Is it Worth Upgrading to New Kindle Paperwhite 4?

Kindle Paperwhite 4

Now that Amazon is accepting orders for the new 4th generation Kindle Paperwhite, the question is did they include enough new features to entice existing Kindle owners to upgrade to the new model?

The main thing the Kindle Paperwhite 4 adds is waterproofing and more storage space (8GB and 32GB). They also added a flush front screen similar to the Kindle Voyage and Bluetooth for listening to audiobooks from Audible.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is also thinner and lighter than the previous model, but to be fair it’s still slightly heavier than most other current 6-inch ereaders.

It still has the same 6-inch 300 ppi E Ink Carta screen as the Paperwhite 3 and Kindle Voyage so there’s no difference there.

Is adding waterproofing, more storage space, and Bluetooth for audiobooks enough to get people to upgrade?

The average Kindle user probably doesn’t even care about those things. It seems like very few people even use Audible on a Kindle, and how many times have you ever heard of a Kindle or other ebook reader being ruined by water damage?

One thing I think Amazon continually misses out on with new Kindle releases is giving people who already own Kindles enough of a reason to upgrade to a newer model since the changes are often so minor.

If they released a larger 8″ or 10″ Kindle I think a lot of Kindle users would feel more inclined to upgrade, but when they keep releasing 6″ models with the same screen and same general features as previous models from the past 5 years I think most people will just stick with what they’ve already got.

Luckily the Kindle Paperwhite 4 adds a lot more new features than the Paperwhite 3 did when it was released, but it’s not like there’s anything particularly new or unique about the Kindle Paperwhite 4.

If you have an earlier Kindle without a light, then I think the new Kindle Paperwhite is definitely worth considering just for the added frontlight alone.

But is it worth upgrading if you have an earlier Kindle Paperwhite model or a Kindle Voyage?

Check back in a couple of weeks for a full review of the new Kindle Paperwhite, with video comparisons between the other Kindles to help answer this question for good.

40 Responses to “Is it Worth Upgrading to New Kindle Paperwhite 4?”

  1. They’ve really missed a trick in not including the ability to change the light temperature. Many were hoping it would have this feature. I’ll be looking elsewhere for a new ereader.

  2. I’ve been waiting for Amazon to give me a compelling reason to upgrade my 2nd generation Kindle Paperwhite. I’m now eying the Kobo Forma because of its larger screen and adjustable light temperature.

    • The thing about the Forma is that it might have gone a little too big.
      I think that the 7 inch might be the perfect size for comfortably holding and enough text in the screen.

  3. The new Paperwhite is more a melding of the Paperwhite and the Voyage since the Voyage is no longer in production.

  4. I have a voyage and PW3. I am almost angry at how Amazon treat existing or longtime kindle users. I requested hundreds of times to Amazon development team about the features below, none are realized.
    1 immerse reading. (That is the point to have audible on kindle)
    2 show book cover when kindle is out to sleep.
    3 bigger screens
    4 higher resolution and contrast
    5 comfort lighting

    All they did is to use parts of the features from oasis and voyage, to integrate into PW. And how dare them to call it All New Kindle!? What is all new? Nothing is all new.

    I will keep wait, maybe some of the features will be ready in the next Oasis.

  5. Hi
    No, I will wait for Oasis 3.

  6. I ordered one to upgrade my 1st Gen Paperwhite.

  7. Definitely not worth it, especially when you can get a secondhand Voyage with page turn sensors and automatic lighting for around $70 in excellent condition. More storage is a gimmick, for example I have 500 books on my PW3 and still have over 2gb left of storage not to mention the cloud. It would take me 14 years to read those 500 books at 3 books per month or one every 10 days which is a lot more than what the average person reads. So more storage is not necessary; it’s all hype and gimmicks.

    Bluetooth is also unnecessary, your smartphone has better more advanced features with Audible. I have also never needed a waterproof device in 8 years of owning Kindles. All these are just gimmicks just like adding LTE is a waste when you can tether your phone to a Kindle and download books on the go. There is nothing of practical use that makes this “new” Paperwhite a worthy upgrade.

    I’m still in shock how Kobo is blazing trails with the cutting edge Forma and Amazon responds by announcing this flop. It’s a pathetic effort in my opinion when all around us companies are going bigger, faster, lighter, thinner, more features. It’s embarrassing honestly. But of course hardcore fans will try and justify this purchase and how it’s only $10 more for a flush bezel screen, waterproof and Bluetooth. Well Considering you can get a secondhand PW3 for about $40 on offerup that makes it $100 more with tax.

    About the only thing I do like is that it is thinner although not by much and I do like the new cases they released. The downside is that it still has monstrous bezels.

    As another reviewer mentiones. Amazon always turns a deaf ear to suggestions. They simply do not listen to customer input, although I do give them credit on the software side with fonts. Hardware wise they turn a deaf ear.
    The problem with Amazon is that they want to charge you $250 for premium features like Page buttons and comfort lighting which they’ll probably release in two years with the next Oasis upgrade. The same features that Barnes and Noble released a year ago with the GL3 and can buy for only $99.

    • I read a lot of manga and comics on my Kobo Aura One LE. I like the 32gb because comics files are huge and I can load my KA1 up without worrying about running out of room. I might find a 32gb PW very useful for that reason. If Comixoligy comics synced with Amazon the way Amazon syncs with Comixology, 32gb would be very useful. Useful enough to dump my PW3? Yes, but not in a hurry.

    • Regarding the bezel size, I say it’s function over form. I was also thinking they could slim the bezels a bit, but then realized they’re ideal for finger and palm placement while reading.

  8. Nope. My preferred 6″ reader is the Nook 3.

  9. Is it likely that Amazon is making enough profits from Paperwhites so that getting existing owners to upgrade is important to them?

    The Paperwhites are quite cheap and even though they sell a lot of them, the margins are surely much better on the e-books themselves (two full price e-books may yield as much profit as a PW). I’ve always assumed that they are using low end Kindles mainly as a mean to the end of locking new customers into their ecosystem?

  10. Amazon certainly did miss with the PW4. Instead of providing features that enhanced actual reading, they chose to add Bluetooth and Audible capabilities to cross sell audiobooks, while attempting to keep selling price in control. If they had not included those feature they certainly could have added light temperature adjustment and kept the price where it is now. It really calls into question what priorities Amazon has by passing over light temp control on a reading device to instead offer audiobook capability that most people already have with their phones.

    • I should have been more concise. Amazon apparently needed to make feature tradeoffs to keep price in line. THey obviously chose to offer bluetooth/audible capability rather than light control. Why they feel that has more appeal to e-reader customers is beyond me.

      • It’s more about $$$ than what appeals to readers. since they own Audible, they’re hoping for continued and new income through it. Most people will still probably use their phone I’d think.

  11. I’m actually going to pass on the paperwhite, What has me sold on kobo is how fast it is to sideload books through Calibre. For example if I convert a 5mb epub to kePub It takes about 20 seconds but if I convert that same file to KFX it will take about 6 minutes. Not to mention KFX files are much larger than epub. That same 5mb file will become at least 10 or 12mb therefore hogging up more storage. Let’s not get into converting something like a Bible or larger file, because it’ll be virtually impossible to convert to KFX. Nobody talks about this.

  12. i have purchased four Kindles in my lifetime, Kindle Keyboard (passed on sister), PW1 (passed on to daughter), PW3 broken screen (recycled), and another PW3 in the same Ottorbox that held the second one.
    not switching to a more durable screen is the biggest disappointment of the PW4. ereaders DO break.
    the Kobo Forma with 32g storage would be very compelling.

  13. Nope, converting to Kobo who listens to their customers request.

  14. I was pretty happy to get a waterproof kindle that plays audiobooks. I do most of my reading on my voyage and only used my old paperwhite for the bathtub or trips. I’ve already traded it in for the new pw. The other features people mention would be nice to get someday too

  15. Given that my PW3 recently went for a swim, a waterproof PW4 is tempting. Luckily the PW3 survived so it won’t be an immediate purchase.

  16. I know many aren’t happy about the screen not being enlarged for the Paperwhite, but I’m not sure if they will go that route. I always figured it was supposed to be similar to reading a paperback novel, and most trade paperbacks are between five and six inches. They did create a larger screen for the Fires and Oasis. It would be nice if they could offer different sizing choices – I’d hate to only have a “large” option available. It’s hard to keep everyone happy without options, but they probably don’t see the market as feasible for offering a variety of sizes.

  17. After reading most of the negative reviews about PW-4, I have changed my mind to replace my Kindle-2, very sad because I was hoping to get something more, like bigger screen. I am now looking at KOBO to find out if I get more than (sadly) good bye Kindle-4+ B. Nowman+

  18. I never had a Kindle before so I’m finally giving in to the e-reader 😂. It’s waterproof so I don’t really have to worry about carrying it with me when it’s raining. Plus they are offering 6 months of Kindle unlimited with purchase.

    • That’s a big perk for me, it’s also if you are an existing subscriber and not a new member to it. Will save me 60.00 right there since I use unlimited.

  19. Worth it if you have a Kindle from 2013 or earlier. You are gaining a ton of features if you upgrade from a device from 5+ years ago. The increased resolution and flush screen are major features that help the device melt away and immerse the reader. But add in waterproof, better processor, Bluetooth audio, lighter weight, improved lighting, and it’s a drastic improvement. I get the feeling that 2013 devices are close to being left behind with software updates. Even the Voyage misses out on software features, like the inverted B&W.

    • I’m curious if it will look different since they have created the flush screen and glass overlay (if that’s the correct way to phrase it.) I have the PW 3 to compare to it when I get the PW4 in. They may look the same….or not. We shall see. I have heard the Voyage was exceptional with contrast and clarity, but don’t think it will be on that level.

  20. Nope, I’ll just stay with my Kindle Fire. It’s heavier, but I have Bluetooth for audio, blue light filter for comfort, and color pages for my magazines and cookbooks all for $50. My Voyage is perfect for long flights.

    If they find way to either thin outta the Fire or integrate color into a Paperwhite form factor, then “take my money Amazon!”

  21. The kindle isn’t their priority, alexa is. i think the only reason they did this is because it’s been years since the pw was upgraded.

    i’m actually very surprised this didn’t come with type of alexa built in.

    • Yes you’re absolutely right and I think it’s time for us to accept this. Amazon is slowly moving away from the Kindle and focusing 💯 on Alexa. Sure they might release software updates with improvements but as far as hardware they’re far and few in between.
      Might as well get comfortable with the new paperwhite because it’s going to be a very very long time before a new model gets released. Considering the fact that the Oasis was just released last year it’ll probably be another three years before it gets updated. Just look at the Voyage and Paperwhite, 4 years and 3.5 years for updates. Considering how now there’s only two lighted Kindles, I don’t see another one coming out anytime soon. Not even a Basic Kindle.
      I think it’s time for people to start learning how to use Calibre and get familiarized with Kobo for frequent releases on cutting edge eReaders.

    • They seem to release Paperwhites every few years, but I agree with you they are making Alexa their priority and main focus. E-Readers have lost some of their popularity. I was sort of thinking Alexa would be added to it as well but it would likely have needed more of a hardware upgrade? Not sure. I know their new Fire supports Alexa.

  22. For six months I’ve been nursing my old PW waiting for Amazon to introduce a modern replacement, not the modest upgrade that is as much of an upgrade as introducing a new color.
    So, I’ll buy a refurbished-used PW or a Voyageur, save about $60, and wait until Amazon introduces a real replacement for its intermediate or basic Kindle.

  23. I actually love the fact that this new one has a smooth, flush front. I get really tired of dust, crumbs, bits of flotsam, etc., collecting in the edges of the bezel on the PW I have (I don’t remember which version it is.) I’ll be ordering the new PW basically because I like new gadgets, but this flush front is maybe going to be my favorite feature.

    • Yes, little bits of “stuff” is getting in mine all the time. I use a business card to try to clean it out but it stays annoying.

  24. I would say demand for the new paperwhite is pretty low based on the fact that pre-orders are still being delivered on the original date of November 7. This despite the fact that it was announced 10 days ago. Of course the Amazon site lists it as a best seller but I remember the Oasis 2 being backed up by weeks after 3 days of being announced. Just an observation.

    • I wonder how Amazon defines a best seller on the Paperwhite. There is not much compelling about the PW4 as the next generation in an ereader. It sort of reminds me way back in the 90’s when the Ford Taurus was the best selling car and the design was changed, and sales never recovered.

      • I honestly don’t know Amazon never releases sales figures for Kindles. I’m assuming it’s something that sells more than normal which is to be expected of a new Kindle but still far below expected standards in comparison to previous releases.
        I believe the reason the Oasis 2 was such a hot seller in the beginning was because of the fact that it was larger which is what most people wanted but then sales plummeted do to complaints that the screen was faulty with color gradience, a terrible battery life, and an unorthodox unpractical design.

  25. I think I will stick with my Kindle Voyage. I love the adaptive lighting and the small size. It will fit in even my smallest purse. The screen is amazing too. I listen to audible with my phone in my car. I also don’t need my kindle to be waterproof. I have never needed that.

  26. I currently have the kindle voyage and I love it. This new paperwhite is great with the waterproofing and increased storage but it is not enough for me to give up my voyage. My voyage is small, sharp and bright and continues to give me loads of reading pleasure. Amazon if you are listening, please build kindles with a very grippy surface that hides fingerprints on the bezels!