As must be obvious by now from the many book-related posts on here, I love reading. After using my beloved Paperwhite 3 for 30-60 minutes a day, I decided it was time to treat myself to an upgrade. Before I give the still very capable older Kindle away, here’s a visual comparison!

The main thing I’ve noticed since upgrading is the new Kindle actually feels like a paperback book. The slightly increased size (whilst still being slim) and reduced bezels mean you can finally get a page of text on the screen.

If you’ve ever moved from a 24” to 27” screen, or 1080p to 1440p, you’ll know how having even a little bit more screen space can drastically improve your experience, and make it impossible to move back. Whilst my Paperwhite 3 seemed fine for years, as soon as I used a Paperwhite 5 it now feels very cramped. Oops.

Key differences

Whilst every review and the store listings themselves will show the differences, here’s the ones that have stood out to me:

  Paperwhite 3 Paperwhite 5 Notes
Frontlight LEDs 4 17 This noticeably improves the evenness of the backlight.
USB Micro USB USB-C Finally, this was my last Micro USB device!
Lighting warmth options No Yes This option definitely helps personalise the screen appearance.
Screen size 6 inch 6.8 inch My favourite change, much nicer.
Screen Indented Flush The only downside, the new screen is fingerprint prone and you’ll initially touch it accidentally.

There’s also overall performance improvements, with page turns being much speedier. However, I have noticed a rare software bug (2x in 20+ hours) where changing page will take over a second. Interestingly, this is only so noticeable because of the usually buttery fast page turns.

The difference in page turn speeds is a massive quality of life improvement. Before, there was a subconscious 300ms pause or so before I could start reading the next page, now it’s 50-100ms, meaning essentially no pause between pages. Perfect when racing through an engaging section of a book!

Visual comparison (to books)

Scenario Comparison Notes
Size comparison I’ve used 2 Penguin classics as “relatable” sizes. Essentially the Paperwhite 5 is slightly smaller than a typical paperback book, and the same size as the older, small paperbacks.
Paperwhite 3 As shown, you can fit 60-70% of a typical paperback page onto a Paperwhite 3 (font size 2, small margins, medium spacing)
Paperwhite 5 However with a Paperwhite 5 you can fit roughly a whole page on the screen at once (font size 2, small margins, medium spacing)!

Visual comparison (without case)

Scenario Comparison Notes
From bottom They’re pretty much identical from the bottom, although the Paperwhite 3 does have that odd “bump” whilst the Paperwhite 5 is a smooth surface. The 3’s screen is also indented.
From back Farewell, Amazon logo! The minimalistic arrow is a small, but nice change.
Screen (no warmth) The difference in screen tone isn’t as noticeable in person! The Paperwhite 3’s screen looks similar to Paperwhite 5’s warmth level 1-2.
Screen (my preferred warmth) I read at warmth level 3, to me it looks like a brand new paperback book.
Screen (max warmth) Surely reading like this is impossible! However, here’s the maximum warmth just for comparison.

Visual comparison (with case)

For my Paperwhite 3 I’ve got a pretty standard FINTIE case, whilst my Paperwhite 5 Kids came with a free black case.

Scenario Comparison Notes
From bottom The official Amazon case is a bit bulkier when open, but feels sturdier.
Side by side No real differences from this angle, besides the obvious screen size.
Side by side (with case open) Not a very fair comparison since my Paperwhite 3’s case has had years of use! Unsurprisingly they’re pretty similar, although it is nice having a magnetised cover without requiring a little “ridge”.


After using the Paperwhite 5 for a few weeks, the battery life felt slightly better. However, since the battery had only dropped by 30-40% in this time, it’s hard to tell! You’ll also see a battery drop when you add new books, since they have to be indexed initially. Nothing to worry about, after a few days the battery life improves.

A very unofficial test was conducted by:

  1. Setting brightness to maximum.
  2. Turn on Wi-Fi.
  3. Leaving the screen on the library.
  4. Swiping to change page once every 2 minutes (to avoid screen timeout).
  5. Waiting for the battery to drop 1%.
Device Time
Paperwhite 3 8m 59s
Paperwhite 5 13m 46s

Pretty conclusive results! Of course, whilst the Paperwhite 5’s battery is better, I suspect a lot of this battery life difference is down to just being a brand new battery. Still, it’s good to see the larger screen, more RAM, and more LEDs aren’t having a noticeable impact on battery.

There’s also a “Power Saver” mode that was on by default on my new device, and I’ve left on. It means the screen takes 2-3 seconds to turn on, but seems to make no actual difference in usage. Given any Paperwhite lasts multiple weeks of usage anyway (Amazon state 10, at 30m/day), the power saver mode probably isn’t necessary!

Finally, these numbers are obviously worst case scenario. I use brightness 9 usually, but 24 for the test, and keep airplane mode on.


I wanted to point out Kindle Paperwhite Kids. This package is identical to the Kindle Paperwhite w/o Ads, with free:

  1. Choice of black / forest / robot case
  2. 1 year’s access to Amazon Kids+

I don’t have children, so it’s essentially a free Kindle cover. This package is currently on sale for £95 which is amazingly cheap, I thought it was a good deal at the £140 I paid!


Overall, the Paperwhite 5 is a great device. It improves in almost every aspect over the Paperwhite 3, with the small downsides being debatable (screen flush vs indented), and a drastically improved reading experience.

One of the concerns I had, and often see online, is the Kindle being too large / bezels being too small to use in one hand. Luckily, this isn’t the case. I always read with one hand, tapping with the thumb, and this is pretty much identical with the new Kindle.

If you use a Kindle regularly, and don’t have an Oasis, I’d definitely recommend giving the new Paperwhite a go!