Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) full review
Amazon has already launched more new products than you can shake a stick at this year but hasn't forgotten about the Kindle range. Those looking for a new eReader should certainly consider the new Kindle Paperwhite for 2018 as we explain in our full review.
The Kindle has been around for 11 years now and this is the 10th-generation of the eReader. For the Paperwhite, this 2018 model is the 4th-generation having last been updated in 2015. It might be a little more expensive but there are a number of upgrades that make it worthwhile.
After so many years and developments in other categories like phones, you might think that no one needs a single-use device like an eReader. However, aside from the fact you're reading this article so must be interested, Amazon had is best ever sales day for Kindle on Prime Day back in July 2018.
How much is the new Kindle Paperwhite 2018?
The previous model came in at £109/$119 and the new 2018 Paperwhite is only an extra £10/$10. You can buy it from Amazon.
It starts at £119/$129 and that will get you the entry level option which comes with 8GB of storage and the usual 'special offers'. That means adverts on the lockscreen, but you can pay extra to remove them permanently.
You can also opt for other things like more storage and cellular 4G connectivity. However, for most people, the entry-level option will be perfectly suitable and the offers aren't particularly annoying.
See a full Kindle Paperwhite 2018 price table below:
|32GB||Wi-Fi + 3G||No||£219||$249|
Design & Build: Splashdown
The big news on this front is that the Paperwhite is waterproof for the first time ever.
Being able to drop your Kindle in the bath or the swimming pool without worry previously meant splashing out (pun unintended) on a much more expensive model like the Kindle Oasis.
It's great that this is now available on a much more affordable eReader. The IPX8 rating means you can dip it in up to 2m of fresh water for as long as 60 minutes.
This isn't the only design change, as the new Paperwhite is thinner and lighter – around 10 percent compared to its predecessor. It's just 8.18mm thick and 184g which are similar to a lot of smartphones.
Reasonable bezels surround the display but this, as usual, helps you hold the device without accidentally touching the screen. This is even more important for the 2018 model as the two are flush, which looks and feels a lot more modern. Our only quibble here is that the bezels show up marks quite easily.
The slimmer profile makes the Paperwhite great to hold, as does the new soft finish rear cover which is very grippy. You can buy a case starting at £24 if you feel the need, but that shouldn't be as necessary with a scratch and shatter resistant screen.
Specs & Features: A bright future
It's no surprise that Amazon is sticking to a 6in screen size and the usual standard of a 300ppi pixel density. Only the Oasis is larger at 7in but it's not a huge difference. If you want an even bigger screen, check out the Kobo Forma.
Page turns and navigation can take a little while at times, but that's the trade-off for the E-ink display.
That's all the same but the lighting has had an upgrade so a total of five LEDs is an extra one for a brighter and more even performance. Existing Paperwhite owners might not notice a huge difference but there are various other upgrades.
A neat feature is that if you have both the eBook and audio book of the same title, the Kindle will remember where you are up to so you can chop and change between them seamlessly.
If you are keen to put audio books on the Kindle then you'll be pleased with the 8GB of storage. That's double the previous Paperwhite and you can opt for 32GB if you're going to go to town on those and other things like comic books.
As per usual, you'll need to choose between the standard Wi-Fi option or one with cellular data so you can download books over 4G without needing to find a hotspot. The data is free but you need network signal, of course.
Even with just one bar of signal on a fast moving train, we were able to download a book in just a few seconds. Getting cellular will be overkill for most, though.
There's no move to USB-C but this would push the price up further and you've likely got a Micro-USB charger lying around anyway (a cable is supplied in the box). Battery life, as usual, will be into the weeks depending on usage.
Amazon says six weeks based on half an hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 13. Even with more intense usage it will feel like an age compared with your smartphone.
Last but not least are a number of software changes including a new scrollable homescreen layout that includes suggestions from Kindle Unlimited, Prime Reading, integration with Goodreads and fun facts. You can also invert the screen so the background is black instead of the text.
We particularly like the new reading settings so you can effectively save profiles, with specific fonts and sizes etc, for different situations or users. Particularly handy if you want to share the Kindle with your kids or want different settings when, say, at the beach.
If you do happen to own an older Kindle then don't worry, all 6th-generation and above models will get updated to the new features with a software update.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018): Specs
- Display: 6in E-Ink Carta screen, 300ppi
- 16 level greyscale, two-point touch
- Light: Built-in front-light, 5 LEDs
- Storage: 8/32GB
- Buttons: Power on/off
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro-USB, optional cellular
- Dimensions: 167 x 116 x 8.18mm
- Weight: 182g - Wi-Fi or 191g - 4G
- Battery: 6-week battery life
- Waterproofing: IPX8