There's nothing like heading off on a holiday without having to weigh your luggage down with piles of books. Now, though, there's also a lot to be said for being able to access nearly limitless numbers of books without having to go to a shop to buy more. The Kindle reader is one of the most popular choices for ebook reading, letting you read your favourite books on a digital device, without the drawbacks that come with using a tablet or smartphone.
Not only is the Kindle power efficient, but it's also well-connected, meaning you can easily download new books. It's also incredibly easy to use with seamless integration with your Amazon account.
The real decision is which model you should buy. There are currently four models of Kindle offered by Amazon: Kindle with front light, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Kids Edition and Kindle Oasis. Here's how they break down.
Amazon Kindle with front light
Amazon's latest basic Kindle adds a front light. It's not the same display as the Paperwhite: while both are 6-inches on the diagonal, the Kindle offers 167ppi and the Paperwhite offers 300ppi, so the more expensive model is sharper and higher quality.
Be warned that the very cheapest version comes with Special Offers, which is basically a bit of advertising - you can see more about this in our review.
The Amazon Kindle also doesn't offer waterproofing, but at this price, you're getting a lot of ereader for your money. It doesn't stretch as far as the Paperwhite below, but has plenty to offer.
Amazon Kindle Kids Edition
The Kindle Kids Edition is aimed, of course, at children and has some services that the other Kindles don't. Under the surface though, it's the same as the standard Kindle above. The extra bits - which incur a little extra expense - are a case that comes as standard (available in blue and pink plus some other colours in the US) and a worry-free guarantee where the Kindle will get replaced even if it is damaged accidentally. It also comes with a year's worth of free kids content - Audible audio books and Kindle books.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
When the Paperwhite was launched, its unique feature was the illumination, meaning you could read it without the lights on. With the entry-level Kindle offering lighting, it's no longer unique, with the Paperwhite instead occupying a mid-range position in the Kindle line-up.
The 6-inch eInk display boasts 300dpi and has better contrast than the regular Kindle, meaning whites are brighter and blacks are deeper. Again, this is a touchscreen device with a battery that lasts for weeks. In this design (last updated in 2018) it's thinner and lighter than before, as well as now offering IPX8 waterproofing, with a flat front - so no more ridge on that bezel like the old version.
The Paperwhite comes in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi+3G options. The latter has the advantage that you're always connected, meaning that if you finish your book lying on the beach in Spain, you can browse and buy the next bestseller and get reading. The 3G option costs a little more to buy initially, but there are no ongoing costs, it's a free connection thereafter. Again there are options for models with "special offers" (advertising) and without.
For most people, the advantage of illumination will make this the Kindle of choice, saving money over the Oasis, but bettering the basic Kindle.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
Bigger, better and now cheaper, the Kindle Oasis is designed to be the ultimate reading device. This model has a 7-inch display so slightly larger than all the other devices, but also incorporating the features. It offers illumination but with more LEDs so things are more evenly distributed. It also boasts the auto-brightness of the (now retired) Kindle Voyage.
The Kindle Oasis is also waterproof, meaning its safe in the bath or at the beach, while retaining a thin and light design, so it's easy to slip into any pocket. With 6-weeks of battery life, it's a premium reader and top of the Kindle family, also offering Bluetooth so you can listen to Audible books from your Oasis.
Again, there's the choice of Wi-Fi or 3G models, with the 8GB Wi-Fi model being the most affordable of the selection and the 32GB 3G version seeing the price soaring. The Oasis is easily the most accomplished Kindle - if you read every day then you'll appreciate the additional skills it offers.