The Kindle Paperwhite has been the best Kindle for most people since 2015 when Amazon last updated it with a screen that was nearly on par with the high-end Voyage and Oasis models at just a fraction of the price. Today, Amazon is updating the Paperwhite again, adding new features that were introduced with the second-generation Oasis, including waterproofing and support for Audible audiobooks in a lighter and thinner package.
Nearly every aspect of the new Paperwhite is better: the screen is now flush with the front in a seamless sheet of glass — just like the now-defunct Voyage offered — there are more LEDs for the illuminated display, and storage has been doubled on the base model to 8GB, with another model offering 32GB of storage. There’s support for Audible audiobooks over a connected pair of Bluetooth headphones or speakers, just like the Oasis.
And in what has been one of the most-requested features for the device, the new Paperwhite also features IPX8 waterproofing, meaning it can be dunked in up to six feet of water for up to an hour — which should make it more than safe for reading in a tub, by a pool, or on the beach. Despite all these additions, though, the new Paperwhite is 23 grams lighter than the old model and almost a full millimeter thinner at 8.18mm.
As for the screen, there aren’t many changes there: it’s still a 6-inch, 300ppi display — but considering the Paperwhite’s display was already excellent, it’s hard to complain too much.
Basically a cheaper waterproof Kindle Voyage
There are a still few quibbles: there are no physical page-turn buttons or even the under-glass capacitive touchpads like the Voyage used to have; the illuminated display doesn’t offer an adaptive light sensor, unlike the Oasis; and it doesn’t charge via USB-C, which is disappointing for a 2018 device that likely won’t be updated for years.
But all in all, Amazon has essentially turned the new Paperwhite into a waterproof, updated Voyage. Where the old Voyage used to cost $200, the new Paperwhite starts at just $129.99 for the 8GB, Wi-Fi model (which is $10 more than the old Paperwhite used to cost). In addition to the $129.99 8GB model, there’s also a $159.99 32GB version and a $249.99 32GB option with included 3G.
All versions of the new Paperwhite are available for preorder starting today: both the 8GB and 32GB models are set to ship next month on November 7th.
Correction: The new Paperwhite is waterproof, not water resistant as this article originally stated.
Update October 24th, 5:01pm: Both the 8GB and 32GB Paperwhite models will be shipping on November 7th. This article originally stated the 32GB would be shipping in the coming months.