Amazon has released a new Paperwhite for 2021. Officially, it is called the Amazon Paperwhite 5. But is it worth an upgrade if you’re running the older 2018 Paperwhite model? Let’s find out…
I read and use my OG Kindle Paperwhite pretty much every day. I’ve had it since the first model came out. And you know what? It still works fine. Amazon’s Kindles are designed to go the long haul. But I have to admit, I’m tempted by the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 5…
It’s been a few years since Amazon last updated its Paperwhite; the last one came out in 2018. The new Kindle Paperwhite 5 brings with it quite a few changes which we’ll go through in a second while keeping much the same dimensions as its predecessor. And this is good, no one likes bulky Kindles, after all.
Kindle Paperwhite 5: What’s New?
The first major update you’ll notice aboard the new Kindle Paperwhite 5 is its display. The Kindle Paperwhite 5’s display is larger than the 2018 Paperwhite. It measures 6.8in and retains the same 300 PPI as the 2018 model.
The 2018 Paperwhite’s display was only 6in, so you’re getting quite a bit more room on the newer model. And while 0.8in isn’t a huge difference, it does mean you’ll have more screen real estate to read on. And in a device that is more or less the same size as the 2018 model, that is pretty cool.
In order to add in a larger display without making the device loads bigger, Amazon had to get clever with its design changes.
By reducing the size of the bezels on the Kindle Paperwhite 5, Amazon not only made the new Kindle Paperwhite 5 look more modern, but it also allowed it to fit a much larger display without bulking out the size of the Kindle Paperwhite 5.
Hardware & Specs
The new Kindle Paperwhite 5 runs the same software as the 2018 model. It also runs much the same internal specs and components. You also have Bluetooth support for wireless headphones. There is no headphone jack on either model.
The 2018 Kindle Paperwhite shipped with 32GB of storage, plenty of an e-reader – ebooks take up literally no room at all. But for some reason, Amazon has reduced the storage on the new Kindle Paperwhite 5 down to 8GB. I guess this was done because most people NEVER end up using all of the storage on their Kindles.
I’ve had my OG Kindle for nearly a decade now, it has thousands of books on it, and I am nowhere near filling up its storage. If you do want more storage, however, Amazon does sell a more expensive Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition model, although it is more expensive.
My advice? 8GB is more than enough storage for a Kindle. If you want to use the Kindle to listen to audiobooks, however, you might want to go for the Signature model. Or, start using your phone to listen to Audible instead – you’ll have way more room to play with there.
WiFi & Mobile Data Options
The new Kindle Paperwhite 5 is a WiFi-only device; there is no cellular connectivity on this new model, unlike the 2018 Paperwhite which came with options for both WiFi and cellular connectivity.
Why has Amazon removed cellular connectivity from the Kindle Paperwhite 5? I have no idea. But it is most likely down to people not really using the feature. Or, Amazon has decided it no longer wants to offer its Kindle users free wireless data.
Either way, the Kindle Paperwhite 5 does not come with a mobile data option.
One area where the Kindle Paperwhite 5 beats the 2018 model is with respect to performance. Amazon designed the Kindle Paperwhite 5 to run more smoothly and perform faster. When reading a book on the Kindle Paperwhite 5, pages turn 20% faster than they do on the 2018 model. Not bad, right?
The performance improvements don’t stop there, either. The Kindle Paperwhite 5 will also move through its settings and menu options, as well as the Kindle Store, in a smoother fashion as well. This is a nice improvement. My OG Paperwhite is really showing its age in this context and is now prone to freezing and crashing.
The 2018 Paperwhite’s battery life was very impressive, like all Kindle models. But Amazon has improved things even more with the Kindle Paperwhite 5. Amazon says the Kindle Paperwhite 5 has around 30% more battery life than the 2018 Kindle Paperwhite which is quite an improvement on an already very impressive device.
Amazon Paperwhite 2021 New Features Recap
- All-new Kindle Paperwhite – Now with a 6.8” display and thinner borders, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns.
- Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
- More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you. A single charge via USB-C last weeks, not hours.
- Easy on the eyes – Now with adjustable warm light to shift screen shade from white to amber.
- Waterproof reading – Built to withstand accidental immersion in water, so you’re good from the beach to the bath.
- Find new stories – With Kindle Unlimited, get unlimited access to over 2 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and more.
- Go hands-free – Pair with an Audible subscription and Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen to your story.
How Much Does The Paperwhite 2021 Cost?
You have two options when it comes to buying the Amazon Paperwhite 2021. You can get it with Kindle Unlimited for $139.99 with ads, or $159.99 without ads. Again, you can choose whether you get a Kindle Unlimited Trial (it’s free for 4 months) before you commit to a model.
I’d advise you to go with the ad-free model. Kindle ads are super annoying. It is worth paying a little extra to not have to deal with them. It’s only $20 more for the ad-free Amazon Paperwhite 2021 models.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.