Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Gen) Review: Worth Every Penny?

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Amazon recently upgraded its widely appreciated Kindle devices line-up in India. The latest e-book readers -- Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th gen.) bring a host of new hardware and software upgrades to enhance your reading experience. These upgrades include- bigger and brighter displays with nifty features, the latest firmware with some notable changes for a better reading experience, IPx8 rated design, the much-awaited Type-C charging port, and a few other worthy additions.

 

Rating:
4.0/5

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Generation) Review

Amazon sent out the Signature edition e-reader that boasts 32GB internal memory and even has wireless charging. Before we begin our review, let's have a look at the hardware specifications of the new e-book.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Generation) Specifications

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Generation) Specifications

Display- 6.8-inch E INK Carta 1200 touchscreen Display, 300 ppi glare-free panel, 1236 x 1648 Resolution, 17 LEDs
Size & Weight- 174 x 125 x 8.1 mm & 208 g
Battery & Charging- 1,700mAh Battery, Type-C Charging Port, 9W USB Charger In-The-Box, Wireless Charging Support
Hardware- MT8113 SOC 1 GHz Processor, 512MB Ram, 32GB Memory
Software- Linux, Firmware Version- Kindle 5.14.1.1
Reading Formats Support- Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PMP

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Design
 

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Design

The 2021 Paperwhite Kindle e-readers are slightly bigger as compared to the 2018 models; however, both standard and the signature edition have the same design, dimensions, and weight proportion, i.e. 174 x 125 x 8.1 mm & 208 g.

The slight difference in size is due to the new display (6.8") that offers better real-estate for a more comfortable reading experience. The side bezels have also gotten slimmer and the screen sits flush thus giving you a more immersive reading experience.

Portable Than A Real Book

Portable Than A Real Book

The modern e-reader is easier to carry around in a bag and read books with one hand as compared to a real book. The built quality is decent but could have been better. The top bezel on the review unit developed a dent, which might have occurred due to some external pressure when the e-book was kept in the laptop bag. It seems the post-consumer recycled plastic and 70% recycled magnesium could use some metallic strength. A case should help to avoid such damages.

IPx8 Water Proof Body

IPx8 Water Proof Body

Moving on, the e-book reader is IPX8 rated which makes it waterproof to withstand some serious water damage. The e-book can survive a continuous immersion in water depth of up to two meters for up to 60 minutes. This is a must-have feature for e-book readers if you are clumsy or have kids at home.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Display

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Display

The display isn't just bigger; it is much brighter, smarter and is perhaps the best screen on an e-reader for this price. Amazon has used a 6.8-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen display packing 17 LEDs to offer brighter white light and warmer amber light for a candlelight effect. Outdoor reading isn't an issue as the screen offers excellent peak brightness.

Workable Dark Mode

Workable Dark Mode

Moving on, unlike the LCD/OLED panels on smartphones and tablets, the e-ink panel doesn't hurt your eyes even with prolonged reading sessions in dim light environment. Dark mode is also provided in case you prefer reading at night time. Also, text and graphics appear as crisp as they do on a real book, thanks to 300 PPI and a resolution of 1236 x 1648 pixels.

Nifty Customization Features

Nifty Customization Features

The Signature Edition also packs in the much useful ambient light sensor that allows for automatic brightness adjustments, both for white and orange light. You must enable auto-brightness from quick settings and the 'Warmth Schedule' in display settings. When enabled, the feature sets the screen to produce warm light with sunset and sunrise by fetching your device's location.

Quick Settings Panel For Easy Access

Quick Settings Panel For Easy Access

The level of warmth in the light can also be customized from the display settings or via a slider from the quick settings. Overall, the impressive hardware and the nifty customizations make reading a joyous experience on the signature edition Paperwhite.

Software Performance- Newly Designed UI Is Intuitive & Easy-To-Use

Software Performance- Newly Designed UI Is Intuitive & Easy-To-Use

The new Kindle Paperwhite runs a redesigned user interface. Based on Linux, the Firmware Version- Kindle 5.14.1.1 boots up with a new home screen with a big search bar at the top. It shows results from Amazon's Kindle store, Goodreads, and Wikipedia.

A shopping cart icon is placed next to the search bar to take you to Kindle Store. And the list for important shortcuts (Audible sore, categories, new releases, wish list, etc.) appears with a click on three tiny dots.

Change Themes, Highlight Text & Do A Lot More

Change Themes, Highlight Text & Do A Lot More

  • The quick settings panel is easily accessible by a swipe-down gesture.
  • Pinch in/out allows you to change the text size while reading books.
  • The page turn animation is a welcome addition (Aa Menu > More).
  • You can change themes (compact, standard, large, low vision), font, and layout from the Aa Menu tab.
  • Tap, hold and drag to create a highlight, make a note, or share a quote via e-mail while reading books.
Features You Must Try On The New Kindle Paperwhite 2021

Features You Must Try On The New Kindle Paperwhite 2021

The reading experience on the signature edition Paperwhite is further enhanced by several software features. These include- Smart Lookup, Wordwise, highlight, book covers, and Whispersync.

  • Book Covers: This shows the cover of the book you are currently reading on the lock screen of select Kindle devices without ads. (Settings > Device Options > "On" for Display Cover)
  • X-Ray and Smart Lookup: Keep a track of characters and key terms in a book with X-Ray. Smart Lookup allows you to search words in the dictionary, and explore Wikipedia while reading with a tap.
  • Word Wise: One of the most useful features giving you real-time information about difficult words in a book. It offers crisp and simple definitions with fewer interruptions.
  • Whispersync and Whispersync for Voice: Another highly useful feature for avid readers. It saves and synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations from your Kindle eBooks across all of your Kindle devices and apps. (Settings > Advanced Options > Whispersync for Books).
Hardware- 1 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM + 32GB Memory

Hardware- 1 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM + 32GB Memory

The new E-ink display feels a bit more responsive and ensures slightly faster screen interactions. I could feel the difference in performance with screen taps and gestures; however, the UI animations could have been quicker with the new upgrade. The e-book is powered by an MT8113 SOC (1 GHz processor) mated with 512MB RAM and 32GB onboard storage.

There's no SD card option but I doubt you would need it for e-books. If you store multiple heavy audio files for a longer period, the lack of an SD card slot could be a bit of a letdown.

Battery & Charging

Battery & Charging

Coming on to the battery and charging, the new Kindle Paperwhite comes with the much-awaited USB-C charging port that allows for faster recharging of the built-in 1,700 mAh battery cell. There's no power adaptor in the box but you do get a Type-C cable. It takes around 2.5 hours to refuel the battery from zero to 100%. The battery can last for weeks (Up to 10 weeks) depending upon your reading time, display's brightness value, and screen interactions.

Connectivity Features & Performance

Connectivity Features & Performance

For connectivity, the e-book reader has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 to let you pair headphones/speakers to listen to your audiobooks from Audible. I didn't face any stability issues with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while browsing the book store and listening to audiobooks via the TWS earbuds.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 also supports wireless charging, another premium feature that should offer some flexibility in daily use. You can use any compatible Qi wireless charger to refuel the e-book reader.

Verdict

Verdict

With a bigger and brighter display, better storage, and flexible charging features (Type-C & Wireless charging), the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 is worth upgrading from any previous mid-range Kindle e-reader. The better hardware and redesigned UI makes reading a joyous experience. If you own a 2018 Kindle or any previous Kindle e-reader, the new model is worth the asking price.

The lack of an SD card shouldn't be much of a drawback for most users as the 32GB onboard storage seems sufficient for most readers. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (32 GB) is priced at Rs. 17,999 on Amazon.in.

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