(Pocket-lint) - aThe third-generation Kindle Paperwhite was released in June 2015 so while it's not the newest or most advanced Kindle around, that's not to say it isn't the best.
Succeeded by the significantly more expensive and square Kindle Oasis, the latest Paperwhite also competes with the lighter and more feature-rich Kindle Voyage, but still warrants its place in the eBook market.
Here is why Amazon's 2015 model of the Kindle Paperwhite is our Kindle of choice, even moving into 2017, despite the pricier alternatives out there.
What's new in the Kindle Paperwhite 2015?
- 169 x 117 x 9.1mm
- 205g (Wi-Fi) / 217g (3G)
The Kindle Paperwhite's design hasn't changed a great deal over the years. In fact, the 2015 model looks pretty much identical to the 2013 model and therefore the 2012 model, aside from a couple of subtle cosmetic changes to the Amazon and Kindle logos.
The Paperwhite is built around a plastic body, but it doesn't feel cheap. It's a solid device with a tactile back casing that it is not only a lovely to hold, but greasy fingerprints aren't an issue either. It is a little fonder of suncream and foundation, but it's nothing a quick wipe doesn't sort.
The contoured detailing around the Micro-USB and power button also makes way over2013 model, as do the wide bezels on the front of the device. A large bezel on most devices is normally something that would result in criticism, but with an eBook reader it's a welcomed feature, offering something for your thumb to grip when holding it.
Whether Wi-Fi only or 3G and Wi-Fi model, both third-gen Kindle Paperwhite options feel no heavier than a smartphone in the hand, despite their larger size. Neither model's 205g/217g weight could be considered heavy, even if the Kindle Voyage is a little lighter.
Kindle Paperwhite (2015) review: Display
- 6-inch E Ink display
- 16-level greyscale
- 1440 x 1080 resolution
- Front light, touchscreen
The Kindle Paperwhite's design might not have changed much, but its display has. The third-generation model finally sees an increase in resolution with a 6-inch E Ink display bearing a 300ppi density, compared to 212ppi found on both the 2013 and 2012 models. Words are crisp and sharp, while the touchscreen is very responsive.
The 2015 Paperwhite sticks with the Carta E Ink display found on the 2013 model for high-contrast black & white results, but it adds a new font called Bookerly, which is designed for reading on digital screens, as well as a new typesetting engine. These additions, along with the higher resolution all contribute to replicating a reading equivalent that's as enjoyable as on paper.
An illuminated display has always been one of the Paperwhite's standout features, allowing users to read in both light and dark conditions without the need for an external light. It isn't the most advanced technology available - with Amazon itself trumping it with the Kindle Voyage and its adaptive front light - but the Paperwhite's screen is more than adequate.
Kindle Paperwhite (2015) review: Features
- 4GB storage (thousands of books)
- Kindle Store has over 4m books
- Kindle app for phone also available
- Ad removal is £10 per device
As has always been the way with the Kindle, there are plenty of clever features beyond just reading. Some are great, others you may never use, but the beauty of them is that they can be ignored if you're not interested, allowing you to flick through an eBook as you would if you had a paperback.
For those who would like to take advantage of having a digital device over a paperback, one of our favourites is X-Ray. Accessed with a tap at the top of the screen, this feature presents information on characters, notable clips, terms and common themes.
Kindle Page Flip is also great, again accessed with a tap at the top of the screen, followed by selecting Go To. This feature enables you to quickly skip to another chapter or part of the book from a pop-up window.
A tap at the top will also display how much more of the chapter you have left to read in minutes at the bottom, as well as offer access to Settings for turning the screen brightness down and the Kindle Store at the top.
The Kindle's best attribute isn't any of the above features though: it is how easy Amazon makes it to buy and download content. The Kindle Store has over four million books, newspapers and magazines to choose from, along with over one million Kindle-exclusive titles, all of which are delivered directly to your Kindle device as soon as you press buy.
Accessing certain settings and working out which books you have or haven't read in your library could be made simpler though.
The Amazon Kindle app, available on most platforms, also means you can pick up where you left off on your smartphone or tablet if you forget your Kindle one morning. It's like a multi-device bookmark.
One point worth noting is about the "special offers": these are ads that Amazon serves, which can be removed for the sum of £10. We don't find them overly disruptive, but if you do it's not a huge fee. Amazon Prime subscription members can also purchase the Kindle for £5 less than list price, but the ads rule still applies for these members.
Kindle Paperwhite (2015) review: Connectivity and battery
- 'Six week' battery life (21-hours approx)
- Four hour recharge cycle
There are two models of the third-generation Paperwhite as we mentioned previously. The Wi-Fi model requires a network connection to download content, while the Wi-Fi and 3G model will allow you to download new content on the go.
Given the £60 price jump between the two, most people will probably be more than satisfied with the Wi-Fi only model, especially given it is possible to connect to your smartphone's hotspot if you are really desperate for that next book.
Amazon claims the Paperwhite's battery will last six weeks on a single charge, based on reading for 30-minutes per day, all connections turned off and display illumination set to half. That's a whopping 21-hours.
The E Ink display itself consumes very little power, with power only really needed for page refreshes. Keeping your Paperwhite connected and turning up the display illumination will naturally decrease that battery life. Even so, we've found our 3G review model to last for a couple of weeks at a time, rather than mere days.
The third-generation Kindle Paperwhite does exactly what we wanted: it increased the resolution of its display for a crisper reading experience.
Add great screen illumination and fast touch response and this Kindle - despite not being the most advanced of Amazon's offerings - adds up to the perfect balance between a fantastic reading experience and a great price.
It's simply the best, whether you're considering upgrading from a 2012/13 model or simply looking to (affordably) dive into eBooks for the first time.