Amazon has launched an updated version of its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. With it, came a few updates, including a better backlight (with the ability to switch between warm or white backlight colors), a slightly larger screen (+0.8″), thinner borders, slightly faster, and USB-C charging. It also came with a slightly higher price tag. The company didn’t stop there though as it also launched a new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition with a few new features adding a new tier to pick from.
If you already have a Kindle Paperwhite (2018 edition), then there isn’t much of a benefit to make the jump to this year’s model. The differences are there, but not enough to justify an upgrade. It’s more of a hot buy for those looking to buy into a Kindle for the first time. From there, it’s usually best to sit on it until the Kindle stops working as it already serves its purpose so well.
The same mostly applies to the new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. This is also (currently) best for those jumping into a Kindle for the first time. However, it adds a new tier option between the normal Paperwhite model and the Kindle Oasis flagship.
One of the new features that set the Signature Edition apart from the normal Paperwhite includes an item we have spoken about in the past as being a preferred option we’d like to see in the future. That is wireless charging (along with the new USB-C wired connection). It is, in fact, the first and only Kindle model to support this. Which is quite surprising since the Oasis also got a refresh.
You also get an auto-adjusting backlight that adapts to your environment which is something interesting, as well as 32GB of internal space vs the normal 8GB you get with the other models. The latter of which isn’t too important to most users as you can still fit a lot of books within 8GB of space.
So, is it worth paying an extra $40 for the Signature Edition? It’s really hard to say. We personally think it would have been nice to see these features simply built into the normal Paperwhite edition for the year. It might have made a little sense. However, it might have run them a little more than expected in R&D and this may be how they are making up for it. It would have also made it that much harder for Amazon to justify the Oasis model.
We also feel that they should have included the wireless charger. At this point in time, Amazon sells it separately as an optional accessory ($30).
In the end, it comes down to personal preference more than anything else. It does seem to be a fantastic Kindle to get started with if you are just jumping into owning a Kindle for the first time or are upgrading from a much earlier model. However, in most cases, we feel that the average person would likely find themselves drawn to the normal Paperwhite model to save a few extra dollars as not too many people need the extra capacity (yet).
If you do find yourself drawn to the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, it is available now for order. It appears that the pre-orders got a lot of interest as it currently shows a delay in shipping leading to a December ship date if ordered now, where the normal Kindle Paperwhite is shipping within a week of current orders. So there is the question of patience as well.