If you were expecting one new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) model — and the rumors were out there — you were off by two. Today, Amazon just revealed three new Kindle Paperwhite tablets, as it upgrades our pick for the best Kindle in some pretty great ways.
The biggest change is the Kindle Paperwhite 2021's new 6.8-inch display, but practically everything that could be upgraded is getting the due tweak it needs.
Then you've got the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, which has more storage and one of the Kindle Oasis' best display features.
Third up is the Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition, which takes the perks of the Kindle Kids Edition and gives them to our favorite model. Of course that model, and the Signature Edition, both cost more.
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Kindle Paperwhite (2021), Signature and Kids edition specs
|Kindle Paperwhite (2021)||Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition||Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition|
|Battery life||Up to 10 weeks (claimed)||Up to 10 weeks (claimed)||Up to 10 weeks (claimed)|
|Extras||Display warmth settings||Display warmth settings, auto-adjusting front light||Display warmth settings, kid-friendly cover, 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, 2-year worry-free guarantee|
Kindle Paperwhite (2021) release date and prices
Available today for pre-order at Amazon.com (after leaking accidentally on that very site) the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 models ship on October 27.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021) design
The Kindle Paperwhite's grown a bit in the last 3 years, with a new 6.8-inch display that will cover the previous 6-inch 2018 Kindle Paperwhite. The Paperwhite still has a display that's flush with its bezels, a welcome change in the 2018 model.
All three have an IPX8 waterproof rating, which translates to 60 minutes of submergence in 2 meters of water. We tested the Kindle Paperwhite 2018 out on a dunk tank in our office, and it worked as it should after.
There is one other big change, though. Amazon's ripping the microUSB port out of the Kindle Paperwhite (which it's already done on some of the Amazon Fire tablets), and replaced it with USB-C.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021) display
All three models feature the same sharp 300 ppi (points per inch) resolution, for crisp test. And if you ever thought about buying the Kindle Oasis for its display "warmth" settings, you don't have to anymore, as you can change the color of the backlighting to an amberish hue that may remind you of blue-light filtering displays (which this is not one of).
Amazon's also adding a dark mode, with white text on black backgrounds.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021) battery life and charging
Amazon rates the Kindle Paperwhite for up to 10 weeks of battery life, a big bump up from the "up to 6 weeks" it claimed for the 2018 Paperwhite.
If you have a 9W (or higher) adapter, you should be able to get a full charge over USB-C in 2.5 hours. No word on what adapter is in the box.
But while the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 and Kids Edition charge over USB-C, their high-end sibling has another way to refuel.
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition features
Qi-based wireless charging has finally arrived in the Kindle with the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. The charger is sold separately, though, so you better have one already, or be ready to plunk down even more.
Another Kindle Oasis feature is being handed down to the Paperwhite, as the Signature Edition also features an automatically adjusting front light sensor, so the brightness of its panel adapts to light around you.
The Paperwhite Signature Edition also has more four times as much storage, with 32GB instead of 8GB.
Kindle Paperwhite Kids features
The Kindle Kids Edition must have been popular, as Amazon is now extending that line to the Kindle we recommend to everyone. The $159 Kindle Paperwhite Kids costs $20 more and includes a magnetically-closing cover (either black or in one of two patterns: Emerald Forest and Robot Dreams) comes with a kid-friendly cover, a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ and the 2-year worry-free guarantee that Amazon first added with the Fire Kids Edition tablets.
Amazon Kids+ (why does every subscription have a + in its name?) is a service that Amazon offers with "access to thousands of books, ranging from timeless classics grown-ups will remember from their own childhoods to newer hits kids will recognize from theirs."
The Kids Paperwhite will also feature the kid-friendly interface changes of the Kindle Kids Edition, which includes achievement badges and parental controls.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021) outlook
The new Kindle Paperwhite (2021)'s improved battery life and USB-C port are all welcome changes, but we're curious how this larger display panel stacks up. Will the Paperwhite still be easily used in one hand?
Also, the Signature Edition may truly be the best of both worlds when it comes to adding new features but not going up to the Oasis' $249 price. We can't wait to see how the new Kindle Paperwhite is for ourselves once we get it into the office for testing.
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