Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite Comparison

Amazon has kept on improving the Kindle’s design and function ever since it launched the first generation Kindle e-reader back in the 2007. This led to the introduction of the Kindle Paperwhite series to supplement but not replace the basic Kindle series. Although both devices are good e-readers, they are different enough to make them not interchangeable.

The basic Kindle Glare-Free Touchscreen and the Kindle Paperwhite 3 were released in Oct 2014 and Jun 2015 respectively.  Though they share the same look and feel, the later is actually more advanced and more expensive.

So which Kindle model is better for you?


Basic Kindle under the sun


Difference between Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite

In the table below, we explain the specification differences between the regular Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite 3:

SpecsKindle Paperwhite 3Kindle Basic
Screen Size6"
DisplayE Ink Carta glare-free displayE Ink Pearl glare-free display
Resolution1,440 x 1,080800 x 600
Pixel Density300 ppi167 ppi
Built-in LightYesNo
Battery Life*6 weeks4 weeks
ConnectivityWi-Fi only or
W-Fi + 3G (optional)
Wi-Fi only
Height6.7" (16.9 cm)6.7" (16.9 cm)
Width4.6" (11.7 cm)4.7" (11.9 cm)
Thickness0.36" (0.91 cm)0.40" (1.02 cm)
Weight205 grams (7.2 oz) or
217 grams (7.6 oz) for 3G
191 grams (6.7 oz)
RAM512 MB256 MB
Storage**4 GB (3 GB)
Can store 1,600 eBooks
Processor1 GHz FreeScale i.MX6SL
SeriesKindle e-reader - 7th Generation
Release DateJune 30, 2015October 2, 2014
*Based on a 30-minute reading per day with wireless off (and light setting at 10 for the Paperwhite)
**Both devices can hold around 1,600 Kindle books, based on our estimation for the typical size of Kindle books.



Advantages of Kindle Paperwhite over Kindle

  • Built-in light – The Paperwhite has a lighted touchscreen which the basic Kindle lacks. This built-in light makes it possible for you to read at night before going to bed or even in total darkness.
  • Display quality – This may not be noticeable at a quick glance but comparing the two screens side by side, and using them in prolonged periods would reveal the difference.

    The Paperwhite uses Carta E-Ink screen while the basic Kindle uses Pearl E-Ink screen. Both provide a paper-like background which does not reflect sunlight. Nevertheless, the Paperwhite screen do gives a darker text and better contrast.

    The Paperwhite’s 300 ppi screen also gives a sharper and more detail images than the basic Kindle’s 167 ppi screen.  

  • Battery life – You can use the Paperwhite to read eBooks for up to 6 weeks given you read 30 minutes each day with your Wi-Fi turned off and light setting at 10, compared to 4 weeks on the basic Kindle.
  • Design – The Paperwhite is aesthetically more appealing as well as a little bit slimmer than the basic Kindle. The basic Kindle also looks and feels like a block which seems less easy to hold.

  • 3G option – You won’t need to worry about looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot or connecting to a Wi-Fi signal if you opt for the 3G model. The 3G model allows you to update your device and download books anywhere that AT&T’s 3G network reaches.

    You can read our full review on Paperwhite Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi plus 3G model to see which one is the right one for you.


Advantages of Kindle over Kindle Paperwhite

  • Cheaper – The basic Kindle is a bargain at its lower price. You can enjoy the same 4GB memory storage, touchscreen control, anti-glare display and 1 year warranty just like what you get in a Paperwhite and still save some bucks.
  • Weight – The basic Kindle weighs only 6.7 oz, about 0.5 oz lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite 3 Wi-Fi Only model. Although a small difference, it may affect comfort over an extended period of time of using the device.


Who Should Get the Kindle Paperwhite 3?

If you are a hardcore reader or you like to read at any lighting environment, you should pick the Kindle Paperwhite 3. We also recommend it if you share a room with your partner, kids, roommates and you don’t want to distract their sleep while you read at bedtime.


Who Should Get the Kindle Glare-Free Touchscreen?

For those who don’t mind reading with a lamp overhead or using a clip-on reading light as well as those who often read in daytime at places with adequate light, the basic Kindle Glare-Free will be a more affordable choice.



We found both the Kindle Paperwhite and the regular Kindle are appealing e-readers for reasons we’ve stated above. 

Both are designed to minimize distractions – you don’t have access to text-to-speech or music on the e-reader – mimicking, as much as possible, the act of reading a book. The interface is not complicated that even kids and elderly won’t have a hard time using it.

The Kindle Paperwhite 3 has more features – higher screen resolution, front lighting, a longer battery life, optional 3G model, you name it!  If you consider any of the above attractive to you, choose the Paperwhite. 

On the other hand, the basic Kindle is still a good e-reader that can keep you company over a cup of coffee one fine weekend. It is a great entry-level eBook reader selling at a reasonable price, just have to use it with a source of light!

To sum up, if you have a tight budget, pick the basic Kindle. Otherwise, pick the most popular Kindle e-reader – the Paperwhite.

This Amazon customer review is from a user who has used both the Paperwhite and the basic Kindle, it may also help your decision on which e-reader to pick.


A Parting Note: Reading should be a habit we ought to do not only to please our senses, but also to make our world a lovelier place. Share the good that you’ve read today!


Further Reading



  1. Ashor
    May 19, 2016
  2. Harshana
    June 14, 2016
  3. Martin
    July 23, 2016

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