The thumbnail photos above are clickable to the larger versions, of course. These were taken after about 8:30pm at night in low light without flash, with the light just coming from the two Kindles on the table -- the older Paperwhite 1 on the left and the new Paperwhite 3 on the right.
Here's one larger example so that you can have some idea of the difference I saw without needing to click to the larger photos if you're in a hurry.
These photos were taken on the night I received the Paperwhite 3, with very little sunlight left. Both Kindles were placed on a table top, and I tried to take photos from the middle area between them so as not to favor one over the other.
I'll repeat here what I explain on the photos page at PBase where the full set is shown in larger sizes for 'closer' examination.
These are for a comparison of my new Yr 2015 Paperwhite-3 screen display (resolution differences and display contrast) with my Yr 2012 Paperwhite-1.
Is the higher resolution (double the old model's) worth the $119 to get the newer one?
That'll depend on the individual. IF perceived contrast of text against background is more important than sharper text for some Kindle users, it could be better for those owners to keep using the older ones that may be less sharp but which have a dark fuzz around the font making it seem bolder, and there's less light coming from the older Paperwhite. I've eyes that are somewhat oversensitive to light.
The Paperwhite-2 (2014) (which I didn't upgrade to) received a faster processor, but the Paperwhite-1 which I kept using is noticeably slower than the new Paperwhite 3, so I'm happy to have the higher resolution and faster speed.
Paperwhite 2 owners are already seeing a speed improvement over Paperwhite 1. So if you have a Paperwhite 2, the difference will be mainly in the resolution of the text, which is more noticeable if you enlarge the font or try to read a page in smaller fonts. People reported that the Paperwhite 2 screen released last year was made brighter than the Paperwhite 1.
I do tend to increase the font size these days to '4' or '5' or even '6' when my eyes are tired -- and the new resolution with the Paperwhite-3 (UK model here) makes this even more readable than before and it's also better with smaller text because of less relative blur (not noticeable usually) in the basic font size.
I used the Helvetica font because it is the boldest one, as I prefer more contrast.
In the photos, you can see that the built-in light (again, both were set at Level '14' out of a possible '24') is brighter on the new Paperwhite than it is on my Paperwhite 1 (which has always had some minor blotching besides on the display when in lower light (as you'll see in the close-ups) -- and text against the brightness of the newer model can SOMEtimes appear LESS contrasty than on the older model. The older model is on the left, the newer on the right.
In my case, the new display is definitely easier on my own eyes. And it more resembles the white page of a physical book than my old Paperwhite did, as you can see. Actually, it's quite beautiful.
I chose a low level of illumination because that's more comfortable for my eyes, but I've seen that others like the built-in light set all the way up to '24' -- however, this way, people won't be disappointed when they see the screen is brighter than shown here, which wasn't true of older models vs the ads.
Which to choose -- the Paperwhite 3 or the more expensive Kindle Voyage? I covered that in detail in the previous blog article, "How does the new Paperwhite differ from the Voyage model?" -- and Amazon's press release, included in that article, listed everyday Kindle features that many Kindle owners aren't aware of. Give it a look if you haven't already.