Here’s a comparison review that outlines the differences between the new 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite for 2021 and the previous 6-inch Kindle Paperwhite that was originally released in 2018.
Most refer to the new model as the Kindle Paperwhite 5 because it’s the fifth generation Paperwhite model, and I’ll do the same here, but Amazon doesn’t make any such distinction.
Instead they call it the 11th generation Kindle Paperwhite and the previous version was the 10th generation model, but the Paperwhite 3 was the 7th generation so things get rather confusing that way. That’s why most people just say Paperwhite 4 or Paperwhite 5 to distinguish the different generations.
Anyway, here are the main differences between the Kindle Paperwhite 5 (PW5) and the Paperwhite 4 (PW4):
1. Screen: The PW5 has a 6.8-inch E Ink screen, whereas the PW4 has a 6-inch E Ink screen (same as the earlier Paperwhites). Both have 300ppi but contrast is slightly better on the new model; the black ink is darker so text stands out more (the difference shows up a bit more under the bright lights on camera in the video below than under regular room lighting, but it’s still noticeable either way).
2. Frontlight: The PW5 has an improved frontlight, with 17 LEDs compared to 5 on the PW4. Plus the PW5 adds a warm frontlight so you can control the color of the light. Additionally, the Signature Edition of the new PW5 adds a frontlight sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of the light based on ambient lighting conditions.
3. Performance: The new Paperwhite is markedly faster and more responsive than earlier Paperwhites. Everything from page turns to navigating the library is faster on the new model.
4. USB: The new PW5 is the first Kindle to come with a USB-C port.
5. Wireless: The new Paperwhite supports both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz WiFi, whereas earlier models support single band only (2.4 GHz). Additionally, the PW4 was available with the option for 4G LTE wireless connectivity, but Amazon does not offer a cellular version of the PW5.
6. Battery: I’m not sure on the exact battery sizes, but going off of Amazon’s estimates, the PW4 supposedly lasts up to 6 weeks per charge and the new PW5 lasts up to 10 weeks. Both based on 30 minutes reading per day with the frontlight at 13, so says Amazon. It’s too soon to tell if there’s a noticeable difference at this point.
7. Size: The PW5 measures 6.9” x 4.9” x .32” (174 x 125 x 8.1 mm) and weighs 205 grams. The PW4 measures 6.6” x 4.6” x 0.3” (167 x 116 x 8.18 mm) and weighs 182 grams.
8. Signature Edition: The upgraded Signature Edition model adds wireless charging and an auto-adjusting frontlight. It also includes 32GB of storage and it does not have ads.
For more information about the new Kindle, here’s the link to the Kindle Paperwhite 5 video review that I posted yesterday. Below is a comparison video between the PW5 and the PW4.