With the release of the new Kindle for 2022, the entry-level Kindle is now closer to the Kindle Paperwhite in terms of overall features and specs than ever before, so here’s a quick comparison review outlining the main differences between the two.
Both are nearly identical from a software standpoint. The Kindle Paperwhite adds some hardware upgrades, including waterproofing and a warm frontlight, and the overall design is nicer, but the new basic Kindle has the edge when it comes to portability and price.
The main difference between the two is the screen size. Overall performance is nearly identical. In some instances the Paperwhite is a bit faster to respond; I think maybe it has more RAM, but Amazon does not reveal that kind of information.
Screen: The new Kindle has a 6-inch E Ink screen and the Paperwhite has a 6.8-inch E Ink screen, both with 300 ppi. The Paperwhite has 17 LEDs for the frontlight with options for warm and cool color tones, and the Kindle has 4 LEDs with a cool-colored frontlight only. The light on the Paperwhite is more evenly-lit, though the basic Kindle’s light is pretty good too, but the color of the light is more natural on the Paperwhite with the adjustable color temperature.
The Paperwhite has a flush front screen that adds a thin plastic layer over the E Ink display, and the entry-level Kindle has an indented screen. The flush screen looks nice but reflections and fingerprints are more visible.
As noted in the Kindle screen comparison review, I think the 6.8″ Paperwhite uses a newer Carta 1200 screen and the Kindle uses a regular Carta screen like the previous Paperwhites. To my eyes, text looks a touch darker on the Paperwhite’s screen, but there are times (low light) when the text looks more crisp on the basic Kindle’s screen without the added flush layer over the top. Overall, there’s not a big difference either way, but the frontlight on the Paperwhite is definitely better.
Hardware: Both devices support dual-band Wi-Fi and have USB-C ports, with Bluetooth for streaming Audible audiobooks. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition adds more storage space and it has an auto-brightness sensor and wireless charging.
The new Kindle comes with 16GB of storage and the Paperwhite has the option for 8GB, 16GB and the Signature Edition Paperwhite has 32GB.
Design: The 2022 Kindle has a basic design and it’s available in blue (Amazon calls it denim) and black. It has an indented screen and the frame is made of plastic that, unfortunately, scratches quite easily.
The Paperwhite has a nicer design with a flush front screen, and it’s also waterproof. The back has a soft rubbery coating and the device feels nice and solid in your hand.
The entry-level Kindle is smaller and more pocketable at 157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm, and it weighs 158 grams.
The Kindle Paperwhite 5 measures 174.2 x 124.6 x 8.1 mm and it weighs 205 grams.
Software: When it comes to software, most of the features are identical. The only difference I can find is the Paperwhite has the option to disable the touchscreen for everything but page swipes to avoid accidental presses with the flush screen, and the Paperwhite also has a page turn animation setting that’s not available on other models for some reason.
Battery: Amazon claims the battery on the 2022 Kindle can last up to 6 weeks based on reading 30 minutes per day with the frontlight set to 13. Under the same circumstances, Amazon says the Paperwhite’s battery can last up to 10 weeks per charge.
I think the new Kindle is the best entry-level Kindle that Amazon has released in a long time, and it’s a good choice if you want something that’s highly-portable and offers a similar reading experience as the more expensive Kindles for cheap.
However, I still think the Kindle Paperwhite Kids bundle is a best value overall for the price. The new Kindle is reasonably priced at $99, but if you add the cost of a cover and the fee to remove the ads on the lockscreen it’s closer to $140. The Paperwhite Kids is ad-free and it comes with a cover and an upgraded warranty for $159. The Paperwhite is the nicer model overall and is easily worth the extra cash if you’re going to be using it a lot.
See my Kindle Paperwhite 5 review and 2022 Kindle review (pending) for more details about each device.