Amazon Kindle Oasis vs. Kindle Paperwhite: Which ebook reader is best for you?

amazin kindle oasis review (2017) page
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

If you’re a voracious reader and you like to travel, then an ebook reader is the ideal device for you. Many of the best ebook readers are made by Amazon, but working out which model to go for is easier said than done. Much depends on what features you crave. Should you push the boat out and go for the top of the line Kindle Oasis, or save yourself some cash to buy more books with and opt for the more affordable Kindle Paperwhite? Read on to find out how the two compare and which is right for you.

Specs

Kindle Oasis (2017) Kindle Paperwhite (2018)
Size 159 × 141 × 3.4-8.4mm (6.3 × 5.6 × 0.13-0.33 inches) 167 × 116 × 8.18mm (6.6 × 4.6 × 0.3 inches)
Weight 194 grams (6.8 ounces) 182 grams (6.41 ounces)
Screen size 7-inch 6-inch
Screen resolution 1680 × 1264 pixels (300 pixels per inch) 1448 × 1072 pixels (300 pixels per inch)
Storage space 8GB or 32GB
8GB or 32GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Ports Micro USB Micro USB
Water resistance IPX8 IPX8
Connectivity Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and cellular Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and cellular
Battery 6 weeks based on 30 minutes of reading a day 6 weeks based on 30 minutes of reading a day
Colors Champagne Gold, Graphite Black
Price $200 $130
Buy from Amazon Amazon
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

amazon kindle oasis review (2017) profile
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Amazon doesn’t specify processors and RAM in its ebook readers, but we found that both the Kindle Oasis and the Kindle Paperwhite were responsive and slick to navigate around. Side by side, the Kindle Oasis is a touch faster to turn pages and respond to touches generally, so it seems likely that it has a little extra processing power under the hood.

There’s no stated battery capacity, as Amazon prefers to describe battery life for both Kindles as up to six weeks from a single charge based on half an hour of reading a day. The Oasis must have a bigger battery, since it has a bigger display to power. Both, unfortunately, rely upon a Micro USB port for charging, but while the Oasis takes two hours to charge from a 5W charger and around three hours from a computer USB port, the Paperwhite takes three hours and four hours, respectively, to do the same.

Winner: Kindle Oasis

Design and durability

There’s a big difference between the Oasis and Paperwhite in the looks department. While the Oasis boasts a svelte, aluminum body, with a thicker section at one side that houses physical turn page buttons, the Paperwhite is matte plastic on the back with chunkier bezels around the smaller screen and no physical turn page buttons. The Oasis also comes in a choice of graphite or champagne gold, while the Paperwhite just comes in black.

Both ebook readers have an IPX8 rating, which means splashes and rain are nothing to worry about, in fact, they’re protected against immersion in up to 6.5 feet of fresh water for up to an hour.

Winner: Kindle Oasis

Display

amazin kindle oasis review (2017) store
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

While the Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite both have sharp screens rated at 300 pixels per inch, there are some important differences. For a start, the Oasis has a bigger, 7-inch screen, while the Paperwhite has a 6-inch display. You can customize layouts and choose different lighting levels on either, but only the Oasis allows you to filter out blue light at night if you want to. While both devices use LEDs to light up the screen, the Oasis also boasts more LEDs than the Paperwhite (12 to 5), so it offers more levels of lighting and better uniformity. Both devices support automatic brightness, but we found that it worked a lot better with the Oasis, whereas we often had to manually adjust the Paperwhite.

Winner: Kindle Oasis

Software and updates

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2018
Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

The software on the Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite is largely identical, there are just a few extra options with the Oasis. That means both have features like Whispersync, which lets you keep your place across devices, and both come with optional ads on the lock screen, which lowers the price. They both come with either 8GB or 32GB of storage and, while there’s no room for expansion via MicroSD card, you do get free cloud storage for all your Amazon content. We would expect software updates to be on the same schedule for both devices.

Winner: Tie

Special features

amazin kindle oasis review (2017) two hands
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

There are no speakers or headphone ports in sight here, but both the Kindle Oasis and the Paperwhite do support Bluetooth, so you can stream audiobooks to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones via Audible. You can also get more expensive and slightly heavier versions of both that support cellular service, as well as Wi-Fi. The only other special feature to speak of is the physical page turn buttons, which you’ll only find on the Oasis.

Winner: Kindle Oasis

Price

At the time of writing, the Kindle Oasis starts from $200 and the Kindle Paperwhite starts from $130. It’s well worth keeping a close eye out for deals, though, especially on Prime Day. There’s also a new version of the Kindle Oasis due on July 24, so that may prompt a further price drop of the older model as the remaining stock is sold off.

Overall winner: Kindle Oasis

There’s no doubt about which of Amazon’s ebook readers is the best — it’s the Kindle Oasis. A bigger and better screen is the headline attraction, but looking beyond that, these devices are pretty similar. If you don’t care for the design or page turn buttons of the Oasis, you could save yourself quite a bit of cash by opting for the less glamorous Paperwhite.

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