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Kindle Basic or Kindle Paperwhite?

  • by ereaders

For those who prefer a Kindle e-reader, one may wonder about the interest of choosing a Kindle Basic e-reader rather than a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader (or the opposite). While the “basic” Kindle is less expensive, the two are not exactly the same. Is it worth spending a little more for a Paperwhite instead of a Kindle Basic? Let’s try to see more clearly…

Hardware and software differences

At first handling, both e-readers are similar. While the finishes on the screen glass may give Paperwhite a slightly more “high-end” look, the difference is minimal in terms of appearance and handling. In terms of size, the Kindle Basic is 160 x 113 x 8.7mm and 174g, while the Kindle Paperwhite is 167 x 116 x 8.2mm and 182g. The big difference is in the screen used in each of the readers.

In terms of the screen, we are talking about a 6-inch Carta screen, but the Kindle Basic has a screen with 167 pixels per inch (ppi) when the Paperwhite has 300 ppi. The text is clear on the Paperwhite, closer to what you can see on paper.

That said, the difference is very small for reading text (mobi format e-books, for example) and is more noticeable when reading comic books or PDFs, formats for which these e-readers are not ideal in all cases (although they can do quite well, especially in landscape mode!).

Another notable difference is in the backlighting. The Paperwhite, backlit even in previous generations has 5 LEDs, the Kindle Basic has 4, and it is only recently that the Kindle Basic has a backlight: most models available in second hand will not be equipped with it. Conversely, the Paperwhite even from a previous generation will be backlit. To be taken into account for those looking for a second hand eReader…

Value for money and different uses: what to choose?

Both e-readers are often available on special offer. Without advertisements (about 10 euros more in both cases) you can find – when prices are low – the Kindle Basic for 65 euros and the Kindle Paperwhite for 99 (and respectively 55 and 85 with advertisement). Without promotion, e-readers are a little more expensive, but the difference remains similar, although often slightly more in favor of the Kindle Basic.

The difference is therefore about 35 euros. For more pixels, and therefore better image quality and backlighting, is it worth it?

In my opinion yes, especially since the difference can be as little as 15 euros. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that a Kindle Basic, despite its smaller number of LEDs (or its lack of lighting in the case of an older e-reader bought second hand) is still a good e-reader. In use, the navigation is fluid, and you don’t feel a real lack of pixel. For those who have never experienced anything else, there is no need for a 300 ppi screen! On the other hand, for those who are used to a screen with a higher resolution, the difference may be perceptible, but again nothing dramatic.

To read a digital book downloaded from Amazon, without images, the difference can be neglected, making the Kindle Basic a basic-level e-reader with a very good quality/price ratio. On the other hand, for those who want to use their e-reader to read manga, or PDF documents (a format that is quite well supported by the Kindle software!) a higher resolution e-reader will be preferable.

For a greater versatility, the Kindle Paperwhite seems to me preferable, when the Kindle Basic seems to be quite suitable for those looking for a lower cost e-reader to read their digital books. Both e-readers are of good quality, and allow you to read digital books comfortably, thanks to their e-Ink screen. They are two of the best quality/price ratio e-readers in this price range, especially when they are on sale at the promotional rate.

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