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14 things to know before buying Kindle Paperwhite 2021

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 with warm light
Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 (2021) features adjustable warm light / Image: Amazon

Warm light and 6.8-inch screen are unquestionable benefits, but are other Kindle Paperwhite 2021 features equally helpful?

The new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has finally arrived. Do you consider getting it? Don’t rush to order it, but make sure you know a few things which may cool you down and help make a more thoughtful decision.

For a price $10 higher than the previous generation, Kindle Paperwhite 2021 offers a slim waterproof design with a 6.8-inch display, adjustable warm light, and USB-C port.

The device is offered in two distinctively different variants: Regular and Signature.

Should I buy the newest 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite, released in 2021? Which variant is better for me? Is the Signature Edition worth the money?

Read on to learn not-so-obvious facts and specs.

Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 (2021) – things to know

1. Kindle Paperwhite 2021 features a bigger 6.8-inch display

The new display is 13% larger than in the previous-generation Kindle Paperwhite, released in 2018. The screen’s length (the distance between opposite corners) is 6.8 inches, instead of 6.

Is the screen size one of the most important factors for you? Do you hesitate between the new Paperwhite and Oasis 3?

Both devices have warm light, but the display of the Oasis is only a bit bigger: 7 inches versus 6.8 in the new Paperwhite. Why pay $250 if you can spend only $140?

However, the display proportions are different. The screen of the Oasis is wider. It may help you easier find the right balance between the font size, margins, and line height.

Below, you will see the size of Paperwhite 2021 compared to the basic Kindle, and Oasis 3. As you will see, the Oasis is stunningly compact. Its proportions and small bezel suggest it’s a much larger device than it really is.

Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 2021 size compared to basic Kindle
Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 (2021) size compared to the basic Kindle (2019)
Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 2021 size compared Kindle Oasis 3
Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 (2021) size compared to Kindle Oasis 3 (2019)

2. Paperwhite 6.8 is only a bit bigger than previous Paperwhite

Despite the considerably larger screen, the overall size of the 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite is not dramatically higher. Its height is 6.9 inches (174 mm), instead of 6.6 inches (167 mm) – only 7 mm bigger. It was achieved by reducing the bezel around the display.

The overall shape is the same as in the previous Paperwhite, with one outstanding difference – the display is closer to the top edge, making the device look lighter than the 2018 Paperwhite.

3. The 2021 Paperwhite comes in two versions – and it’s confusing

So far, the variants of each Kindle model were determined by the size of internal memory and special offers.

With the launch of the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon is applying an idea of separating one model into two sub-ranges, the same way as in the Fire HD 8 2020.

The premium variant, called Signature Edition, comes with two significant improvements: auto-adjusting front light and wireless charging.

Plus, memory sizes (8 and 32 GB) are now exclusive to each variant. In other words, there is no 32 GB option of the Regular variant, and no 8 GB option of the Signature variant.

Still confused? Take a look at the highlights and comparison table.

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Regular (from $139.99) comes with:

  • Larger 6.8-inch glare-free 300 ppi E-ink display
  • Warm light – the feature borrowed from Kindle Oasis
  • USB-C port for faster charging and data transfer
  • Battery life extended to even 10 weeks
  • Eco-friendly manufacturing of the device and packaging

⇢ Full specs

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Signature (from $189.99) has all the benefits of the Regular version, and adds two more:

  • Auto-adjusting front light – there is no need to manually increase or decrease the brightness level
  • Wireless charging – you can use your current charging station or buy a dedicated Wireless Charging Dock.

⇢ Full specs

Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 (2021) Regular vs. Signature

Regular – Regular version of Kindle Paperwhite 6.8, Signature – Signature Edition version of Kindle Paperwhite 6.8

Regular Signature
Screen 6.8-inch 6.8-inch
8 GB Storage Yes,enough for thousands of books or over 35 audiobooks No
32 GB Storage No Yes,enough for thousands of books or over 160 audiobooks
microSD card No No
Speakers No No
Headphone jack 3.5 mm No No
Front light Yes, 17 LEDs Yes, 17 LEDs
Warm light Yes Yes
Auto-adjusting light No Yes
USB-C port Yes Yes
Wireless charging No Yes
Battery life Up to 10 weeks Up to 10 weeks
Cellular variants No No
Waterproof Yes, IPX8 Yes, IPX8
Climate Pledge friendly Yes Yes
Kindle Unlimited free plan No No
Colors Black Black
Price from
$139.99
from
$189.99

4. Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 comes with an adjustable warm light

Adjustable warm light lets you control the color of the screen. In the evening, you can switch from blue light (which is typical for a day) to a warmer tone. It will help you reduce eye strain and minimize the negative effect on sleep.

Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 with adjustable warm light

Many Kindle lovers were hoping to see the warm light in the KPW, the feature first seen in Kindle Oasis 3 released back in 2019. And it’s finally there!

Adjustable warm light is the feature that makes it worth buying Paperwhite 2021 for the price it’s offered.

5. Auto-adjusting front light is only offered in Signature variant

Auto-adjusting front light is not the same as adjustable warm light. Both features are referring to the display, and it may be a source of confusion.

Let’s explain the difference:

Adjustable warm light – the color of the screen can be changed to a warmer tone, and you can adjust its strength. The feature is available in both Regular and Signature variants.

Auto adjusting front light – the light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen to current lighting conditions. You don’t have to increase or decrease the brightness manually. The feature is available only in the Signature variant.

6. Kindle Paperwhite 2021 sports USB-C port

The Paperwhite 6.8 is the first Kindle to sport the USB-C port for faster charging and data transfer. It’s a useful feature if you still add own books and audiobooks via the cable.

You will need less than 3 hours to fully recharge Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 via 5W USB-C charger.

However, having in mind that you will be charging your device not once a day, but every few days or weeks, the fast charging is not the most needed feature.

7. You can use your old USB power adapter to charge Kindle Paperwhite 2021

In the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 box, you will find a USB-C charging cable, but not a charger.

Amazon’s official 9W power charger is on a list of accessories that are compatible with Paperwhite 6.8. It means that you will be able to use it, just like any other power adapter that sports a standard USB port.

Amazon 9W charger compatible with Kindle Paperwhite 2021
A standard Amazon 9W charger is on a list of accessories compatible with Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 2021

Therefore, I assume that the included cable has a USB-C port on one end, and a standard USB on the other.

8. You will charge the Paperwhite once in 10 weeks – if you read half an hour a day

The new Kindle model comes with a much improved battery.

Before, you had to recharge Kindle Paperwhite (2018) every 6 weeks. Now, the battery life is almost twice longer.

Amazon claims, the battery can last up to 10 weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day, with Wi-Fi connection turned off, and the brightness level set at 13.

Half an hour of reading a day. How would that translate to continuous use?

10 weeks × 7 days × 0.5 hours = 35 hours

Let’s compare:

  • Amazon Fire HD 8 – up to 12 hours of continuous use.
  • Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 – up to 35 hours of continuous use.

An e-reader can run on a single battery charge only three times longer than a tablet. Not a stunning difference, after all.

9. Signature comes with wireless charging, but will you use it?

The premium version of Kindle Paperwhite 2021 comes with a wireless charging support. Sounds cool, huh?

You will be able to use your current wireless charging station or pad (if you have one) or buy a dedicated Wireless Charging Dock.

Yes, Amazon developed a charging dock that’s compatible only with Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021. It costs $29.99 – a money definitely not well spent.

Wireless Charging Dock for Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021
Wireless Charging Dock for Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 costs $29.99

Why would you buy a $30 accessory that, despite its great look, will be used every few weeks?

If you are not an avid book reader who reads for several hours a day, you should not buy the charging dock – and think about buying the Signature variant.

10. The 2021 Paperwhite is a climate friendly product

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is an eco-friendly product
Climate Pledge Friendly badge helps you discover and shop for more sustainable products

The 6.8-inch Paperwhite is one of the first Amazon devices to have a Climate Pledge Friendly badge.

The device is made with 60% post-consumer recycled plastics and 70% recycled magnesium.

Plus, 95% of the packaging is made of recycled sources or materials from responsibly managed forests.

Climate Pledge Friendly

Climate Pledge Friendly uses sustainability certifications to highlight products that support our commitment to help preserve the natural world.

11. There is no free Kindle Unlimited plan

The previous Paperwhite model was bundled with a Kindle Unlimited offer that enabled you to use the subscription for six months free of charge.

Six months of the service that costs $9.99 a month was a saving of $60. You were able to buy the 2018 Paperwhite for little above half of its price.

The free Kindle Unlimited plan was later extended to other Kindle models, and is still available as an option if you buy the basic Kindle.

Unfortunately, there is no Kindle Unlimited offer for Kindle Paperwhite 2021. I hope it will change in the future.

12. Your current case will not fit Kindle Paperwhite 2021

Do you wonder whether the case for your current Kindle Paperwhite will fit the newer model, the answer is short: no.

It’s because the 2021 Paperwhite has different dimensions and proportions than the older model. You can do one of three things:

1. Buy an official case
The newest model is accompanied by a new range of cases. You can choose not only between fabric and leather variants. There is also a cork case. The cases come in new colors, including Purple and Pink.

2. Wait for third-party case covers
It may take a few weeks to see first cases from third-party producers such as MoKo or Fintie.

3. Use a sleeve
You can use a sleeve until you buy the final case. Any sleeve that is compatible with 7-inch tablet (for instance for Fire 7) is more than enough to accommodate Paperwhite 6.8.

13. There is no cellular version

The previous Kindle Paperwhite was offered in five versions. One of them featured cellular connectivity.

Were you expecting to see the cellular variant in the new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 range? Bad news is there isn’t any, even in the Signature Edition line.

14. Pros and cons of Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 2021

The newest Kindle Paperwhite offers also a flush-front design, waterproof index at IPX8, Audible audiobook player, and a new, more intuitive software.

On the other hand, it is missing a few features, such as speakers or a headphone jack, suitable for listening to audiobooks.

Here is a quick list of benefits and disadvantages of the 2021 Paperwhite.

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 pros and cons

Benefits Disadvantages
▸ Large 6.8 inch display
▸ Warm light
▸ Extended battery life
▸ Slim design
▸ Small, paperback book dimensions
▸ Sustainable production process
▸ IPX8 waterproof level
▸ USB-C port
▸ No cellular variant
▸ No adjustable light in the Regular version
▸ No microSD card
▸ No USB-C power charger included in the box
▸ No Kindle Unlimited free plan, just like in other Kindle models
▸ Only Black color variant
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 6.8 2021 full specs

⇢ Kindle Paperwhite

• • •

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