Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids Review
Amazon’s 2021 Kindle Paperwhite is terrific. Its waterproof body, flat-front design, and 7-inch screen makes it a much better ebook reader for adults than the slower, lower-resolution, non-waterproof base-model Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite Kids combines that Editors’ Choice award-winning ebook reader with services and accessories worth far more than the $159.99 Amazon is charging, making it a better deal than buying those things separately. It’s an excellent choice for children developing a passion for chapter books, and our Editors’ Choice winner for kid-friendly ebook readers.
Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle Paperwhite Kids
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids is the same hardware as the standard Paperwhite, but you get a two-year extended warranty, one of three cute cases (in black, green, or yellow), and a one-year subscription to Amazon’s Kids+ content library, which has a large selection of popular books for ages up to 12.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down. The base Paperwhite costs $139.99. Getting rid of lock-screen ads costs $20. The two-year extended warranty is $24.99. A Kids+ subscription is $35.88 per year for Prime members with a single child per device. And let’s estimate that the cover would cost $20 on its own. So with the Paperwhite Kids, you get $241 of stuff for $160. That’s a killer deal.
There are advantages to the new design of the Paperwhite as well. Think of the Paperwhite’s flat front panel and waterproof nature as being spill-proof and wipable. You can even wash it in the sink if you need to, which you can’t do with the base model Kindle or Kindle Kids.
Ultimately, the device is also just a Paperwhite at heart, so it can be used by a parent or an older sibling to read “grownup” books if your kid is willing to share.
Is a Kindle Right for Your Child?
Restful, E Ink-powered Kindles don’t play music or games, and are great for kids who can independently read chapter books that don’t rely heavily on illustrations. In terms of the Kids+ library, there’s a lot of material for ages 7 to 12 that displays well on this Kindle. Of course, you can also buy books from Amazon or download them from your local public library.
Kids+ has a large library, but it has limits. It has Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Narnia, and Warriors. It doesn’t have Fancy Nancy, Emily Windsnap, His Dark Materials, or Wings of Fire. It has a lot of TV and video game spin-offs, which a lot of elementary school kids like to cut their teeth on.
Younger kids tend to read books with a lot of image or color elements, which don’t tend to render well on E Ink Kindles. Yes, the Paperwhite’s 7-inch screen is better than the base Kindle’s 6-inch screen when you’re reading picture books or graphic novels. But in those cases, an 8-inch, color Fire HD 8 Kids Pro tablet is the best low-cost bet at $89.99. For kids still learning to read, the Fire tablet also has Immersion Reading and text-to-speech, which reads books aloud along with following the text. The E Ink Kindles don’t do that.
The Paperwhite Kids supports Audible audiobooks, but requires a Bluetooth speaker or headphones. Amazon Echo speakers can also read Audible audiobooks, and from talking to other parents, that seems to be a more popular approach.
Any Kindle plugs into an overall parental dashboard that lets you monitor your child’s reading and activities, and gives you some quick talking points about certain books so you can have discussions about them. Pop over to the parent dashboard on your phone or the web and you’ll see which books your child last read, for how many minutes, and on which days, along with whatever else they’ve been doing on their Amazon devices. You can add content from your own adult library to their profile, disable all devices for a while, or set time limits.
There are also some kid-friendly Kindle features that apply to all Kindles now, like the ability to press on words to get dictionary definitions, the ability to create flash cards from those definitions, and Word Wise, which just pops definitions up over complex words automatically.
The Right Kindle for Your Kid?
The new Kindle Paperwhite is simply the best ebook reader out there right now, for any family member. Throw in everything else you get with the Kids model and it becomes an even better deal (assuming you want the extras that are included). Compared with the standard Kindle Kids, the Paperwhite’s sharper screen with more readable text, color-changing front light, and bigger display for larger fonts and better pictures all make for a superior reading experience, and you want as little as possible to stand between your kids and enjoying reading. That makes the Paperwhite our Editor’s Choice winner.
That said, it’s worth noting that as of this writing, Amazon is selling the base Kindle Kids model for just $59.99 ($50 less its usual $109.99). If that deal is still around while you’re reading this, it’s hard to justify the $100 difference between the Kindle Kids and the Paperwhite Kids. But if that difference closes to $50 again, everything about the Paperwhite Kids is worth the increase in price over the base model.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids
The Bottom Line
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids combines Amazon’s excellent waterproof ebook reader with a money-saving bundle of accessories and services.
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