Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) Review: A Good Option for Serious Readers


Back in September 2021, Amazon launched its new Kindle Paperwhite (11.)th Gen) and a Paperwhite Signature Edition with additional features. First updated back in 2018, the Kindle Paperwhite (10th generation) received an IPX8 rating and optional LTE capabilities. The new Kindle Paperwhite (11th generation) retains the IPX8 rating and features a larger display with an adjustable warm frontlight, USB Type-C port, and a slightly larger battery than the previous model, but only Wi-Fi connectivity. The Signature Edition, which we’ll be reviewing today, builds on the standard Kindle Paperwhite and adds more storage, among other useful features.

I’ve been using the Signature Edition of the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) for a few weeks now, and it’s easy to conclude that it offers good value for money at Rs. 17,999 as compared to Kindle Oasis (2019), which is priced above Rs. 21,999 for its slightly bigger display, more buttons and premium build quality. Despite the relatively reasonable price of the Signature Edition, I still think it will appeal to only a select few buyers. Why here?

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) Build Quality and Design

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition looks very similar to the standard Kindle Paperwhite. It has a plastic chassis with a rubberized texture at the back for increased grip. One small design change that easily differentiates the 2021 model from the previous one is that instead of the Amazon logo on the back panel, it’s now just a big, curved arrow (or smile). The slightly larger 1,700mAh battery adds to the new Kindle’s weight of 204g which is still pretty light.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2015 (left) and Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Signature Edition (right) side by side

The biggest design change is in the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. The bezels on the sides and top of the display have been reduced significantly compared to the previous model. The space under the screen is still fairly wide, but the overall reduced bezel size, along with the larger display (which sits flush with the front face), gives the new Paperwhite a sleek profile and a modern look. There is a slightly raised border running along the edges which provides some protection for the screen when the device is held face-down.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Back Smile Logo ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignature Edition Amazon

The new logo on the back of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021)

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has a Type-C charging port on the bottom, next to the power button. The IPX8 rating should provide protection “against up to 60 minutes in fresh water up to two meters and against accidental immersion for up to three minutes in seawater up to 0.25 meters”. according to amazon, In short, it should survive a few splashes of water or a light drizzle, but it’s best not to try to use it underwater.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) Display and Performance

The 6.8-inch display is quite large and the thin borders around the top and sides make it more prominent than the previous generation Paperwhite. It maintains the 300ppi pixel density of the older models and still has a matte glass frame around it. This glass is prone to stains, and fingerprints are noticeable here. The display is quite sharp and the legibility of text is excellent in all types of reading conditions. Whether you are at the park or indoors on a sunny day, the display looks like paper and provides a stress-free reading experience.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Front Display Amber NDTV

The lighting is adjustable, so you can change the shade from white to warm yellow

A new feature is the auto-adjustable warm frontlight. You can change the color temperature of the display, and there are 24 levels between white and yellow, making reading at night much more comfortable. Color temperature selection is also available on the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021), but only the Signature Edition can automatically adapt to surrounding lighting conditions. This is a useful feature and has worked well both indoors and out. The frontlight also turns off completely when not needed. If you hate adjusting it manually or have a habit of fumbling around while reading, this feature alone will make for a worthy upgrade from your previous generation Kindle. Note that keeping it on will affect battery life.

The narrow bezels on either side weren’t great for ergonomics. This is because I frequently touched the screen and inadvertently turned pages, as there is little room to place your thumb while holding the device, but this may be different for other users depending on habits.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Front Software ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignature Edition Amazon

A new swipe-down menu provides quick access to toggles for Airplane Mode and WhisperSync, and a settings page

a firmware update The recently launched Kindle last September brought some new software features (includes 7th to 10th generation Paperwhites). The interface also received an overhaul. There’s now a swipe-down menu (much like the notification tray on Android phones), which can be accessed from anywhere by tapping or swiping down from the top of the display. It provides quick access to toggles for Airplane Mode and WhisperSync, and a settings page.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition also has a dark mode button in the same drop-down menu. It basically reverses the colors, giving you white text on a dark background. I found it quite useful while reading at night as it reduces glare from the front lights. I wish dark mode on the Kindle also worked in sync with the adjustable light feature, and activated automatically after sunset. The software experience in general feels just as responsive and smooth as previous models (maybe even a little faster), but it’s still an e-ink display and won’t feel as fluid as today’s smartphones.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Front Dark Mode ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignature Edition Amazon

Dark Mode helps reduce glare from the frontlight while reading at night

Battery life in general was pretty good. Your experience will depend on your usage, specifically the brightness of the frontlight and how often your device is connected to Wi-Fi. With my casual use (about an hour every day), I didn’t need to charge it during the review period, and was left with about 60 percent after two weeks. Serious readers who use this device for a few hours a day can expect to go about two weeks between charges, which is still excellent.

Wireless charging is supported, and works as expected with the standard Qi wireless charger for smartphones. Placing the unit on the wireless charging dock displays a small pop-up with animation showing that the device is being charged. The only catch is that the Kindle (being much wider than most smartphones) needs to be placed in contact with your wireless charger with its exact center in order for it to work.

The new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has 32GB of storage, of which 27.3GB is usable. For most users, the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021)’s 8GB capacity will suffice, but if you’re an avid reader and want to access a ton of books at all times, the Signature Edition’s 32GB might be of use.

Decision

Priced at Rs 17,999, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is worth the price considering its 32GB storage and all the extra features compared to the standard version. The auto-adjusting frontlight and wireless charging are useful enough once you get used to using them, but they may only appeal to a specific crowd. More useful updates such as a bigger display with thinner bezels and a USB Type-C port are also available on the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021), which starts at Rs. 4,000 less. Meanwhile, the Kindle Oasis (2019) remains the most premium Kindle experience, with more color options, a premium ergonomic design, dedicated buttons for turning pages, and optional free 4G connectivity.

professionals

  • 32GB Storage
  • Auto-adjusting the brightness of the frontlight
  • smooth body
  • USB Type-C Port
  • best battery life
  • wireless charging

Shortcoming

  • Narrow bezels make it a bit uncomfortable to hold

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