There is an obvious reason why Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is the best selling Kindle model. The basic Kindle has traditionally been too bare bone and the luxurious Oasis is a bit inaccessible for many. The Kindle Paperwhite covers most basics and strikes the right balance between the two. Which is also why it makes the most sense to people who are new to ebook readers.
Late last year Amazon introduced the 10th generation Paperwhite which drags down major changes like audible support and water resistant and is the first introduced with Kindle Oasis 2. The Kindle Paperwhite (10th generation) is the fourth Paperwhite iteration destined to be the best selling Kindle model until Amazon introduces the next Paperwhite version, most likely in 2020.
This review was long term in the making, but we have finally put together what we like and what we don’t like about the new Kindle Paperwhite. Let’s begin.
Amazon Kindle naming convention and chronology:
If you are new to Kindles, Amazon’s naming convention can be a bit confusing. The same Kindle Paperwhite model that we are discussing is referred by three names – Kindle Paperwhite 2018, Kindle Paperwhite 10th generation, and Kindle Paperwhite 4th generation. The following table should sort things a bit.
|Kindle Device Generations||Devices||Year|
|9th generation||Kindle Oasis (2nd Gen)||2017|
|6th Generation||Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Gen)||2013|
Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen Price and Specifications
And before we begin, here are the specs:
- Display: 6-inch glare-free e-paper (300ppi) display, 5 LED light
- Storage: 8GB/ 32GB, Free Amazon Cloud storage for books
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (2.4GHz); Wi-Fi + free 4G, Bluetooth
- IPX8 Waterproof (2-meter deep fresh water, up to 60 minutes)
- Dimensions: 167 x 116 x 8.18 mm; 182grams (Wi-Fi)
- Price : RS 12,999 (Wi-Fi), Rs 17,999 ( Wi-Fi + Free 4G)
Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen Review: Design and Build
The Kindle Paperwhite 10th gen is more compact and noticeably lighter than the last generation Paperwhite. It’s nowhere as premium as the high-end Oasis, but it’s surely more manageable and grippy.
A hardened glass sits flush with the fascia and, going by our Oasis experience, you need not worry about this glass getting scratched with normal usage – even in the long run.
With the switch to glass, the bezels won’t accumulate any distracting scratches, dirt or grime over the period of usage, but on the downside, the glass attracts finger smudges rather easily and this can be a bit irritating, especially for users upgrading from the last gen paperwhite.
We realized that the flush-front design concept works so much better with narrow bezels. Speaking of which, the bottom bezel has been trimmed but the top bezel is beefier. It’s more like the display has been shifted to the center.
Going into nuances, the Kindle branding had to be shifted underneath the glass as well, which is perhaps why Amazon is once again using more conspicuous Silver color logo unlike the less distracting Black one on last generation model. It must also be mentioned that the glass is comparatively more reflective than the touch we had on last year’s Paperwhite, but that doesn’t get in the way while reading.
Another major design change is that the new Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof. The IPX8 rating certifies that it should be able to withstand submersion in 2 meters deep fresh water for up to 60 minutes. In terms of practical gains, you need to worry less about spillage or accidental contact with water, and this should make your Paperwhite even more durable.
You won’t be able to leverage waterproofing in your bath or in the pool since there are no physical buttons to turn pages and the touch won’t work satisfactorily once it’s wet.
Kindle Paperwhite 10th gen Review: Display
Of course, the essence of the Kindle is its light-on-eyes display. So, has the display quality been improved? Well, not noticeably so. But still, the 300ppi 6-inch e-ink panel is perfectly apt and the same one that Amazon uses on Kindle Oasis.
What differentiates it is that there are 5 LEDs illuminating it from the front (unlike 15 on Oasis and 4 on last gen Paperwhite). We prefer manual brightness control on our e-readers and thus didn’t miss lack of adaptive brightness.
Kindle Paperwhite 10th gen Review: Performance and Software
The performance and software are largely the same. Our Kindle Paperwhite (10th gen) isn’t any faster than the last generation model. And it’s still noticeably slower than our Kindle Oasis 2. The storage has been doubled to 8GB, though.
The software is again unified across all Kindle models. Audible support, which already made it to base Kindle and to Oasis, has now been added to Paperwhite as well, but only for Global market.
Audible still hasn’t been integrated with Kindle ebook readers in India. If you are into Audible Audiobooks, there are indirect ways to make it work on Kindles.
Kindle software and vast ebook library is one primary reason that make it the defacto choice for many consumers. Every book you might need is just a few clicks away!
We have the Wi-Fi supported variant with us and dual-band support is still missing. There is a 4G variant too, but paying 4K extra for limited 4G doesn’t feel right. Limited because you can only use 4G data for Amazon services (Downloading books, Wikipedia and translation popups, etc.).
The higher variant has 32GB storage too, but that doesn’t count for much till Audible is integrated with Kindles in India.
Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen Review: Battery Backup
The battery life is better than what we get on Oasis. With one hour of reading per day, the new Paperwhite can last for three to four weeks, which is comfortably more than what we’d expect.
With a 5W charger, the battery tops up in around 3 hours.
Kindle Paperwhite 10th Gen Review: Should you buy it?
The new Kindle Paperwhite didn’t feel like a drastic change but it’s so much more than an incremental update. If you have used a Paperwhite before, you know what you will be getting into. The experience, especially in India, is largely the same. Which isn’t to say it’s bad by any yardstick.
It’s just that Amazon isn’t going that extra mile, and that’s because it doesn’t have to. There simply isn’t much competition. We would have still liked enhancements like a Type-C port, dual-band Wi-Fi, Audible support, and narrower bezels accompanied by a proportionate increase in screen size – especially since Amazon has hiked the price. At the same time, none of these omissions is a dealbreaker.
The Kindle Paperwhite is still the ebook reader to buy unless you don’t mind spending significantly more on the best available option, the Oasis. In our opinion, it’s the most convenient Kindle to use for long term reading. Since we switched from Oasis, it took us a while to adjust to the lack of page turn buttons, but other than that we really enjoyed our books.
Also, since the basic Kindle 9 now has a backlight and is more affordable, it could replace Paperwhite as the preferred model for first time Kindle buyers.