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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) Review Hands-on

The new Kindle Paperwhite is a little more expensive but gets some Oasis features including Audible and waterproofing. Find out more in our hands-on review.

SHOULD I BUY THE AMAZON KINDLE PAPERWHITE (2018)?
If you're looking for an eReader then the 2018 Kindle Paperwhite looks to be an excellent choice based on our hands-on time with it.
This model is only slightly more expensive yet brings a whole host of upgrades including a thinner and lighter design with a flush screen. Furthermore, you get key elements from the much more expensive Oasis such as waterproofing, Bluetooth and Audible support.
Early verdict: The Kindle sweet spot




PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • $129
Amazon has already launched more new products than you can shake a stick at 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 hands-on 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, 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 although the new 2018 Paperwhite is only an extra £10/$10. You can pre-order it now ahead of its 7 November release date.

So 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. See a full price table below:

StorageWirelessSpecial OffersUKUS
8GBWi-FiYes£119$129
32GBWi-FiYes£149$159
8GBWi-FiNo£129$149
32GBWi-FiNo£159$179
32GBWi-Fi + 3GNo£219$249

DESIGN AND BUILD
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 in in up to 2m of water for as long as 30 minutes.

This isn't the only design change, as the 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.

The slimmed 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 AND NEW FEATURES
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.

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.

For starters, the Paperwhite 2018 has Bluetooth. Combine this support for Audible, Amazon's audio book service, and you can connect the device to a pair of wireless headphones or a speaker.

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.

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. You need network signal, of course.

There's no move to USB-C but this would push the price up and you've likely got a Micro-USB charger lying around anyway. 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.

Last but not least are a number of software changes including a new 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.

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



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