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

Kindle Kindle Paperwhite

Should I get a Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite?  That is the question many of our readers have asked us.  In this article, we will do a detailed comparison between the “Basic Kindle” and the Kindle Paperwhite and provide our recommendation as to which is the better buy for you based on your needs.  Is it worth to upgrade?  How does the Kindle compare to the latest ‘Kindle Paperwhite? What are the pros and cons when we compare basic Kindle Vs Kindle Paperwhite?

Kindle Basic Overview

There is no doubt that the Amazon Kindle is indeed an excellent dedicated e-reader that can change your reading experience.  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 9 years ago in 2007 and was priced at $399? Today, the basic Kindle sells for less than 1/3 of that and is thinner, lighter, and faster.  In fact now, Amazon has a line of Kindle readers designed to satisfy readers of all 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.  It is easy to see why – it offers a number of features compared to the basic Kindle and it sells for under $200 making it quite affordable.  But the basic Kindle is a bargain at less than half the price.   So are the features worth the price?

The decision ultimately comes down to what you need.  The table below describes the technical specs of each model

KINDLE PAPERWHITEKINDLE 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

So as you can see, the biggest difference between the Paperwhite and the Basic Kindle is that resolution and the built in 4-Led light as well as Free 3G connectivity that will let you use your Kindle in over 100 countries for free.  Of course, the price is also a factor and you can find out today’s pricing on Amazon below:



Which one is the better device for reading books – Paperwhite Vs Kindle?

We feel that 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 in the plane (like when that guy opens his sunshade and a flood of light comes in), and also when it is dark such as 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 back light 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 you are a casual reader that plans to use it during the day or from time to time, we would suggest saving the money and buying the Basic Kindle.  Regardless of which one you buy, we highly recommend you buy it directly from Amazon so that you get the full warranty and service that Amazon is known for.

What is good about the Basic Kindle?  What are its features?

Kindle Basic
Kindle Basic – Now in White & Black Colors

The Basic Kindle is fantastic because it is small, light and extremely portable.  Our tests also show that it is quite durable and can easily be packaged in a suitcase, backpack without too much wear and tear.  Furthermore, due to the size, it can even fit into your pocket or purse without it feeling very heavy since it weighs less than 6 ounce.  For reading, it has the same 6” display as Kindle Paperwhite.  It can be held with one hand and there is no glare.

Amazon has updated the basic Kindle often 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 certainly the trend and we are unlikely to see Amazon go back to a physical controller anytime soon.  The advantage of a touchscreen, however, is the improved typing ability so that you can take notes and make comments easily.  The previous controller made it difficult to type as you would have to literally click through the on screen keyboard.

We believe the basic Kindle is an overall incredible value. It is the cheapest version of Kindle line and 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).  Moreover, having an external reading light wouldn’t strain the Kindle’s battery life so you can theoretically use it longer (although since the battery lasts for weeks, this is a mute point).

Kindle is an excellent deal with all the features of a first-rate e-reader. People who are not so passionate about touch screen or the Paperwhite built-in light would be quite happy with Kindle.

What is good about the 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 crisp and laser quality.  The patented built-in light is in a league of its own.  It’s patented display consists of three layers to deliver a comfortable and amazing reading experience.

The lighting is beautifully done to get perfectly balanced whiteness. It has 4 low-power LED lights that project over the cover, so that you can read at dark with no eye strain or sun glare.  The light is not uneven like a reading light that you can attach to a Kindle (see example) or one that is above you.  Please note you can customize the light with 24 different levels but 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 getting a 3G+Wi-Fi or a Wi-Fi only version.  The basic Kindle comes with Wi-Fi connectivity only.  For many folks it’s a lot more convenient to use 3G services to download books as Wi-Fi hotspots are not always available and the 3g services are available in over 100 countries.  Amazon provides the 3G service for free in all of these areas, which means you can download and browse books on the go in most major countries around the world.  This is a huge advantage for the traveling reader.

What is 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 made both devices have touchscreens 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 excellent build quality and we feel that it is likely that you will be satisfied regardless of which Kindle you buy.

Overall Verdict

Choose Kindle – if you want a basic e-reader without too many features and you want to spend less.  It’s a great choice just for reading books casually.

Choose Kindle Paperwhite – if you are a serious reader that reads several hours per week or in varying situations.  You will love the enhanced self illumination as well as crisper text for the price.  If you are planning on keeping it for the long term, the price difference is not all that much compared to the use.

Amazon regularly offers deals 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 is 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 USB cables for different places.  The official one from Amazon is high quality and doesn’t fall apart like the cheap ones.
  5. Tempered Glass Protector – Prevent your screen from scratches and even from cracking in certain occasions with a Tempered Glass Protector.

More In Depth Reviews

If you would like more information on these two devices checkout 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 the Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Dot

Updated: December 20, 2016

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

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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.