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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Review

Verdict

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Trusted Reviews Recommended

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is a wonderful device with a great screen, excellent features and long battery life. For most people, though, the cheaper model will be a better buy.

Pros

  • Great screen
  • Wireless charging is a handy extra
  • Switch to USB-C

Cons

  • The cheaper model is the better buy for most people

Availability

  • UKRRP: £179.99
  • USARRP: $189.99

Key Features

  • ChargingThe Signature Edition supports Qi wireless charging
  • Excellent screenSharp 6.8-inch display with automatic brightness control
  • Storage32GB onboard storage for books and audiobooks

Introduction

Having left the lineup stagnant for a number of years, Amazon has now released two new models of the Kindle Paperwhite. If you’re a die-hard e-reader fan, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition certainly has some tricks that may pique your interest.

For the most part, however, this is the same as the Kindle Paperwhite (2021). When I reviewed that model I said it was the best e-reader around, and while I’d recommend most plump for the basic model over this Signature version simply for its more wallet-friendly price, a lot of what I praised in that review still stands here.

This Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition isn’t a huge departure from the cheaper model, with the new additions likely only appealing to a specific type of person. For the extra cash you get more storage, some extra charging tricks and minor screen improvements. 

Design and Screen

  • Bigger display than the previous Paperwhite
  • Very sharp and excellent for reading in all manner of situations
  • Durable build with strong water-resistance

When I first heard rumblings of Amazon doing a ‘Signature’ version of a Paperwhite reader, I hoped that branding would relate to the use of higher-end materials in its construction. I’m happy that Amazon places durability ahead of anything else, but a more premium-feeling Paperwhite would have been welcome.

Visually, the Paperwhite Signature Edition looks exactly the same as the regular model. It has a bigger 6.8-inch display than the previous Paperwhite models – which might put some off, but honestly, I feel this size is ideal. 

The Signature is big enough to make text on the display a little less cramped, while still feeling small enough to hold for extended periods in one hand. The dimensions and weight also make it ideal for slinging into a bag.

There might be a distinct lack of flashy metals and high-end finishes on display, but the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is nevertheless a good-looking device. The subtle, simple nature of the design lets you focus on the task for which the unit is for – reading, above all else – and, for me, it works.

The Signature Edition is predominantly made of tough plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap; it’s an issue I have with Amazon’s Fire tablets, so that’s a good sign. The rear sports a matte finish that adds some grip, while the front is a little glossier.

An IPX8 rating has been a fixture of the higher-end Kindle models for a while now, and so it remains here. I my opinion, this is vital, since it means the device can easily survive an accidental drop in a pool or bathtub. Note that the ‘X’ means it lacks any dust-resistance, so keep that in mind.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition homescreen

For the most part, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is an attractive e-reader. It’s simple, clean and functional. However, no device is perfect.

The lack of any physical page-turning buttons on the Paperwhite series has always been a bugbear, and it’s the same story here. That tactile response you get from an actual clicky button is so much nicer than what you get from tapping on the edge of the touchscreen. The only Kindle device to enjoy physical forward and back buttons is the Kindle Oasis, and that’s a device that’s difficult to recommend considering its price and current feature set.

I’m also not a fan of the position of the only button here. The standby/off/lock button sits right next to the USB-C port – and, on multiple occasions, I have accidentally knocked it and turned the Kindle off.

That sour point aside, the Kindle has become such an important device for me mainly as a result of its display. The E Ink panel is much better than OLED or LCD for reading since there’s no glare, so you can read in sunnier conditions without having to dodge the rays. It’s easier on the eyes, too.

The 6.8-inch display sits flush to the body and is incredibly sharp. It does remain monochrome, so might not be as good as a tablet for content such as comics and cookery books.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition text and display

While both versions of the Paperwhite feature a warm light – which turns the screen a softer, orange colour that’s ideal for bedtime reading – and a greater number of LEDs surrounding the screen for more even light, the Signature Edition goes one step further by including a light that automatically adjusts depending on your surroundings. It works, but I wouldn’t say it’s a reason to part with more cash.

The automatic brightness feels a little erratic, moving up and down far more visibly than I wanted it to. In fact, it can be quite jarring when you’re reading to see the brightness go up or down. I really just prefer to manage the brightness manually.

Performance

  • 32GB of storage is ideal for those with a vast Audible library
  • Snappy page turns
  • Surprising lack of a model with cellular connectivity

Arguably the biggest reason to plump for the Signature Edition of Kindle is the hefty inclusion of onboard storage. Instead of the 8GB that accompanies the base version, there’s 32GB at play here. 

This won’t make its presence felt if you purely use your Kindle for ebooks, since these tend to be mere megabytes. However, if you’d like a number of offline Audible audiobooks always accessible then that more generous amount of internal space will be vital. Larger audiobooks can often hit 800-900MB for size, so the regular 8GB model will start to run out of space before you hit double figures.

Along with this new batch of Kindles, Amazon has updated and refreshed the tired UI. This comprises the homescreen, Amazon book store and library, with these changes freshening things up.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition settings

The interface feels far more modern, with thinner lines and rounded corners. There’s certainly a whiff of iOS and Android about the updated software, with handy settings such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth now far more easily accessible. Overall, it’s a change for the better.

As with all of Amazon’s products, from its Fire TV sticks to its Fire tablets, they work best when you’re deep into the Amazon ecosystem. If you get your books from the Kindle Store and Audiobooks from Audible, they’ll all appear when you boot up the Paperwhite for the first time. If you’d rather get them from other sources then you might be better off looking at a Kobo.

Another smaller benefit of this Signature Edition is that, by default, it comes without any pesky lock-screen ads. On the cheaper model, this option costs an extra £10.

If you’re coming from the previous Paperwhite then you’ll notice the speed improvements that this updated model deliver. Page turns are snappier, and while navigating the UI is much slower than on one of the best Android phones, it’s perfectly fine.

Interestingly, there’s no cellular option for the Paperwhite Signature Edition. With previous Paperwhite models you had the option to pay a little extra upfront to get constant free 4G data included, allowing you to download books when you didn’t have Wi-Fi. This option is now reserved for the Kindle Oasis.

Battery Life

  • Signature Edition bags you wireless charging
  • Endurance is still measured in weeks, rather than days
  • Finally, there’s a USB-C port

It has taken a long time, but Amazon has finally done the right thing and ditched the Paperwhite’s tired micro-USB port for a far more capable USB-C.

This is the same reversible port you’ll find on the Nintendo Switch, most Android phones and laptops. Even the iPad Pro and iPad Mini use it. Not only does it charge the Kindle faster, but it allows you to use a laptop charger to power up your Kindle too.

The Signature Edition’s extra charging trick is Qi – a wireless charging standard used by all the major phones that support the feature. You can pop the Kindle down on a Qi-enabled pad and top up the reader without a cable. If you don’t have a pad, Amazon will happily sell you a specially designed one for the Kindle

I’ve tried a few wireless chargers and the results have been mixed, so I’d recommend the Amazon one if you want the best experience. Due to the large size of the Kindle in comparison to a phone, most vertical Qi stands don’t work as a result of the coil in the device being too high up. I had more luck with flat ones and the best results with the MagSafe charger made for the iPhone.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition homescreen

Amazon claims the Paperwhite Signature Edition’s battery will last for around 10 weeks. That’s with 30 minutes of reading a day, with the wireless features disabled. The e-reader should also be set to a mid-level brightness.

As I did with the other Kindle Paperwhite model, I charged it to 100% as soon as I’d unboxed it. A week later the battery percentage had dropped to 74% – basically the same result I achieved with the basic Kindle Paperwhite 2021. That’s with Wi-Fi on all the time and about an hour or so of reading at day at varying levels of brightness.

Due to the way E inks work, use the device more throughout the day and the battery will deplete faster. Plough through a whole book in a week and you might be plugging in a lot sooner.

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Should you buy it?

You download a lot of audiobooks The big difference between this and the regular version of the latest Paperwhite model is the 32GB of onboard storage. This makes it ideal for those who want to store a load of audiobooks offline.

Qi charging and lots of storage aren’t of interest There are just a couple of additions to this Signature Edition and if those features don’t appeal then you’d be better off saving some cash and opting for the base model instead.

Final Thoughts

For the extra cash, the Signature Edition is only for those who want the extra storage and will make use of wireless charging. If neither of those features interest then you might as well plump for the cheaper base model.

This remains an excellent device, though, and the latest range of Paperwhites are easily the best e-readers around.

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We test every e-reader we review thoroughly. We use the device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Used as our main device during test period

FAQs

Is there a charger included?

You only get a cable in the box, no charging plug.

Is there a 4G option?

The only Kindle with cellular is the Oasis.

How much storage does this model have?

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition offers 32GB of storage.

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
IP rating
Wirless charging
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Ports
Colours

Jargon buster

IP rating

An abbreviation for ‘Ingress Protection Code’, which lets you know to what extent a device might be waterproof or dustproof.

Qi Wireless Charging

 

The most common format for wireless charging and the one supported by the majority of devices. Charge speeds vary a lot by the phone. 

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