Amazon has announced the all-new Kindle Paperwhite, which combines features of the more expensive Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis, in a lighter and slimmer package. The Kindle Paperwhite is probably the best Kindle for most people because it balances premium features with affordability. The new model is even better because it’s now waterproof and supports Audible audiobooks.
The Kindle Paperwhite now has a screen that is flush with the front of the device and covered in a sheet of glass. This new design makes the e-book reader IPX8 water resistance, just like the higher-end Kindle Oasis introduced a year ago. This means the Kindle Paperwhite can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water for up to an hour, which is plenty of waterproofing for reading in a pool, at the beach with wet hands, or in a bathtub.
Under the smooth glass front is the same great 6-inch 300 ppi screen, but it now has an improved LED backlight that can get 10% brighter. Despite now having a glass front, Amazon has managed to make the new Kindle Paperwhite 23 grams lighter at just 182 grams. That’s partially thanks to the thinner body which has gone from an already ridiculously thin 9.1mm to 8.18mm.
As for new features, the Kindle Paperwhite now supports Audible audiobooks. Through Amazon’s Whispersync feature, you can switch seamlessly between reading an e-book and listening to the audiobook version of the same title without losing your place. There’s no headphone jack or speaker on the Paperwhite, so you’ll need to use Bluetooth headphones or speakers. To accommodate the larger audiobook files, Amazon has doubled the Paperwhite’s base storage to 8GB and there is now a 32GB option.
Along with the new Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon is introducing new reading profile settings to their entire Kindle lineup. Readers will be able to create up to 5 easily accessible profiles that store user-specified font, text boldness, and orientation settings. While these can be used to share a single Kindle among multiple people, it’s also handy to use different settings for different reading scenarios, such as using a larger font when reading while exercising on a stationary bike or treadmill. The new profile feature and a new home screen will be coming to select Kindle models released after 2013 in the coming weeks.
The new Kindle Paperwhite is available to pre-order now for $129.99 and it will be released on November 7th. The 32GB model will run you a little bit more at $159.99. Those prices are for WiFi-only devices, but Amazon is still going to offer the new Paperwhite with a free cellular connection, used for downloading content, that will cost $249.99 with 32GB of storage. Amazon is also selling leather cases in a variety of colors for the new Paperwhite for $39.99, but if you’re interested in the case, you’re better off buying the Kindle Paperwhite Essentials Bundle for $169.97 which includes a case and charging adapter for the same price as the Paperwhite and leather case separately. For a limited time, all Paperwhite purchases come with 6 months of Kindle Unlimited, which is a $60 value that provides unlimited access to a collection of ebooks and audiobooks.