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Kindle Paperwhite vs Signature Edition (2022): What’s The Difference?

With the 11th generation of the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon brings a larger and brighter display to its best-selling lineup of e-readers. The standard Kindle Paperwhite also comes with 8GB of storage, along with options to upgrade for an ad-free reading experience. Amazon’s top-rated e-reader, however, is accompanied by the fancy-named Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition.

And while it looks identical to the standard Kindle Paperwhite, the Signature Edition is largely marketed for its wireless charging feature. But is that the only difference between these two e-readers? Check out the article below to see the two Kindle Paperwhite Versions compared.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Paperwhite Signature Edition Comparison Chart

ModelKindle PaperwhiteKindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
 
PriceCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
DisplayGlare-free Paperwhite display technology with built-in lightGlare-free Paperwhite display technology with built-in light
Display Size6.8″6.8″
Resolution300 ppi300 ppi
Storage8GB32GB
ConnectivityWiFiWiFi
Adjustable Warm LightYesYes
Auto Adjusting LightNoYes
Audible SupportYesYes
Wireless ChargingNoYes
Battery LifeUp to 10 weeksUp to 10 weeks
Dimensions6.9โ€ x 4.9โ€ x .32โ€6.9โ€ x 4.9โ€ x .32โ€
Weight205g208g

Design

The Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite Signature Edition have identical designs.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Signature Edition Design and Display
A flush-front design keeps the frame and screen at the same level.

Despite being called the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, there’s nothing signature about the e-reader in terms of design. In fact, the Signature Edition looks identical to the standard Kindle Paperwhite. Both devices sport a 6.8-inch glare-free display, considerably larger than the 6-inch screen on the 2018 model. The 2021 models also have smaller bezels, a flush-front design, and a matte-black finish.

When it comes to performance, the Kindle Paperwhite and Signature Edition outclass the previous generations, too. Both tablets are now lit with 17 LEDs compared to the 5 LEDs on the 2018 Paperwhite. Users also enjoy 300 ppi resolution, along with 16-level grayscale and optimized font technology. The result is a clear and crisp display perfect for long hours of reading.

Unlike the flagship Kindle Oasis, however, the Paperwhite models miss out on page turn buttons and an ergonomic design. But they still are IPX8-rated and can handle immersions under two meters of water for about an hour. If you’re worried about dropping the tablets, Amazon offers protective covers, too. These accessories, however, are sold separately.

Storage and Features

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has a higher default storage configuration than the standard Kindle Paperwhite. It comes with an auto-adjusting backlight, too.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Paperwhite Signature Edition Storage and Features
The additional LEDs and improved design make reading books on the Paperwhite so much more conducive.

The base model of the standard Kindle Paperwhite comes with 8GB of storage. In reality, however, you only get about 6GB of free space out of the box. That’s still enough to store about 6,000 books, given typical e-book sizes are about 1MB. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, on the other hand, is only available in a 32GB storage configuration.

In terms of content, both e-readers support Audible (via Bluetooth). They also work with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, sold separately. In a similar vein, the Kindle Paperwhite and Signature Edition have parental controls, too.

Where the Signature Edition does the standard Paperwhite better is its auto-adjusting light. It’s a feature common in smartphones but one that’s often taken for granted. On the Signature Edition, your Kindle’s backlight adapts its brightness depending on the amount of light in your environment. It’s a convenient feature that does away with the hassle of manually adjusting brightness.

Battery and Connectivity

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is the first Kindle to support wireless charging.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Paperwhite Signature Edition Connectivity Comparison
Manually adjust brightness on the standard Kindle Paperwhite (left); enjoy wireless charging on the Signature Edition (right).

The biggest perk of getting the Paperwhite Signature Edition, however, is wireless charging. In fact, it’s the first Kindle to have this feature. According to Amazon, the Signature Edition works with compatible Qi wireless chargers. If you’re not a fan of the feature, there is still USB-C charging, which is available on the standard Paperwhite, too. This is a welcome change over previous models’ micro-USB ports.

Depending on the power source, both Kindle Paperwhite models can be fully charged anywhere between 2.5 to 5 hours. On the Signature Edition, the device can be fully charged in under 3.5 hours with a 10W Qi wireless charging pad. Both e-readers should give you about 10 weeks of battery life. Actual performance, however, will vary depending on use.

Lastly, the Kindle Paperwhite and Signature Edition are fully wireless. Users can download content without connecting the device to a computer. Amazon shares the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite models support both 2.5 GHz and 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, too.

Models, Pricing, and Warranty

The standard Kindle Paperwhite is cheaper than the Paperwhite Signature Edition.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Paperwhite Signature Edition Models, Price, and Warranty
Amazon’s e-readers can be protected with various covers, great if you like reading anywhere and everywhere.

As mentioned in Storage and Features, the base model of the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite comes with 8GB of storage. The default model is also ad-supported and costs $139.00. If you want to opt for a model without ads, however, you’ll have to pay an additional $20. Meanwhile, the Paperwhite Signature Edition is set at $189. It’s also ad-free out of the box. Both models enjoy a one-year warranty.

Depending on whether or not you care about savings, however, upgrading your Kindle Paperwhite to an ad-free version isn’t always practical. In the Paperwhite lineup, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids offers more features given the same price. At $159, the kid-friendly e-reader is essentially the same device as the standard model. Yet, this version includes an Amazon Kids+ subscription, a kid-friendly cover, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee. It’s also ad-free.

The only downside, of course, is that most of the add-ons are tailored for kids. But if you can live with these extra features, you’re getting more bang for your buck with the Kids model.

Verdict

The standard Kindle Paperwhite should be good for most people. For those who want convenience features, however, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is better.

Is the Kindle Paperwhite worth it? The short answer is yes. The Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader in Amazon’s catalog. It offers a better display, faster performance, and improved design. Is the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition better? Here, the answer depends on user preference. See, the Paperwhite Signature Edition offers four key upgrades: wireless charging, ad-free reading, auto-adjusting light, and 32GB of storage.

If wireless charging is necessary, then look nowhere else. The Paperwhite Signature Edition is the only Kindle that has the feature. When it comes to storage, the 8GB on the standard model is usually enough for most readers. Ad-free reading is available for an additional fee on the regular Kindle Paperwhite, too. And the lack of an auto-adjusting backlight isn’t entirely a dealbreaker.

Is the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition a great reader? Yes. Like its standard sibling, it’s the best e-reader to get. It’s even more practical than the Kindle Oasis. Should you go for Signature Edition then? If you have the money to spare and the new features are necessary, it should be worth it. Otherwise, you’ll be just fine with the standard 2021 Kindle Paperwhite.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is iPad or Kindle better for reading?

If you want to read text-only books, including novels, the Kindle is better for reading. It’s a lightweight and easy-to-use tablet with long battery life. Moreover, it’s cheaper than the iPad. However, if you have to read content with graphics or illustrations, Apple’s tablet will be better.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between a Kindle Paperwhite vs regular Kindle?

The Kindle Paperwhite is an upgraded version of the regular Kindle. With the Paperwhite, you’re getting a thinner and lighter e-reader. It also comes with a flush-front design compared to the raised frame on the classic Kindle.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Kindle Paperwhite 2018 vs 2021?

The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 offers a brighter and larger display compared to the 2018 version. The 2021 model also boasts 10 weeks of battery life compared to the Kindle Paperwhite 2018’s 6-week battery life. Moreover, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is available only in a Wi-Fi model. The older Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, comes in Wi-Fi or Cellular models.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Kindle Oasis support wireless charging?

No. Amazon’s flagship e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, does not come with wireless charging. Only the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has this feature.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.