[HOT] : Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review: bigger screen, better read
(Pocket-lint) – Kindle is a brand synonymous with e-readers. For many years now, it has been the de facto choice, to the point where it is the only brand of e-reader familiar to most people.
There is more than a sense of familiarity about the design of the Paperwhite 2021. Because it’s a look that has remained relatively unchanged for years. This chunky rectangular plastic frame with a black and white E Ink screen on the front and very little else to get your attention.
Buttons and ports are sparse, with only one of each: a power / standby button and a USB-C port, both located on the bottom edge of the player. It’s not the most intuitive position to have a button, it has to be said, and it’s pretty easy to accidentally press it, which either wakes up or locks the device.
But this is a brand new Kindle and although it is the same base device, there are some important differences. First of all, it is bigger than the previous Paperwhite. It’s wider, taller, heavier – a little more than a handful.
All other controls are via touch – there are no additional buttons – and with smaller and smaller bezels, there’s a little less space to grip it. The page change is done by pressing or sliding and if you hold it in your right hand you can roughly press with your thumb.
For the most part, that won’t be a problem, but if you’re left-handed, be aware that the left side of the screen pulls back – and any tapping on that side will jump one page back. Ultimately, we prefer the Kindle Oasis’ button layout and they are certainly still a feature you might consider paying more for.
Being a Paperwhite model means this reader has a slightly higher level of fit and finish than the standard Kindle. The rear is covered in a soft touch material which is lovely, although currently only available in a black finish. The front surface is now completely flush, so there is no frame or raised bezel for bits of lint and dust to get stuck. In addition, it is water resistant, so it can survive a fall in the tub or in a swimming pool.
The key thing about the Kindle – any of them in fact – is that it allows access to millions of books, but in a device that is smaller than an actual book. It’s easier to hold and transport, and that’s still the case with the new Paperwhite, despite its slightly larger and heavier frame.
It’s still much smaller than an iPad or tablet; it still weighs roughly the same as a smartphone. So it hasn’t lost its advantage, and the larger size does lead us to its biggest advantages: the bigger screen.
As Paperwhite devices go, the 2021 model has the highest percentage of screen to body to date. Amazon not only enlarged the screen and kept the old thick bezels. It scaled down those bezels and increased the screen size, giving us an extra 0.8 inches, from 6 to 6.8 inches diagonally.
This makes a huge difference in the reading experience, giving roughly an extra paragraph of text to a single page, which means having to turn pages less frequently. Or, more literally, there’s a little less tapping and swiping on the touchscreen.
The size increase brings the new Paperwhite closer to the size of Amazon’s flagship Kindle, the Oasis, which remains a bit larger at 7.0 inches.
This is still the classic transflective E Ink display, which means that whether you’re in a well-lit room or outdoors, it doesn’t need lighting to make it clearly readable. It reflects the light around you making it very clear in bright conditions.
Of course, being a modern Kindle, it is illuminated by a front lighting system. You can save battery power by turning off the lights manually, but it would be great if there was an auto-brightness feature, as it can be difficult to tell if the lights are on when there’s a bright light around you.
Like the more expensive Kindle Oasis, the Paperwhite’s lighting is a set of 17 LEDs, also allowing a heat function. You can adjust the color temperature to make it as cool and blue or warm and orange as you want.
The degree to which you can adjust it is pretty good, so it’s not just about having a few color temperature choices. Brightness is also adjustable, with 25 light levels. Plus, you can schedule the heat to turn on at specific times of the day, so you can turn it on automatically at bedtime, if you want.
If having an orange / warm backlit display isn’t enough for you and you want to shut off as much light when reading at night – for fear of disturbing a loved one maybe – you can simply turn on Dark Mode, which reverses the elements. dark and light on the screen. The text then becomes white, the background black.
Battery and performance
One thing we’ve noticed with this Paperwhite is that it’s more responsive than previous models or the standard Kindle. This is thanks to the use of a newer version of the E Ink display – the Carta 1200 – thus allowing faster page updates.
There are other times it still suffers from this E Ink refresh lag, like when loading the drop-down quick settings layer or when scrolling through the Amazon bookstore. Likewise, closing a specific book page in the store to come home also comes with a bit of r **** d. Much depends on how the display technology works, refreshing the pigments to be black or white does not lend themselves to animation. Fast it isn’t – and we’ve long believed that the software experience here could be better.
Battery life has been improved and can now last up to 10 weeks on a full charge, so it needs to be recharged relatively infrequently. And when it does, you now have that USB Type-C port to charge it with the same cable you probably use for your smartphone or headphones.
It takes about two and a half hours to charge using an optional 9W charger. There’s only one cable in the box, not the wall outlet – but we believe most will use existing chargers, otherwise it will take five hours to charge plugged into a computer or low-power USB port.
Overall battery performance will depend on how often you refresh this display (since it uses little power when the page is set), but also depends on the brightness of the lights and if you do other things like use its Wi-Fi. login for more information. Needless to say, it will last for weeks, but maybe not the full 10 weeks for all users.
Ecosystem and software
Kindle’s greatest strength, as it has for years, is that Amazon’s eBook library is massive. Virtually all of the books available as a hardcover or paperback are also available in Kindle format, and you can buy them on Amazon – the same place you probably buy already anyway.
Plus, if you have an Amazon Prime membership, you get access to reading some books for free with Prime Reading, and if you subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited paid service, you get access to an extensive library of books for free. However, if you want the bestsellers or the most popular, you still often have to pay individually for each title.
Although Kindle supports other file formats – you can email documents to your Kindle – it is not compatible with lending services, such as Overdrive, widely used by public libraries, which are supported by devices like Kobo.
Kindle’s user interface isn’t the most intuitive thing in the world either, but it doesn’t have a lot of layers, so it’s pretty easy to use. And thanks to a recent software update, it’s at least better than before.
The Home screen has two tabs – one for the standard Home screen and the other for accessing your library – and between them is a picture of the book you’re reading. Press it and the book will open where you left it. Simple.
Once you start reading, you have a plethora of options available to you. You can change the font size, style, and spacing to make it as comfortable to read as you want. One of these fonts available is the open font for dyslexia, which is designed to make reading easier for people with dyslexia. You can also adjust the weight of the font to make it thicker. Even things like margin size, page orientation and text alignment can also be changed.