Amazon’s Kindle is the undisputed market leader when it comes to eReaders, but the company hadn’t refreshed its most popular reading device for almost three years.

An updated Paperwhite has finally arrived, but it looks like being worth the wait. A slew of upgrades include many of the most-requested features, all without a significant price rise.

You will pay more for the brand-new Signature Edition, which adds a couple of extra features to bridge the gap between the Paperwhite and premium Oasis lines. There’s also a new Kids Edition for younger readers.

The 2018 Paperwhite is still the best eReader you can buy, so the new models look set to extend Amazon’s lead when it comes to dedicated reading devices. Here’s everything you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite lineup for 2021.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 release date

Amazon announced the regular Kindle Paperwhite, Signature Edition and Kids on 21 September 2021.

Pre-orders for all three are live now, with the standard and Kids models going on sale on 27 September. You’ll have to wait slightly longer for the Signature Edition – that'll be available from 10 November.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 pricing

Here’s the full breakdown when it comes to pricing for the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite devices:

  • Kindle Paperwhite - £129.99/US$139.99 (with ads), £139.99/US$159.99 (without ads)
  • Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition – £179.99/US$189.99 (without ads)
  • Kindle Paperwhite Kids - £139.99/US$159.99 (without ads)

The standard Paperwhite is around £10/US$10 more expensive than the 2018 model. 32GB of storage is now exclusive to the Signature Edition – that’ll also cost you around £10/US$10 than the 32GB regular model from 2018. The brand-new Paperwhite Kids will set you back significantly more than the £99.99/US$109.99 Kindle Kids.

All orders via the Amazon website are currently eligible for 3 months (UK) and 4 months (US) free Kindle Unlimited for both new and existing customers.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 new features

Let's start with the regular model. The big change you’ll notice straight away is a new 6.8in display, up from 6in on the 2018 model. Slimmer bezels mean it’s only a slightly larger footprint than its predecessor and stays at 300ppi. As usual, Amazon doesn’t quote a specific resolution.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021
Image: Amazon

Size isn’t the only display upgrade, though. It also now has an adjustable warm light, a feature that Amazon debuted in the 2019 Kindle Oasis. In theory, these more orange hues make it easier to read at night.

One of the other key upgrades is also one of the most overdue – USB-C. Amazon has finally swapped out the legacy Micro USB for the industry standard, and it paves the way for faster charging. According to Amazon, you can now fully charge the device in around 2.5 hours.

Battery life has also been improved – you can now supposedly get up to 10 weeks from a single charge, instead of up to 8 on the 2018 Paperwhite. However, do bear in mind that figure is based on 30 minutes of reading per day, with wireless connectivity turned off and brightness set to 13.

Elsewhere, there’s also a new chipset under the hood. Combined with software improvements, Amazon says this will get you a 20% improvement in performance.

There are three upgrades available if you opt for the pricier Paperwhite Signature Edition. Amazon has added Qi wireless charging to the Kindle range for the first time. It’s joined by automatic brightness adjustment, previously exclusive to the Oasis, and 32GB of internal storage (up from 8GB on the regular model).

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
Image: Amazon

The Kindle Paperwhite for Kids is pitched as the first waterproof Kindle for kids. It's essentially a regular Paperwhite with a child-friendly cover, alongside a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids Plus and a two-year guarantee.

All new Paperwhite models will also benefit from the recent Kindle software updates, which aims to make all recent Amazon eReaders easier to navigate. A further update is expected later this year.

On paper, the new Kindle Paperwhite devices compare favourably to the existing entries in our best eReader chart. But will they be as impressive in real-world usage? Only time will tell.

The announcement of the new Kindles comes just days before Amazon's 28 September event - what new hardware will it announce there?