Ereaders are easy to use, reliable, have good battery life, and offer access to thousands of books in one small device. While nothing will beat the feel of an actual paper book, ereaders take up less space and offer a better reading experience than on a tablet or mobile phone. And with an ereader like the Kindle in your bag, you’ll never be without something to read.
Amazon’s Kindle is one of the most popular ereaders on the market. Launched back in 2007 when it was dubbed the “iPod of reading”, the first Kindle was a simple device – there was just one model with no touch screen, a full-sized keyboard and a scroll wheel for navigation. These days there are three types of Kindle to choose from; the original Kindle (£69.99, Amazon.co.uk), Kindle paperwhite (£79.99, Amazon.co.uk) and Kindle oasis (£229.99, Amazon.co.uk), with a few new iterations of the paperwhite model launching late October.
Each model shares the same core features, including having access to books and magazines from the Amazon store. The Amazon store is the only place where you’ll be able to access content since, unlike other ebook readers, there’s no way to buy books from elsewhere. Kindle also supports access to the Amazon family library, which will let you share your books and content with other members of your household. This is ideal if you want to share books with others in your home, and you can add up to four child accounts.
The 10th generation of Kindle paperwhite sits in the middle of the three current models. It’s got some significant changes from the previous version, including being water-resistant and adding support for Audible. It’s also a very affordable model, as it’s not the cheapest in the range but not the most expensive either. With a new version of the Kindle paperwhite imminently launching, we took a look at the 10th generation model to find out whether it’s still worth buying.
How we tested
We spent a week using the Kindle paperwhite to test how comfortable it felt using it, how well the battery lasted, how easy it was to download books and magazines and how good the screen was. We also used it in various settings, from outside in the sun to when the lights went off at bedtime.
Amazon Kindle paperwhite 10th generation
Storage: 8GB or 32GB
Connectivity: Wifi, wifi and 4G, Bluetooth
Dimensions: 167mm x 116mm x 8.18 mm
Water-resistant: Up to 2m
Battery: 6 weeks
Pros: Water-resistant design, Audible support, glare-free screen
Cons: Micro-USB charger, no colour temperature adjustment
The Kindle Paperwhite comes with either 8GB or 32GB of storage. To put that into perspective, 8GB holds around 6000 books while the 32GB option holds approximately 15,000. The Kindle paperwhite we tested was the 8GB version with wifi and adverts.
How much does it cost?
The Kindle paperwhite prices start at £99.99 for an 8GB wifi-only version with adverts. The 32GB wifi-only device will set you back £119.99. It’s worth noting that in the run-up to the release of the 11th generation of the paperwhite, the option to purchase the 8GB and 32GB wifi only version of this Kindle without ads is no longer available. However, once you own the device, you can remove the ads via the settings at the cost of around £10. The 32GB wifi and mobile internet (4G) device will cost £169.99; this version comes with ads disabled automatically.
Design and display
The Kindle paperwhite 10th gen is the thinnest, lightest Kindle to date. This isn’t the most expensive Kindle in the line-up, but it still feels premium. The back has a rubber texture that feels pleasant to hold and makes it easy to grip. It only weighs 183g, so you can hold it comfortably in one hand for long periods without it causing fatigue. Although fingerprint marks did show up easily, that’s nothing a good case wouldn’t solve.
This Kindle has a 6in eink touch-screen display with a 300ppi resolution. The display is very paper-like with sharp, crisp text. We found the pages turned fast and the touch-screen highly responsive. It has five LED lights situated at the front, so reading in dark spaces is no issue. There is no colour temperature adjustment, so when reading at night it does give off a bit of blue light. Obviously, nowhere near as much as you would get from a phone or tablet, but if you’re reading before bed and blue light sensitive, this could cause some issues. The screen is glare-free, so reading in different lights, including bright sunshine, was no problem.
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This version of the Kindle also had a major facelift compared to its predecessor. The bezels are now flush, which makes scrolling more comfortable and an overall sleeker experience. It uses a micro USB cable for charging, and the slot can be found on the base alongside the power button. The placement works well as it keeps the edges clear, so there’s no danger of accidentally pressing the buttons while you’re in the middle of a good chapter.
Software and features
The Kindle software is unified across all Kindle models. However, this version does come with some extra features, such as setting up individual profiles, which is ideal if you’re sharing your device. One feature we loved within the profiles is setting font preferences that can be switched even if in the middle of a chapter. This is excellent news if you’re using it to read with your children, as you can select a larger font for their profile but switch back to a smaller font when it’s your turn to read.
Brightness can be easily adjusted too, so wherever you’re reading, you can get the right level of light. A dark mode will display white text on a black background, so it is helpful if you have eye issues or don’t want to strain your eyes too much when reading in the dark.
Of course, the significant benefit of the Kindle software is the Amazon store, which means you have access to millions of ebooks and audiobooks. The downside is that you can’t download your ebooks from other suppliers, but with the choice on Amazon, we don’t think that you’ll need to worry about missing out. You can also upload your own documents by sending them to an email address assigned to your Kindle. This is handy for any work pdfs or study notes you may want to go through.
Each model of this Kindle has built-in wifi, you can purchase it with 4G support, but we don’t think this service is essential. If you’re out and about and desperately need to download a book, then you could just use your phone’s hotspot function to connect to the wifi, which would be a cheaper, and most likely quicker option too.
As we mentioned earlier in this review, the 8GB Kindle paperwhite does come with adverts with no current option to purchase without. We liked the adverts, they aren’t obtrusive and only show on the lock screen, so you won’t even notice they are there. Plus, they throw up some pretty good suggestions as they’re based on the books you’ve already purchased. However, by going into the settings, you can pay to remove them if they bother you.
One of our favourite features of this version of Kindle paperwhite is that it is waterproof. So if you enjoy reading while in the bath or sitting around the pool, you won’t have to worry about it getting wet. If you do happen to drop it in water, there’s nothing to worry about. The IPX8 rating claims it can survive being submerged at depths of up to 2m for 60 minutes in fresh water and 0.25m for three minutes in seawater. We have to admit we didn’t throw our Kindle in the water for that long, but we did splash it and dunked it in a few times to test it out, and there were no effects at all.
This Kindle also features support for Audible, which is great news if you enjoy listening to your books as well as reading them. It works by connecting your Bluetooth headphones or speakers to your Kindle. Plus, a feature we thought was pretty nifty is “whispersync”: if you have both the ebook and the audiobook in the same title, the Kindle will automatically recognise where you are in the book, and you can flip between reading and listening seamlessly. This is a really good function if you like listening to audiobooks in the car but want to sit down and take in the words when you’re not driving.
Goodreads is also integrated into this version of the software, which is handy if you like to keep up to date with what your friends are reading. The scrollable home screen also offers suggestions from Kindle unlimited so you won’t be short of ideas when it comes to your next read.
There is no denying that the battery life on the Amazon Kindle is superb. Kindles measure battery life in weeks, not hours. The official figures from Amazon are that the battery lasts for six weeks, but that is based on around 30 minutes of use per day and with wifi switched off. We used it for around an hour each day, with the wifi left on and at around 80 per cent brightness for the last week, and the battery dropped around 40 per cent. So we think it would last at least three weeks using it the way we did, which will see you through a two week holiday and some. But even if the battery does run low, a full charge only takes around three hours.
The verdict: Kindle paperwhite 10th generation
If you already have an earlier version of the Kindle paperwhite, then you may not notice a dramatic change in this model. However, the integration of Audible and being waterproof is enough to convince us that this is a good upgrade to make. The narrow, flush bezels also make this Kindle a lot more comfortable to handle, and the 300ppi colourless display is almost like reading a paper book, so it is very easy on the eye.
Whether you’re a casual or an avid book reader, the Kindle paperwhite is a solid, reliable option. The 11th generation Kindle prices will start from £139 for the base model, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the 10th generation is it.
Buy now £79.99, Amazon.co.uk
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For more insight on the latest Amazon Kindle paperwhite models, read our guide