Last year Amazon updated the most expensive member of the Kindle family, the £230 Kindle Oasis, to introduce waterproofing.
At long last careless readers could take their Kindle into the bath, or stand really close to the edge of a lake, without fear of dropping their device into a watery grave. Now, Amazon has brought that same level of waterproofing back down the line to the £130 Kindle Paperwhite – the most popular e-reader in the range – in its first update in three years.
The “All-New” Kindle Paperwhite (as Amazon helpfully calls the latest versions of all of its products) looks largely the same as what came before. The front is now flush from side to side, with the same 300dpi e-ink display surrounded by a thick bezel and backed by a chunky, sturdy feeling plastic.
The display is lit by five LEDs (one more than before) for more even illumination, with an adaptive light sensor that adjusts brightness on the fly. All of the usual Kindle features are here too: they’re lighter than actual books, hold a bajillion trashy novels, have batteries that last weeks, and look like real paper rather than harshly lit screens.
As well as taking the waterproofing of the Oasis, the Kindle Paperwhite has also swiped its pricier sibling’s Audible support. You can now seamlessly switch between reading and listening to the audio version of a book through your Bluetooth headphones or speakers, which is useful if you use Audible when driving, but prefer to read at home.
Elsewhere the Kindle’s software has been tweaked ever so slightly. There are new font profiles, allowing you to easily customise and switch between preset font sizes and types – useful for sharing a single device around a family.
With both waterproofing and Audible support now in the mid-range Kindle, the case for upgrading to the twice-as-expensive Oasis is thinner than ever. The high-end model has physical buttons for turning pages – which is still a more intuitive way of reading than tapping the left or right side of the display – but if you’re willing to drop another £110 for some buttons then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Besides, if you read decent books, you soon forget about the tech in your hand – Kindles tend to make themselves scarce a few pages in.
A much needed update to the range, the refreshed Paperwhite is the new king of the Kindle castle.