Kindle Vs Kindle Paperwhite – Compare to Pick The Right Kindle – 2017

Kindle Kindle Paperwhite

Should I get a Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite?

This is the question many of you have written in to ask us.

In today’s article, we’ll give you a detailed comparison between the Basic Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite then serve up our recommendation as to which would best suit your needs.

Is it worth to upgrade?

How does the Kindle compare to the latest Kindle Paperwhite?

What are the pros and cons of the basic Kindle compared to Kindle Paperwhite?

These are just some of the questions we’ll be addressing today. First, though, a brief overview of the basic Kindle…

Kindle Basic Overview

Amazon Kindle is indeed a dedicated e-reader that punches above its weight.

The Kindle is by far the world’s most popular e-reader and Amazon invests heavily to continuously update the product with new features.

Can you believe the first Kindle was released back in 2007 and was priced at $399?

Today, the basic Kindle sells for less than one-third of that and is thinner, lighter, and faster.

Amazon has also developed a whole line of Kindle devices designed to satisfy all tastes and budgets including the Paperwhite, Voyage, and Oasis.

We have reviewed the other Kindle models here (Voyage) and here (Oasis).

Kindle Vs Kindle Paperwhite – Technical Comparisons

Amazon states that the Kindle Paperwhite is its best selling e-reader out of the entire line.

Packed with more features than the basic Kindle but still reasonably priced, Paperwhite is a solid choice for anyone with a reasonably fluid budget wanting a slighly more advanced experience.

That said, the basic Kindle represents a real bargain at less than half the price.

So are the features of Paperwhite worth the extra money?

The decision ultimately comes down to what you need and how much you can comfortably afford to spend.

The table below describes the technical specs of each model…

Display TechnologyPaperwhite Built-in lightE Ink Pearl (No Built in Light)
Resolution/Pixel density300 Pixels per inch167 Pixels per inch
Connectivity3G + Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi onlyWi-Fi only
Dimension6.7" x 4.6" x 0.36"6.3" x 4.5" x 0.36"
Weight7.6 oz (3G+Wi-Fi) and 7.2 oz (Wi-Fi only)5.7 oz
Battery life8 weeks wireless off4 weeks wireless off
InterfaceTouchscreen Touchscreen
Screen Size6 inch glare free 6 inch glare free

As you can see, the biggest difference between Paperwhite and the basic Kindle is the resolution and the built-in 4-LED light as well as free Wi-Fi connectivity so you can use your Kindle in over 100 countries free of charge.

Of course, price is always a factor and you can find out today’s pricing on Amazon below:



Which One Is Better For Reading Books – Paperwhite Vs Kindle?

We feel the Kindle Paperwhite provides a significant upgrade for those who read often.

This is especially important in conditions such as bright sunlight (like when you’re reading on the beach) or on a plane (like when that guy opens his sunshade and a flood of light comes in). It’s also handy when it’s dark (like when you are in bed and your partner wants to sleep while you read).

The Kindle Paperwhite reads just like paper but has the added benefit of not hurting your eyes when it is dark.  The basic Kindle does not have a backlight so in our tests, we found it difficult to read at night.

As Amazon states, the “Kindle Paperwhite guides light toward the surface of the display with its built-in front light—unlike back-lit tablets that shine in your eyes—so you can read comfortably for hours without eyestrain.”

Our recommendation is that if you want the flexibility of being able to read in different conditions and at all times of the day, go for the Paperwhite .

If, on the other hand, you’re a casual reader that plans to use it during the day or only occasionally, we would suggest saving the money and buying the Basic Kindle.

Regardless of which one you buy, we strongly suggest you buy it directly from Amazon so that you get the full warranty and service that Amazon is famous for.

What’s So Good About The Basic Kindle? What Are Its Features?

Kindle Basic
Kindle Basic – Now in White & Black Colors

The Basic Kindle is a strong choice for it’s diminutive size and extreme portability.

Our tests also show it’s pretty durable and can easily be packaged in a suitcase or backpack without too much wear and tear.

You can even pop it in your pocket without feeling weighed down since it tips the scales at less than  6-oz.

For reading, it has the same 6” display as Kindle Paperwhite. It can be held with one hand and there is no meaningful glare.

Amazon has frequently updated the basic Kindle and in 2016, announced that the new Kindle would have a touchscreen instead of the old 5-way physical controller.  While some users have complained that they preferred the physical buttons, the touchscreen is here to stay and we are unlikely to see Amazon go back to a physical controller anytime soon. The advantage of a touchscreen is improved typing ability so you can take notes and make comments easily. The previous controller made things difficult since you had to literally click through the on-screen keyboard.

The basic Kindle offers overall incredible value. It is the cheapest version of the Kindle line so if you want to save some money, the product would work just fine at night with a reading light (though the lighting will be uneven across the Kindle). Also, having an external reading light puts less strain the Kindle’s battery life.

Kindle is a great budget e-reader with many of the features of a more expensive device.

What’s So Good About Paperwhite Compared To the Basic Kindle?paperwhite-features

The best thing about the Kindle Paperwhite is its display technology.  It has an amazing resolution of 300 pixels per inch making text appears laser crisp.

The patented built-in light is in a league of its own with 3 layers delivering a comfortable and stellar reading experience.

The lighting helps achieve perfectly balanced whiteness. It has 4 low-power LED lights that project over the cover so you can read at night with no eye strain and outside without sun glare. The light is not uneven like a reading light that you can attach to a Kindle or one positioned above you. While you can customize the light with 24 different levels, you can’t turn it off.

The light is not supposed to drain the battery life as it uses low-power LEDs. In fact, our tests show that the Paperwhite lasts for several weeks which we feel is more than enough for the majority of users.

Lastly, with the Paperwhite, you have the option of a 3G+Wi-Fi or a Wi-Fi only version. The basic Kindle comes with Wi-Fi connectivity only. For many people, it’s a lot more convenient to use 3G services to download books as Wi-Fi hotspots are not always available and 3G services are available in over 100 countries. Amazon provides the 3G service free of charge which means you can download and browse books on the go with ease. This is a huge advantage for the traveling reader.

What’s Bad About Paperwhite Compared To Kindle

The price is the only thing that puts the Paperwhite at a disadvantage.

Compared to the Basic Kindle, we feel that the Paperwhite is a bit overpriced for adding what is essentially a better reading light and slightly better resolution display.

In 2016, Amazon gave both devices touchscreen so this eliminates a significant difference between the two.

Therefore, we recommend you look at your overall lifestyle and use to determine whether the Paperwhite is worth the price you pay. Both devices have superb build quality and we feel it’s highly likely either model will satisfy you depending on your requirements and expectations.

Overall Verdict

Choose Kindle – If you want a basic e-reader without too many features and you want to save a few bucks. It’s a fantastic choice for the casual reader.

Choose Kindle Paperwhite – If you are a serious, heavy reader demanding performance in varying environments. You’ll love the enhanced self-illumination as well as the crisper, clearer text. If you are planning on keeping it for the long haul, the price difference is not such a big deal.

Amazon regularly offers discounts and promotions with the Kindle.

Find out current prices, promotions, and look into more details of each model on the Amazon website by clicking the links below:




Must-Have Accessories for Kindle

Regardless of which Kindle model you choose, here are the top 5 accessories for Kindle under $25 that every owner should have:

  1. A protective case – We feel the Fintie Kindle Paperwhite case offers the best combination of protection without sacrificing usability.  The reviews speak for themselves
  2. Squaretrade Warranty – Protect your investment for a fraction of the price with a Squaretrade warranty.  Squaretrade has amazing customer service and covers everything
  3. A rapid wall charger – The Kindle does not come with a wall charger.  Again, our choice is the fast charger from Amazon which charges it in just 4 hours
  4. A quality USB Cable – Everyone needs plenty of USB cables.  The official one from Amazon is high quality and doesn’t fall apart like the cheaper ones tend to
  5. Tempered Glass Protector – Prevent your screen from scratches and even from cracking with a Tempered Glass Protector.

More In-Depth Reviews

If you would like more information on these 2 devices, check out our individual reviews:

Amazon Basic Kindle Review – Choosing Basic Kindle Over Advanced Kindle

Kindle Paperwhite 3G Review – Why Would You Pay More And Buy Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Echo vs Amazon Dot New! – Compare Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Dot

Last updated by at .

Leave a Reply

48 Comments on "Kindle Vs Kindle Paperwhite – Compare to Pick The Right Kindle – 2017"

newest oldest most voted
Bhuban Kar

I wd like to have a comparision between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle.


This is only the technology. Paper white have inbuilt back light and kindle touch don’t. Apart from this the only difference is the price. Paper white is just double. Frankly when you are in dark and try reading paper white it will actually effect your sight. So always go for simple kindle touch.. New technology paper white is still under experimental stage. Trust me, you wont regret buying simple kindle. Go for it. I have 1000 of PDF and now they are in my kindle. Web browser is also good enough for simple browsing.


Hi shashank. Could u pls tell me, if the basic kindle is readable enough under a dim CFL bulb. My physical books are readablenunder this light. How much light would be required to read nasic kindle without strain?


I need a device to download textbook pdfs through my gmail without internet at my house.
I go somewhere , download the large book then take the device (tablet or reader) and the loaded information away from available internet connection offgrid. Please guide me to an effective solution without eye strain. Thank you

Paperwhite Wi-Fi & Free 3G is what you want. You can email yourself the textbooks to your kindle email, and it will download. If you get the Kindle with the 3G, you won’t have to go anywhere to download the PDFs, the device gives you free internet download capabilities. They all come with Wi-Fi — that’s what allows you to read and flip pages and all. I guess you would still have to go somewhere to email the PDF from your Gmail account, but nonetheless, you can download it at home. So if someone else sent it to your Kindle… Read more »

It’s probably too late for Ben, but if you read this comment don’t listen to Catherina!! Kindle does not read PDF and you will need to convert it to Amazon proprietary formats such as *.mobi !


you can read pdf in kindle. I read the pdf in my kindle


ive got a mix of the two


I love my kindle paper white. To me he kindle doesn’t even come close to comparing. The touch screen is a fantastic feature. No confusing buttons, and the back lit screen is the absolute best and it’s still light wt compared to the fire which I gave to my daughter mainly because of the wt.

Arnold Cooper

I have a new Kindlepaperlight. It has disconnected my Amazon Kindle. Why can’t I have both?
What can I do to get my Amazon Kindle back, I prefer it.


I have a regular kindle and now for Christmas I received a paper white. When I order, how can I make sure it goes to the paper white and not my old kindle?


Irene, go to Amazon and register your new Kindle. Call it something like Paper White so you can tell the difference between the two. When you buy your books you are given a choice on which device to send the books to. I think it is under the buy button. Happy reading.


I want to give my old Kindle to my husband and get the Paperwhite for myself as I like to read in the dark in bed and not have the bedside light on, as it disturbs my husband and wakes the dog. Wondering if I register them both on my Amazon account then I can use both and have the same books on both? Or on my iPhone? Which I read books on if I am traveling with just a carryon bag.
Thank you for advice.


I need to have a kindle before I can compare the two books.

Frank Bedrick

Would the Kindle Paperwhite be a good choice for my brother-n-law for reading books and newspaper electronic versions. He lives in an area that does not have daily newspaper delivery, and we want to give him something that would serve both purposes. Your recommendations would be appreciated. FB

Ethan Hoyer

Yes, Kindle Paperwhite is a good choice though more expensive because of the improved resolution and built-in light.


Dear go for kindle touch. No paper white. It has same resolution what paper white have


My older kindle I could turn off the 3G to save battery power my new 3G/wireless there doesn’t seem to be a way to do this? Am I missing something?


Yes, you’re missing the ability to turn off the 3g

Tony Nwaka

I am new to the kindle experience. Why is my paperwhite kindle not showing in colour. It only shows black and white. I want to subscribe to magazines but I am worried it will not appear in colour. What shall I do to bring colour to my kindle?


You need to get a kindle fire for color. You probably figured that out by now. bTW, there is now a $49 Kindle fire. I love my basic kindle touch because hours of reading lighted screens hurts my eyes. I still do it on my tablet, but I like that I have a choice to use an unlighted screen. I also wanted something small and portable besides my phone, which is also a lighted screen.


I have a paperwhite, which I love!
Can you still read from it while it is charging?


I wanted to know whether books could only be Bought from the amazon store, or can I download pdf files and transfer them to the kindle device?


You can 🙂 its like a USB stick, just give it a go!

Sourav Sarkar

Can anyone please tell me that in normal lighting conditions, which one is less straining to the eyes: kindle or kindle paperwhite?

Rohith Pillai

The Kindle doesn’t have any built in lights, so there’s no way it can strain your eyes. So the best answer to this question would be the paperwhite.


I currently have a Kindle Touch, which is going on three years old and is wearing out (battery only lasts a few days as opposed to two months). Anyway, I purchased a Kindle Paperwhite on sale ($99), which was about the same I paid for my Kindle Touch. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Mary Hogan

Hi would the regular kindle screen be ok to read outdoors in bright sunlight ?

Ethan Hoyer

Yes, all kindle readers uses E-Ink screen and ideal to read in sunlight.


I got my Kindle Paperwhite for $19.00 on a lightning deal on Amazon. I’m really happy with it. I can buy books on Amazon directly as well as upload any documents directly to it. I love the backlight giving it real paper white effects. I can control the brightness to suit me. I do not own a kindle but do own a Kindle Fire & a Fire Phone. You can manage your ebooks online where/which device it is to be delivered.


Can I read personal pdf files using kindle? Can I copy those to kindle from my PC? or only downloaded files can be read?


I could do that on a third gen kindle keyboard so I am pretty sure you could do it on a more modern keyboard. Websurfing on a basic kindle is possible but not the best. It’s really for reading books.


I’am fed up paying Sterling /Dollar prices on a kindle actually i go for the free books and have found some great writers ok next book 2 you pay for if i find a writer i like I’will wait for their first book to be published they deserve it you have to hold a book to read it


Can anyone please tell me that in normal lighting conditions, which one is less straining to the eyes: kindle or kindle paperwhite?

Michael Taylor

The kindle paperwhite is the best for your eyes, its the closest thing you can get to reading real paper in digital format. The backlight can be adjusted in any lighting condition pretty easily (by pressing the light icon in the menu) so that its perfected backlit for any occasion.

Saif Khan

Exactly my toughts! I went in to buy Paperwhite but ultimately felt that what it offered as compared to the ‘regular’ Kindle does not justify the price. I would definitely have bought Paperwhite , even if it came with a slightly larger screen.


How do I operate my kindle paper white? Forget how to find books

Michael Taylor

Have you updated the software recently? If you have a pre-2013 model and havnt updated to the latest software, the amazon made your books inaccessible. You would need to manually update your kindle by connecting it to your computer.

Kasen Wysong

Michael, thank you so much for this insightful article. I am a college student with little/next-to-none extra money to spend. I was sweating over whether I should invest in a Paperwhite or go with the less expensive Kindle. I think I will be able to make my decision with much more clarity now. Again, thanks for this candid comparison of the Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite!

Michael Taylor

Im glad that we could help, please dont hesitate to ask any further questions you might have.



Johannes Widlund

Is there any difference in software at all? Like the functions where you can look up and save words (if you’re for instance reading in another language and don’t get all the words)

Karunakar Shetty

I am a senior citizen, heart patient and diabetic. I am interested in reading Ancient and Modern Indian History, World History. South Indian- Mangalorean Veg and Non Veg, and breakfast Food, Vastu, Numerology, Bhagwatgeeta, Upanishads, Vedas, Chanakya’s Arthashastra, and all Vedic literature. Is it possible to get all the books referred above in built for me in the Kindle?

with regards,

Karunakar Shetty


Love it I’m going to get the paperwhite one


Does it only come in a 6″ size? That’s all I saw.

Khush Bakht

I am in desperate need of knowing if Kindle Paperwhite allows reading Arabic fonts and has the capability to read from right to left? I want to buy one but it would break my heart if I could not read the Quran on it.


It’s very clear explanation.
I would get one and confusing between Kindle vs Paperwhite.
Thanks for your sharing.