Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1

Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1

(Last Updated On: Jun 7, 2016)

Kindle Paperwhite 3 (also known as the Kindle Paperwhite 2015, Kindle Paperwhite 3rd generation) is the latest and greatest Kindle PW to date. It has many improvements compared to the earlier models, but also shares many similarities with them. This article will provide a detailed comparison of the Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1.

1. Similarities between the Kindle PW3, Kindle PW2 and Kindle PW1

Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1All three Kindle Paperwhites have 6 inch E Ink Carta displays, 16-level grayscale, with four built-in LEDs. They all come in a choice of Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G options; there is no usage restrictions when using Wi-Fi, and the 3G access restriction is 50 MB per month (additional data can be purchased). This choice affects the price within the generation. Also all 3 generations offer units with and without ads, and this also affects the price within the generation. 

All three Paperwhite generations have a manually adjusted light level. The light on all three models can only be dimmed, not turned off completely. All three operate via touchscreen interface, with no physical buttons for page turning; all have a lock-screen/power button at the bottom. Neither model offers expandable storage.

Other common features are: dictionary, Wikipedia, X-Ray look-up (find out more about people and terms mentioned in the book), and experimental web browser. All models track one’s reading speed to estimate when one will finish a chapter or book. The three have the same size 6.7″x4.6″x0.36″ and very similar weight – a bit over 7 ounces each. Thanks to identical sizes, you can use the same cover for all three models. The material is matte black non-slippery soft rubber.

All three models comes in identical attractive packaging – a black box with a white picture of the Kindle; the design is predominantly black and white, with just one additional color – blue. It’s a really nice looking box and makes for a beautiful gift. Inside the boxes you get exactly the same – the Kindle, an instruction manual, and a micro USB cable.

Using the Kindle hardware updates you can get the new features onto the earlier PW versions, such as the new Bookerly font (first featured in KPW2). Same with the Goodreads social integration and other updates.

The fonts you can choose from on the new or updated KPW devices are: Baskerville, Bookerly, Helvetica, Palatino, Futura, Caecilia and Caecilia Condenced. There are three types of line spacing and three types of margin – wide, narrow and medium.

2. Differences in the Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1

  1. Display: The latest model – Kindle PW3 has a much higher 300 ppi display (1440×1080px resolution), while the KPW 2 and 1 only have 212 ppi displays (758×1024px resolution). The two latest generation models, 3rd and 2nd also have an improved LED illumination.

If you lay the three devices side by side, open the same page, and compare the screens carefully, you will notice that the latest model has much better font contrast with small font. However, if you use a larger font size (fourth or fifth), you won’t see that much of a difference. This is a bit of a letdown, because a lot of people expected to see a huge difference after the increase in the screen resolution.

If you pay very close attention when comparing the screens you may notice that the latest 3rd gen Kindle Paperwhite has a cooler shade of white in its background versus the older two models.

  1. Storage: The Kindle Paperwhite 3 and 2 have 4GB of storage, while the oldest Paperwhite 1 – only 2GB of storage (4GB in Japan).
  2. Battery life: The older Kindle PW 1 and 2 have up to 8 weeks of battery life if you read for 30 min/day, with wireless off and constant light usage. The latest Kindle PW 3 has only 6 weeks of battery life with the same usage – the additional energy is required to render the higher resolution screen and text.
  3. Processor: The Kindle PW 3 and 2 have a 25% faster processor (1 GHz), which results in faster page turns and better response to touch versus the Kindle Paperwhite 1.
  4. PDF: Compared to the 1st and 2nd Kindle Paperwhites, the 3rd generation model has an improved display of PDF files, with the possibility to select text, translate a PDF’s text and more.
  5. Logos: If you compare the backs of the devices, you will notice that Amazon changed the logo design in each version. The oldest 1st generation Kindle Paperwhite has “Kindle” on its back, while the 2nd and 3rd KPWs have “Amazon”. The 2nd generation’s “Amazon” logo is more pronounced, with a strong bevel, while the 3rd generation’s “Amazon” logo is more toned down. Comparing the fronts, we see that the 1st and 2nd generations have a small “Kindle” logo in white, while in the 3rd gen has it in black.
  6. Miscellaneous: The KPW3 and KPW2 feature the new Page Flip feature, while the older KPW1 doesn’t. Compared to the KPW2 and KPW1, the newest KPW3 also has a new home screen layout, improved book recommendations, and new quick actions menu.

Are there any other differences in the Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kindle Paperwhite 1 that we forgot to mention? Please share.


  1. The Paperwhite 1st Generation had a Pearl screen instead of a Carta screen. The original Paperwhite 2s had 2 GBs of memory (like the 1st generation). They changed that to 4GB about a year in for this model.

  2. When you say that the PW3 has the ability to select text in pdfs, is this truly exclusive to this generation? I was under the impression that all the PW generations were able to annotate and highlight text in pdfs. Would you mind clearing this up?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.