Which Kindle Should You Buy?

Books offer the magic of transporting readers to another world without having to buy a plane ticket or leave the comfort of home. No matter your surroundings, when you open a book, you wind up finding yourself elsewhere: in Paris, the Wild West, on Mars, or beyond. While some people are hard copy book fanatics, there are many reasons to consider getting an e-reader these days. First of all, e-readers save precious space in your home. Whereas your bookshelf may end up overflowing to the point of collapse if you pile it up with traditional books, you won't face this problem with e-readers. An e-reader also saves valuable space in your suitcase or purse when you want to take a book out and about with you. Speaking of travel, if you move abroad for a semester or just are living the nomad life, with an e-reader you have plenty of access to books in your language. From an environmental standpoint, an e-reader of course also helps to save trees.

If you already read on phones and tablets and don't think you need a separate e-reader, keep in mind that e-reader batteries last for a lot longer than these other devices. E-reader books are often cheaper than traditional books too. Additionally, devices like smartphones and tablets have backlights that can cause eye strain from reading over long periods of time. While a number of different companies have released e-readers over the years, Kindle is the ubiquitous e-reader. It is very popular and dominates the market. That being said, there are four different Kindle e-readers you can choose from. Below, we've broken them down and compared them based on their features, price, and more.

Kindle Oasis

The Kindle Oasis is Amazon's premium Kindle e-reader. It has a larger screen than other Kindles, measuring 7-inches. It is available in Graphite or Champagne Gold and measures 6.3 inches by 5.6 inches by 0.3-0.33 inches. It weighs 6.8 ounces, and you can choose whether you want Wi-Fi connectivity alone or Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity. You can also increase the font size if you find it difficult to read. Perhaps the most exciting feature is that the Kindle Oasis is waterproof! This is great news for all of the bathtub readers out there! No more need to wrap your kindle in a plastic sandwich bag prior to a soak in the tub! According to Amazon, it can withstand immersion of up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of fresh water. Touchscreen and page turn buttons let you choose how you want to flip pages in your book. As with other Kindles, you can export and share your notes and highlights in PDF format via email. You can borrow and lend out Kindle books to Kindle app users for up to 14 days and connect to family via the Family Library. You can easily look up words to build your vocabulary and get instant translations if you are reading a book in another language. The Time to Read feature available on Kindle will detect your reading speed and can alert you to how long it should take you to finish a chapter or the book. The battery lasts up to 6 weeks with half an hour of reading per day.



Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite offers a higher resolution display (300 ppi) than the traditional Kindle. It measures 6.7 inches by 4.6 inches by 0.36 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces if you choose Wi-Fi alone, or 7.6 ounces if you choose one with Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity. Like the Kindle, it has a 6-inch glare-free touchscreen.  It has 4 GB of storage for all of your books, and like other Kindles, you can get unlimited access to over a thousand books if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. You can adjust the screen brightness to a level that is comfortable for you depending on the time of day. Turn pages via the touchscreen, which some reviewers noted liking even better than the older Kindles that required the push of a button to flip pages. It connects wirelessly so you can download new Kindle books without having to be connected to a computer. With the cellular connectivity option, you don't have to even connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot before downloading your newest titles. You can lend your Kindle books out to for up to 14 days to anyone who has the free Kindle app. As with the other Kindle devices, you can set up parental controls if you want your child to be able to use your device safely, blocking access to inappropriate content or being able to make purchases in the Kindle store. There is no way to access Audible from this Kindle. Battery life is up to 6 weeks with half an hour of reading per day. Available in black and white. You can choose whether you want to receive special offers, add cellular connectivity, and also add an extended warranty if desired.



Kindle Voyage

Until relatively recently, the Kindle Voyage was the highest quality Amazon e-reader. This Kindle measures 6.4 inches by 4.5 inches by 0.3 inches, making it slimmer than the other Kindles out there so it feels very easy to hold and comfortable in your hand. It weighs 6.3 ounces with just Wi-fi, or 6.6 ounces with Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity. The adaptive light sensor adjusts gradually, so it seems natural and won't distract you from reading.  Like the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis, you can choose for your Kindle Voyage to connect via Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity. It cannot connect to Audible. Just like other Kindles, you can use the Kindle Voyage to learn new words through the Vocabulary Builder, translate passages of text, connect to Amazon Prime, and more. It has a 1-year limited warranty, and you can choose if you want to add an extended 1-, 2-, or 3-year warranty.The question is whether the small improvements (such as the adaptive light sensor and the page press option) are truly worth an extra $80. Generally, we don't think so, but if you use a Kindle Paperwhite and find yourself often distracted from your book by needing to manually adjust the light, the Kindle Voyage could be a sound investment for you.




The Kindle is the most basic of Amazon e-readers. It measures 6.3 inches by 4.5 inches by 0.36 inches and weighs 5.7 ounces. Like most of the Kindle e-readers, it comes with 4 GB of storage for your favorite e-books. The 6-inch, 167 ppi resolution display is glare-free and the sharp text is easy to read. You can adjust the size of the font to make it easier to read for those with limited sight. Turn pages via touchscreen. The Smart Lookup feature allows readers to look up word definitions quickly right from the page. These words that you tap on for definitions are then added to the Vocabulary Builder, which you can later use to quiz yourself with so that you increase your personal vocabulary. You can also translate words (individually or entire sections of text), which is very helpful if you're trying to learn a new language so you don't constantly have to abandon your book to look up a word. The Time to Read feature is interesting, since it adapts to your reading speed and will give you an estimate of how much time it should take for you to finish the next chapter or book.  The battery life is better than what you expect from typical devices like phones that you charge daily. The Kindle battery can last up to 4 weeks with half an hour of reading per day. Keep in mind that this version of Kindle does not have a backlight, so you won't be able to read this in the dark. It is available in both black and white. For an extra $20, you can choose to get one without "special offers"(AKA advertisements). It has a one-year limited warranty, and you can choose an option 1-, 2-, or 3-year extended warranty.



Bottom Line

Amazon e-readers tend to be the go-to choice for reading e-books these days. They have solidly good quality and are backed by millions of titles thanks to the Amazon Kindle Store. The only question is, which one should you buy? Despite its higher price, we really love the Kindle Oasis. The fact that it is waterproof really excites us, since we can now read in the bath or by the pool without worry or wrapping our e-reader in plastic first. You can access Audible books on the Kindle Oasis with a subscription in addition to regular Kindle books, and we love how much storage it offers. We also like that you can choose to flip pages via the touchscreen or button. Plus, the adaptive light sensor is great! For those on more of a budget, we recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. It is not waterproof nor can it connect to Audible, but its 300 ppi resolution display provides sharp text for reading and the 4 LED front-light allows for reading at night. Our next choice is the Kindle Voyage, which has an adaptive light sensor and page press option for turning pages in your book. Really, we just did not find that these small upgrades were worth an $80 increase in price form the Kindle Paperwhite. Finally, if you just are looking for a basic e-reader with which to read your books, the Kindle still offers a lot of great features in a simpler form at a friendly price. While its screen resolution isn't as high as other Kindles, it is still easy to read. There is no built-in light, so keep in mind that you'll need to read near a lamp in dark environments, just like with regular paper books. It connects to Audible and of course the millions of Amazon Kindle titles that are available. Whichever Kindle you end up choosing, we highly recommend getting one – even for those who love traditional books! They are convenient to carry with you, don't cause eyestrain like you get from reading off of phones and tablets, and you can access your favorite titles from anywhere. When it comes down to it, we think the Kindle Oasis is the best out there. It's expensive, but any bookworm would be happy to own it.  

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