Among Amazon’s current e-readers, the new Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is a mid-size model that packs everything you need to read, but the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has just a little more.
The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is essentially a renamed version of Paperwhite’s higher storage configuration, with the aforementioned extras (wireless charging and auto-sensing screen dimmer). We don’t think the bonus perks justify the Signature Edition’s significantly higher price tag, but if someone wanted to pay for more features, this is the model to go for.
The Signature Edition has the same design as the standard 2021 Kindle Paperwhite, which is the eReader’s first upgrade since 2018. Both versions have obvious improvements over the 2018 eReader, such as smaller borders around the eReader. ‘screen and a larger screen of 6.8 inches (up to six inches on their predecessor).
While the 2021 eReader doesn’t have a drastically different visual design than its predecessor, retaining the E Ink front screen and plastic back, Amazon claims the screen is 10% brighter at peak brightness than the model. 2018, although it maintains the same 300 pixels per inch of density.
Kindle fans will applaud the addition of some long overdue Paperwhite upgrades, including replacing the micro-USB with a USB-C charging port. Battery life has also increased to 10 weeks, according to Amazon claims, which is significantly longer than the six weeks we got with the 2018 Paperwhite.
The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 still starts at 8GB of storage, which is enough for many books and some additional media. If you want the larger 32GB option, go for the Signature Edition.
The Signature Edition is an improvement for a slightly more affordable e-reader than the deluxe Kindle Oasis, especially with wireless charging – a feature that even the most expensive model lacks.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition price and release date 2021
The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 remains Amazon’s entry-level e-reader, between the base Kindle and the Kindle Oasis, and the Signature Edition is a more expensive version that costs $ 189 (around £ 139 / AU $ 250). For that price, you get more internal storage (32GB) and some premium features like wireless charging and automatic brightness adjustment.
Considering the extra features, it makes sense that the new Signature Edition has a price increase over the 32GB version of the Kindle Paperwhite 2018, which cost $ 159 / £ 149 / AU $ 249. It still costs more than the standard Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with 8GB of storage, which is priced at $ 139 (around £ 100 / AU $ 190), but if you want more space for books and a bigger screen to read them, the Signature edition is for you.
Design and display
The new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 hasn’t changed much from its predecessor in terms of looks, as it’s still an E Ink front display and black plastic. It’s still a flat slate with no buttons, so you’ll have to drag and tap to navigate the screen. This is fine for those who have the patience to put up with slow transitions when turning a page, but it can be boring for faster readers trying to get through a real page turner.
If you want buttons, you’ll want to go for the Kindle Oasis, a more expensive model than the Signature Edition. But you should know that the Oasis hasn’t been updated since 2019, so the new Signature Edition has some upgrades that its more expensive sibling lacks (the aforementioned wireless charging and an automatic dimmer).
New to the Paperwhites 2021 is a USB-C port at the bottom, which replaced the aging micro USB. Next to the port is the power button, which only really gets in the way if you’re holding the eReader upright (for example, for some product photos), so you’re unlikely to accidentally bump it and turn your device off.
As mentioned earlier, the new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a 6.8-inch E Ink display, which is noticeably larger than the 6-inch screen of the Paperwhite 2018. But don’t expect the 2021 display to come in. or sharper because it still has the same density of 300 pixels per inch.
However, the text is clearly displayed on the e-reader. The Paperwhite’s front light allows users to read in the dark without hard blue light. The eReader also has adjustable warm light and white on black dark mode to relieve eye strain for those reading in a dark environment.
The Paperwhite has an IPX8 waterproof rating (but no dust resistance), which means it can be submerged up to two meters for an hour – enough to save it from accidental spills or dives in the pool. , but don’t leave it in the water for too long.
Like most e-readers, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a non-glossy E Ink display that looks like paper. This means that reading on a Kindle is more pleasing to the eyes than reading books or viewing media on tablet LCDs or OLEDs. The Paperwhite is also easy to hold and quite light at 205g (the Signature Edition is only slightly heavier at 208g). These Paperwhite are only a little heavier than most smartphones.
The Paperwhite 2021 features Amazon’s Kindle operating system and interface, with easy navigation and animation as you turn the pages. Unlike other eReaders which have buttons to move around, you will only be able to swipe while browsing Paperwhite.
Being limited to scanning can be annoying if you’re used to different eReader interfaces. Even the Kindle smartphone app has different touch controls: tap the center of the screen and you’ll bring up the menu and navigation bars when reading on a phone. With Signature Edition, you will need to tap the top of the screen.
The Paperwhite also offers Amazon’s assortment of reading tools: you can search for word definitions, sync pages between Kindle devices and apps via the Whispersync feature, and track characters and terms with X-Ray. Note that these features are only available for eReader formats, although there are limited format, size, and font choices for other file formats such as PDFs.
The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition comes with 32 GB of storage, but with the operating system and other basic data taking up space, you will have around 27 GB to store the media. Still, books typically only take up around 1MB each, so you might be able to store tens of thousands of works without any issues. We downloaded our entire Kindle library and didn’t even use a single gigabyte (full disclosure, we don’t have a lot of large file formats like audiobooks or graphic novels).
Amazon claims the Kindle Paperwhite lasts up to 10 weeks on a full charge. Whether this is true for you will depend on various factors. In our experience, we were able to drain 4% over a 24 hour period by keeping the screen at maximum brightness while casually reading. Under these conditions, the battery would not last more than approximately 3.5 weeks without a charge. Battery life may fluctuate based on other factors as well, including the length of reading sessions.
Suffice it to say that it is difficult to fully verify Amazon’s claims, but the use of power saving methods such as dimming the brightness and keeping Power Save mode on ( default) will definitely help the battery last longer.
The eReader includes a USB-C cable in the box, but no wall charger – you’ll need to provide it yourself. The maximum charging speed of 9W is not that fast as that of other devices, but maybe there is no need to have a faster one since you can fully charge the device in about 2, 5 hours, according to Amazon estimates.
Wireless charging, which is compatible with any Qi charger, is exclusive to the Signature Edition, but it can be difficult to operate. Sometimes we could charge our device on a notebook, but at other times we couldn’t place it in the right position to allow the wireless charger to do its job.
Should You Buy the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition?
Buy it if …
Want a sleeker e-reader with less bezel
The Paperwhite 2021 design is a step up from the 2018 model, with thinner bezels and a larger 6.8-inch screen. The new model also looks a bit sharper.
You want more storage space on your eReader
While you can surely store a ton of books in the standard 8GB Kindle Paperwhite 2021, the Signature Edition’s 32GB storage also ensures enough space for plenty of audiobooks and graphic novels.
Want more premium eReader benefits at a (relatively) lower price
The Signature Edition has several perks like USB-C, wireless charging, and an auto-adjusting screen that even the more expensive Kindle Oasis doesn’t have, making it a more attractive option (though. you don’t need button navigation).
Don’t buy it if …
Want to read comics (or anything in color) on your eReader
E-Ink displays like on the Signature Edition are monochrome, which is great for battery life, but not for media worth seeing in color, like comics. If you like colorful graphic novels and vivid comics, go for a traditional tablet like the Amazon Fire HD 8 or even a cheap ipad.
You want a more premium e-reader
The Signature Edition has smaller bezels, but still the same plastic case and back. If you want a more premium e-reader, get the more expensive Kindle Oasis (which has a more refined metal frame).
Want an e-reader that’s easier to hold in one hand
The Signature Edition has a symmetrical design that looks cool, but can be difficult to operate with one hand. If you like to read on the go or while cooking, go for the Kindle Oasis or the Kobo Balance H20, both of which have asymmetric layouts conducive to one-handed holding.
First revision: November 2021