If you want an e-reader, you should probably buy the new Kindle Paperwhite.
I can pretty much end this review here. For better or worse, Amazon is the best source for ebooks, and the Kindle Paperwhite is its best ereader for most people. If you have the money, and don’t mind the larger size, splurge for the Oasis. Otherwise, this is the one to get
What I like: As with the last Oasis update, there are two big changes on this year’s Paperwhite: It’s now waterproof and supports audiobooks from Audible with a pair of Bluetooth headphones. I consider the former important enough to warrant an upgrade. Also, there’s more storage, with 8GB and 32 GB options, but I imagine few people ran out of space on previous Kindles.
The screen is now made of glass and flush with the body, which feels more premium. The 6-inch size makes for a meaningful difference in portability over 7-inch the Oasis. The paperwhite usually fits in a coat, jacket, or even some pants pockets pretty easily. The Oasis is a literal stretch.
Starting at $130 ($100 on sale right now), it’s priced fairly. That said, you’ll have to put up with (fairly unobtrusive) ads unless you opt for the $250 ($187 on sale) model with 32GB and LTE.
What I don’t like: This isn’t new to the 2018 Paperwhite, but I really wish you could disable turning pages with a tap. You can disable the touchscreen and turn pages with a swipe, but this blocks all other features. Physical page buttons would be nice too.
The glass screen protects against scratches, but is more prone to reflections and fingerprints. And while I like the Paperwhite’s physical size more, I could do with smaller bezels and a bigger screen. Reading on the Oasis is more enjoyable because of its larger and sharper display.
Also, I wish Amazon didn’t use so cool a white backlight – it’s pretty annoying at night when most surround lights are warm, and there’s that whole thing about blue light being bad for sleep.
It’s worse here than on the Oasis too, because the Paperwhite doesn’t have auto-brightness to automatically adjust for ambient light. You need to constantly go into settings to get that perfect amount of backlighting for the full paper-like effect.
What I find super-annoying-but-not-a-dealbreaker: Micro USB. This is dumb, it’s 2018. I don’t care that the battery lasts forever (I went a couple of weeks without charging it). Micro USB still sucks, and you’ll inevitably be annoyed that time you inevitably take the Kindle on a long trip and forget to bring the right cable.
If you already have a Kindle, it’s a worthwhile upgrade if you care about reading near water or listen to a lot of audiobooks as well. It’s also a better choice than the Oasis for portability, as the difference between a 6-inch screen and 7-inch one is the difference between fitting in a pocket or not.
The Paperwhite is currently on sale for $99 for the entry-level configuration, down from $129. If you’re looking for an e-reader, now’s a good time as any to snag one up.
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