Which Amazon Kindle Is Best For Travelers?

Filed Under: Travel Technology

Occasionally we like to highlight gadgets that make travel easier, or that enhance the travel experience. One of those “no-brainer” items for us has been the Amazon Kindle — not only is it a great piece of technology, but turns out it’s much easier to avoid checking a bag when your travel companion can pack a small Kindle instead of eight books on a weekend trip.

In a quick poll of the group here at OMAAT, everyone has a Kindle of some sort. Travis and his family use a Kindle Fire, but everyone else has some type of Kindle E-reader in their travel bag.

Conveniently, we use a variety of devices as well:


Unlike some electronics, the Kindle isn’t a gimmicky item you use for three weeks and tire of. We’ve used ours extensively, and everyone here likes theirs as well. They’re lightweight, easy to read in the sunlight, and the novelty of being able to download a new book poolside hasn’t worn off yet.

Which Kindle Is Best?

This probably comes down to personal preference, and to some extent timing.

Nick and Tiffany both pointed out that their Kindles are the really old legacy model, which is closest to the base model being sold now. Theirs offer 3G, however, which the current base model doesn’t. The resolution could certainly be better, but you still get the glare-free screen, and clearly they’re built to last.

Ford has the Kindle Paperwhite, which is what we used in my household as well until recently. The resolution is significantly better than the base model, and the 3G is nice for quick downloads when WiFi isn’t convenient.

I bought a Kindle Voyage for my wife a few weeks ago, and so far we’re impressed. It weighs less than the previous versions, which is a plus given how much she reads. The page-turning functionality is improved as well, and I think it’s worth the price premium over the Paperwhite for serious readers.

While the existing versions of the Kindle have become go-to travel items around here, Amazon just announced a further upgraded Kindle that looks intriguing.

The New Amazon Kindle Oasis

First things first, this thing isn’t cheap. The new Kindle Oasis announced today starts at $290 but there might be some new features that make it worthwhile for some of you.


The biggest change with the new Kindle Oasis is the tapered, more ergonomic shape and lighter weight. The shape puts most of the weight in the palm of your hand making it more comfortable to hold.

It’s also worth pointing out that the screen rotates if you turn the Oasis over. This makes it more natural to hold with either hand – and is something my left-handed wife would certainly appreciate.


The Oasis ships with a leather “charging cover” that includes a second battery. The cover is a nice inclusion. If you typically buy a cover with your Kindle, the fact it’s included might help make the price a little more palatable.KindleOasis05


The real benefit of the cover, however, is the second battery. This can charge the Oasis giving it a pretty remarkable 9-week battery life. I can hear the grumble now from the people saying this is a solution looking for a problem, “Who the hell can’t get to a charger for 2 months at a time?”

But, as Tiffany pointed out, plenty of people throw their Kindle in a travel bag and leave it there without thinking about the last time they charged it. So, hopefully this prevents flying with a dead Kindle or a rush to get a last minute charge before a long flight.

The screen on the Oasis is the same as the Kindle Paperwhite. But, Amazon improved the reading experience with 60% more LEDs than previous Kindle versions. I’ve always been impressed by the screen’s performance in daylight. So, the fact the Oasis is supposed to be even better is intriguing.

Amazon Kindle Oasis bottom line

The new Kindle Oasis is the latest and greatest e-reader from Amazon. The new technology comes with a pretty steep price tag of $290. But, if you’re an early adopter who wants the best, this is clearly it. The Oasis starts shipping in two weeks.

I’d be tempted to buy this for my wife who rarely leaves home without her Kindle. But I just bought her a new Paperwhite Voyage three weeks ago when her old Kindle wouldn’t keep a charge anymore, so will probably hold off for a bit.

If you don’t yet have a Kindle at all, I’d highly recommend one for traveling — it’s been a game-changer for us, and clearly popular for all of OMAAT.

Do you use a Kindle when traveling? Are any of you going to pre-order the new Kindle Oasis?

  1. I still have the Sony e-reader. My phone has the kindle app that I use too. For me, there’s no need to upgrade, unless something died.

  2. “The iPad with Kindle app is the best Kindle.”

    I have a Kindle and an iPad. It’s nice to have the gorgeous color screen, but it’s nearly impossible to see the iPad screen on the beach. I also figure if something happens… theft or damage, I’m out less than $200 on the Kindle, but close to $700 on the iPad.

  3. ” I just bought her a new Paperwhite Voyage three weeks ago when her old Kindle wouldn’t keep a charge anymore”

    This is exactly the kind of nonsense that drives me crazy. Everyone knows that batteries wear out, so WHY MAKE THE BATTERY BUILT-IN? The answer is obvious; it’s a tool to get customers to upgrade their devices before they normally would. But if the only thing you don’t like about your device is that it won’t hold a charge, it’s supremely annoying to be forced to spend that money.

  4. Like Ford, I’m a big fan of the paperwhite. Light, compact and the backlight is a huge improvement over previous models. The only thing that gets me about the kindle family is having to convert to .mobi.

  5. @Daniel the iPad is heavy compared to a kindle and reading on it isnt as great as a Kindle. That could change with the iOS update with night mode or whatever Apple wants to call it

  6. @snic Kindle and other devices with built in batteries is also a design thing. Do you really want to walk around with a kindle that has a battery hump for a few AA batteries? If Amazon designed the Kindle with a removable proprietary battery, it’s not going to be as cheap as other batteries. Besides, USB chargers are pretty commonplace. A cable that can charge several devices is better than carrying around extra batteries.

    The Kindle should last a few years before the battery dies out and the cheapest kindle is $80, which isnt that expensive if its once every few years

  7. I got a Kindle before our last trip. However twice Amazon placed a fraud hold on the account because I logged in from Thailand and then Hong Kong to buy more books. No big purchases and I have a VPN. After about 6 calls and several hours each time we were able to get the account re-instated. Amazon said that there was no way to place a travel notification on an account. So in sum, the Kindle was worthless for most of the 5 week trip. Has anyone had this experience and a way to get around it?

  8. I have the old “legacy” model, the big size with 3G, no wifi. I was on vacation last week and it developed a crack on the front frame so it is just a matter of time before I need to replace. I will probably replace with the new “Oasis” as I have a birthday coming up about the same time as the ship date.

    I did think about using my ipad instead of replacing the kindle but I do like to read outside quite often and cannot read the screen so nixed that idea.

  9. Well – I have a Voyage and am probably going to shell out the $289 to get page turn buttons back! The one thing I very much miss from my old Kindle Keyboard. Obviously many other people miss them too hence the new design.

  10. I’m still using my Kindle Keyboard 3G daily. I also have the leather case w/built-in light. After ~5(?) years it’s still going strong. Battery life is still excellent, despite heavy usage. There’s a slight stress crack on the case near the lower right corner of the screen, but it’s still working fine. No plans to replace it until it finally dies. BUT when it dies, I’ll be overnighting a new one! Definitely want one with real physical buttons on the edge. I’ve used some of the newer touchscreen Kindles and hated having to move my hands/fingers every time I wanted to flip a page.

    Despite having iPads, tablets, phones, if I’m doing any serious reading, I break out the Kindle. I find the eInk screens are just more pleasant and natural to read on, and work in any light. It’s also light enough that reading for long stretches of time doesn’t hurt my wrists.

  11. I use my iPad for reading. When its dark, the screen turns black and the text white. I see the comments about reading outside with it. I don’t use my iPad to read outside though so don’t have that problem.

  12. Of course it’s a Kindle 3G (keyboard) with free internet (I don’t know if it still works) in US and most of the Europe

  13. You can get six Kindle Fires for about the price of one Oasis, so no, the built-in case doesn’t matter. The 900-lb. gorilla about the whole Kindle line is a U.S.-registered customer can’t stream video product from Amazon Prime in many areas of the world, which affects all the flavors of Kindle Fire. But it’s still way better than 20 lbs of books, stowed with your troubles in your old kitbag.

  14. @David W:
    “That could change with the iOS update with night mode or whatever Apple wants to call it”

    Not really; it changes the tint of the display, but it doesn’t make the screen any darker. And it doesn’t help outdoors either.

  15. Have a 1st Generation kindle the one with keypad and then a 2nd generation Kindle and now the paper white. I have the kindle app on my Samsung tablet and on both of mine ipad. The downside for the kindle is it’s impossible to fix it if there is an issue with it as I live in Asia. The 1st one I had was issue with the kindle hanged and was stuck in a certain page. The 2nd one i had was issue with the words on the bottom part of the kindle can’t be seen hence I had to get the paper white. I love the kindle cause of the light weight and is better reading on it compared to reading the app itself.

  16. And if you’re looking for a book to read on said Kindle or iPad, a bit self serving…but I think some of you might like my Room 702. One hotel suite. One year. Many stories. The entire novel takes place in a hotel room in Beverly Hills.

    I’ve had the Kindle app on my iPad mini and haven’t looked back…

  17. “but it’s nearly impossible to see the iPad screen on the beach.”
    “Trying to read outdoors on an iPad is rough.”

    I think that’s the point. Go play in the water, take a stroll, look at the outdoors. What’s the point of being outside only to tune it out and get sucked into a book? As an Pacific Northwesterner, if it’s too bright to see my iPad, then it means I should put on sunglasses and take advantage of the nice weather.

  18. I just bought a Kindle Paperwhite at the urging of this post! I have been trying to use my iPad after my Nook Color died. It has 2 big disadvantages to me: 1. It’s just too heavy to hold for reading for long periods. 2. It’s too easy to get distracted–“let’s see what’s happening on FB,”, “let’s read the new OMAAT post”, etc. etc. Thanks for the help. (Plus I bought mine on sale at Staples and still got $25 off with an Amex offer so only paid $82 including tax.

  19. I have the Kindle and good for reading and international travels for long flights. Simple to use

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