When Amazon released its revamped Kindle Oasis last year, we called it the best ereader of all time. But $250 is lot to spend on something that’s essentially a single-purpose device. So, to shore up the other end of its ereader line, Amazon has made a new Kindle Paperwhite sporting many of the high-end features found on the Oasis, but with a much more reasonable price.
Now for those of you who fear change, don’t worry, because unlike the square, asymmetrical Oasis, the new Papwerwhite has retained a more traditional book shape. It features a new plastic display that Amazon claims is more durable (and just as scratch-resistant) as the old glass panel, along with a fifth LED backlight that should deliver brighter and more even illumination, and a design that sits completely flush with the Kindle’s bezels.
Meanwhile, the new Paperwhite’s plastic body is now 10-percent thinner and lighter, while still retaining the same 6-inch 300 PPI e-ink screen found on the existing model. And thanks to newly added IPX8 water-resistance, the 2018 Paperwhite is joining the Oasis as the only other Kindle that’s not afraid to get wet. For beach goers, Amazon even says that the new Paperwhite should be able to withstand a dip in the ocean, just so long as you rinse it off with fresh water later.
Inside, the new Paperwhite’s home screen has been improved with a new card system that can do things like suggest other books or authors you might like, display helpful tips or trivia, or even show stats about your recent reading habits. And for Kindles that get shared between multiple users, or just people with varied reading preferences, the 2018 Paperwhite features a new font settings list that lets you switch between various user-created templates with just a few quick taps.
Like the Oasis, the new Paperwhite is also getting Audible audiobooks playback (via Bluetooth headphone connectivity), and support for Amazon’s Whispersync software so you can switch between a standard ebook and audio without losing your place. And to make sure there’s enough room to hold both ebooks and audiobooks, the Paperwhite’s base storage has doubled from 4GB to 8GB, with an option for a new 32GB model that can be had with or without 3G connectivity. Strangely, Amazon has decided to stick with micro USB for charging instead of moving on to USB-C, ostensibly to help keep things consistent across the entire Kindle range.
Sadly, although Amazon execs declined to talk about what’s going on with the Voyage as its remaining stock continues to run dry, the new Paperwhite looks like it should fill the gap between the basic $80 Kindle and the $250 just fine.
The new Kindle Paperwhite starts at $129 for the 8GB model with special offers (aka ads on the lock screen), or $159 for the 32GB version. Pre-orders for both are available today, before shipments go out November 7th.