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Standard Kindle, Paperwhite, Voyage or Oasis: What's the difference?

Written by  Oct 31, 2017
The Kindle reader is one of the most popular choices for ebook reading, letting you read your favourite books easily on a digital device.

Not only is the Kindle power efficient, meaning it will last weeks and in some cases months on a charge, but it's connected, meaning you can easily download new books - plus it's incredibly easy to use, with seamless integration with your Amazon account.

Amazon's Kindle selection has evolved since the first inception, making these readers better in many areas, bringing the display closer to the experience of reading on paper, and adding plenty of new features.

The real decision is which model you should buy. There are currently four models of Kindle on offer: the Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Oasis. Here's the difference between them.

Amazon Kindle

amazon kindle

See the Kindle on Amazon UK 

  • 6-inch screen, 167ppi
  • No illumination
  • Wi-Fi only
  • From £59.99

The basic Kindle comes with the huge advantage of being the cheapest of the lot. Starting at £59.99, it's £50 cheaper than the next model up, so it's a real bargain. It's worth noting, however, that the £59.99 version comes with "special offers". These are basically adverts that show on the Kindle when the screen is in sleep mode. Opt to go without these adverts and it's up to £69.99.

The Kindle has a 6-inch E Ink Pearl display with no illumination, but is now lighter and thinner than the model it replaced. The screen has a 167ppi resolution which is plenty sharp enough for reading, although the contrast isn't quite as high as the Paperwhite, Voyage or the Oasis, and the fonts are a little softer.

It is a touchscreen device and comes with built-in Wi-Fi meaning you can connect to the internet to update your books. The internal storage will hold thousands of books - and the battery will see you through weeks of use. It is also equipped with Bluetooth and via a software update you'll be able to connect it to Bluetooth headphones or speakers so you can listen to Audio books.

Also see: Apple Pencil UK Review: A must for your iPad

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

amazon kindle paperwhite

See the Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon UK

  • 6-inch screen, 300ppi
  • Front illumination
  • Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
  • From £109.99

The big difference between the Paperwhite and the regular Kindle is the illuminated display. This isn't rear illumination like you'll find on a tablet or phone, instead it's lighting that shines across the display so you can see the words. That means you can read in low light or the dark, ideal for reading in all light conditions.

The 6-inch E Ink Carta display offers 300dpi and has better contrast than the regular Kindle, meaning whites are brighter and blacks are deeper. Again, this is a touchscreen device, integrated with Amazon to deliver your books, and also has a battery that lasts for weeks.

The Paperwhite comes in Wi-Fi or 3G options. The latter has the advantage that you're always connected, meaning that if you finish your book lying on the beach in Italy, you can browse and buy the next bestseller and get reading. The 3G option costs a little more to buy initially, but there's no ongoing costs, it's a free connection thereafter. Again there are options for models with "special offers" (advertising) and without.

Amazon Kindle Voyage

amazon voyage

See the Kindle Voyage on Amazon UK 

  • 6-inch screen, 300ppi
  • Adaptive illumination
  • Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
  • From £169.99

The Voyage is the next step up from the Paperwhite and with many of the same features. It has the same 6-inch Carta E Ink display with 300dpi and illumination, but with a difference: it's adaptive, changing automatically to suit the environment you're in. That will give a lovely soft illumination when it's really dark, so it doesn't dazzle and strain your eyes, changing as the environment does for optimal reading conditions.

Not only that, but the build is a step above the Kindle Paperwhite too. On the Voyage there's a flat front, ditching the plastic bezel for a slicker, cleaner design. This design integrates page turning sensors that react to pressure, meaning there's no need to tap on the edge of the display, you just press a little harder and the page turns.

Again, there are Wi-Fi or 3G options, offering the same benefits as the regular Paperwhite.

Also see: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus UK Review: A low cost tablet with Dolby Atmos

Amazon Kindle Oasis


See the Kindle Oasis on Amazon UK

  • 7-inch screen, 300ppi
  • Front illumination
  • Waterproof
  • Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
  • From £229.99

Bigger, better and now offered at a lower price, the Kindle Oasis is designed to be the ultimate reading device. The new 2017 model that has a 7-inch display so slightly larger than all the other devices, but also incorporating the features of all the other devices. It offers the illumination of the Paperwhite, but more evenly distributed, and the auto-brightness of the Voyage.

It also has waterproofing, meaning its safe in the bath or at the beach, while retaining a thin and light design, so it's easy to slip into any pocket. With 6-weeks of battery life, it's a premium reader and top of the Kindle range, also offering Bluetooth so you can listen to Audible books from your Oasis.

There's the choice of Wi-Fi or 3G models, with the 8GB Wi-Fi model being the most affordable of the selection and the 32GB 3G version is rather expensive.

Also see: Apple iPad (2017) UK Review: Still a great tablet

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