Amazon Kindle Paperwhite vs Amazon Kindle Oasis: which Kindle ereader is best for you?

Amazon has only three ereader models in its arsenal and each one comes with its own pros and cons. While the basic Kindle is great for casual readers or those on a very tight budget, avid readers with a little more spending power can do better with either the mid-range Kindle Paperwhite or the more premium Kindle Oasis. Both ereaders are great choices, but which is the ideal digital reading device for you?

Before we answer that question, let’s figure out why you ought to buy an ereader in the first place.

Do you need an ereader?

With the ability to read on phones and tablets, is there really a need for another device that doesn’t do much else than display books? There’s also the romantic joy of reading an actual paper and print book. Either way, there are several compelling reasons to invest in an ebook reader.

Firstly, E Ink displays on ereaders have been designed to be easy on the eyes, thanks to the glare-free screens that allow you to read in bright sunshine as well. Plus, you get days and days of battery life on a single charge from any ereader. 

Then there’s the money-saving argument – while there’s a one-time investment on the device itself, buying ebooks is cheaper than the physical copy itself. And let’s not forget the spacesaver that ereaders are. Storage space is a premium in our modern-day lifestyles and not everyone can afford to have a room full of books, even though we’d really like to. On an ereader, with 8GB of internal storage, you can store hundreds of books at once.

Ereader are also a lot more portable than lugging around a book on your daily commute or holidays, and are typically waterproof too.

Convinced? Then let’s take a deep dive into which Kindle ereader is best for you.

Paperwhite vs Oasis: design and display

The most obvious difference between the two Kindle models is their appearance. Where the Paperwhite is a traditional tablet with plastic chassis and thick bezels, the Oasis has a very classy aluminium body that’s asymmetrical. That’s because one bezel is thicker to accommodate two page-turn buttons, below which is a ridge to provide a grip on an otherwise very smooth body that’s there so you can use it single-handed. Compared to the Oasis, the Paperwhite’s matte black or white finish looks clunky and old-fashioned.

However, both are IPX8 certified, meaning they’ll do just fine in some rain or survive an accidental dunk in the pool, bath or kitchen sink (specifically, they’re waterproof up to 2m of fresh water for up to an hour).

While both Kindles have screen resolutions of 300ppi, the Oasis trumps the Paperwhite in screen size – 7 inches versus 6 inches respectively. And while both have screen lights that can be dimmed or brightened as necessary, only the Oasis has the ability to filter out blue light for warmer light that’s best for nighttime reading. And this adjustment can happen automatically according to your time zone if you set it up. Moreover the Oasis has more LEDs, thus offering a better and more uniformly lit screen.

Our winner: Amazon Kindle Oasis

Paperwhite vs Oasis: performance and battery life

Amazon doesn’t provide any information on the processors and memory units in its ereaders, and unless you test them both side-by-side, there’s hardly a difference. If you do compare directly, though, the Oasis is a touch more responsive than the Paperwhite, but that doesn’t mean the latter is slow by any means.

In terms of user interface, both are practically identical. Both come in either 8GB or 32GB storage capacities and feature WhisperSync and Bluetooth connectivity. The former allows you to stop reading on one Kindle device and pick up exactly where you left off on another (even on the Kindle app on another handheld device), while the latter lets you connect wireless headphones so you can listen to audiobooks. This is particularly great for anyone with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Amazon doesn’t specify the battery capacity in each model either, but they both provide up to six weeks from a single charge, but that does depend on how much you read and what the brightness of the screen is set at. Both have microUSB ports for charging, but we found that the Oasis tops up a little quicker than the Paperwhite.

Our winner: Tie


Paperwhite vs Oasis: which ereader should you buy?

That largely depends on how much you’re willing to pay. Both Kindle ereaders are great, offering similar features, but at very different prices. The Paperwhite is the cheaper option, mostly because of its plastic body and 6-inch display. Other than that, it does everything a good ereader should, and does it very well indeed.

However, if your budget can stretch, the Oasis is the most luxurious reading experience money can buy. Not only does it feel great in the hand, it looks beautiful too. Those page-turn buttons are a game changer, allowing you to use the device with one hand. Then there’s the blue-light filter and 7-inch display. So if money is no object, we can't recommend the Oasis highly enough.