Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation Detailed Review & Verdict
Updated: Jan 19
I've been a Kindle user since it was first released in 2007. Initially, I upgraded to the newly released versions frequently, because there were so many improvements early on (the introduction of the self-lit Paperwhite model, for example). At a certain point, it seemed there weren't many improvements they could make, because it was already great. For that reason, I've had the same Kindle Paperwhite since 2012, what Amazon considers the 5th generation of Kindles.
On Prime Day this year, I saw the deal for the Kindle Paperwhite 10th Edition, which was released last year, and I bit the bullet and made the switch. I asked on my Instagram stories if you all would like to hear my thoughts on the new generation, and there was a resounding yes. So now that I've used it for a few weeks, I thought I'd share my thoughts for you to consider before it likely goes on sale again for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It's important to note that I am comparing this to the original Kindle Paperwhite released in 2012, which I've been using for the last 8 years (man, time flies!). I've been happy with it for the last 8 years and didn't see much need to upgrade, as most of the upgrades were minor improvements to the lighting design, which I was fine with on my Kindle.
The update I was really waiting for, and the only one that would drive me to purchase an updated model apart from mine breaking, was to make it waterproof. The Oasis (another Kindle model that is waterproof) didn't tempt me much. Based on reviews, it didn't seem have the same compactness, lightness, or pleasant feel of the Paperwhite, so I never made the switch.
Now that Amazon has released the new waterproof 10th generation Kindle Paperwhite, I, albeit belatedly, finally upgraded my 8-year-old Kindle.
Well, here's a detailed breakdown of what I think of the waterproof Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation.
What I like
1. It really is waterproof.
I love a nice, long bath with a good book. Until now, my options have been to either risk holding a regular old book over the tub, hoping not to accidentally drop it (sadly, this has indeed happened to me), or take the same risk with my Kindle. It rather detracts from the relaxing aspect of a long bath or reading at the beach.
So I'm really excited to have a Kindle that can theoretically be submerged in up to 2 meters of fresh water for up to an hour and still function properly. I don't exactly plan to take it snorkeling to read underwater, but I'm glad they've erred on the side of making it waterproof rather than water resistant.
I even tested out my new Kindle by pouring more than a cup of tap water directly on it, and it had no impact on its function. Check out the video below:
According to Amazon (and this isn't very well advertised), if the Kindle gets splashed with water, you should wipe it off right away. If it gets submerged, they recommend letting it dry completely in a vertical position before attempting to plug it in or use it. Read more details here.
2. It's lighter
My previous Kindle already felt pretty light. I mean, it's not like I felt like I'd just done an arms workout at the gym after holding it for a while. Still, by comparison the new Kindle makes the old one feel heavy. It's incredibly light at only 6.4 oz and not at all cumbersome to read. It's certainly lighter than just about any physical book! For comparison, the original Paperwhite was 7.5 oz.
3. Turning Wi-Fi on and off got easier on this version.
On my first Kindle way back before even the Paperwhite was released, you could turn Wi-Fi on and off without leaving whatever screen you were on. On at least the first generation Paperwhite that I've been using, they made it less accessible, so you'd need to navigate to an entirely different screen to turn it on or off, then navigate back to your book. This might seem like a minor nuisance, but it was one of my greatest annoyances with the old Kindle Paperwhite, and I'm very glad to see they've fixed that.
Now, you just need to touch the settings button in your header menu bar, and instead of taking you to a whole new page, the option to turn on and off your Wi-Fi, use Bluetooth, or change screen brightness appear right there in the header.
4. The entire front of the Kindle is flush.
On my previous Kindle, the screen was slightly sunken into the unit with a small, beveled edge around it. I like how the new version is flat all the way across, as that means less opportunity for crumbs and things to wedge their way in. This definitely makes taking it to the beach easier, because I've frequently gotten little grains of sand stuck in the grooves of my old Kindle.
5. There's no extra step to highlight text.
This is another small change but one that's appreciated. To highlight a passage on my
last Kindle Paperwhite, I'd need drag my finger across it to select it, then push "Highlight." The new Paperwhite eliminates the second step, making it that much easier to highlight my favorite passages.
Again, a small thing, but something that makes a noticeable difference for me, because I love marking up my books, and eBooks are no exception.
6. There is a slight but noticeable increase in the sharpness of the text on the screen and in the contrast.
The screen on the 10th generation Kindle Paperwhite is advertised as 300 ppi, definitely an improvement from previous generations.
Putting my Kindles side by side, I definitely see an improvement in the contrast and clarity without any accompanying eye strain.
7. It's easier to change fonts and line spacing.
There are 9 fonts available on the latest generation as opposed to 6 on the older version. There are also 14 levels of font size from which to choose, so you can get more precise than the previous 8 options in the older one. I like the Bookerly font that wasn't available on older Kindle Paperwhites.
Features to which I'm indifferent
The latest Kindle Paperwhite has a lot of noticeable changes from my previous Kindle Paperwhite. The ones I mentioned above are the ones I really like. Here are the ones that make no real difference to me, and may or may not appeal to you depending on your reading habits and preferences.
1. The home screen has changed.
On my old Kindle, the home screen just took me straight to my library, which worked fine for me. Now, the top left quarter of the screen is dedicated to a preview of your library, the top right quarter to your recently added "Want to Read" list from Goodreads, and the rest of the screen to personalized book recommendations.
If it's synced to your Goodreads account, it's sort of fun to see your TBR list on the homescreen, even if it is blatant advertising pushing you to purchase the eBooks from Amazon. The same goes for the recommended reading sections as you scroll down the home screen.
It's still easy enough to access your library, and once you're in the library, navigation is essentially the same as on the prior Paperwhites and will feel very familiar.
I don't have any strong opinions about the layout change either way but thought it worth mentioning to users of older Kindle Paperwhites.
2. You can listen to audiobooks and connect to Bluetooth
I imagine this feature might excite some people, but like most people I carry my phone everywhere I go so will continue to listen to my Audible audiobooks on there rather than my Kindle. It also just seems like an unnecessary use of the more limited storage capacity of the Kindle compared to most phones.
3. There's double the storage from older versions of the Kindle Paperwhite
One of the most widely advertised features of the latest Kindle Paperwhite is that they've doubled the storage capacity to 8 gb (32 gb versions are also available). The reason I'm indifferent to this feature is that, as I said in #2, my Kindle is not my preferred device for listening to audiobooks. eBook files are miniscule compared to most of the media we consume (only 1.87 MB on average), so I've never even come close to running out of storage on my old Kindle, even with over 100 books downloaded on it.
Where the extra storage capacity would come in handy is if you are planning to use your Kindle to store lots of audiobooks, which on average take up 28-30 MB of storage.
Still, while the increased storage capacity isn't a selling point for me, I'm also not complaining about it.
3. You have the option to switch to Dark mode for nighttime reading
Similar to the dark mode that's been introduced on phones and tablets in recent years, you can now switch to dark mode on the newest Kindle Paperwhite, inverting the colors to make the background black and the text white. The idea is to make it easier on your eyes in darker environmental lighting.
Some people love dark mode. For me, I prefer the traditional daytime coloring, even at night. Still, it might appeal to some.
4. You can switch to landscape orientation
Maybe this feature was introduced to appeal to those reading comic books or graphic novels on their Kindles or just those wishing to view images more clearly. While I'm not really sure the reasoning behind it, you now have the option to flip the orientation of the pages to landscape.
5. There are now 4 different color options
Traditionally only available in black, the 10th generation Kindle Paperwhite is now also available in Twilight Blue, Sage, and Plum. They are pretty colors to be sure, but I prefer to stick with the classic black look. I'm sure the new colors will appeal to some buyers, though!
Things I don't like
I do wish Amazon had updated the charging port to a USB-C. They keep using the older USB port, even though virtually every other modern electronic has switched to USB-C.
Other than that, I really haven't found anything I don't like yet about the Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation!
I can't comment reliably yet on the battery life, as I haven't had it long enough to fairly do so, but I haven't run out of battery yet since my first charge about a month ago. Mind you, I don't read on it every single day (more like once or twice a week on average).
Amazon claims that the battery will last up to 6 weeks if you're reading on it for 30 minutes a day with the light at 13. I rarely have my light past 4-5. Note that using the audiobook feature and/or running it on Wi-Fi will drain the battery more quickly.
Verdict and Pricing
If you have a Kindle model older than 2018, I think this is definitely worth the upgrade! While other updates have introduced pretty incremental changes, this one is a significant upgrade from previous versions.
Pricing for the latest Kindle Paperwhite starts at $129.99 for the 8 gb, ad-supported, Wi-Fi only model. The same model without ads (and I recommend getting it without, personally) runs $149.99
Keep in mind that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner, and that's a great opportunity to purchase your new Kindle Paperwhite. I bought the version without ads on Prime Day for $99.99, and I expect the upcoming sale to run the same price.
More expensive options include a 32 gb model (only worth it if you're planning to use it as your primary device for audiobooks) and a version with built in cellular access so you can download books even without Wi-Fi, but for me that option wasn't worth the increased price. These days just about everyone has unlimited data on their phone, and it's easy enough to connect your Kindle to your phone's hotspot if you haven't planned ahead and downloaded what you need while you had Wi-Fi.
I actually did just that on a flight last year. I got on the plane and pulled
out my Kindle, eager to finish Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, which I'd been devouring. I didn't have my kids with me, and I was so ready to dive right into the story and stay there for the duration of the flight. I couldn't even wait for us to start taxiing away from the gate before I switched on my Kindle, only to find that my 3-year-old had been playing with it, turned it off Airplane mode, and the book had returned to my library. With only minutes before we headed to the runway and my cell would need to be turned to airplane mode, I jumped on Amazon, bought the eBook, connected my Kindle to my hotspot, and downloaded it just in the nick of time. I hate to think of my own misery had I not turned on my Kindle before we were taking off.
All in all, I really like having my Kindle. It's perfect for being able to take lots of books for traveling, for slipping in my purse, and taking to the beach. I like being able to borrow eBooks from my library without always having to go pick up a physical copy. I also sometimes download PDFs and send them to my Kindle, especially any study materials.
It's just a really handy, versatile device I utilize in addition to physical copies of books and audiobooks. Just give me all the books all the ways!
Do you own a Kindle? What do you think of it?
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