In the world of e-readers, the Amazon Kindle is arguably King or Queen. For those of us who are voracious readers and don’t have the room at home for a dedicated library of our own, space for our beloved volumes can be at a premium. I, for one, have filled several bookcases before deciding enough is enough! I needed a different solution and so I turned to e-books.
I have always loved the Kindle above all other e-readers I have tried. Today there are four models on sale with the Amazon branding. The cheapest known simply as The Kindle for £69.99 and then there is the Kindle Kids Edition, for £99.99. At the top of the range, there are the two we will be concerning ourselves with today, the Kindle Paperwhite for £119 UK and the Kindle Oasis for £229 UK at the time of writing. So, which is right for you and is the extra cost of the Oasis worth it for the average user?
Amazon, the company perhaps now synonymous with e-readers released its first e-reader, the Kindle, in 2007. In 2012 the first Paperwhite device was released, now incorporating a backlit screen. The first Kindle Oasis was released in 2016.
The two Kindle devices I will be comparing today are the two most recent versions of these devices: The Kindle Paperwhite (2018) and The Kindle Oasis (2019). I own both devices having recently migrated over from the Paperwhite to the Oasis, and so I would like to share my opinion on which to buy.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a 6” screen, with the eponymous E-Ink and is backlit. Like all Kindle devices, the battery life is measured in weeks rather than hours, one of the major benefits of reading on a dedicated e-reader rather than on an e-book app on a tablet. The screen itself has brightness adjustment, font size and style adjustment and the screen displays in 300ppi or pixels per inch. This makes the text crisp and easy to read. It also has Bluetooth so you can listen to your audiobooks through Bluetooth headphones or an external speaker.
The Paperwhite has a plastic back and frame and since the design update in 2018, the screen now sits flush with the bezels of the device. This I’ve found to be a much-needed upgrade as the previous iteration with its insert screen allowed debris to get trapped easily which could become quite annoying. The device comes in 8GB and 32GB storage capacities, which is more than enough to store several hundred books. It is IPX8 waterproof rated which means it is tested to withstand sixty minutes submerged to 2-meter depth or 0.25m depth salt water for 30 minutes. This is perfect for those of us who take our Kindles on holiday and like nothing better than to read beside the pool.
I have used a Kindle Paperwhite for several years and have read many books on it. I have found it to be very comfortable to read on. The E-Ink makes eye strain rare and the backlight is very handy when reading in low light. It is quite durable even though it is made from plastic materials. Its size and lightweight construction make it very comfortable in the hand, more so than many paper books.
I find the weight of larger paper books can be cumbersome to hold for comfortable reading. This can be acerbated where arthritis or other health issues are evident. With an e-reader such as the kindle, the number of pages your book has won’t affect its weight or comfort in your hand.
The Kindle Oasis is the premium sibling to the Paperwhite. Just one look and touch will convince you of its premium status. It has a metal backing and a flush glass front. It is beautiful to behold and in my experience, nicer in use.
Whereas the entry-level device has a 6” screen the Oasis has a 7” 300ppi screen. The extra inch in my view makes it easier to read on, but as it’s only 7 grams heavier, 188g to its siblings 181g, it isn’t any more cumbersome in use. It too has the benefit of IPX 8 waterproofing, 8GB or 32GB storage and a long-life battery.
Its additional features include two buttons on the right of the screen to move between pages. This makes reading one-handed a joy. The Paperwhite depends on a tap or swipe of the touchscreen to turn pages, which is a small difference to be sure but can be a little less convenient in practice.
Whereas the Paperwhite has a brightness adjustment the Oasis also has a warmth adjustment. I quite like this feature as it allows you to change the colour of the page from bright white to a deep yellow to replicate that of older books. Not a must-have feature I’ll grant you, but one that I quite like. It also has adaptive lighting, a feature absent from the Paperwhite, which automatically adjusts the screen brightness to the external lighting conditions. This means the screen is always optimally lit for your reading pleasure.
Integrated Book Store
The Amazon book store, accessible through every kindle via an internet connection, is one of the reasons for the Kindles runaway success. This ability to view a bookstore directly from the device and buy a new book for immediate reading without leaving the poolside is a great feature indeed. In addition to which the e-book version is often cheaper to buy than the equivalent paper version of the book.
I am lucky enough to have both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Oasis and I have used them extensively. Both are wonderful devices and in my humble opinion, they are the best e-readers available today. So which is right for you?
The Paperwhite does everything a great e-reader should and does so with aplomb. The Oasis, however, is a step up both in terms of quality and features over the Paperwhite. It is the Apple MacBook of e-readers.
For most people, the more affordable Paperwhite will serve handsomely and I have no problem whatsoever in recommending it. It is waterproof, has great battery life, large storage capacity, and is easy to read.
The Kindle Oasis is a premium device that adds adaptive lighting, a metal frame, a warmth setting, buttons for extra convenience and a larger screen, but costs £90 more. The extra expense is not insignificant and the extra features provided by the Oasis aren’t reason enough to spend the extra money I feel. For most people, the Kindle Paperwhite is more than adequate.
If however, you want the best e-reader on the market today and you can justify the extra expense, I would heartily recommend the Kindle Oasis. I know I love mine.