Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which Kindle Should You Buy?

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When buying a new Kindle, the first option that most people often consider are either the basic Kindle or the Kindle Paperwhite. However, both these Kindles come at a different price point and with different features.

In such a scenario, it is often difficult to figure out which Kindle is better and which Kindle should you buy between the basic Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite.

In this article, we’ll understand the key differences between the two Kindles, the features offered on both the Kindles and whether it is worth purchasing the Kindle Paperwhite over the Kindle basic.

So, let’s dive it!

My Recommendation

Kindle Paperwhite

We recommend Kindle Paperwhite as it gets the best bang for your buck! It is the cheapest Kindle that has all the important features for an e-reader!

  • 6.8″ display
  • Adjustable warm light
  • 300 ppi glare-free display
  • USB-C charging port & upto 10 weeks of battery life

Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Quick Overview

Both, the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite, have come a long way in terms of the features offered. The basic Kindle specifically received a massive upgrade in 2022 to its storage and charging port thereby closing the gap in terms of the features offered between the two Kindles.

Furthermore, update in 2022 to Kindle basic was a massive upgrade over its previous generation. I covered this, and other key additional details, in-depth in my full review of the basic Kindle. Make sure to check it out!

That being said, Amazon aims to target two very different target audience with the two different Kindle variants:

  1. Kindle Basic – Also known as the All New Kindle Basic is geared towards budget users. It offers the smallest screen size and basic reading experience.
  2. Kindle Paperwhite – Amazon’s mid-range offering. It comes with a flush design, better battery life, waterproof capabilities, and a better reading experience overall!

Both models have the same access to Amazon’s massive library of ebooks through the Kindle Store. But there are some key differences that set them apart.

Must Read!

Check out my complete review on the Kindle Paperwhite and why it is the best Kindle variant currently offered by Amazon! (Click on this box to read the article)

Here is a quick comparison table highlighting the major differences between the two models:

SpecsKindle BasicKindle Paperwhite
Display6″, 300 ppi6.8″, 300 ppi
Storage16GB8GB or 16 GB
Battery LifeUp to 6 weeksUp to 10 weeks
Dimensions157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm174.2 x 124.6 x 8.1 mm
Weight158 grams205 grams
WaterproofingNoYes, IPX8
ConnectivityWiFi onlyWiFi only
Lighting4 LEDs17 LEDs
PriceApprox. $99$139-$169
Check Latest PriceCheck Latest Price

Now let us understand all the key features offered on both the Kindle models in further detail and how they differ from each other.

Key Differences Between Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite

Although the all new basic Kindle has been upgraded recently in terms of the features offered, there are still some key differences between Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite that makes the later worth considering.

Let’s understand the differences between the two devices amongst the various features offered in detail below:

1. Screen Size

One of the main differences between the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite is the screen size. The basic Kindle comes with a 6-inch display whereas the Kindle Paperwhite has a relatively bigger 6.8-inch screen.

The screen resolution is 300 ppi for both the devices. So the text is quite crisp and clear on both the Kindle models.

However, you get more screen real-estate on the Kindle Paperwhite and you get fit in more text on the screen. It does feel a bit annoying to keep flipping the pages more often on the smaller screen of the basic Kindle.

That said, the basic Kindle is also more compact due to the smaller screen size! This makes it easy to carry in your purse or even in your pocket! (Don’t forget, most phones today have a 6-inch display!)

2. Dimensions

Since the Kindle Paperwhite comes with a bigger screen, the two Kindle models also differ in the overall dimensions and weight.

The dimensions of the basic Kindle are 6.2” x 4.3” x 0.32” (157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm). The basic Kindle is also fairly lighter than the Paperwhite at 5.56 oz (158 grams).

On the other hand, the dimensions of the Kindle Paperwhite are 6.9” x 4.9” x .32” (174.2 x 124.6 x 8.1 mm). The Kindle Paperwhite weighs about 7.23 oz or 205 g and is visibly bigger and heavier than the basic Kindle.

Thus, the basic Kindle is best if you want to carry it for everyday commute as it is more of a snug fit. That said, when I started using the Kindle Paperwhite, the difference in the weight and the size didn’t feel like a big deal except for the first few days.

3. Battery Life & Charging

Another major difference between the two devices is the battery life offered by each of the Kindle model.

The basic Kindle offers upto 6 weeks of battery life on a single charge whereas the Kindle Paperwhite comes with upto 10 weeks of battery life on a single charge! Although these are figures provided by Amazon, and the more real world stats are slightly lower than the official figures.

You might be tempted to think that even 6 weeks on the basic Kindle is great. But, don’t forget that having a battery that lasts longer means you will have to charge your Kindle less often.

This means, the Kindle Paperwhite will undergo lesser number of charge cycles and the overall longevity of the battery will be far superior than the basic Kindle. Thus, theoretically, your Kindle Paperwhite should last for more years than the basic Kindle!

4. Storage

The Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite also have different configurations for device on-board storage.

It used to be that the basic Kindle used to offer just 4GB of storage space. Back then, it totally made sense to pay extra or even upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite since it offered a big storage solution.

However, the basic Kindle now offers a 16GB on-board storage. For most readers who prefer to use the Kindle for just reading e-books, 16GB storage on the basic Kindle is just awesome!

Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, offers two options of 8GB and 16GB models. The 16GB variant of the Kindle Paperwhite is $10 more than the 8GB variant.

Kindle Paperwhite also comes in a special Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition that offers a 32GB storage option for just $20 more than the 16GB model of the standard Kindle Paperwhite without lockscreen ads. Plus, the Signature Edition provides a few really cool additional features!

Make sure to read my full review of the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition to know all the various features that you get for this additional $20!

5. Audiobook Support

Both, the basic Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite, now come with audiobook support via bluetooth. This feature allows you to connect your Kindle to a headphone or a speaker via bluetooth, and continue listening the book from where you left reading it!

Keep in mind that audiobooks usually occupy a lot of space on the device as compared to standard e-books. Thus, ensure that you go with a device that offers a higher storage space!

Additional Features You Get With the Kindle Paperwhite

As I’ve mentioned earlier in the article, the basic Kindle has received major upgrades from its predecessors. However, there are still several additional features that you get with the Kindle Paperwhite.

Let’s take a look at what features you get for the additional $40 that you spend for the Kindle Paperwhite:

1. Bigger Screen Size

We’ve already discussed about the bigger 6.8-inch screen size that you get with the Kindle Paperwhite.

The bigger screen feels a lot better for reading than the smaller screen of the basic Kindle. This means, you can actually fit in more text on the screen even with the same font size. Reading feels more comfortable on the bigger screen of the Kindle Paperwhite.

Another minor advantage is that more text on the screen means you have to change the page less frequently. Lesser page flips increase the battery life of the device slightly as the pixels have to change less often.

2. Better Front Light

A major advantage that you get with the Kindle Paperwhite is a better front light.

On the Kindle Paperwhite, you get 17 LEDs in the front light. Whereas, the basic Kindle comes with just 4 LEDs in its front light. This makes reading really comfortable on the Kindle Paperwhite even in broad daylight or under direct sunlight!

Reading on the basic Kindle during the day time is not bad either as both the devices use the same screen type. However, the Kindle Paperwhite is just more bright, easier on the eye, and much better comparatively.

3. Longer Battery Life

The Kindle Paperwhite also offers a much better battery life when compared with the basic Kindle. As we discussed earlier, you get upto 10 weeks of battery life with the Kindle Paperwhite as opposed to just 6 weeks on the basic Kindle.

In a more realistic scenario, you should easily get about 6-8 weeks on the Kindle Paperwhite with about 1 to 2 hours of reading everyday and the Wifi switched on only when you need to download books.

For the basic Kindle, you can expect about 4 weeks in a real-world scenario. This can vary based on your usage behavior.

4. Adjustable Warm Lights

Another major advantage you get with the Kindle Paperwhite is the option to adjust the warm light on your Kindle.

This feature alone is worth the upgrade from the basic Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite.

Having the adjustable warm lights on the Kindle Paperwhite allow you to change the color tone of the screen light. You can adjust it from bright white to warm yellow.

Other than having a soothing effect on your eyes when reading, the adjustable warm lights also prevent disturbing your dear ones while reading on your bed with the room lights turned off as you can easily adjust the tone and brightness of the light on your Kindle!

5. Waterproof Capabilities

Another major advantage with the Kindle Paperwhite is that it comes with IPX8 rating.

This means that the Kindle Paperwhite can easily withstand a few drops of water and even an accidental immersion of upto 2 meters (or 6 feet) for upto 60 minutes.

The waterproof capabilities of the Kindle Paperwhite allow you to carry it with you to the pool, beach side, or even in your bath tub. You can easily read your favorite while having a relaxing bath at end of a tired day!

Price Difference Between the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite offers more features over the basic Kindle. Naturally, the Kindle Paperwhite also commands a higher price than the basic Kindle.

  • Kindle Paperwhite – Retails at $139 for the base 8GB WiFi-only model. You’ll need to shell out an additional $10 for the 16GB variant.
  • All New Basic Kindle – The basic Kindle usually costs $99. It only offers one variant.

It is worth noting that the base model of both the Kindles come with lockscreen ads. This means, you will see ads on the screen when your Kindle is idle (many people find this really annoying).

If you want to get rid of the ads, you’ll have to spend an additional $20.

Note: these prices can vary from time-to-time. Make sure to click on the links to check the latest price on Amazon.

Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which One Should You Buy?

Generally speaking, the Kindle Paperwhite offers a better value of money as compared to the basic Kindle. For just an additional $40, the Kindle Paperwhite offers a bigger screen, better battery life, better front light, adjustable warm lights, and even waterproof capabilities!

That said, if you are strapped for money, and just want to get an experience of an e-reader, the basic Kindle is quite good as well.

However, if you want to get the best bang for the buck, you should choose the Kindle Paperwhite.

Both the devices are quite good especially since Amazon upgraded some of the key features of the basic Kindle. But, the Kindle Paperwhite just offers a few additional features that just makes your overall reading experience far better!

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