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Kindle Paperwhite (2021) vs Kindle Oasis: Which should you get?

Amazon came out with the Kindle Paperwhite back in 2021, but how does it stack up against the company’s top reader, the Kindle Oasis?

The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s flagship e-reader, however it hasn’t been updated in a number of years and carries a rather high price. It’s also missing a number of features you’ll find on the Paperwhite.

So which one is the best for your need? We’ve thoroughly reviewed and tested both devices and below you can see a detailed breakdown of how the two compared during testing.

Pricing and availability

The Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite are both already available to buy, with the Paperwhite starting at £129.99 with ads and £139.99 without any ads. The Signature edition, which comes with the added perks we’ll delve into below, costs £179.99, and the Kids Edition £139.99.

The Kindle Oasis is the most expensive reader Amazon sells, meaning that it starts off at £229.99 with no ads. it was last updated in 2019.

Before we get into the specs, it’s clear that the Paperwhite e-reader is the cheaper option and we’d say it is much better value.

Design and display

The newest Kindle Oasis kept the wedged design, with the same thin body and a display that sits further to one side. It comes with two page-turning buttons on the side, which our reviewer noted were responsive and clicky.

We also noted that the particular design of the Oasis makes it great to hold in one hand and that a case works better if you want to hold it like a book, with two hands.

Compared to the Paperwhite, we thought that the metal casing of the Oasis was more unwelcoming, though we prefer the use of physical buttons over tapping the screen, as you need to on the Paperwhite. This is largely due to a slight lag on the screen input.

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 lit up display
Kindle Paperwhite 2021

Both devices have the same IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning that both can handle continuous immersion in water in up to two metres of water, though we would recommend trying to keep your readers dry.

The screens of both devices differ pretty sharply. The Oasis has a 7-inch, 300ppi glare-free E-Ink display with 25 LEDs. It has a warm light feature, which is also found on the Paperwhite, which brings in a variable orange hue when used in the dark. During testing we loved the feature, finding it makes it much easier to read in lower lighting without straining your eyes.

The Paperwhite is a little smaller in comparison. It features a 6.8-inch screen, 300ppi, glare-free E-Ink display, but with only 17 LEDs compared to the Oasis 25. The inclusion of LED lighting on both devices makes it easier to read in brighter conditions, like during a sunny day.

Overall, the Oasis has a larger screen with physical buttons and a place to rest your hand, with our reviews noting that both e-readers are lightweight enough to hold with one hand.

The extra LED lights will make the Oasis easier to use on sunny days, without review noting that the light is spread evenly across the entire display, with a range of brightness levels to suit all environments.

Both devices include the same warm light feature, so it seems overall if you would prefer a bigger and brighter screen, as well as physical buttons, the Oasis could be the way to go.

Kindle Oasis 2019 home
Kindle Oasis 2019

Specs and features

Seeing as both the Paperwhite and Oasis are Amazon machines, they both come with free cloud storage for Amazon content and run on the same software. We also noticed that you will have a very similar software experience with both these e-readers. 

The Oasis comes in two flavours, with 8GB or 32GB of storage. The Paperwhite is a little more complicated, as the amount of storage you get depends on which edition you opt for, as this model, unlike the previous Paperwhite, comes with just one storage option, 8GB. The Paperwhite Signature Edition has more storage, at 32GB, but you need to splash out. 

Since the Oasis comes with multiple storage options it’s more accessible to audiobooks, since Audible purchases are going to make a bigger dent in your storge and regular books, with the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phonix coming in at almost 1GB. 

The Kindle Oasis also comes in a 4G model which will come in handy if you want to read new books while on the go, however, it’s worth noting that it won’t work with audiobooks. We also found that using the data took a big toll on the battery life, so you may want to be careful using this handy feature. 

While the Paperwhite doesn’t come with this perk, both models do come with Bluetooth support, though neither come with a headphone jack, meaning that you will need a wireless pair of headphones to listen along to your audiobooks in peace. 

As we already mentioned, the Paperwhite comes in a Kids variation, with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, Word Wise apps and the Vocabulary Builder, and will come with a hardy and colourful case to help protect it from accidental drops.

In this case, it seems like storage capabilities are the big differentiator, as anyone looking to listen to audiobooks will struggle to get through many with only 8GB. If you’re only looking to read books, and don’t mind deleting some after you’ve finished, the Paperwhite is perfectly serviceable, and you can even splash out for the Signature Edition. 

Seeing as neither device comes with too many high-end features, not counting the 4G variation of the Oasis, these e-readers seem pretty evenly matched in this area.  

Battery life

Amazon switched up to the charging port for the Paperwhite, surprising us all and putting it ahead of the Oasis in terms of battery life. The Paperwhite works with a USB-C charger, which is a massive improvement when compared to the Oasis’ micro-USB solution. 

Not only can the USB-C port charge the e-reader in just two and a half hours, it’s a lot more common nowadays, meaning that you won’t have to juggle multiple chargers and could potentially use your own cable from a laptop or mobile phone. 

The Kindle Oasis takes three hours to charge, which isn’t a massive difference, and we found that reading for roughly two hours drained the battery by 5%, which is good endurance and should last on a two week holiday if you were to forget the charger. 

The lack of USB-C is really what sets these devices apart, with the Paperwhite Signature Edition also offering up wireless charging via a Qi charging pad, which also isn’t available for the Oasis. 

Verdict

Overall, this comes down to preference, as the Oasis is rocking a larger screen with brighter LED lights, though you are missing out on USB-C charging. 

Seeing as the Paperwhite model now comes with features that were previously exclusive to the Oasis, it comes in as the more affordable e-reader while still being very capable, even with the same software experience as the flagship device. 

In our reviews, we noted that anyone who already owns a semi-modern e-reader shouldn’t upgrade to the Oasis, but the Paperwhite, as it comes with a lot of the same features without the high price tag. If money is no object and you want the classiest e-reader out there, spring for the Kindle Oasis. Everyone else, we recommend trying out the latest Kindle Paperwhite.

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