The $249 Kindle Oasis injected plenty of grow to be Amazon’s e-reader lineup when it got here out in 2016. It was the primary to deviate from the usual slab design, and it turned the primary waterproof Kindle when it was up to date one 12 months later. It rapidly gained the flexibility to play Audible audiobooks as nicely, making it a one-stop store for all studying endeavors in nearly any setting.

However the Kindle Oasis was, and nonetheless is, the most costly e-reader Amazon affords. In the meantime, the Kindle Paperwhite continued to seize the hearts and eyeballs of many readers who did not wish to shell out the cash vital for the Oasis or the now-retired, $199 Kindle Voyage.

After years of minor updates, Amazon has determined to replace its best-value Kindle but. Enter the 2018 Paperwhite, which has a well-recognized however improved design has 5 front-lighting LEDs, Audible integration, and extra storage. Oh, and it is waterproof. Except for design and worth, little separates it from the Kindle Oasis—however the Paperwhite nonetheless begins at $129.

Admittedly, e-reader tech hasn’t been essentially the most fascinating lately. The Paperwhite was an excellent, but boring e-reader, like most comparable gadgets are immediately. Whereas Amazon is not doing something markedly completely different with the 2018 Paperwhite, the gadget is new sufficient that it simply might get some Paperwhite diehards to improve and persuade some new clients to hitch the membership.

Design and display screen

Earlier than the brand new Kindle Paperwhite made its means into my fingers, I used to be working with a second-generation Paperwhite, circa 2013. I’ve at all times been a giant reader, and I invested in a Paperwhite once I did not wish to have many bodily books cluttering up my small condo (I’ve since modified my thoughts about that, so I learn each bodily and e-books now.)

I get pleasure from studying on the Paperwhite for 2 causes: portability and visibility. I like that I can journey with a complete library of books throughout the confines of the Paperwhite’s small body, which is an impossibility when all you’ve are hardcover and paperback books. I additionally like that its E Ink show does not pressure my eyes like my smartphone display screen would if I had been to stare at it for hours on finish.

The brand new Paperwhite does not change something about these two beloved points of my outdated Paperwhite—it achieves each nicely, possibly even a bit higher that my outdated gadget. The Paperwhite obtained a 300ppi E Ink contact show a number of years again, so it isn’t completely new. Nevertheless it was new for me. The display screen on my second-gen Paperwhite is not unhealthy by any means, however the larger high quality of this show produces sharper fonts and barely extra detailed cowl photographs.

Specs in contrast: 2018 Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis

Gadget
Paperwhite
Oasis

Value
$129
$249

Display
6-inch 300ppi E Ink, 5 entrance lighting LEDs
7-inch 300ppi E Ink, 10 entrance lighting LEDs, adaptive gentle sensor

Waterproof
Sure
Sure

Web page-turn buttons
No
Sure

Storage
8GB, 32GB
8GB, 32GB

Connectivity
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, optionally available mobile
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, optionally available mobile

Audible integration
Sure
Sure

Colours
Black
Champagne gold, Graphite

Dimensions
6.6×Four.6×Zero.32 inches, 6.Four ounces
6.three×5.6×Zero.13-Zero.33 inches, 6.eight ounces

The show sits flush towards the bezels, not recessed like earlier Paperwhites, and that offers the gadget a extra streamlined look. I did not suppose that change would make such a giant distinction, but it surely actually does make the brand new Paperwhite really feel like a sleeker, much less chunky e-reader. Mix that with its 6.Four-ounce weight, and the brand new Paperwhite appears and feels simply completely different sufficient for customers to note a pleasing change.

I did not know the way a lot of a efficiency increase I would discover within the new Paperwhite when in comparison with my second-gen gadget, however I came upon rapidly. Whereas the gadget nonetheless takes a couple of minutes besides up when it is turned off fully or when the display screen is totally off, it is noticeably sooner when turning pages, swiping to a brand new web page in my library, and navigating the settings menu. My second-gen Paperwhite lingers longer and longer on each web page refresh, and that made me admire the swift efficiency of the brand new mannequin much more.

The contact show is the one option to flip pages on the brand new Paperwhite, because it does not have page-turn buttons just like the Oasis does. The buttons allow you to flip pages with out lifting a finger, which is handy however not vital. I am positive I might use page-turn buttons in the event that they had been included on the Paperwhite, however Amazon needed to discard some options to maintain the Oasis distinctive.

The 5 front-lighting LEDs illuminate the show and could be dimmed within the gadget’s settings. Lighting throughout your complete display screen was even, and I did not discover any darkish patches even once I kicked up the brightness to its highest degree. The LEDs have a barely bluer tone than these on earlier Paperwhites, making them extra akin to the 10 LEDs within the Oasis. Whereas I do not use the entrance lighting on a regular basis, they make studying potential in tough, low-light environments like in an airplane at evening.

The brand new Paperwhite is constructed to resist different tough environments as nicely, significantly moist ones. It is rated IPX8 just like the Oasis, that means it will probably stand up to a dunk in as much as 2m of water for as much as 60 minutes. It is a nice security characteristic that many cherished concerning the Oasis—not solely does it imply that you do not have to fret in the event you drop the brand new e-reader into the pool, however you’ll be able to safely learn within the pool, within the bathtub, or in different our bodies of water.

Even with its new waterproof ranking, the brand new Paperwhite costs through USB 2.Zero port. The gadget ought to nonetheless final weeks on a single cost and can solely range dramatically in the event you take heed to loads of audiobooks on it (we’ll get to that shortly). I am disenchanted that Amazon did not embrace a USB-C port as an alternative. Whereas most of us most likely haven’t any scarcity of appropriate cables to cost the brand new Paperwhite (the gadget additionally comes with one), it is 2018 and most OEMs are embracing USB-C as the brand new regular.

Listening, studying, and new UI options

The Paperwhite’s design has all method of recent and improved speaking factors, but it surely’s nonetheless a fundamental e-reader that permits you to learn e-books, Kindle books from Amazon, or e-books out of your native library’s e-book system. Audible audiobooks are actually additionally appropriate with this gadget, so you’ll be able to obtain and take heed to audiobooks from the Paperwhite whenever you join a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

However the Paperwhite does not make listening to Audible books higher; it is simply extra handy in the event you wish to maintain your whole library on one gadget. When listening to a ebook, the on-screen interface appears almost similar to that of the Audible cellular app, with icons for skipping 30 seconds backward or ahead, trying out chapters, including a bookmark, altering the narration pace, and adjusting the amount.

I not often go wherever with my Kindle and with out my smartphone, the latter of which is my present audiobook gadget of alternative. For that motive, I most likely will not use Audible integration as a lot as others would possibly. If you happen to already use one other gadget for Audible listening, there isn’t any compelling motive to desert that gadget for the Paperwhite.

Additionally, audiobooks will take up more room on the Paperwhite than e-books. Fortunately, Amazon affords the brand new Paperwhite in 8GB and 32GB configurations. The configuration with extra storage might be splendid for these with massive audiobook libraries and those that continuously learn newspapers, comics, and manga, since these recordsdata are usually bigger than text-only e-books.

The Paperwhite may also be configured with mobile service as nicely, making it simpler to obtain new books when there isn’t any dependable Wi-Fi connection. Nevertheless, these particular options add up rapidly: a 32GB Paperwhite with mobile connectivity and no “particular affords” (lock-screen adverts) prices a whopping $249, or as a lot as a fundamental Kindle Oasis.

A basic gripe that many have with the Kindle system stays on the brand new Paperwhite: like different Kindles, it helps .pdf and .txt recordsdata, but it surely does not natively help ePub and a few Mobi recordsdata. If you happen to’ve amassed an e-book library utilizing these codecs, you may should reformat your entire books earlier than they are often learn on a Kindle.

I additionally did not admire the dearth of help for library audiobooks, nevertheless I wasn’t stunned by it. Audible integration solely works with Audible recordsdata, so it’s a must to subscribe (or have subscribed up to now) to Audible to make use of any audiobook options on the brand new Paperwhite. I often borrow e-books and audiobooks from my library utilizing Overdrive/Libby, however I could not obtain or take heed to any of the audiobooks on the brand new e-reader. This was to be anticipated, although, since Amazon makes use of its gadgets to propel its on-line buying companies.

The brand new-ish house web page additionally tries to drag you into Amazon’s book-selling enterprise by providing you with suggestions on what to learn subsequent primarily based in your studying historical past. All of those suggestions will come from Goodreads (which Amazon owns), Amazon’s free Prime Studying choice, and the corporate’s $9.99-per-month ebook service, Kindle Limitless. If you happen to’re not a fan of Amazon’s “particular affords,” then you definately most likely will not like Amazon pushing books down your throat in these new methods, both.

In any other case, the studying expertise is usually the identical on the brand new Paperwhite because it was on the earlier fashions. I admire the brand new Font and Web page settings, which let customers save and customise studying codecs. Kindles have at all times allowed customers to vary the font, font dimension, line spacing, margins, and different points of the web page to go well with their visible preferences, however now customers can identify and save their favourite combos. These are helpful options to have in the event you like switching between fonts and completely different web page codecs relying on the kind of doc you are studying.

The eye it deserved

The Paperwhite was overdue for a significant overhaul, and Amazon did it justice this time round. The 2018 mannequin remains to be the Paperwhite that customers know and love, but it surely does all the things it already did only a bit higher now.

Amazon made the appropriate selections when it cherrypicked options to maneuver from the Oasis to the Paperwhite—waterproofing and upping the accessible storage being an important. A water-proof design makes the brand new Paperwhite extra sensible and transportable, and the accessible 8GB and 32GB storage choices imply customers can save extra e-books, newspapers, comics, manga, and now audiobooks with out worrying about filling up the gadget too rapidly.

The brand new Paperwhite’s shortcomings are simply as acquainted as its design and total expertise. I am skeptical that Amazon will ever broaden the sorts of recordsdata that Kindles help, and I do not suppose the corporate will ever completely take away ads and buying promotions from its e-readers. The largest missed alternative with this Paperwhite is the dearth of USB-C, which is irritating to say the least.

The brand new Paperwhite actually breathes life into Amazon’s greatest Kindle, but it surely does not reinvent the e-reader. That is a very good factor, although, as a result of it is simply new and thrilling sufficient to steer many to improve however not so new that it’s going to confuse anybody. For these with newer Paperwhites, it isn’t price ditching your one- or two-year-old gadget until waterproofing means quite a bit to you otherwise you wish to take heed to extra Audible books. However for these utilizing an everyday Kindle or a Paperwhite that does not have a 300ppi show, the brand new Paperwhite is an improve that is nicely price its $129 worth.

The Good

Lighter waterproof design with flush display screen.
Even entrance lighting with 5 LEDs.
Weeks-long battery life.
Can play Audible audiobooks with paired Bluetooth headphones.
New 32GB storage choice.
Helpful new Font and Web page settings for customized studying codecs.

The Unhealthy

No page-turn buttons.
Kindle does not help all e-book file codecs.
Nonetheless should pay to take away “particular supply” adverts.

The Ugly

Itemizing picture by Valentina Palladino

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