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By Dan Moren

Amazon updates Kindle Paperwhite line with new backlight, bigger screen

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but Amazon’s latest Kindle Paperwhite line is a little more appealing on the outside. The ebook giant has released two new model of its most popular e-reader, bringing new features some of which have trickled down from the company’s high-end Oasis model.

Kindle Paperwhite

To start with the Kindle Paperwhite now has a 6.8-inch display—nearly an inch larger than the previous generation—with smaller bezels, and, for the first time, a backlight that can change color temperature, to provide a warmer light for bedtime reading.

Amazon’s also amped up the Paperwhite’s battery life, which can reputedly go for up to 10 weeks without a charge. It can also charge faster, as it bids adieu to the micro-USB port in favor of a USB-C port: just two and a half hours to fully charge, as long as you’re using at least a 9W power adapter.

However, Amazon has clearly realized there’s more opportunity here and has added a second Paperwhite model, the Signature Edition. In addition to the features in the base model Paperwhite, the Signature Edition1 also includes wireless Qi charging, sensors that automatically adjust the backlight color temperature (on the base Paperwhite it has to be done manually), and 32GB of storage (compared to the base Paperwhite’s 8GB).

All of that will run you $189.99, a $50 premium over the base Paperwhite’s $139.99. And both of those prices are Amazon’s ad-supported “with Special Offers”; getting rid of those will cost you an additional $20. There’s also a “Paperwhite Kids” bundle for $159.99 which mainly just includes a cartoony cover, a year of Amazon Kids+, and a two-year guarantee.

Both Paperwhite models come with Amazon’s latest Kindle interface, updated just this past week which includes an option to set up the device more speedily using the Kindle app on your iOS or Android device.

Overall, the new Kindle features seem a bit overdue, with competing e-readers offering many of the same features at similar price points. Amazon, of course, maintains its dominance in the ebook market, but whether it’s still making the best e-reading devices is still up for debate.


  1. I guess they could have called it the Kindle Pro, but what does that make the Oasis? 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

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