It’s been over 11 years since the original Amazon Kindle e-reader was launched. Each new generation brings newer features and a better experience for ebook lovers.
If you’re looking to buy a new Kindle, you’re spoilt for choice. From the base model Kindle to the Kindle Oasis, which is best? This comparison will help you make a more informed decision.
Buying a Kindle means buying into the Amazon Kindle ecosystem. Whichever model of Kindle you choose, you have access to millions of ebooks on the Kindle store and the Kindle Unlimited subscription.
All models come with Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning you can download your ebooks wherever you’re connected. 2019 edition Kindles also offer Bluetooth connectivity, letting you link to headphones and speakers to listen to Audible audiobooks.
You can also choose to purchase one of these Kindle models at a discount by choosing to buy the “special offers” edition of your Kindle model. For a cheaper price, you accept an advert on your Kindle screen whenever it’s locked. It’s a small concession, and you won’t see any ads while you’re reading.
Subscribers to Amazon Prime can also take advantage of the Kindle Lending Library, where you can “borrow” one ebook a month.
2019 Edition Kindle Oasis
Premium is the buzzword for the best and most expensive Kindle model — the Kindle Oasis. Match an Oasis with Amazon-supplied “form-fitting covers,” and you have an ebook reader that starts to look more like a traditional book.
The 2019 edition, currently on sale, is a modest improvement on the last Kindle Oasis released in 2017. It comes with the newest “Paperwhite” display at 7 inches, with a 300 pixels per inch resolution. The Oasis is also waterproof, rated at IPX8, so can be submerged further than 1 meter deep.
The Oasis comes with a warm light that adjusts from white to amber as well as adaptive sensors to modify your screen brightness to your environment. It includes Bluetooth connectivity to let you connect to Bluetooth speakers and listen to Audible audiobooks.
2017 Edition Kindle Oasis
The 2017 Edition Kindle Oasis offers a similar reading experience to the newer 2019 edition. You won’t find new versions for sale on Amazon, but you might find refurbished models available.
There isn’t much difference between the 2017 edition and the 2019 edition Oasis, with the display proving to be the most obvious upgrade. The 2019 Kindle Oasis, as mentioned, comes with the new “Paperwhite” display, but the 2017 edition still has a 7-inch screen with a 300 PPI resolution.
The older Oasis lacks the warm light sensor, but otherwise they’re the same size and design. Many of the features that make the 2019 Oasis a good purchase can be found in the 2017 edition if you can purchase it at a discount.
The Kindle Paperwhite sits as the mid-tier Kindle. It’s not as premium as a Kindle Oasis, but it offers more for ebook lovers than the base model Kindle at the bottom.
It has a 300 PPI display resolution and is glare-free like the Oasis. The screen is slightly smaller than the Oasis at 6 inches (versus the Oasis’ seven). It’s waterproof, has five backlight LEDs, and comes with either 8GB or 32GB storage.
You can also pair the Paperwhite with a Bluetooth speaker or headset to give you audiobook access through Amazon-owned Audible. It’s also the first model of Kindle with a 4G-enabled edition available.
Base Model Kindle
The base model Kindle has changed since it first launched 11 years ago. Ditching the keyboard back in 2011, the Kindle has gained more features while dropping in size and weight ever since. The latest version of this Kindle launched in 2019.
It’s the most basic model for a reason — it offers a smaller 6-inch screen and a lower 167 PPI resolution, compared to the more advanced models. Older Kindles lack a backlight, but the new 2019 edition of the basic Kindle now includes a backlight with 4 LEDs.
Amazon rates the basic Kindle with “weeks” of battery life. Like the rest of the Kindle models, you can also link with a Bluetooth speaker to enjoy Audible e-books. This is only available on the 2019 edition, however.
Kindle Voyage (Now Discontinued)
The Kindle Voyage sat as a premium Kindle model. Thinner than the Paperwhite and with a more premium design overall, the Voyage competed directly with the Kindle Oasis and was ultimately discontinued in the summer of 2018.
It’s still available for sale on Amazon as “certified refurbished” at the same price as the Kindle Paperwhite, however.
As mentioned, the Voyage is a lighter, thinner version of the Paperwhite. It has a screen size and resolution that matches the Paperwhite. The Voyage has a more premium glass panel display, compared to the plastic used on the Paperwhite.
It has LED lighting, but uses six LEDs rather than four and includes an adaptive sensor to alter your lighting to match your environment. The Voyage also includes haptic feedback controls on the side called PagePress, which vibrate slightly when you tap to move to the next page.
While discontinued, the premium finish makes a refurbished Voyage a good alternative to the current Paperwhite.
Which Kindle Is Best?
Each model of Kindle is aimed at a specific audience. The Kindle Oasis is a luxury model with the most advanced features (and highest price), while the base model Kindle is a simple, bare-bones e-reader for everyday use. The Paperwhite sits in the middle and might be the best compromise between features and price.
Do bear in mind that if you’re looking for an e-reader but want to avoid buying into the Amazon ecosystem, there are some good Kindle alternatives you could choose to buy instead.