Review: The 2021 Kindle Paperwhite is even better than the Oasis

The 2021 Kindle Paperwhite is simply the best ereader for the majority of people who actually want an ereader.

It improves on its predecessors in the places it matters most, and starting at $140, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination of features and quality.

Perhaps more importantly, it might be the first Kindle Paperwhite really worth upgrading to in years — and I’d argue it’s a better choice than the fancier Oasis too.

The screen is bigger

The new Kindle Paperwhite is the same size as its predecessor, but now comes with a 6.8-inch screen instead of a 6-inch one thanks to reduced bezels all around.

That makes it close to the Kindle Oasis in screen size — and closer to a paperback book — but in a smaller form-factor that actually fits comfortably in a jacket’s pocket.

Whereas I always kind of felt the smaller screen on earlier non-Oasis Kindles offered little advantage over your typical modern (read: giant) smartphone, the new model makes a more meaningfully improved reading experience. It may not sound like much, but to me, it makes a big difference in how often I want to actually bring the Kindle somewhere with me.

The screen also refreshes faster with less ghosting than prior models, making for an overall more book-like experience.

It won’t sear your eyeballs with blue light

One of the best things about the Kindle Oasis — not to mention other ereaders like the Boox Note Air — is the inclusion of ‘warm’ light. In addition to the usual eye-searing blue-ish white light that gives the Paperwhite its namesake, the new model includes a warm light.

It makes a huge difference for someone like me who does most of his reading indoors and at night. As great as E Ink displays are in bright sunlight, they tend to look too dark compared to a regular book in dimmer lighting conditions, and most people have rather warm indoor lights. Reading on the older Paperwhite models often meant being hit with a lot of blue light, making it little better than just reading off a phone or tablet screen.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021

The warm light blends better with indoor lighting, and unlike some other ereaders I’ve tested, the light is very evenly distributed throughout the display.

On the $180 Signature Edition, you get an ambient brightness sensor, as on the Oasis, although it still doesn’t adjust color temperature.

It charges via USB-C, finally

Until now, Kindle ereaders were some of the last few devices from a major company to still use the godawful micro USB port. Despite the weeks-long battery life of your typical ereader, you don’t notice how annoying it is to not have USB-C until you need to go on a trip, realize your Kindle finally ran out of battery, but then don’t have a way to charge it.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021

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