Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?

Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?

Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?
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Now Amazon Prime Day 2020 has arrived, it’s time to get your hands on some of the top Prime Day Deals.

Of all the products you can expect to be discounted, Amazon’s own Kindle range traditionally features prominently. If you’re in the market for a cheap e-reader, now is the time to act.

But if we’re talking about buying a Kindle on a budget, which of Amazon’s two more affordable e-readers is best for you? The Amazon Kindle, or the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite? Let’s take a closer look.

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)


Are e-book readers even relevant in a post-iPad world?

If you’ve bought yourself a shiny new iPad over recent years, you might wonder if the humble e-reader is somewhat obsolete. But we guarantee that any one of Amazon’s Kindles is a much better reading device than any tablet you could mention.

Much of that comes down to the use of E Ink display technology, which is much easier on the eyes than bright LCD or OLED displays. What E Ink lacks in color it makes up for in clarity, which accentuates black text rather than the white space around it. Kindles are much more legible outdoors, too, where tablets tend to struggle.

Battery life is also a factor here. A Kindle can go weeks in between charges, whereas you can measure an iPad’s stamina in hours.

What’s wrong with good old fashioned books?

Nothing at all. But you try taking more than one or two books with you on a vacation, or even out to a coffee shop. Even a bog standard Kindle can store thousands and thousands of books at a time, so you’ll always have a fresh book available wherever you are.

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What about other e-reader brands like Kobo?

Amazon’s main e-reader rivals, such as Kobo, can often match the Kindle blow for blow when it comes to hardware. But when you buy a Kindle, you’re really buying access to Amazon’s formidable e-publishing platform and online bookstore. Simply put, it’s got more of the e-books you’ll want to read, in a more intuitive format, than any other e-reader can provide.

What about the Kindle Oasis?

There’s a third member of the Kindle family that we’re not discussing here. Think of the Amazon Kindle Oasis is the luxury e-reader for the dedicated reader with money to burn.

For $269.99 / £229.99 / AU$399 you get a larger 7-inch display, a superior 25-LED backlight set-up, physical page-turn buttons, and a sleek aluminium body. Keep in mind the price tag though – it’s almost double that of the Paperwhite.

Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)

Amazon Kindle

Amazon refreshed its standard Kindle model – the tenth generation to bear the name – on March 20, 2019. This is the first entry-level Kindle to feature a backlight, which means it’s finally viable to use one in low light.

Its 6-inch E Ink display also boasts higher contrast than previous basic Kindles, albeit with the same 167 ppi resolution. 8GB of storage should hold a small library’s worth of books, and like the other Kindles in the range, you can hook up a set of wireless headphones or a speaker via Bluetooth.

Perhaps the most compelling feature of the Kindle, though, is its low low price. At just $89.99 / £69.99 / AU$139, it’s one of the most affordable e-readers of any real quality around.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The current Kindle Paperwhite landed on November 7, 2018. This fourth generation model brought several of the advanced features of the premium Oasis to a more mainstream price point.

It packs a super-sharp 6-inch 300 ppi E Ink display, IPX8 waterproofing (perfect for bath time reading), and a choice of 8 GB or 32 GB of storage. You can also go for a 32GB model with 4G LTE capabilities, which enables you to download e-books wherever you are.

Prices start from $149.99 / £119.99 / AU$199 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model, but keep an eye out for a potential price drop come Amazon Prime Day.

Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)


There’s a $70 / £50 / AU$60 price difference between the Amazon Kindle and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, which instantly makes the plain Kindle the more appealing for most savvy buyers.

But there are a number of practical advantages to going with the more expensive model, if you’ve got the money and the circumstances to make the most of them.

More avid readers might appreciate the benefits of having a sharper display in the Paperwhite. At 300 ppi, text is rendered almost twice as sharply as on the 167 ppi Kindle.

The Paperwhite display also benefits from a more extensive 5-LED backlight, as compared to the 4-LED system of the Kindle. Still, the fact that the Kindle has any light at all is a big win, and means that one of the long standing reasons to upgrade has now gone.

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Only the Paperwhite comes with an IPX8 waterproof rating, though. It’s also worth pointing out that you get the option of a storage upgrade with the Paperwhite, from 8GB to 32GB, as well as a 4G LTE model. There are no such options with the 8GB Wi-Fi Kindle.

Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which e-reader is best?

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)


The Amazon Kindle is the ideal pick for the casual reader who plans to read the odd e-book on a holiday or shortcbreak. It’s much cheaper, yet has ample storage, solid build quality, and it can now operate in low light thanks to the addition of a 4-LED backlight.

If you’re a more serious reader, however, you might want to consider an upgrade to the Amazon Paperwhite. Its sharper display makes it better for extended reading sessions, while the option of more storage should better suit audio book fans and those with e-book libraries numbering into the tens of thousands.

If you plan on doing any amount of reading in the bath or by a pool, then you should also give serious consideration to the Paperwhite. It’s the only e-reader of the two with an IPX8 waterproof rating, which means it will survive a dip in the wet stuff where the plain Kindle won’t.

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