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Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Paperwhite: Should you upgrade?



Our guide to how the new Kindle Oasis compares to the Kindle Paperwhite.

For a long time, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite has perhaps been the best ebook reader available. The most popular and best-selling device in the Kindle range, the Paperwhite now has some serious competition in the form of the recently unveiled Kindle Oasis.

But what exactly is the difference between the two? Does the newer Kindle offer enough upgrades to justify the extra money?

All these questions and more will be answered as we take a closer look at the two e-readers to see just how they stack up.

Video: Check out our hands-on impressions of the Kindle Oasis

Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: All-new asymmetrical design

The latest Kindle Paperwhite brought a lot of things to the table when it launched in 2013, but a bold new design wasn't one of them. It looks much like the Kindles that went before it - a flat, largely symmetrical slab of a device.

You couldn't level the same accusation at the Kindle Oasis. Amazon has given its latest ebook reader a radical facelift, with an asymmetrical design that's heavily weighted and thicker on one side.

Related: A history of the Amazon Kindle

kindle oasis Kindle Oasis

This serves to make the Oasis better for one-handed usage, as the bulk of the device's mass is sat in the palm of your hand. You can also flip it over depending on whether you're a lefty or a righty, and the thick bezel and physical buttons mean you can comfortably flip pages single-handed.

Despite this, the Oasis is 30 percent thinner on average than any other Kindle, and it's also more than 20 percent lighter at 131 grams. The Kindle Paperwhite is 205 grams, by way of a comparison, so it's a good deal heftier.

The Kindle Oasis should also feel like a classier bit of kit, thanks to a polymer frame that's plated with metal, making it both light and strong.

Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Longer lasting

You don't tend to hear many complaints concerning the battery life on Kindles, because they generally last a lot longer than tablets or smartphones. We're talking weeks rather than hours.

Related: Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Voyage

kindle oasis

However, it remains an important element given the extensive periods people tend to spend reading. The longer you can go in between charges the better when it comes to polishing off that holiday book by the pool, or filling the travel time on a lengthy business trip.

The Kindle Paperwhite could last around eight weeks, by way of an example. Amazon appears to have stretched things even further with the Kindle Oasis, though.

Thanks to a dual-battery charging system, the Oasis boasts the longest battery life of any Kindle. It comes with a removable leather cover that doubles as a portable charger, and this lets you read for months without plugging in.

Just connect the cover to the Kindle Oasis, and the battery in the cover will begin recharging Kindle Oasis automatically. You can also charge both simultaneously while fitted together in this way.

Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Brighter display

The current Paperwhite's display was a big improvement over the original, courtesy of a super-crisp 300ppi resolution and a built-in light. It can't match the Kindle Oasis, though.

Amazon says that the Kindle Oasis has a new generation of Paperwhite display - it's the same resolution, but it features a redesigned front light with 60 percent more LEDs, making it the brightest Kindle display yet.

Related: Which Kindle should you buy?

kindle oasis

In addition, Amazon has fitted its new ebook reader's display out with new cylindrical diffractive patterns, which serve to increase the consistency and range of the screen brightness.

Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Much pricier

From what we can see, the Kindle Oasis trumps the Kindle Paperwhite in virtually every way except one. And that one exception could be a deal breaker for a lot of people.

Buy Now: Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon.com from $119

The Kindle Oasis costs a rather meaty £269.99, which is considerably more than twice the price of the £109.99 Kindle Paperwhite.

Buy Now: Kindle Oasis at Amazon.com from $289

Is the Oasis more than twice the quality? Maybe. But just how advanced do you need an ebook reader to be? After all, you won't be using it to surf the web, play games, email, or do work like you would with your phone or tablet.

Kindle PaperwhiteKindle Paperwhite

We suspect your answer to that question will depend on the amount of reading you do, as well as the healthiness of your bank balance.

Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Early verdict

Amazon has taken arguably its boldest step yet with its ebook reader range in the design of the Kindle Oasis. Its lop-sided, thick-bezelled body makes it the first truly one-handed Kindle.

Improvements to the screen and battery life will also make it appealing to the hardcore readers out there.

We'll need to spend some decent hands-on time with it to see if the unorthodox design is a success, but as of now our one real concern is the price tag. With the Kindle Paperwhite still a perfectly decent ebook reader at just £110 - not to mention the £180 Kindle Voyage - do we really need to spend the best part of £300 to read digital books?

All will be answered over the coming months, no doubt.

What are your thoughts on the Kindle Oasis? Let us know in the comments below.

Jae Muske

April 14, 2016, 6:02 am

I didn't get the Voyage because it wasn't much of an improvement on the Paperwhite. Same goes with the Oasis, though it does have a nicer design than the Voyage, it's not enough to 'upgrade'.

And, by the way, the wording of the poll at the end is worded unfairly. There is no option for people like me who see no real reason to upgrade. Instead we are left either to vote 'oh no, I can't afford it' or to not vote at all. It's not the price which makes the Oasis not worth the buy but rather the fact that it isn't worth its price.


April 14, 2016, 12:53 pm

I have the Paperwhite and think it's great. I would only upgrade to a Kindle with the same quality of display but in colour.

I'm not sure about the shape of the Oasis. I frequently change from holding mine with the left hand to the right and back. Now I will have to turn it upside down also.

Daniel Colombini

April 14, 2016, 2:06 pm

'It comes with a removable leather cover that doubles as a portable charger, and this lets you read for months without plugging in'

This is pretty misleading, considering that in your first impressions its stated that the Oasis battery life is 2 weeks, or 9 weeks with the case attached. If 9 weeks counts as 'months', then surely 8 weeks does as well?

Francesca Petrizzo

April 14, 2016, 11:24 pm

Literally the only thing I wanted from them was to make Kindles waterproof - but no such luck there, despite the Kobo H20 showing that the technology is already there.

Ben Sanchez

April 28, 2016, 3:21 am

Likewise I was in the same boat. Some reading and research found thses guys...
I wonder if trusted reviews would look at them for us?

Harald Grønn

May 2, 2016, 9:46 am

I recently upgraded from Paperwhite 1. generation to Oasis. It's gorgeous. One hand-grip without getting tired and better display is really worth it.

Rusty Venture

June 2, 2016, 12:31 am

I've had the Paperwhite since it's original release. I did upgrade to the second generation, and have had it ever since.
The battery still works ok, but I have noticed a drop over the years. I'm leaning toward saving up a couple months for the Oasis, but I'm still debating. It's so damn expensive.

Kenneth Lien

June 13, 2016, 8:23 pm

My Paperwhite has served me well since it came out, no reason to switch yet.

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