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.
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!
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:
- Setting brightness to maximum.
- Turn on Wi-Fi.
- Leaving the screen on the library.
- Swiping to change page once every 2 minutes (to avoid screen timeout).
- Waiting for the battery to drop 1%.
|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:
- Choice of black / forest / robot case
- 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!