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Amazon Kindle Oasis vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: which premium e-reader should you buy?

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Amazon Kindle Oasis
(Image credit: Amazon)
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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be some top deals across the entire Amazon device range over the coming month.

And that will almost certainly include the two best Kindles in the family: the Amazon Kindle Oasis and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. So which of these classy e-book readers is best for you? Let’s run through what they have to offer.

Before that, you'll find the best price for the Amazon Kindle products below but you can expect these to drop on November 27 when Black Friday arrives.

Why do I even need an e-book reader?


Ah, do we detect the presence of an iPad enthusiast? Or maybe a paper book traditionalist? Either way, there are some compelling reasons to invest in an e-book reader.

For the first group, reading large amounts of text is simply easier, more pleasant and better for your eyes on a Kindle E Ink display than on a garishly lit LCD. And you can do so for much longer, with battery life that can be measured in weeks rather than hours. Have you tried reading on an iPad in bright sunlight, by the way? It’s not so great.

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)

As for you physical bookworms, look, we love a good paperback as well. But a Kindle will enable you to take a library of thousands of books around with you in a single compact device. And it’ll survive a dip in the bath too, which is more than can be said for the latest pricey hardback.

OK, so why give more money to Amazon?

Simple: because Amazon makes some of the best e-readers in the business. And while rivals like Kobo can in many cases match them for hardware, Amazon’s e-book ecosystem and vast e-publishing operation are pretty much untouchable.

What about the plain Kindle?

There are currently three members of the Kindle family, and we’re here comparing the middle and premium models in the Paperwhite and Oasis respectively. The plain Amazon Kindle is your entry level device, and a great pick if you’re a casual reader after a no-nonsense e-reader for $89.99 / £69.99 / AU$139.

(Image credit: Amazon)

However, you’ll have to put up with a much lower-resolution display, about half the storage, a lack of waterproofing, and several other quality-of-life features that the other two models bring to the table.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The third generation Amazon Kindle Oasis launched on July 24, 2019 with a nigh on identical design do its predecessor. That includes a similar 7-inch E Ink display and a super sharp 300 ppi resolution.

You also get a choice of 8 GB or 32 GB of storage, and there’s a 32GB 4G LTE model for those who want to be able to download books from anywhere. It has an IPX8 rating too, which means it can survive an hour-long dip in up to two metres of water.

Amazon Kindle

(Image credit: Amazon)

New to this model, not to mention the entire Kindle family, is a 25-LED backlight that can adjust the display’s temperature to warmer tones, making for a more pleasant and less sleep-disrupting image.

The Kindle Oasis is available from $269.99 / £229.99 / AU$399 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model, but watch out for a temporary price cut this coming Prime Day.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

This fourth generation Paperwhite first hit Amazon on November 7, 2018. Its purpose seemed to be to bind the core features of the high-end Oasis in a more affordable mass-market package.

To that end you get a 6-inch 300 ppi E Ink display, IPX8 waterproofing for poolside readers, and a choice of 8 GB or 32 GB of storage. You can also opt for a 32GB model with 4G LTE capabilities.

(Image credit: Amazon Kindle)

All this for a price that starts from $149.99 / £119.99 / AU$199. Again, look for that price to be slashed this coming Black Friday.

Comparison

The Kindle Oasis is clearly the best specced-out e-reader that Amazon has to offer, and you’ll pay a sizeable premium for that fact. While its skinny aluminium body is a bit of an extravagance, its extra features might just make it a better pick depending on your needs.

The 7-inch display of the Oasis is an inch bigger than the Paperwhite’s, and the biggest in the entire Kindle range. This means it’s the better pick for those with limited eyesight, or even if you plan to use your Kindle to read a lot of magazines or comics.

You also get the benefit of a superior 25-LED backlight, whereas the Paperwhite only as a 5-LED provision. This will be a big advantage if you’re a night time reader. And if you are, the adjustable warm light of the Oasis will go easier on your eyes.

(Image credit: amazon kindle)

Fans of physical page-turn controls will also want to give the Oasis a look, as it’s the only Kindle to give you proper clicky buttons.

Still, at almost half the price, the Paperwhite will be a better bet for a lot of people. Its plastic build, while not as luxurious, is a little lighter and narrower than the Oasis, making it easier to slip into a small bag or large pocket.

It might be smaller, but at 300 ppi, the Paperwhite’s display will render text just as sharply. And talking of feature parity, the Paperwhite will survive a dip in the pool just as well, with the same IPX8 waterproof rating.

Verdict

As the two best variants of the finest e-reader line money can buy, you really can’t go wrong with either the Amazon Kindle Oasis or the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Both offer a super sharp reading experience, and access to the best e-publishing ecosystem in the business.

If you demand the most luxurious canvass for reading possible, then the Oasis is your best bet with its aluminium body, physical buttons, and 7-inch E Ink display. But the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is arguably better value, giving you many of the same perks for a little over half the price.