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[Pros & Cons] Kindle Paperwhite 2021: 1 Month In!

Advantadges and disadvantages of the Kindle Paperwhite

It took me longer than I care to admit but finally, after years of pushing it off, constantly finding excuses not to take the plunge I finally got myself a Kindle Paperwhite

Since I first read about the Kindle Paperwhite way back in 2012, I knew that I would get myself that specific Kindle model. I can't quite explain why since I didn't really know what made for a good or bad e-reader so I had no idea why I subconsciously chose the Paperwhite but nevertheless that was my choice.

I gave it to myself as a self Christmas present. I'll confess I tried to get my husband to buy it for me. However, after buying me the Oculus Quest, the Treadmill, and who knows how many other presents that ended up being used only on special occasions the poor guy was - understandably - adamant to get me a Kindle. 

Like all Kindle buyers, I reached a breaking point that pushed me in that direction. The specific breaking point is the one that happens when you add up how much money you've spent on physical books over the past year and at the same time see all the books you didn't read on your iPad's library. It's gloomy guys.

I know, I know. I can read on the iPad, there's airplane mode, do not disturb mode, silence mode and who knows how many modes. However, the truth is that if I can press a button and remove these settings and have access to the instant gratification and dopamine boosts that are surfing through Business Inside, Buzzfeed, or Social Media, chances are I'm going to take advantage of it.

For me, the Kindle Paperwhite was perfect because it represented a separate device with a separate purpose. A black and white screen that would make surfing the web unattractive and an infuriatingly slow interface that would make you quickly dismiss doing anything but reading on it. Yes, I actually relish on the slowness of a device for once in my life. Who would've thought?

But is the Kindle Paperwhite all it's cracked up to be? Maybe. Maybe not. Over the past few weeks, I've come to look at it with the critical eye of someone that fairly recently took the plunge and I believe that puts me in a unique position to truly assess the pros and cons of the Kindle Paperwhite. 

Pros and Cons of the Kindle Paperwhite 2021

Cons of the Kindle Paperwhite 2021

1. You can only buy Amazon Books (kind of).

Perhaps the biggest con of the Kindle Paperwhite as opposed to other e-readers in the market is the fact that you're limited to Amazon's own Kindle library. Having said that I'll admit to finding my books through other "systems" and getting the physical copy of the book when I really like it.  

It has a night mode

However, with some books, you can't do this. Either because said books are newly released or fairly "independent books" or because you simply can't find them in a format that makes reading them the comfortable task that they're meant to be. In those cases, you are going to have to take the plunge and buy the kindle version.

This is a minor issue and thus far I've only experienced this issue with a couple of books that I simply couldn't "fix" and had to get the Kindle version.

2. The Battery isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Let me be clear. The battery life on the Paperwhite is very good. However, thus far I have yet to get it to reach the full three weeks without giving me battery anxiety. Supposedly the Paperwhite can deliver six weeks worth of battery life using it for thirty minutes a day with brightness set at a low level.

For my use, I often have the brightness set to over 70% and WiFi on since I keep finding new books I want to read on the Kindle which I gather also takes up a significant amount of battery life. 

Then again, even in this scenario if you only need to charge it every two or three weeks that's still pretty good and means you can take it with you on trips without having to take a charger. Additionally, the port available on the Kindle is USB Type C, therefore it's not really an issue when you travel anyhow since most devices use this type of charging cable anyhow.

3. The interface is slow, really slow

While this isn't that big of an issue on a device that's meant to be used as a book substitute. I'll admit that the slowness of the interface is a bit surprising when you interact with it at first. It will take a bit more than a second for any interaction that you actively have with the Paperwhite.

 By interaction I mean, highlighting an area of text, taking a screenshot, navigating the Kindle store or going online to a website - something I don't recommend -.  Again, this actually will work as an advantage of sorts by discouraging you from doing anything other than reading, which is what you got this device for in the first place.

Pros of the Kindle Paperwhite 2021

1. It features a perfectly sized display and a lightweight design

One of the reasons I got the Paperwhite is because of the screen. 

The 6.8-inch screen is slightly bigger than a standard paperback book, which is exactly the size I'm comfortable with. The regular Kindle is 6 inches, while the Oasis goes up to 7 inches and is way bigger on the sides than the Paperwhite. 

This particular model is perfect to easily hold on one hand while also having enough screen real estate to feel like you're making real progress on your book every time you move to the next page. 

Kindle Advertisement
Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with ads

Additionally, even though it's slightly heavier than the standard Kindle, (50 grams), having the weight distributed over a bigger screen makes it feel equally lightweight and comfortable to handle. Even after adding a 100-gram cover, it still feels remarkably light and doesn't strain my hands.

2. No more checking on the size of a book before ordering it on Amazon.

One thing I caught myself doing before buying the Kindle Paperwhite was checking the size specs on the books I ordered on Amazon. 

This is because I absolutely hated receiving these really small books where you had to play catch with the light constantly to be able to see the first word of every sentence on the right page and the last word of every sentence on the left page. With the Kindle, every page is comfortable to read.

3. You can focus on reading

As I said before. I'm aware that there are numerous options on the iPad to focus on reading. I'm also aware that it takes me under three seconds to deactivate them and promptly enter a vicious cycle of distraction. With the Kindle, there's also a psychological barrier which is that your mind tells you "you bought this to read, now go ahead and read without distractions". 

Switching up the font is as easy as "zooming" with your fingers

It's hard to explain but I get lost in books with the Kindle. I also get lost in books with physical books, in a way that simply doesn't happen with my other devices.

It also helps that you can easily adjust features such as the type of lighting (warmer or colder), the amount of light, the size of the font, the amount of time left to finish a chapter or the whole book, etc. These things, while also being available on other devices take up a whole new relevance on a Kindle that's hard to explain.

4. I actually enjoy the advertisements

As I mentioned before, the Kindle has a relatively slow interface. That means that getting to the section of daily deals actually takes a bit of effort

With that in mind, I actually enjoy the Kindle Paperwhite with ads. If you pay 10 dollars you can remove them and place the cover of your book as the screensaver when you're not reading, but the fact that it has ads means quick and easy access to Kindle's daily deals, as well as the screensaver sometimes recommending a book that's related to what I've already read.

If I removed the ads then I'd have to see how to find the daily deals and I'd rather Kindle show that to me directly. Also, the ads are very limited to something along the lines of three or four ads. Over the last month that I've had the Kindle, I haven't seen more than five ads on the cover tops so it's hardly an intrusive experience.

5. You can take it to the beach (or the pool).

Thus far I haven't tested this out because I bought the Kindle in the middle of winter but considering the fact that the Paperwhite is water resistant, you can take it with you to the pool or the beach without fear of it getting in contact with water. 

Also, to reiterate, one of the pros of the Kindle has an outstanding battery life which will easily hit three weeks even with relatively intensive usage so you can take it with you on your vacations and not worry about charging it until you go back home. 

6. The screen is anti-reflective

Unlike my iPad or my phone, the Kindle has a screen that's anti-reflective. This means that I can take my Kindle with me to the park or the beach - remember it's also water resistant - and regardless of the lighting conditions I'll be able to read comfortably. This is something you're quick to get used to since it's something I really hadn't experienced until now. In that regard, the e-ink technology really is like paper.

Wrapping it up: Should you get a Kindle Paperwhite?

After reviewing the pros and cons of the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 after roughly a month of usage I can. confidently say I'm happy with the purchase. Did I absolutely need it? No. I guess not. But a Kindle isn't a device you buy because you need it. You can use your phone, your tablet, or your laptop to read a book. What the Kindle offers you is a device that's meant exclusively for reading. 

It offers you an opportunity to enjoy your leisure time in the most comfortable fashion. Is it expensive? I hardly think so. Of course, this is a relative metric but overall if you buy over 5-6 physical books a year then you'll quickly see the Kindle as an opportunity to actually save money. 

What's more, it's far easier to take a Kindle with you on a trip than it would be to carry three or four books "just in case you're in the mood for a particular book on a given day" every time you hit the road. 

Ultimately it's a purchase I'm very happy to have made and I'm sure you will be as well.