The Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon’s workhorse e-reader, is starting to look like a premium device. Amazon announced an upgrade to the Paperwhite that features improved specs and a new waterproof design. Despite all the upgrades, the device will start at a reasonable $129.99.
The new Paperwhite has an IPX9 water resistance rating, which means that you should be able to dunk your beloved e-reader in 6 feet of water for at least two hours. Readers will feel pampered when they take their Paperwhite in the tub, because it’s thinner and has a sleeker look than previous models. Its glass screen is now flush instead of beveled, it only weighs 182 grams, and it has a thin 8.18 mm body.
Amazon has also upgraded the Paperwhite’s internals. The new device will have Bluetooth capability, so you can listen to audiobooks with wireless headphones. If you choose to read with your eyes instead of your ears, the upgraded LED backlight will keep the 300ppi display evenly lit and readable anywhere.
The new Kindle Paperwhite is surprisingly similar to the discontinued Kindle Voyage, a $200 mid-range model that sported a waterproof screen and a modern LED backlight. Kindle fans will be happy to know that the new Paperwhite is essentially a less expensive, thinner Voyage with twice as much memory. While the Voyage had only 4 GB of storage, new Paperwhite’s base model has 8 GB of storage. If 8 GB isn’t enough, you have the option to order a device with 32 GB.
But there are some changes to the Paperwhite that some consumers may not be that happy about. For one, there are no page-turn buttons. The high-end Kindle Oasis still has these buttons, but costs almost twice as much as the new Paperwhite. Amazon also decided that the new Paperwhite won’t charge with USB-C but stick with a more traditional Micro-USB port, which may be inconvenient for anybody who’s trying to adopt the new standard.
The new 8 GB and 332 GB models of the Paperwhite aren’t available until Nov 7th, but both models are available for preorder now. They each cost $20 less if you order a model that comes with “special offers” (advertisements on the lock screen). The 8 GB model with special offers costs $129.99, and the standard 8 GB model costs $149.99. The 32 GB model with special offers costs $159.99, and $179.99 without offers.