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(Pocket-lint) - 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 best prices are usually available on days like Prime Day or Black Friday, but there are regular discounts throughout the year.

The real decision is which model you should buy. There are currently seven models of Kindle offered by Amazon: the new Kindle Paperwhite, Paperwhite Kids and Paperwhite Signature Edition, the Kindle with front light, old Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Kids Edition and Kindle Oasis. Here's how they break down.

Amazon's 2021 Kindle Paperwhite family

In 2021, Amazon announced a new family of devices, comprised of the Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Paperwhite Kids and the Kindle Paperwhite Signature. These devices are currently on pre-order, so we're presenting them for your consideration alongside existing Kindle models.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

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  • 174 x 125 x 8.1mm, 205g
  • 6.8in display, 300ppi
  • 8GB, Wi-Fi
  • IPX8 waterproofing

Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite, refreshed in 2021, makes some important changes over the older model. The bezels have been reduced slightly but there's now a larger 6.8-inch display, larger than other Kindles - except the Oasis at 7 inches. 

This model is actually a little wider and taller than the 2018 model it replaces, and heavier at 205g. There's 8GB of storage and it's limited to Wi-Fi connectivity only - there's no option for cellular connectivity.

As previously, there's a front-lighting system so you can read in the dark, but you can also adjust the colour temperature of this, as you can in the Kindle Oasis (2019).

There's now a USB-C port for charging, with the battery said to last for up to 10 weeks - that's 4 weeks longer than the older Paperwhite. It is waterproof with an IPX8 rating.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for Kids

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  • 174 x 125 x 8.1mm, 205g
  • 6.8in display, 300ppi
  • 8GB, Wi-Fi
  • IPX8 waterproofing
  • Case, Amazon Kids+ and 2-year guarantee

The Kindle Paperwhite Kids is the same model as the Kindle Paperwhite (2021), so has exactly the same features as the model above - but it comes in a bundle designed for kids. 

That includes a cover to keep it protected, a subsciption to Kindle Kids+ and a 2-year guarantee, so if your kids break it, Amazon will replace it.

The best thing is that when your kids outgrow the kids content, they can use the Kindle as a normal adult Kindle.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

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  • 174 x 125 x 8.1mm, 207g
  • 6.8in display, 300ppi
  • 8GB, Wi-Fi
  • IPX8 waterproofing

The Paperwhite Signature Edition is based on the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite, but makes a few changes to make it slightly more premium. 

While it's the same case and same design from the exterior, it offers 32GB of storage, 4x that over the standard Kindle Paperwhite. It also offers an auto-adjusting front light to suit the reading conditions you're in.

There's also wireless charging, with a Wireless Charging Dock designed specifically for this model (an optional extra), so you don't have to plug it in. This will all make for a slightly more premium experience overall.

Existing Kindle models

The following models are older, but still widely available and might offer you better value for money if you're looking to buy a Kindle.

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Amazon Kindle with front light

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  • 160 x 113 x 8.7mm, 174g
  • 6.0in display, 167ppi 
  • 8GB, Wi-Fi

Amazon's standard Kindle was updated in 2019 with the big addition being front illumination. That makes this cheapest Kindle practical, while offering the same storage space as the latest devices. 

The design isn't as advanced as any of the Paperwhite models, however, with a raised bezel around the display and that display is a lower resolution so it's not as sharp as the old or new Paperwhite models. 

With all that said, the experience is much the same when it comes to access to books, and reading those books is still a pleasure.

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Amazon Kindle Kids Edition

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  • 160 x 113 x 8.7mm, 174g
  • 6.0in display, 167ppi 
  • 8GB, Wi-Fi

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 are a case that comes as standard and a worry-free guarantee that the Kindle will get replaced even if it is damaged accidentally.

It also comes with a year's worth of free kids content from Audible audiobooks and Kindle books, thanks to Amazon Kids+.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018)

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  • 167 x 116 x 8.2mm, 182g
  • 6.0in display, 300ppi
  • 8/32GB, Wi-Fi or cellular
  • IPX8 waterproofing

When the Paperwhite was launched, its unique feature was the illumination, meaning you could read it without the lights on. That's now a standard feature, leaving the Kindle Paperwhite (2018) in a mid-range position.

The 6-inch E-Ink display boasts 300ppi 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 (2018), it's thinner and lighter than before, as well as now offering IPX8 waterproofing, with a flat front - so no ridge on that bezel like the basic Kindle.

The Paperwhite comes in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi+3G options. The 3G option costs a little more to buy initially, but there are no ongoing costs, it's a free connection thereafter.

It's now been updated with the 2021 Paperwhite, but has had a healthy price reduction to reflect this.

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Amazon Kindle Oasis

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  • 159 x 141 x 3.4-8.4mm, 188g
  • 7.0in display, 300ppi
  • 8/32GB, Wi-Fi or cellular
  • IPX8 waterproofing

Bigger and better, the Kindle Oasis is designed to be the ultimate reading device.

This model has a 7-inch display - so, larger than all the other Kindle devices - and incorporates all the top features. It offers illumination, but with more LEDs so things are more evenly distributed. It also boasts auto-brightness, as found on the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition.

The Kindle Oasis is waterproof, 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.

Like with Paperwhite, 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.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 16 April 2013.