In 2007 Amazon released the first Kindle e-reader. It only had enough room for 200 books and cost $399, but it sold out in just over five hours. Today there are four different versions of the Kindle: the standard Kindle, the Paperwhite, the Voyage, and the Oasis. The standard Kindle starts at just $60, and, depending on the model, they can hold several thousand books. But which one of these e-readers is right for you?
There are several things all four of the e-readers have in common. Kindles all have access to over five-million titles from Amazon. They all include WiFi capability to download the books. The screens are all glare-free, and they all use Bookerly font, which Amazon claims helps you “read faster with less eye strain.” The batteries for each model can last for weeks depending on the features you use.
Each model also charges more for the removal of “special offers” from the lock screen. In other words, pay extra, and you don’t get any advertisements. These ads only appear on the lock screen and don’t interfere in any way with your reading.
The Base Model Kindle
A basic Kindle has a 6-inch screen with 167 ppi resolution. There are no built-in lights on this Kindle, so you can only read it during the day or in a brightly lit area. It has a built-in Audible capability, so you can use Bluetooth to listen to audiobooks you bought from Amazon’s Audible.
The Paperwhite improves on the base model Kindle with 300 ppi resolution which makes the display twice as sharp. The darker blacks and whiter whites improve readability, especially if you read comics or graphic novels which often have tiny text. Four LED lights create a diffused illumination across the screen.
The current generation of Paperwhites do not support Audible, so you aren’t able to use this e-reader for both print and audiobooks if that’s something you need.
Beginning with this model of the Kindle, Amazon offers free 3G connectivity to download books. You pay a little more for the device up front, but you will be able to download books from almost anywhere.
The Voyage is a lighter and slimmer model of the Kindle Paperwhite. It has the same screen size and resolution as the Paperwhite but has a flush glass panel instead of plastic. There are six LED lights instead of four, but it improves the lighting even further by adding an adaptive light sensor so the brightness changes based on your environment. This model also adds Pagepress, allowing you to tap haptic controls on the side of the reader to turn the pages. The previous two models only use the touchscreen to turn the pages.
The newest model of the Kindle is the Oasis. The Oasis has all the features of the previous models including a 12-LED lighting system, optional 3G access, and Audible capabilities. It adds a handgrip with haptic page-turning controls to the side of a bigger 7-inch screen for easy one-handed use. Also, unlike any of its predecessors, the Oasis is waterproof.
Which Kindle Is for You?
If you are only beginning to use e-readers, either the Kindle or the Paperwhite may be right for you. Only the Kindle has the Audible capability, but the Paperwhite has better resolution, adds the light, and the optional 3G access for about $40 more.
If you already own a Kindle and are looking to upgrade, there is no reason to spend the money on another Kindle. They are pretty much the same as they’ve always been, so it’s not much of an upgrade. If you want to upgrade your base Kindle, look at the Paperwhite to add the features mentioned above.
The Kindle Voyage is about double the price of a Paperwhite and adds the adaptive light sensor, the haptic page controls, and a glass panel instead of plastic. It is lighter and thinner than the other versions, but you will have to decide if those options are worth the price.
If you are a frequent e-reader user or read a lot of graphic novels on one, the Oasis may be right for you. It’s the best of all the other models rolled into one. It does carry a pretty hefty price tag, but the added features, including waterproofing, may be well worth it.