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Amber screen is easier on the eyes
IPX8 waterproof to withstand splashes and submersion
Physical page turn buttons
Bluetooth enabled for listening to Audible
Cellular connectivity option
Pricey compared to similar ebook readers
$20 more for the ad-free version
The Oasis is a worthwhile splurge. The color temperature adjustable display creates a paperlike warmth, and the grip on the back of the smooth aluminum body allows comfortable one-handed use for hours.
Shoppers are spoilt for choice when it comes to ebook readers. With basic options under $100, the Kindle Oasis is a serious splurge. For your money, you'll get all the best functionality an ebook-reader offers in premium packaging no other Kindle offers. Keep reading to see if we think these premium features are worth the money.
The Kindle Oasis has a smooth aluminum body in two color options, Graphite Silver and Champagne Gold. A wedge-shaped grip on the back encourages a one-handed grip. The wedge makes the device 5mm thicker on one side, but it is still thinner than an iPhone in a case. A few extra millimeters on one side won’t make a difference to anyone but the most minimalist lightweight travelers. It has a footprint of 5.6” x 6.3”, an inch wider than the Paperwhite to allow for the large bezel. We were easily able to fit it into a backpack crammed full of clothing.
Functionally, we loved the addition of the grip. The wedge naturally shifts the weight of the device into your palm for a comfortable grip. With such a smooth back, it’s nice to have a little groove to hold onto, and we found it more comfortable for long reading sessions than the Paperwhite.
Priced at $250 for the version with ads, the Oasis is expensive, but it's our first choice over the previous-generation Paperwhite.
Rated IPX8 to protect from 6 feet of water for one hour, the waterproof Kindle Oasis is built to withstand poolside reading, drops in the tub, and spills.
Flipping pages by swiping still works, but despite hours and hours of Kindle use, we still accidentally highlight and make notes all the time. Physical page turn buttons eliminated that entirely, and they're satisfyingly clicky and conveniently located on the wide bezel on the side, keeping your hands off the display. Left-handed readers can flip the device for a nearly identical experience. Everything about the Kindle Oasis build feels thoughtfully designed.
With a fairly large and high-resolution display, 7” and 330 ppi, the Oasis nicely balances the portability of a small device with the convenience of a large screen. The glass screen is more smudge resistant than the plastic-coated Kindle Paperwhite, and the new model has added color temperature adjustment. 25 LEDs light the screen consistently even around the edges.
The light’s warmth can be scheduled to gradually change around sunrise and sunset, or to manually change at a specific time. At its warmest, the display has a soft amber appearance similar to the night shift mode on iOS. Even during the day, we made use of adjustable warmth. At around level 13, the Oasis has the soft, off-white appearance of real paper. It's a subtle change, but switching from the Oasis with a slightly warmer screen to the comparatively harsh white of the Paperwhite makes it easy to appreciate the difference.
Amazon boasts that the Oasis has the “latest e-ink technology,” but never explains what it actually is. The previous generation had E-ink Carta HD. Whatever the technology, e-ink redraw takes just a moment and doesn’t flash on the device too much.
Setting up the Kindle Oasis is quick, taking just a couple of minutes to select a language, connect to Wi-Fi, and log in to your Amazon account. You can optionally connect to Goodreads, but no further steps are required at the beginning of the process. You can immediately begin choosing books from your Kindle library or the store to read.
Like it or not, Amazon dominates the ebook space. Amazon owns Goodreads, the largest website for book reviews and catalogs. Goodreads integration on the Oasis allows you to update your progress through a book, share quotes, mark new books as Want to Read, and more. All of the Goodreads options are easily accessible from the main menu bar of the Oasis, and every book gives you a few Goodreads-related options when you touch it. Integration between the two is very well done.
Goodreads integration on the Oasis allows you to update your progress through a book, share quotes, mark new books as Want to Read, and more.
The Bluetooth-enabled Kindle Oasis pairs well with Audible, which can be accessed from the Store menu. It’s worth mentioning that there is no 3.5mm jack, so you’ll need to use Bluetooth headphones. Our complaint in this area is that Amazon's ebook readers still don't support audiobooks from Overdrive or Libby (though standard ebook support across either is available). The Audible and Kindle stores, library integration with Libby and Overdrive, and Kindle Unlimited combine to provide seemingly endless options. Voracious readers will have access to more content than they could ever consume.
With 8 GB and 32 GB options, the Oasis has enough space to serve almost everyone's needs. The 6 GB available to the user in the 8 GB model is roomy enough for around three thousand ebooks, but audiobooks are much larger (Audible estimates their file size at 30 MB per hour). Assuming an average book length of 10 hours, our math suggests that you can hold around 20 audiobooks on the 8 GB size or 100 audiobooks on the 32 GB size. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks you may want the convenience of the larger size, but you could easily get away with the smaller size if you don't need to keep a large audio library on the device.
Amazon estimates that the Kindle can last up to six weeks on a single charge, but most readers won’t get their battery to last anywhere near that long. Reading for more than 30 minutes per day, indexing newly downloaded books, keeping Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on, and even changing the brightness all cut into that six-week estimate. Indexing makes all downloaded books searchable, but it really cuts into battery life, and it's impossible to disable.
To test how we think the average reader would use the device, we set the brightness to 16, the warmth to 14 for the off-white experience of real paper, and turned the Wi-Fi off, since you only need it when it’s time to download a new book. With those settings, our battery lasted just over 15 hours. People with regular reading habits will need to charge every 7-10 days. The device fully charged in under three hours using micro USB.
Priced at $250 for the version with ads, the Oasis is expensive, but it's our first choice over the previous-generation Paperwhite. The excellent build quality, feature set, and materials are worth the money, and that’s why it’s our best splurge.
The Barnes & Noble alternative to the Oasis is the Nook GlowLight Plus, priced at $200. The Nook doesn’t offer Amazon’s huge ecosystem, but it does have a very robust library for anyone looking to sidestep Amazon's virtual monopoly. Barnes & Noble also has hundreds of brick and mortar stores across the United States where customers can test Nook devices themselves or receive support for their purchases.
The best splurge.
If the differences between the Paperwhite and the Oasis appeal to you, the Oasis is worth the price. Color temperature adjustment injects some much-needed warmth into the display, and with a comfortable grip and physical page turn buttons, we found it easier than ever to lose ourselves for hours in a good book.