We have entered the hardware season, with big events from all the big names in the industry. Amazon already has Announced several new Fire TVs, with plans for a big event (probably eco-centric) a week from today. Meanwhile, the retail giant just dropped us a hefty surprise in the form of a new Kindle Paperwhite.
I say “surprise” mainly because the entire Kindle hardware division has been quiet for a while. When the Paperwhite got its last major update in 2018, we noted: “The Voyage may be dead, but the Kindle line still has some life left.” Because let’s face it, the entire dedicated e-reader market isn’t exactly bustling. Sure, Kobo is still hanging off the edges, but Amazon feels more or less lonely like a monolith these days.
However, there were some rumors, including a UI update for the line and some leaks, which precipitated today’s news. And sure enough, here’s a new Paperwhite, representing the biggest update to the mid-tier Kindle in recent memory.
The star of the show is a long-awaited increase to the screen: from six to 6.8 inches, while maintaining the pixel density of 330 PPI. That’s entering the territory of the seven-inch, 300 PPI Kindle Oasis. Like the Oasis, the bezels are aligned with the device and have been reduced 12% from the previous generation (to 10.2mm) to help maintain the device’s footprint.
Honestly though, the most exciting addition here is USB-C charging. I realize it sounds a bit silly, but the Kindle line has been the last vestige of microUSB; it’s one of the few reasons why I still keep those cables. I was hoping that the more expensive Oasis would be the first device to adopt the new (well, newer) connector, but then that would require Amazon to release a new Oasis.
Charging is faster and takes 2.5 hours to go from zero to full. The battery itself has also been improved, up to 10 weeks on a six charge, but what is a month between friends, right? The other surprise on the battery side is the arrival of wireless charging. That’s available with the new Paperwhite Signature Edition, which also bumps the entry-level 8GB of storage up to 32GB. Amazon is also introducing a $ 30 charging dock, which is available separately; It should work with any standard Qi charging pad.
The maximum brightness on the screen has been increased by 10%, along with an auto-adjusting light based on ambient light. Like the Oasis, the light will adjust to a warmer color so your eyes are closer to bedtime. The processor has been improved from the last generation (no details at the moment), promising a 20% faster page turn. The device is made from 60% post-consumer recycled plastics and 70% recycled magnesium.
The new Paperwhite costs $ 140 for the standard and $ 190 for the Signature Edition. They come with four free months of Kindle Unlimited and can be reserved today. The first children’s edition of the device is also available to pre-order. The Kindle Paperwhite for Kids comes with a children’s sleeve, one year of Amazon Kids +, and a two-year warranty. That costs $ 160.