E-readers used to be the simple, beans-on-toast comfort food of the gadget world. That’s all changed.
Amazon makes a whopping four different Kindles, all with proper e-reader screens you can gaze at for hours without getting a headache. They can all store thousands of books, last for weeks off a charge and even the cheapest Kindle has a touchscreen these days.
Look at the range and you can be left scratching your head as to why one costs almost five times as much as the other. Here’s our breakdown of how they differ and which one’s right for you.
Best for...the beach
The cheapest Kindle of the lot is the chubby funster of the e-reader gang. It costs about the same as a pair of trainers, can dole out any of the content the £260 Oasis handles, and is the perfect present pick for the person who reads in fits and starts.
It doesn’t feel slow to use, and the screen has the same E Ink anti-glare tech as the best e-readers. Its display is exactly the same size as all of its brothers too: six inches across.
Get up close and you see why it’s cheaper. The biggie is that it doesn’t have a light. You better either have a pretty powerful bedside lamp or be taking it somewhere bright and sunny.
It also feels a lot cheaper. A bit of extra chunk is one thing, but its rough plastic just doesn’t feel quite as nice as that of the rest of the Kindle royal family. If you want an affordable Kindle to use and abuse in daylight, this is the one.
Best for...bed time
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite (£110)
A design that has been around for four years, this is the classic Kindle. Its curvy soft-touch back and ultra-plain looks aren’t as slick as the newer members’ lines, but the Paperwhite has a job to do, and it does it like a pro.
This is the e-reader to pick if a) you’re going to use it at home all the time or b) you don’t mind that it’s pretty chunky with a case. On the positive side, the Paperwhite has been around so long there are hundreds of cases of all shapes and sizes for the little guy.
The basic tech is just as good as any Kindle, with a lit, ultra-sharp 300ppi screen that makes text look just as sharp as it does on the real page. There are no page-turning buttons, though, so you will have to move your thumb an inch every minute or so. Effort overload.
Best for...the commute
Amazon Kindle Voyage
Kindle Voyage (£170)
The Kindle king until the Oasis came along, the Voyage is Amazon’s attempt at a futuristic-looking e-reader. A totally flat front and funky angles on its back give it a look closer to Amazon’s Android tablets than its e-readers.
Even now it’s the only Kindle to have an adaptive screen light. This is where, just like a phone, the screen light changes to suit how bright your boudoir is. It’s also the only one to have two sets of page turn buttons, which let you flick forward without moving your thumb more than a fraction of a millimetre.
A bit of an experimental ereader, this slim magnesium-body wonder is great if you like the sound of those fancy features but don’t want to pay more than £250 for it. Contrary to what you might read, this is still the thinnest Kindle at its thickest point too.
Best for...first class travellers
Amazon Kindle Oasis
Kindle Oasis (£270)
If the Voyage was a ‘futuristic’ reader at launch, the Oasis is all about luxury. Its body trims down to a MacBook Air-like 3.5mm point at one end, leaving the other end to act like a comfy handgrip.
This is its bedroom attire. As part of the eye-watering £270 package you also get a lovely real leather case that fills in the wedge on the back and boosts the battery life from a sad-smiley two weeks to a grin-worthy eight.
The case actually juices-up Oasis’s own battery when attached, so you can leave it charging while you’re at home before your airport limo arrives. Available in merlot, walnut and black, there’s something terribly classy about the Oasis.
As there’s no logo on the front, it works for lefties and righties equally. Just flip it around. The Voyage put advanced features out there, the Oasis refines them. This is the Aston Martin of e-readers.