Although there is a range of e-readers on the market, there is no denying that the Kindle has taken the top spot in terms of popularity. But limiting your eReader purchase to a Kindle is only the first step. After that, there’s the crucial question of which Kindle model to get. Two of the most popular Kindle models are the Paperwhite and the Oasis. They both have similar sized screens and share many features. So, Kindle Oasis vs. Paperwhite: which one to choose?
First, a bit of history. The Kindle Paperwhite was released in 2012 and its last generation/update was in 2021. The Kindle Oasis was released in 2016 and its last generation/update was in 2019. I will be comparing the more recent generations of the two, as the Oasis hasn’t been updated for three years, it will probably see a new generation in the next year or be officially discontinued.
If you are looking for an affordable price by choosing between the Kindle Oasis versus Paperwhite, the Paperwhite is the clear winner. It starts at $140 while the Oasis starts at $270. For both, you can choose between the default 8GB storage or a more expensive 32GB version. Since Kindle eBooks are easily stored in the “cloud”, the average reader won’t need more. 8 GB unless he plans to store a lot of audiobooks on the device. You can also choose between being ad-supported (a cheaper option that shows ads, but not while you read) or not.
There are two versions of the Paperwhite: the standard Paperwhite and the Paperwhite Signature. The Paperwhite Signature comes with that extra storage along with an auto light adjustment feature and a wireless charging option.
The Kindle Oasis and the Paperwhite in terms of size are quite similar, although they have some key differences in design. The Kindle Oasis has a 7-inch screen and the newer Paperwhite has a 6.8-inch screen. The Oasis also has page-turning buttons on one side, so it’s wider. Some Amazon reviewers still find it easy to hold in one hand, but others struggle to grip it like that. If you have small hands and want to be able to hold your eReader in one hand, the Paperwhite will probably meet that requirement better.
Despite the wider appearance and slightly larger screen, the Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite weighs about the same (6.6 ounces versus 6.41 ounces) because the Oasis is thinner.
The Oasis was designed as a luxury option for e-readers, so it has an aluminum casing with a glass display while the Paperwhite has a plastic casing and display. Some Amazon reviewers find the aluminum casing feels sturdier and higher quality, while others said it’s slippery to grip and takes on the temperature around it – hot in the summer and cold to the touch in the winter. .
The other noticeable difference in design between the Kindle Oasis and Paperwhite is the “bump” of the Oasis, visible in the side view above. The top of the eReader is very thin, while the lower third is more than twice as thick. It’s a divisive design choice: some reviewers find it sits more naturally in their hands, while others find it awkward.
Page turn buttons
The most important factor besides price when considering the Oasis vs. Paperwhite is the Oasis’ page turn buttons. Early generations of Kindles came with physical buttons to press to turn pages, but these have been phased out. Some readers find the switch from buttons to swiping to change pages a big step forward.
The Oasis screen automatically adapts to the way you hold it, so you can press buttons with your thumb whether it’s in your left or right hand. Buttons can also be programmed for which is the forward page button and which is back. Oasis fans say reading with the buttons is more immersive because turning the page requires such little movement, and the buttons provide pleasant feedback (a quiet click) when pressed.
These reviewers also find that using the touchscreen (like on a Paperwhite) to flip pages is less immersive and can lead to more errors; accidentally touching the screen with your fingertips while reading is easier than accidentally pressing a button.
Inside the case, the Oasis and the Paperwhite are almost identical. They both have the same amount of storage space, they’re both waterproof, they both have Bluetooth capability but no headphone jack, and they both have ad media options in their cheaper versions. .
One concrete difference between the two is that the Paperwhite has USB-C charging, which is slightly faster and more convenient than the Oasis’ mini USB charging. The Paperwhite Signature can also be charged wirelessly with a Qi charger.
The other differences they have are pretty minimal. The Oasis has a larger LED array, so its screen at full brightness is brighter than the Paperwhite at full brightness. However, some reviews indicate that the Oasis needs to be recharged more often due to this larger LED array. Both have options for warm light.
Side-by-side the Paperwhite can be ever so slightly more responsive, but not in a very noticeable way. A review mentioned that they were seeing more “ghosts” (a faint impression from the previous page) on the Oasis. The Paperwhite also handles PDFs slightly better: it performs a partial page refresh instead of flashing black with each PDF page turn like the Oasis. (This video shows the two side-by-side.) The Paperwhite is also more responsive to zooming in and out.
However, the average reader will not try to read many PDF files on their Kindle, and this difference is only due to the fact that Paperwhite was updated more recently. If the Oasis gets a next-gen soon, it will certainly have that partial refresh option on PDFs as well.
The Kindle Oasis vs. Paperwhite: The Big Winner
Given the huge price difference between the two – the Kindle Oasis is almost twice as expensive as the Paperwhite – the Paperwhite is my pick for the overall winner. I’m also concerned that the Oasis having not been updated for three years means that it will soon have a new generation – which would mean that Oasis buyers in 2022 will probably kick themselves for not held until release – or that the model is discontinued, which may make it more difficult to maintain.
If you want a luxurious e-reader or are a die-hard fan of page-turning buttons, and price isn’t an issue, the Oasis will perform very similarly.
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