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Avid book readers and casual skimmers alike have fawned over the Kindle for years, and for good reason. The current lineup of Amazon's popular e-readers is so good, in fact, that it's pretty hard to make a decision on which one to buy. That's where we come in.
With our help, you'll fully understand all the key features, small quirks, and important specs of four Amazon devices: Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis and Kindle Kids Edition. The short story is, we think the Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle you can choose. Though each model has its advantages.
The debate between advocates of digital books and printed books continues to rage, but thanks to more than a decade of experience, Amazon's Kindle range is the gold standard for e-readers.
There are four types of Kindle to choose between. Despite the similar builds, there's a lot to consider about these four e-readers before making the decision for yourself. And, with prices starting from as low as $79.99, the decision shouldn't break your bank either.
Take a look at the four Kindles we've reviewed below:
Which Kindle is Best for You?
Whether price, performance, or design are most important to you, there's a Kindle that can fit your needs. Each of these four e-readers brings something unique to the table, and each has its own flaws that we won't hold against it. Check them out below:
- Kindle Paperwhite – The Best for Price and Performance: This e-reader has it all in moderation. It's reasonably priced at $129.99, has quality features including a backlight and high resolution screen, and it's even waterproof!
- ‘Basic' Kindle – Best for Affordability: You can never go wrong with the classic. The basic Kindle is easily the most affordable model, coming it at only $89.99. That's hard to beat, even outside of Amazon's stellar lineup. The newest iteration has an increased price, but added front-lights and a clearer screen. If you're looking for the most affordable option, you found it, particularly with these updates.
- Kindle Oasis – Best for Blowing the Budget: If you've got the money, the Oasis is an absolute must for passionate readers – and the 2019 update adds a ‘warm' backlight that's better for late-night reading. The larger size and the bigger screen make it much easier to read, and it's less than 0.5 ounces heavier than the smaller models. Granted, the $279.99 price tag is a bit daunting, but the added features make it almost worth it.
- Kindle Kids Edition – Best for Kids: The most recent addition to the Kindle family, this kid-friendly edition adds some new features, such as achievement badges, a parental app and an included protective cover. At $109, it's more expensive than the standard Kindle, but the two year quibble-free guarantee is sure to win some parents over.
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Best Kindle to Choose
The best Amazon Kindle for you depends on what you're looking for. As with any healthy consumer tech lineup, you've got good and bad across the spectrum, all designed with a particular owner in mind.
The basic Kindle is a classic. Its simple design, few features, and low price tag are perfect for those looking to try out an e-reader for the first time. It's comfortable, not too complicated, and won't break the bank, so the risk involved in trying one out is low.
On the flip side, the Oasis is a heavy-duty e-reader for the heavy-duty reader. It has a lot of quirks and doo-dads, including an automatic adjustable backlight, a physical button to turn the page, and a much bigger screen than other models, thanks to the one-sided bezel for one-handed reading.
While these two devices are impressive, there is a clear front-runner in this bout, and that's the Paperwhite. The best of both worlds in regards to price and performance, the Paperwhite comes with all the important features – like a backlight, higher resolution screen, and waterproofing – and packages it into a more affordable box.
Verdict: There truly is an Amazon Kindle for everyone, but the Kindle Paperwhite is the best overall choice. It's only $40 more than the ‘basic' Kindle model, and truly does come with all the important bells and whistles of the Oasis, other than some of the luxury extras.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Best Overall Kindle You Can Choose
Some say that a jack of all trades is a master of none, but that simply isn't true when it comes to the Kindle Paperwhite. This middle-tier e-reader from Amazon, which launched in October 2018, packs a lot into an affordable bundle, bringing you a quality device that won't completely ruin your budget.
For one, the Paperwhite is only $129, a mere $40 more than Amazon's most affordable option. That $40 buys you a backlight, key for reading in the dark; a high resolution screen, comparable to their most expensive model; and plenty of storage for all the books, magazines, and PDFs you might need.
Plus, because this is the newest Paperwhite model since 2015, you also get impressive waterproofing technology – rated IPX8 – so you can read in the bath, on the beach, and anywhere in between.
Verdict: The Paperwhite was designed as the pleasant middle ground between the most and least expensive models, but has turned out to be truly the best Kindle you can buy for the money.
- Back-light for night time reading
- Anti-glare screen
- Touchscreen page turning rather than button may not suit everyone
Buy on Amazon
The Best Budget Kindle Choice
To the crowd that prefers real books, the classic Kindle is a good first step into the world of e-readers. It's basic, it's uncomplicated, and you don't have to bust open your piggy bank just to buy one. At $89.99, the Kindle is barely more expensive than a good pair of Bluetooth headphones, and it gets the job done.
Not to say there aren't a few fun features hidden in this affordable gem. You can download books over Wi-Fi, you can share highlights with friends on social media, and you can even listen to audio books via Bluetooth. Plus, with their special offer, you can get 3-months of Kindle Unlimited for free.
You can finally read in the dark, thanks to the newly installed front lights that angle up from the bottom bezel. However, bath time reading is out of the question, as the Kindle isn't waterproof. But if you're looking for an e-reader to get you in the game, here it is.
Verdict: For the price, the Kindle can't be beat. While it's missing key features that make e-readers great, you still can't deny that the low price tag will get you in the door.
- Very affordable
- Lightweight and slim
- Little storage
- Not waterproof
Buy on Amazon
Amazon Kindle Oasis
Too Expensive to Recommend, But a Great Piece of Tech
There's no denying that the Kindle Oasis has what it takes to make an impact on the e-reader market. The stunning screen, the handy features, and the unique, one-sided bezel for easy one-handed reading make it an innovative product in a space that hasn't seen much change since its inception.
However, it might have been a bit much. The one-sided bezel is certainly unique, but you could also use the word “strange” or “unnecessary” to describe it. Sure, the physical button to turn the page is nice – users have been begging for it for long enough – but does it make up for the odd design choice?
A newly added amber light feature means that the display on the Oasis will automatically change depending on lighting conditions, and when it's darker, changes to a softer color that's easier on the eyes. It's a nice little addition, and as for now, unique to the Oasis, but we don't think it's a killer feature.
All that pales in comparison to the price tag: $279.99. At a little less than twice the price of the Paperwhite, the Oasis truly takes the cake for most expensive e-reader from Amazon. When it came out, the waterproof design made the price tag worthwhile. But with the new Paperwhite having most of the same features, the price tag just isn't worth it.
Verdict: Simply put, the Kindle Oasis is too expensive. Yes, if you have the money and absolutely need the latest, most feature-heavy device, we're certainly not going to stop you. But considering the Paperwhite has all the same core features, it might be worth it to take a look, if only to save a little cash.
- Lots of features
- Back light for reading in the dark
- Amber light feature
- Very expensive
- Design with one-sided bezel may not appeal
Buy on Amazon
Amazon Kindle Kids Edition
Pricier than the standard Kindle, but with additional kid-friendly features
Despite having a Fire tablet designed for kids for some time, it's taken a while for Amazon to produce a dedicated e-book reader for a younger audience. On the surface, the Kindle Kids Edition doesn't appear that different from the entry-level Kindle, but there are some real key differences.
Hardware wise, the Kids Edition has a 6-inch screen, light and 8GB of RAM, and also comes bundled with a protective case in a range of colors. It's the features though, that will make it most appealing to children and parents. It rewards and recognises reading by gamifying progress that children make, and awarding them badges, which are visible to parents too, on a dedicated app. This app also tells parents what their children are reading and when.
There's also a Word Wise feature, which can automatically explain what bigger words mean and offer alternatives, so that children aren't slowed down by not recognising a new word.
Perhaps the biggest pull for parents is the two-year no-quibble guarantee, which means that if a child breaks the Kindle, even accidentally, Amazon will replace it free of charge. It offers a great deal of peace of mind for those handing their kids a $109 dollar device.
Verdict: Yes, it's more expensive than the standard Kindle, but we feel that the extra features, the case and of course that guarantee, make the Kids Edition model a great choice for parents, especially with the free years subscription to Free Time Unlimited, which offers thousands of Kindle titles
- Two year warranty
- Cover included
- Dedicated child features
- More expensive than the standard model
Buy on Amazon
Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite
If you're focused on price, this is likely the debate you're having in regards to which Kindle you want to buy. The Kindle is the classic, with the simple design and the basic features, coming in at $89.99; the Paperwhite boasts some key features and comes in at $129.99. So what does that $40 get you? Actually, kind of a lot.
For one, the Paperwhite has a backlight – a hugely important feature for anyone that likes reading at night without a big lamp right next to their head. Yes, the basic Kindle has a frontlight, but let's be honest, it's not really the same. Secondly, the screen resolution of the Paperwhite is hard to match, with more than twice as many pixels per inch. Additionally, storage options are larger and more varied with the Paperwhite, so you can really load up on comics, magazines, and books if you need to.
Finally, the Paperwhite is waterproof! Because it's the newest model since 2015, the Paperwhite comes with an IPX8 water-resistant certification, which means you can take it in the bath, to the beach, and pretty much anywhere else you'd like.
Verdict: The Paperwhite is only $40 extra compared to the Kindle. With a backlight for night time reading, plus the fact that it's waterproof, choosing the Kindle Paperwhite feels like kind of a no-brainer. But, if you want the stripped down, affordable Kindle, it certainly has its merits and is a perfectly respectable device.
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Paperwhite
There's no two ways about it: the price tags of these two e-readers are a big point of contention. While the Paperwhite enjoys a mere $129.99 costs, the Kindle Oasis jumps up substantial to a whopping $249.99. So what does that nearly doubled price tag get you? Not as much as you'd think.
The screen is larger on the Oasis, which gives those with bad eyes or foggy reading glasses a bit of breathing room. Despite the screen upgrade, it's not much heavier than the cheaper models at only 6.8 ounces. Plus, the stunning screen resolution is always a nice touch for an e-reader, but it's equaled by the Paperwhite on that front.
Both have backlights, both have 8GB-32GB of storage, both are equally waterproof, and both have Wi-Fi and 3G options. So what's the extra money going towards? The unique design! In addition to a physical button that lets you turn the page, the Oasis has a unique, one-sided bezel that makes one-handed reading easier than ever. Then there's that easy on the eye amber light that's exclusive to the Oasis, which we admit is a nice feature.
Verdict: Let's be honest, $249.99 is a lot more money than $129.99, and there just aren't enough additional features in the Kindle Oasis to make it worth it. The Paperwhite still has all the essential basics, like waterproof and backlight, at an actual fraction of the cost. The battle is done – Paperwhite wins.
Which Kindles Are Waterproof?
If you've ever dropped a book in a bath or lost a smartphone at the beach, you know the importance of a waterproof e-reader. Until recently, only notably expensive models and high-end tablets could withstand the stresses of shallow water, but luckily, that's not the case anymore.
The Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis are both waterproof in shallow water. Baths and beaches don't stand a chance against these devices, thanks to their IPX8 certification. It's even immune to sand and liquid spills, like coffee or tea, so the clumsy among us no longer have to be careful around our favorite devices.
The Kindle, unfortunately, is not waterproof at all, which is hardly surprising given its smaller price tag. There are plenty of waterproof cases that get the job done, however, but they're probably more expensive than the $40 extra you would spend on the Paperwhite.
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