Show/hide navigation

Which Kindle should I get and what's the difference?

Amazon offers a complete range of Kindle ebook readers, each boasting its own advantages and disadvantages. So what’s the difference between the standard Kindle, Paperwhite, Voyage and Oasis, and which Kindle is best for you to buy? Here’s our full comparison review.

Amazon refreshes its Kindle family quite often, usually every year or so, to add new features and replace older models. For instance, the most affordable £60 base model was recently updated with a fresh new design and touchscreen functionality; check out our full Kindle review for more info.

Alternatively, if you read a lot and you want a more premium eBook experience, Amazon also offers the Paperwhite, Voyage and Oasis Kindle models. These boast sharper screens and features such as screen backlighting, so you can clearly read in any conditions.

So which Kindle is best for you, and what actually is the difference between these different ebook readers? Here's our full comparison review of the 2017 models, to help you decide which one to buy.

If you have any other questions about Amazon's Kindle devices, the Kindle app and all of the features found on these eReaders, check out our complete guide to Amazon Kindle for answers.

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Specs

Here's a quick and easy comparison of the different Kindles’ specs, so you can see what the difference is between the standard Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis.

Kindle Kindle (2016) Kindle Paperwhite Kindle Voyage Kindle Oasis
Weight 161g 205g 180g 131g (238g with cover)
Thickness 9.1mm 9.1mm 7.6mm 8.5mm
Screen size 6-inches 6-inches 6-inches 6-inches
Screen resolution 167ppi 300ppi 300ppi 300ppi
Screen backlighting No Yes Yes Yes
Adaptive backlight No No Yes No
Touchscreen? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Physical page buttons? No No Yes Yes
WiFi? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free 3G? No Available Available Available
Price £60 £110 £170 £270

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Design

There are quite obvious physical differences between the four different Kindle models, although they all sport a 6-inch screen.

While the standard Kindle used to be quite a chunky monkey in its original form, the 2016 updated model now sports a thinner 9.1mm frame that weighs just 161g. You can grab it in white and black and it’s not a bad looking gadget, considering the low asking price. Those pleasingly curved edges and corners make it quite comfortable to clutch as well.

The Kindle Paperwhite and Voyage models are actually heavier than the base version, as they have more complicated tech packed inside. The Oasis meanwhile boasts a completely reworked design compared with other Kindle models. The squat build means it’s practically square, especially with the thick bezel housed on one edge which provides a weighted balance. It’s significantly thinner and lighter than the other readers here too, making it super comfortable for long reading periods.

Both the Voyage and Oasis rock physical side buttons for turning pages, while the standard model and the Paperwhite use touchscreen controls.

As for covers and cases, only the Oasis comes bundled with one. It’s a sleek leather effort with a secondary battery hidden inside. For the other Kindles, you’ll need to purchase a separate case for protection.

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Screen

All four Kindles here sport a 6-inch display, which is a perfectly good size for reading ebooks. You can also change the font size on any of these devices, to suit your particular vision. And as they’re e-ink screens with an anti-glare surfacing, they’re easy on the eye no matter where you choose to read.

The most basic Kindle model has a lower resolution screen that packs in 167 pixels-per-inch. In comparison, the other Kindles here have a boosted resolution of 300 pixels-per-inch. That makes for sharper text and pictures, which is especially good news if you prefer tiny fonts or want to read graphic novels on your ebook device.

Read next: How to read comics on your Kindle

Another problem with that basic Kindle is the lack of backlighting. The other Kindles here all have backlit displays so you can read in the dark. With the standard ebook reader, you’ll need some kind of torch or external light for night time sessions.

For the Oasis’ panel, Amazon added more LED backlights for a more uniform panel. As a result, you don’t get any light or dark patches even when the backlight is boosted to maximum. However, for some barmy reason Amazon has also removed the adaptive backlighting introduced for the Kindle Voyage, so you’ll need to manually adjust the Oasis’ brightness to suit your environment; the screen won’t automatically raise or lower the brightness for a comfortable read and maximum battery efficiency.

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Features

Every Kindle here except for the most basic £60 model has the option of built-in 3G support, which allows you to download books even when you're not connected to WiFi. This feature costs a bit extra, although downloading books via 3G is completely free once you’ve paid that initial premium. Of course, finding free WiFi is pretty easy these days, so it’s not a necessary extra.

All four Amazon Kindles sport the same updated interface and features. From the home page you see your most recent reads as well as the rest of your ebook library, plus book recommendations in case you’re in need of inspiration. Kindles now give you direct access to the GoodReads website too, where you can read reviews of any books you might like to try. You can then jump straight into the Kindle Store to purchase and download whatever you like.

All of the typical Kindle features such as X-Ray and Kindle for Kids are present and correct on all four of these devices. When you’re consuming a book you can check your progress, add a bookmark or note, share your reading session and plenty more besides. Searching for key terms is also dead simple, as is grabbing a dictionary definition.

You also get Bluetooth support for the VoiceView Screen Reader feature with every model of Kindle, so you can enjoy book dictation through a speaker or headphones.

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Battery life

Kindle battery life has sadly plummeted in recent times, mostly thanks to that backlighting screen tech. This means that while the standard Kindle still gives you a full month or so of regular use per charge, the other models offer mere days of reading joy before they need a boost.

However, the secondary battery hidden inside the Oasis’ bundled cover helps to extend the running time between charges to a full two to three weeks. When the Kindle is connected to the cover, it will charge from that secondary battery.

Why Kindle should I buy 2017: Books

All of these Kindles can be used to download and read Amazon's comprehensive catalogue of ebooks on the Kindle Store. There are no issues with compatibility.

Amazon Prime members now get special access to a growing catalogue of free books, through the Prime Reading service. This even includes several popular magazines, as well as graphic novels. Check out our pick of the best Prime Reading books for a glimpse of the available titles.

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Can I use an app instead?

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, or even a laptop, you can use these devices to read eBooks too. All you need to download the Amazon Kindle app and you're good to go.

Of course, bear in mind that a Kindle has several advantages over a phone or tablet when it comes to reading books on the move. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time with your nose buried in a novel.

For instance, the e-paper screens on a Kindle are more comfortable for extended reading periods; although some phones such as the OnePlus 5 now have special reading modes, so your eyes aren't as strained.

Amazon's Kindles also enjoy much longer battery life and are made for a specific purpose. They'll often last weeks on a single charge, and when they're dead, it simply means you can't read any more until you charge it back up. In contrast, a smartphone battery often drains quickly when the screen is active and when it's dead, you'll be out of touch. Horror!

Which Kindle should I buy 2017: Pricing and verdict

While we love the slick design and battery cover of the Kindle Oasis, it really is an expensive device. We’d say stick with the Voyage if you want backlighting for night time reading, as it boasts adaptive brightness.

However, if cash is short then the Paperwhite does practically everything the Voyage does. And the budget Kindle is now better than ever, offering a solid reading experience, although the lack of backlighting is a serious issue if you aren’t simply reading on your daily commute.

You should also read

Join the conversation

Back to top ↑