The Amazon Kindle has been setting the standard for e-readers since its introduction. With the release of the Paperwhite in 2012, Amazon made its own e-reader better and has raised the bar for all others. The Kindle Paperwhite is currently on its 3rd generation (released in June 2015), an evolutionary improvement that makes the reader easier to use and more convenient.
Once you have decided to buy the Kindle Paperwhite, your next decision will be whether to purchase it with special offers at a cheaper price, whether to spring for the 3G option and what accessories you will need for your Kindle. Here we’ll tell you everything you need to know about these.
Other than whether you want 3G or not, the options can be changed at any time after you have purchased the Kindle Paperwhite. You cannot, however, add or remove 3G once you have made the choice.
Kindle Paperwhite – With or Without Special Offers
Your Kindle Paperwhite will come with one of the following options when your purchase it:
We recommend that you buy the Kindle Paperwhite with Special Offers.
The Special Offers model comes with ads. The ads are not particularly intrusive and take the place of your default screen savers and lock screen. The version without Special Offers shows the default screen savers, which cannot be personalized, and once you have gotten past the lock screen, there is no difference between the two versions.
The Special Offers are based on your purchase and browsing history, so they may come in useful when you are looking for a new book to read. The Special Offer screen doesn’t just show you ads for books that you might be interested in. Many of these have a price point well below the normal price of the book.
Even without the Special Offers, there is limited customization that you can do with the Kindle Paperwhite. Lock screens and screensavers are set and cannot be changed. After a time, the Special Offer screens are actually more interesting than the same screensavers, over and over again.
Even if you choose to get your Kindle with Special Offers, you can remove them later. The service costs is the same as the difference between the price of the two models and can be done from your Amazon account. The reverse, however, does not apply. If you order your e-reader without Special Offers, you cannot get refund for adding them in later.
As far as what some of the Special Offers look like, many of them are quite well done and certainly don’t detract from the look of your Kindle.
However, if you are the kind of reader that has poor impulse control and are easily motivated to buy something that you do not want or need, getting the Kindle Paperwhite without Special Offers is a viable alternative.
Kindle Paperwhite – Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Free 3G?
Choosing whether or not you get 3G is the only decision that you cannot change. It is important to understand how you will be downloading books and using your Kindle Paperwhite prior to ordering.
If you purchase the Kindle Paperwhite with 3G, use of the 3G service is free for the lifetime of the device.
Though the 3G service is free, it can only be used for downloading Kindle books from Amazon, shopping in the Kindle store, and looking up word definitions on Wikipedia (while dictionary lookup won’t need internet connection, once the dictionary is downloaded). Access to websites other than Amazon and Wikipedia can only be done with Wi-Fi, though you may not want to do it often as the experimental browser on the Paperwhite is quite basic and it won’t work for complicated websites.
If you do not have a personal internet connection or you cannot regularly get to one, 3G might be a good option for you. The free 3G service covers over 100 countries and territories, so it’s great if you on trip too. We recommend getting the 3G version if you do a lot of traveling and don’t spend time where there is Wi-Fi.
If, on the other hand, you normally read in airplane mode to enhance battery time and have access to Wi-Fi (either your own or at a hotspot) then the Wi-Fi Only version will save you a considerable amount of money.
To explore further on the option, check our article Wi-Fi only or free 3G model.
Accessories for the Kindle Paperwhite
The only accessory that comes with the Kindle Paperwhite is a USB 2.0 charging cable. Amazon does not even send you a power adapter for it. That’s fine because you really don’t need one. As a matter of fact, the only accessory you need is a cover for your e-reader.
‘Official’ Leather Cover – The only way that you don’t need a cover for the Kindle Paperwhite is if you are using the device at a single location and do not travel with it or take it with you. Putting it inside a purse or bag will run the risk of scratching the screen, dropping it onto a hard surface can damage the device and having a layer of protection in case of spills is always worthwhile.
The ‘official’ leather cover does its job admirably. It protects the device quite well, it has an auto-wake function that turns it on whenever the cover is opened and it comes in six lovely colors. When it comes to accessories, this is the only one that you need and that we recommend.
Of the six colors available (onyx black, honey, ink blue, persimmon, royal purple and saddle tan) black is, without any surprise, the most popular. Although the color choice of your cover is dependent on your personal taste, we have found the black cover to be the most resistant to visible stains and dirt.
The following accessories can be useful, but are not required.
- Capacitive Stylus – This device is useful if you take a lot of notes, otherwise your finger is good enough for turning pages, looking up words in the dictionary and all other functions.
2-Year Protection Plan – Since most failures of a Kindle are due to accidents, this upgrade can be handy (it’s of the same price no matter which Paperwhite model you choose). If you have the optional 3G, the value of your Kindle Paperwhite goes up and it is more expensive to replace. It doesn’t matter if you have the Wi-Fi version or 3G, the protection plan remains the same price.
If you are prone to accidents, this option could be worthwhile. You can only get the protection within the first 30 days after your Kindle is shipped (of course, you can get it together with your Kindle device purchase). The article should you buy the protection plan for the Kindle should help if you can’t decide on this.
- Power Adapter – The Kindle Paperwhite charges well through a USB port on your computer. If you do not already have a 5W power adapter, that is all you really need. The only advantage to the adapter is that it will charge your e-reader faster than plugging it into the computer. If you do not have convenient access to a USB port, this accessory becomes more useful.
The following accessory is unnecessary.
- Screen Protector – The Kindle Paperwhite already comes with a non-glare screen. It doesn’t take smudges as easily as tablet or smartphone screens. Cleaning occasionally with a cloth will keep your screen in great shape. The protector is unnecessary if you already have a case to protect it.
Amazon maintains a list of all of its best-selling accessories for the Kindle Paperwhite in one location. It contains all 5th to 7th generation (Amazon uses 5th generation Kindle to signify the first generation of Paperwhite e-readers, 6th generation to denote the second generation, 7th generation to denote the current or third generation) accessories in one convenient location. Unless an accessory states that it will not work with a specific model, all 5th, 6th, and 7th generation accessories should be interchangeable.
Are there any accessories we should have included in our list, but didn’t? Would you choose Wi-Fi or 3G? Do you have any comments or questions about the Kindle Paperwhite or this article? Please feel free to let us know.