In the beginning, buying an e-reader was a simple job. There were two models: the Wi-Fi Kindle and the 3G one, and they were effectively identical aside from offering different levels of connectivity. These days, however, the choice of Kindles is far more complicated, with four separate models available at four very different prices.
The cheapest Kindle is the touchscreen model, first introduced in 2016, and that costs from £60, while the most expensive model is the Kindle Oasis with 3G, which will set you back £330. The Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage sit in between those and there are multiple different options for each model as well.
If you’re confused as to which Kindle to go for, we’ve helped you make the decision by comparing the three e-readers below.
Amazon Kindle vs Paperwhite vs Voyage vs Oasis: Common features
All of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers share a handful of core features. Each one has access to the same Amazon store for books, which is great because it’s massive and offers a huge array of reasonably priced books and magazines.
Unlike other e-readers, they’re not set up to buy books from elsewhere, so all Kindle users can only buy books from Amazon. Thankfully, Amazon still has the best range of titles and very competitive pricing.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can also access the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which lets you borrow one book a month from a catalogue of 600,000 ebooks.
There’s also the new Prime Reading service, which gives access to a range of free ebooks, magazine and short form material. It’s not just cheap, self-published stuff here, either – on the list of books are Man Booker Prize shortlisted titles and premium magazines such as Total Film and Wallpaper.
Every Kindle supports Amazon’s Family Library, which lets you share your eBooks with other members of your household. Essentially, this lets you join two accounts together, so you can read each other’s books, plus you can add up to four child accounts to the pair of adults.
And Amazon is always improving the user experience across its devices as well. One recent update, improved the interface on all its Kindle devices, adding the new Bookerly font, which has been designed specifically for legibility on eReaders, the new typesetting engine for a more book-like appearance onscreen, and a streamlined interface with easier access to the settings you need. You can also share books and excerpts with friends on social media.
With that covered, let’s move on to the models in the current range.
The budget Kindle – from £60 on Amazon
The budget Kindle costs £60 or £70 if you want it without lockscreen adverts (or, as Amazon describes them, ‘special offers’). The standard Kindle has a 6in touchscreen, a 1GHz processor and 4GB of storage, which is ample space to store thousands of books. Battery life will also be similar at around two weeks per charge if you read for an hour a day.
That said, if you bought a Kindle in the last three years and are tempted to upgrade, then the new Kindle isn’t worth the cash. The screen isn’t much better than the older models and it doesn’t feel as nicely made as them either. If you’re looking for an upgrade, then look below.
Read our full review of the budget Kindle
The Kindle Paperwhite – from £110 on Amazon
Amazon Kindle vs Paperwhite: The Paperwhite has a clearer display, optional 3G connectivity, and a lit display
The current Kindle Paperwhite is the 2015 model. It’s essentially identical to its predecessor, with a lit display for reading in any lighting conditions, but has a sharper screen with 300 pixels per inch. This is the same display as the Kindle Voyage (see below), which narrows the ground between the two models significantly. It’s currently available in Wi-Fi at just £110 or £120 if you want it without lockscreen adverts, or with 3G (£170 or £180) so you can buy books anywhere in the world without needing to find a Wi-Fi network.
The high-resolution screen is a huge boon, providing crisper text which is far more pleasing to the eye. The Paperwhite does pay a price for rendering this extra detail, with a reduced battery life of six weeks, rather than eight on the previous model. The only thing the Paperwhite is still missing is an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen lighting to match. It may not be the top model, with the Voyage below taking that spot, but this is the Kindle that most people should buy, with everything you need at a great price.
Read our full review of the Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Voyage – from £170 on Amazon
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite vs Voyage: The Voyage is thinner, lighter, has PagePress buttons, and an ambient light sensor
Amazon’s Kindle Voyage was the top model until the Oasis, below. The Wi-Fi only model costs £170 with the 3G version a whopping £230. So what do you get for the extra cash? As with the budget Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite, the Voyage also has a 6in touchscreen display, but since the Paperwhite 2015 upgrade, its 300 pixels per inch is matched by the cheaper model. It is thinner and lighter than other Kindle models, but only just. You can turn pages by using the touchscreen or by squeezing the ‘PagePress’ buttons on the side.
It also has 4GB of storage and similar battery life as the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon claims both can last for six weeks on a single charge based on half an hour of reading with wireless off and the screen lighting set to 10.
Our favourite feature is that the light finally has an ambient light sensor, so it adjusts automatically to the lighting conditions. We were amazed at how much difference this made, especially as we rarely bothered to tweak the Paperwhite’s screen light manually except when reading in pitch black. If you read eBooks both at night and during the day, then the Voyage is a great buy, but there’s really nothing wrong with the cheaper Paperwhite.
Read our full review of the Kindle Voyage
The Kindle Oasis – from £270 on Amazon
Amazon Kindle Voyage vs Oasis: The Oasis has better battery life, and page turn buttons
Key features over Kindle Voyage: Extra battery life, page turn buttons
The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s first truly luxurious eReader, with a hefty £270 price to match, or an alarming £330 for the 3G version. It comes complete with a leather-fronted case, but that still makes it twice the price of a similarly-equipped Kindle Paperwhite. Amazingly though, it’s worth the extra cash if you’re a keen reader. It’s far lighter than any other Kindle at just 131g without its magnetic snap-on case, feeling practically weightless in use. The internal battery lasts only a few weeks, similar to the other models, but the included case boosts its battery life by up to two months.
The screen has the same 300 pixels per inch as the Paperwhite and Voyage, and is front lit but has more LEDs, resulting in crisper, more consistent lighting. It’s beautifully designed and lovely to use, both with and without the cover. Amazon has brought back page turn buttons with the Oasis, so you don’t have to touch the screen except when navigating menus. Sadly, the ambient screen light sensor hasn’t made it across from the Voyage, but you do get an orientation sensor, so you can switch between reading left- or right-handed in an instant. It’s the best eReader ever and the one to buy if you can stretch to the price.
Read our full review of the Kindle Oasis
Amazon Kindle vs Paperwhite vs Voyage vs Oasis: Specs
Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of all Kindle models currently on sale.
|Kindle||Kindle Paperwhite||Kindle Voyage||Kindle Oasis|
|Starting price||From £60||From £110||From £170||From £270|
|Built-in light||No||Yes||Yes + Adaptive front light||Yes|
|Page turns||Touchscreen||Touchscreen||Touchscreen + PagePress||Touchscreen + Page turn buttons|
|Available colours||Black, White||Black, White||Black||Black|
|Included cover||No||No||No||Included (Black, Walnut or Merlot)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + free 3G||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + free 3G||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + free 3G|
|Battery life||Weeks on a single charge||Weeks on a single charge||Weeks on a single charge||Months on a single charge|
|Dimensions||160 x 115 x 9.1mm||169 x 117 x 9.1mm||162 x 115 x 7.6mm||143 x 122 x 3.4-8.5mm|
Wi-Fi + 3G: 217g
Wi-Fi + 3G: 188g
Wi-Fi + 3G: 133/240g
Weight without cover / with cover
Alongside the choice of Black or White, Amazon also offers the regular Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite in two variants: ‘With Special Offers’ and ‘Without Special Offers’. The special offers are adverts Amazon pushes through your device’s lockscreen. If you prefer to remove the adverts, you can do so by paying an extra £10.
The Kindle Paperwhite, Voyage and Oasis also come in a ‘Free 3G’ model, adding an additional £60 to the overall cost of the device. The 3G model of the Kindles comes with no monthly fees or additional costs. Amazon covers the 3G connectivity, giving you the ability to download content to your Kindle almost anywhere in the world. You can see Amazon’s full 3G coverage map here.
Which Kindle should you buy?
The new budget Kindle is good value for people buying an eReader for the first time, but a pointless purchase for people considering upgrading from any old Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite is great value, has an excellent touchscreen and light and is the best upgrade option for people with old Kindle models. It’s also our top pick even for those new to eReaders.
The Kindle Voyage is a refined version of the Paperwhite and now looks a little too expensive given the slight differences. The Kindle Oasis, finally, is for those who use their Kindle a lot. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s a genuine pleasure to use and own and it’s the Kindle to buy if you want the very, very best.
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