB LPDD3 RAM. This is a lot of processing power for a Kindle and it helps to make the E-ink panel all the more responsive. There are two variants of the device; one comes with 8GB worth of storage and the other has 32GB of storage. If you like to store audiobooks and graphic novels, you should opt for the latter.
The 8GB variant comes with Bluetooth and WiFi. The 32GB version has Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G connectivity. WiFi and 4G allow you to access content from the cloud or the internet. Bluetooth comes in handy when you want to listen to an audiobook. Because the Paperwhite 4 has no earphone jack, you will need to send the audio to an external Bluetooth device.
Amazon tweaks and improves its Linux-based interface all the time. Just recently, for example, they revamped the home screen.
That said the Kindle user interface is familiar to anyone that has used an Amazon E-reader or any Amazon device, for that matter. It also has helpful tips, FAQs and recommendations, which you can access by swiping upwards. There is just one downside: With the WiFi or 4G turned on, you should expect Amazon ads to pop up every so often. That is just Amazon doing Amazon things. It comes with the territory.
The Kindle OS is fast, responsive, stable and very secure. Random system crashes are unheard of with this interface. You could say that the only thing that slows down this device is the E-ink panel, a slower alternative to conventional LCD displays. The OS comes with a bare-bones browser and an allowance for a few basic apps from the store.
The Kindle natively supports formats like TXT, Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW) Audible Audio Format and unprotected MOBI. Through conversion, it supports a host of other formats as well. Often, you will only need to convert content by sending it to yourself in an email with the word ‘Conversion’ in it.
The display of the 2018 Paperwhite is a 6-inch, 300ppi, E-ink panel with a resolution of 1072×1448. It renders clear, sharp, blur-free text that is as easy to read. It is worth noting that this display is not that much different from the displays of earlier generations.
The E-ink panel makes for a super-responsive touch screen that refreshes a turned page without any lag. You will also love the ease with which you can pinch or zoom out with this screen.
Four LED lights located at the bottom bezel illuminate the panel from the front. At 78 nits, the Paperwhite 4 is dimmer than the 2015 Paperwhite (98 nits). This is not an issue though, seeing that text is extremely well lit. The front-lighting also allows you to read in a dark room. You can also turn the lights all the way off by setting the brightness to zero, but this only works in night mode.
The Paperwhite 4 comes with a 1500mAH battery. Going by math that is based on Amazon’s product description, the battery should last 21 hours between charges. It could last longer in airplane mode and way shorter with the WiFi on.
If you choose to use the audible feature to listen to an audiobook, you will be forced to cast the audio to a Bluetooth-enabled audio device. This will quickly drain the battery. Well summarize the highlights of our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review by going over the pros and cons of this device.
- The Kindle Paperwhite is water-resistant and lightweight
- The screen is made of hardened glass, which does not scratch easily
- With 8GB and 32GB storage options, the Paperwhite offers more internal storage than previous models, which means that books load quickly, even when you have many of them in the device
- It also comes with Bluetooth and WiFi; the 32GB version comes with 4G
- The Linux-based Kindle OS is light, powerful, stable and intuitive
- The Kindle Paperwhite supports Audible Audio Format, which allows you to listen to audiobooks
- The touch screen is responsive and has a great refresh rate
- The display renders sharp, well-lit text and you can use it in a dark room
- You can comfortably use the Kindle Paperwhite 4 in bright ambient light
- The battery life is not great with the wireless turned on
- No audio jack, which leaves you to use Bluetooth earphones, which consume more power than wired headphones
- Prepare to experience a little glare from the screen
- You may also notice some pinhole-sized light bleeding at the top of the screen
- Like many other kindle models, the screen has thick bezels; not only do these take up display space, they give the kindle a clunky look in the age of near-frameless displays
- The kindle is sensitive to the lightest touch, which can be annoying
- Also, the power button is at the bottom of the kindle, where you can easily press it by mistake
- There are no buttons that allow you to turn the pages
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review verdict: Overall, the Paperwhite 4 is a great E-reader
If you are looking to buy your very first Kindle, or to replace an older model, the 2018 Paperwhite is a good option. It is lightweight and durable while offering a comfortable reading experience. Better still, it is one of the more affordable Kindle E-readers in the market.
It bears mentioning that Amazon E-readers are a cut above the competition, so there is everything to love about the 2018 Paperwhite. However, if you have a fairly recent Kindle, the Paperwhite 4 will take some getting used to.