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Which Amazon Kindle should you buy: Kindle, Paperwhite, or Oasis?

Kindle Oasis 2019 long-term review
Kindle Oasis 2019 long-term review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

There's no shortage of choice if you're in the market for an e-reader, with Amazon alone offering three Kindles across various price points. Amazon has made e-readers for well over a decade now, and in that time, it has dominated thanks to a combination of hardware chops and an outstanding e-book store.

The current Kindle lineup starts at $90 and goes all the way up to $250. Whether you're looking to get started with e-readers or are interested in upgrading to a more feature-rich model, these are the best Kindles you can pick up today.

Kindle: The ideal starting point

Amazon Kindle

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

The $90 Kindle has a lot going for it: incredible battery life, the ability to stream audiobooks over Bluetooth, and now front-facing LEDs so you can read in the dark.The current-generation Kindle is also thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but there are a few drawbacks. It doesn't offer nearly as much storage for your library, and the pixel density at 167ppi isn't ideal.

There's also built-in Bluetooth that lets you stream your favorite audiobooks. The base variant is a decent choice if you're unwilling to spend over a hundred dollars on an e-reader, but you get so much more with the next variant in the series. Like most traditional Kindles, the entry-level model is available in black or white versions.

Kindle Paperwhite: The obvious choice for everyone

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

The Paperwhite is the default option for most people. It costs $140 — $50 more than the base model — and comes with a backlight and a larger 6.8-inch 300ppi display. The 300ppi display on the Paperwhite is just as vibrant as the costlier Oasis, and you have the option to adjust the intensity of the backlight. It offers twice the storage as the base model Kindle — 8 GB vs 4 GB, and Amazon provides the option to go up to a 32 GB model.

The back has a soft-touch plastic coating that makes it comfortable to hold the Kindle for hours on end. Also, the current edition is almost 20 grams lighter than previous versions. The screen is now flush with the bezels on the top of the device. So, you won't get lint or liquids into it, and it is now waterproof, like the pricier Oasis.

Unlike the base model which comes in black and white, you can choose your Paperwhite in black or twilight blue versions. The best new addition with this generation is adjustable warm light, which is ideal for reading at night. The warm lighting is easier on the eyes, and makes a genuine difference. If you're looking for a Kindle that offers the best value, then the Paperwhite is the one to get.

Kindle Oasis: The upgrade pick

Amazon Kindle Oasis 10th Gen Screen

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

The Oasis is Amazon's flagship Kindle. It was the first one in the lineup to offer water resistance — though now other models also have this feature. The IPX8 certification allows it to be submerged in up to two meters of freshwater for 60 minutes. That makes the Oasis a great option if you're looking to read by the pool or in the tub.

The Oasis doesn't look like any other Kindle, and that's because of a unique design that sees the internal components located on one side. The design brief for the Oasis was to mimic a book folded in half, and it excels at doing that. Unlike the rest of the series, the Oasis has a brushed aluminum finish at the back. While it isn't as comfortable as the soft-touch plastic, you have the option to accessorize with a fabric case.

The screen resolution on the Oasis is the same at 300ppi, but the e-reader has a larger 7-inch panel. It also has 25 LEDs as well as an ambient light sensor, and an accelerometer that switches the orientation of the screen based on whatever hand you're holding the Oasis. The differentiator for the Oasis is the warm lighting that automatically adjusts based on ambient lighting in your room.

To match its premium feel and price, you can pick up the all-aluminum Oasis in graphite or champagne gold colors. If you want the best Kindle e-reader available today, the Oasis should be at the top of your list.

Add content to your new Kindle

Buying a Kindle is just half the story; you'll also want to pick up some books to read on the device. Fortunately, Amazon offers a plethora of reading options, from its regular Kindle e-book store to subscription and lending services like Kindle Unlimited, Kindle Newsstand, and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

7 Comments
  • I have the Oasis 2 which has the best features of the Voyage plus has a bigger screen, is water Resistant and has a slim design. For the first time since I first got a kindle (2010) I can use it in the bath without using a waterproof case!
  • Amazon is losing out on so much money from me because the Oasis is just too expensive for something that is so basic and they never have a decent deal on it. I still buy used books waiting on the cost of the Oasis to become worthy of a purchase. I've bought a LOT of used books in the past 2 years. If I had been a Kindle unlimited member for those 2 years I would have more than paid for a good discount off of the Oasis.
  • The monthly payments from Amazon help defer the cost of the Oasis.
  • I have a Paperwhite, and to be honest, if you have a decent Android 7+ phone, it is a waste of money, as you can read just as well in the phone, just turn eye protection on in settings. Google books also have a lots of books in there, I found some cheaper, and the app is just as good, with automatically adaptating background colour according to the time of the day etc.
  • I had the voyage and now the oasis. I much prefer the build and handling of the oasis. It is expensive but It for me has been by far my best kindle to date.
  • I got the Oasis just for the IPX8 rating. Now I don't have to worry about reading by the pool or outside.
  • I had the Voyage and debated several times upgrading to the Oasis, but I just found it too expensive especially considering the form factor was offputting and unappealing to me. It wouldn’t fit in my pocket the way my Voyage did as it’s too wide. But when the new Paperwhite Signature Edition came out, I was hooked. It has everything the Oasis does, with almost as large of a screen (but bigger than the Voyage) yet the form factor still fits in my pocket. And the bonus of USB-C and wireless charging sealed the deal. The only thing missing from the Voyage/Oasis is the lack of physical buttons to turn the page, but surprisingly I haven’t really missed it like I thought I would coming from the Voyage. I’m really enjoying it and dont’ regret choosing it over the Oasis.