Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) Review: A Great Option for the Serious Reader

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In September 2021, Amazon launched its new Kindle Paperwhite (11th generation) and a Paperwhite Signature Edition with additional functions. The Kindle Paperwhite (10th Generation) was updated back in 2018 and received an IPX8 rating and optional LTE features. The new Kindle Paperwhite (11. The Signature Edition we’re reviewing today builds on the standard Kindle Paperwhite, adding more storage space and other handy features.

I’ve been using the Signature Edition of the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) for a few weeks now and I can easily conclude that it is good value for money at Rs. 17,999 compared to Kindle Oasis (2019) which is priced higher at Rs. 21,999 for its slightly larger display, more buttons and first-class build quality. Despite the relatively low price of the Signature Edition, I think that it will only appeal to a select group of buyers. Here’s why.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) Build quality and design

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition looks exactly like the standard Kindle Paperwhite. It has a plastic chassis with a rubberized texture on the back for support. One small design change that slightly differentiates the 2021 models from previous ones is that there is now just a large, curved arrow (or smile) instead of the Amazon logo on the back. The slightly larger battery with 1,700 mAh contributes to the weight of the new Kindle of 204 g, which is still very light.

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

The biggest design change from the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is on the front. The frames on the sides and above the display have been drastically reduced compared to the previous model. The space under the screen is still quite wide, but the overall reduced frame size along with the larger display (which is flush with the front) gives the new Paperwhite a sleeker profile and a modern look. A slightly raised edge runs along the edges to protect the screen a little when the device is placed face down.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 back smile logo ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignatureEdition 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. According to Amazon, the IPX8 rating should “protect against accidental immersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes and up to three minutes in up to 0.25 meters of sea water”. In short, it should survive a few splashes of water or a light drizzle, but it’s best if you don’t try it underwater.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition display and performance (2021)

The 6.8-inch display is quite large, and the narrower bezels on the top and sides make it more noticeable compared to the previous generation Paperwhite. It retains the 300ppi pixel density of older models and still has a matte glass frame. This glass is quite prone to staining and fingerprints are noticeable here. The display is fairly sharp and text legibility is excellent in all types of reading conditions. Whether on a sunny day in the park or inside, the display appears like paper and ensures a stress-free reading experience.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 front display amber ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignatureEdition Amazon

The light is adjustable so you can change the hue from white to a warm yellow

The automatically adjustable warm front light is new. You can change the color temperature of the display, and there are 24 levels between white and yellow that make reading a lot more comfortable at night. The selection of the color temperature is also available for the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021), but only the Signature Edition can automatically adapt to the ambient light conditions. It’s a useful feature and worked well both indoors and outdoors. The front light even switches itself off completely when it is not needed. If you hate manually adjusting it or moving around while reading, this feature alone is a worthy upgrade from any previous generation Kindle you own. Please note that switching on the device will affect the service life of the battery.

The narrow bezels on both sides weren’t exactly good for ergonomics. This is because I have often touched the screen and accidentally turned the pages as there is very little room for my thumb when holding the device, but this may be different for other users based on their habit.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 front software ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignatureEdition Amazon

A new swipe menu provides quick access to toggles for airplane mode and WhisperSync and the settings page

A firmware update last September brought some new software features to recently launched Kindles (7th to 10th generation of Paperwhites included). The interface has also been revised. There’s now a swipe-down menu (similar to the notification bar on Android phones) that 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, as well as the settings page.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition also has a dark mode button in the same drop-down menu. This basically inverts the colors so you get white text on a dark background. I found it very useful when reading at night as it reduces glare from the front light. I wish the dark mode on the Kindle would also work synchronously with the adjustable light function and be activated automatically after sunset. The software experience generally feels as responsive and fluid as it was on previous models (maybe even a little faster), but it’s still an e-ink display and doesn’t feel as fluid as it does on today’s smartphones.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Front Dark Mode ndtv AmazonKindlePaperwhiteSignatureEdition Amazon

The dark mode helps reduce glare from the front light when reading at night

The battery life was generally quite good. Your experience depends a lot on your usage, especially the brightness of the front light and how often your device is connected to the WiFi. With my occasional use (around an hour a day), I didn’t need to charge it during the trial period and stayed at around 60 percent after two weeks. Serious readers who use this device a few hours a day can expect around two weeks between charges, which is still excellent.

Wireless charging is supported and works as expected with a standard Qi wireless charger for smartphones. When you place the device on a wireless charging base, a small pop-up will appear with an animation indicating that the device is charging. The only catch is that the Kindle (which is much wider than most smartphones) needs to be placed so that its exact center is in contact with your wireless charger for this to work.

The new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has 32 GB of storage space, of which 27.3 GB are usable. For most users, the 8GB capacity of the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021) will be enough, but if you’re a voracious reader and want to access a ton of books at all times, the Signature Edition’s 32GB could come in handy.

verdict

Priced at Rs. 17,999, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is well worth the price considering it has 32GB of storage and all of the extra features it offers over the standard version. The auto-adjusting front light and wireless charging are very useful once you get used to them, but they may only appeal to a niche audience. More useful updates like the larger display with thinner frame and USB Type-C port are also available for the standard Kindle Paperwhite (2021), which costs Rs. 4000 less. Meanwhile, the Kindle Oasis (2019) remains the highest quality Kindle experience, with more color options, premium ergonomic design, dedicated page flip buttons, and optional free 4G connectivity.

benefits

  • 32 GB memory
  • Automatically adjust the brightness of the front light
  • Slim body
  • USB Type-C connector
  • Excellent battery life
  • Wireless charging

disadvantage

  • Narrow bezels make holding a bit impractical

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