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I've tried all of Prime Day's Kindles — and I'm surprised too at my favorite one

Amazon kindle e-reader
(Image credit: Amazon)

The best Prime Day deals event is ending in a matter of hours and with it arguably the lowest prices of the year on the full range of Kindle deals. With so many big discounts to choose from, you might be weighing up which is the best Kindle for you today and trying to convince yourself that you need something better than that super cheap version. Well, after trying all of these Kindles, I'm here to tell you that maybe that cheapest option is actually the best buy you're likely to find on Prime Day. 

The e-reader I keep reaching for at home is actually the cheapest entry-level Kindle, which is absurdly affordable and 50% off today at just $44.99 (opens in new tab) / £34.99 (opens in new tab). The midrange Kindle Paperwhite and premium Kindle Oasis are fantastic devices of course, and boast big discounts today too (more on those below). 

But back to the entry-level Kindle; yes, the screen is a bit smaller than the Oasis, it's not waterproof (but when was I last poolside anyway?), and the resolution isn't as high, but I actually think this is by far the most comfortable Kindle to hold, especially one-handed and the resolution is more than high enough for an e-reader.

And if you're just diving into the world of ebooks, you don't have to worry about this budget-friendly option being a bit of a poor man's version as they often can be with most new gadgets — how's that $20 fitness tracker working for you that you bought from some store crammed into your Facebook feed?

It wasn't always this way, but this newest entry-level Kindle now has an illuminated screen, instantly fixing the worst part of the older cheapest Kindles that used to make the Paperwhite the easiest model to recommend.

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Kindle | $89.99 $44.99 at Amazon
(opens in new tab)As much as I love the other two Kindles at home, it's very telling that this is the one I've been using the most. It slips nicely into my inside jacket pocket (forget that with the Oasis), feels great in the hand and the battery lasts for weeks at a time. You'll pay almost twice as much for the discounted Paperwhite too. Also available in the UK for £34.99 (opens in new tab).

What are the other Kindles like?

If you are looking for a bit of an upgrade though, today's the day to do it as you'll find plenty of offers on every model of Kindle at both Amazon US (opens in new tab) and Amazon UK (opens in new tab) — these prices will expire at midnight PDT/BST today though.

The Paperwhite is looking at a big price cut right now too and comes with a larger 6.8-inch screen and almost double the resolution — not a huge difference for just text in all reality. You do get the warm light feature for a nice easy-going tone. The flush screen design with no dipping edge around the bezels is waterproof and also easier to keep clean as bits of dust or hair won't get caught in the bezel as it does sometimes with the cheaper model — you can just blow it off to be fair. All nice quality of life features for sure, but worth paying twice as much? Possibly not for most buyers.

What about the Kindle Oasis? Do you read a lot? Like, hours a week? If so, then this might be worth the splurge as it's surely the most luxurious e-reader on the market. So why do I keep using the cheap-ass Kindle instead?

While generally nice to hold thanks to its super thin design and built-in battery bump providing a more secure grip, it's still a little slippery in the hand, especially if using one-handed standing up on the subway. The edges on the front-bottom corners aren't machined particularly smoothly either for some reason and sometimes scrape and wear ever so slightly inside the thumb padding of my palm and it's just a bit uncomfortable which just isn't on for the price. The metal design gets very hot in the sun too.

Yes, you're getting full waterproofing and warm-screen modes here too, but the other main selling point aside from those stylish good looks is the return of page turn buttons. This is the only modern Kindle with buttons (don't get me started), and they are undeniably brilliant for the smoothest page transitions.

What does 'lockscreen ad-supported' mean and why is it cheaper?

Short version: Get the cheaper ad-supported Kindles. All this means is that when not reading your Kindle, the lockscreen will display an Amazon ad. Usually a Kindle sale or promotion on ebooks, sometimes on Kindle cases and other accessories. Some of the book sales are worth clicking through to and having a browse — especially if you buy most of your ebooks from Amazon anyways.

And if you've no interest in those ads, it's not really worth paying the extra $15/£10 to get rid of them as they're only on the lockscreen and don't require you to manually close them and they don't slow down "opening" your Kindle and resuming reading. They never interrupt the reading experience at all, so you won't turn a page and land on an ad or anything like that.

The only upside of not having ads is the option to display your current book's cover on the screen when the device is locked. You can always pay for this upgrade separately at a later date via customer service if you want to. Personally, having both versions at home, I'd rather save the money and have the "ads."

If you're looking for a slate with a bit more functionality and some cross-functionality between your laptop too, be sure to check out our best Windows tablet guide.

Brendan Griffiths
Brendan Griffiths

Brendan oversees content strategy for our buying guides and deal pages here at Windows Central and also iMore and Android Central. He's a former freelance games journalist, then the first ever Deals Editor for TechRadar and then the Managing Editor of eCommerce & Hardware at GamesRadar before joining us. When he's not rummaging through online sales or trying to appease the Google algorithm you'll find him binging boxsets, laughing at fools that don't have Xbox Game Pass and testing every Xbox controller out there, then just using the one standard Series X one.