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Kindle Oasis review

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Kindle Oasis video review
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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Included leather case is great
  • Fantastic display
  • Gorgeous looks

Cons

  • That price...
  • No adaptive front light

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Key Features

  • 6-inch 300ppi display
  • Leather case included
  • 9-week battery life with case attached
  • Physical page-turning buttons
  • Manufacturer: Amazon
  • Review Price: £269.99

What is the Kindle Oasis?

The Kindle Oasis is the most luxurious, high-end e-reader ever made by Amazon. It’s ridiculously thin, weighs very little and is a pleasure to use.

In addition, it's supplied with a clever leather case into which the device slots, which not only provides protection for your e-reader, but also an extra injection of battery power. With the case attached, the Kindle Oasis can last for nine weeks on a single charge.

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But all this comes at a price. At £269.99/$289.99, the Kindle Oasis makes the Kindle Voyage – which was already considered expensive at £169.99 – appear a bargain. So although the Oasis is a fantastic e-reader, its high price will mean that it's likely to appeal to only the most diehard of Kindle fans.

Watch: Kindle Oasis hands-on

Kindle Oasis – Design


The most obvious change to the Kindle formula here is design – and it’s a significant departure from anything Amazon has done before.

Each Kindle up to this point has shared traits, be that a full keyboard, physical buttons or just a touchscreen.

It’s a completely different story with the Oasis – and it's a little odd at first. I tend to hold my Kindle either from the bottom of the device or by wrapping my hand around the rear. The Oasis, however, has been designed to be held from the side, where the clicky page-turning buttons are located.

Amazon has built a spine into the device, which tapers down to a ridiculously thin point. Holding the side feels instantly natural – it’s how you’d hold a traditional book, after all – and the Oasis is so light that it’s easy to grip with one hand.

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This is the thinnest Kindle device to date. Amazon says it’s over 20% thinner and 30% lighter than any other device in its lineup – and it looks gorgeous.

The Oasis shares the metal construction of the Voyage and has the same cold, metallic feel. It weighs just 131g, which is lighter than iPhone 6S. It’s also the smallest Kindle to date, making the Voyage and Kindle Paperwhite feel large by comparison.

With it being so thin and light, though, the Oasis certainly isn’t the most durable of products. With previous Kindles, the Paperwhite in particular, I'd happily throw them straight into my bag without worry. I’ve had to reconsider such actions with the Oasis, since it feels as though it wouldn’t survive an encounter with my keys or other miscellaneous tech buried in my rucksack.

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However, this leads nicely to one of the most notable features of the Oasis, one that makes that price just a tad more bearable. Accompanying the Kindle Oasis In the box is a case, which offers far more than you'd envisage at first sight.

Kindle Oasis – Battery Life and Charging Case

This is the first time that Amazon has included a case in the box.

There are three colours from which to choose – brown, black and merlot (red) – and each case is made from genuine leather; they feel great.

My review unit came with the brown case, Amazon calls it walnut, and it has a lovely suede feel to it. It’s soft to the touch and you get the impression that it will age well. This walnut version is certainly the one with the most texture – it’s nice and grippy; the other two are more like traditional leather.

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The Oasis seems to have been designed with the case in mind, like it’s part of the product rather than simply an accessory.

This new case isn't as useful as the origami case you could buy for the Kindle Voyage, however, since it doesn’t fold up to create a stand for the device. This may annoy some, but in my opinion I never considered that style of case particularly worked for a device that I'd rarely use placed on a table.

The case slots satisfyingly on to the back of the device, connecting to a set of pogo pins. The case doesn’t add much in the way of extra weight to the Oasis, but it provides a hit of much-needed durability without sacrificing the overall look.

There’s much more to this case than just protection, though.

Built into it is a separate battery, which, once attached to your Kindle Oasis, will give your device an extra seven weeks of juice.

It’s needed, too, because without it the Oasis will run for only around two weeks. Obviously, this is far and away better than anything you’d normally get from a tablet, but it’s less impressive when you consider that both the Paperwhite and Voyage last for around seven weeks.

With the case attached, you’ll get a total of nine weeks' charge, making it the longest running Kindle yet.

For testing purposes, I'd normally run-down the battery of a device completely before reviewing it, but this hasn't been possible with the Oasis. I've been using the Oasis – with the case attached – for about three hours a day for the past few days, and the gauge still reads 100%.

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Of course, I'll update this review in the coming months when I know more about the battery on the Oasis. But, in light of Amazon’s track record, I can confidently say that the Kindle Oasis will go the distance.

The Oasis is charged via micro-USB, and if the case is connected then it, too, will automatically charge at the same time. No need for two cables to plug in the two separate parts. Another nice touch.

Amazon has clearly sacrificed battery life for thinness, but it’s thought ahead by bundling such a case.

Kindle Oasis – Display

It’s quite an amazing feat that Amazon has packed most of the components from the Voyage into the smaller, lighter body of the Oasis – and this includes the 6-inch 300ppi E Ink display that sits flush to the bezel.

The front-lighting system has been rejigged and now features 60% more LEDs for a brighter, more even spread of glow. On my first look at the Oasis, I didn’t really feel that the screen was a huge improvement over the Voyage – but it is.

The Oasis offers better contrast and the light is more evenly spread across the screen. This means that there are absolutely no spots where it looks brighter than it does elsewhere.

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It’s a stunning display. Text is crisp and since it’s an E Ink panel rather than an LCD, it can be used even in direct sunlight without the experience being ruined. The refresh rate is great, too, so page turns are snappy.

Reading on a tablet is fine, but it just can’t compare to reading on a dedicated e-reader. It doesn’t tire your eyes, making the experience feel much closer to reading an actual book.

One interesting omission on the Oasis is the lack of an adaptive light, first introduced on the Voyage. Similar to the auto-brightness feature on phones, adaptive light alters the backlight depending on your environment. For instance, if you moved from a bright room to a dark one, it would slowly lower the light displayed by the device to better suit your eyes in the new environment.

I found that the feature worked well, so it’s a shame not to see it here. I assume it’s another feature lost to ensure the Oasis is as thin as possible.

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Kindle Oasis: Other Things to Consider

I’m a huge fan of the Kindle Oasis, but there are a few things that I'd like to have seen added in order to make its price easier to swallow. To be honest, there isn’t anything here that isn’t available on the lower priced models, and that’s disappointing.

Take the software, for instance. It’s exactly the same as you’d find on any other lower-priced device in the Kindle lineup. It’s been spruced up recently with integration to GoodReads, and there’s even a new font called Amazon Ember, which is particularly easy on the eyes. However, neither is exclusive to the Oasis.

Like other Kindles, the Oasis remains super-simple to use, with generous use of book art and search boxes that are easy to press. You also have access to the most sizeable, and best, ebook store on the web, with its fantastic array of both big releases and smaller Kindle Singles. There’s also Kindle Unlimited – the £7.99 Netflix-style, all-you-can-eat book service.

The lack of an onboard speaker, or headphone port, is annoying. This seems like an obvious addition, especially with Amazon’s fantastic Audible audiobook service. I want to be able to instantly switch between listening to a book and reading it without changing devices, but this just isn’t possible.

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I was also hoping the Oasis would benefit from waterproofing. I admit that I love using the Kindle in the bath, but there’s always that nagging feeling that I might drop it in the water.

The name Oasis has so many connotations relating to water that, on first hearing the name, I thought some form of water-resistance would have been a given. Yet, it’s nowhere to seen.

Costing £269.99/$289.99 – that’s with the case, remember – the Oasis is the priciest Kindle to date. It costs just £70 less than the iPad Air 2, a device that allows you to do far more than simply read books. You can also pick up the fantastic Kindle Paperwhite, which has identical software features and a lovely display in its own right, for just £109.99.

The Kindle Oasis is a lovely piece of technology – but I struggle to determine who it's for .

Note that, like some other models in the Kindle range, the Oasis is available in a 3G variety. For £329.99/$379.99 *gulps*, it offers unlimited 3G use for downloading books when you’re away from a Wi-Fi network.

Should you buy the Kindle Oasis?

The Kindle Oasis is beautiful piece of technology. Although it looks impressive in pictures, you really need to hold it in your hands to understand just how good it feels. Most of the TrustedReviews team weren’t convinced at first, but holding it in their hands instantly turned them into believers.

Yes, it’s simply an e-reader that doesn’t do a whole lot differently to the Voyage or Paperwhite, but the sheer amount of engineering and design work that must have gone into this is quite incredible.

For most people, the £269.99 price will instantly make it a no-go – and that’s completely understandable. I remain none the wiser over the Kindle Oasis' is aimed at – but I want one nevertheless.

Verdict

Beautiful, fantastically well built and a pleasure to use. But the high-price means it's only for the most diehard of Kindle fans.

Overall Score

8

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Alex

April 13, 2016, 1:32 pm

Amazon seem to have no idea what people actually want from an e-reader so they're blindly copying smartphone manufacturers in trying to make them as thin and light as possible. People have been asking for years for colour e-ink (the tech works and has been owned by Amazon since they bought Liquavista years ago), bigger screens, and reflowable PDFs (which even the old Sony e-readers had).

Making the Oasis so thin with tiny bezels around three sides is going to make it more difficult to read in landscape mode than any other Kindle, and including a built-in case not only pushes the price up but will presumably stop buyers from being able to buy a third-party case design they like.

I hope they keep developing new iterations of the Paperwhite. It will be a shame if their main focus is now on overpriced fluff like this.

Pg

April 13, 2016, 1:47 pm

Why have they made the battery life worse? I doubt anyone was complaining that the battery life on the kindle was too long.
Putting a battery into the case, all I can think of is that now there are two batteries, disposing of the case is now going to be an issue.
I assume the battery in the case makes the case bigger, packaging the case with the device says they want you to use the case, so increasing the size of the device in use. Was there really a saving in thickness here? If they say it's down to "choice", you don't need to use the case, then why do I need to pay for it?
And with that price, can't see me moving from my paperwhite anytime soon.

Ralph

April 13, 2016, 4:32 pm

For me the screen is too small - and ok, as a Kobo fan currently using an aura h2o I am slightly biased, but that extra 0.8" makes a lot of difference. Quite why they couldn't go that extra mile and make it waterproof for reading at a swimming pool or in the bath I don't know, especially given the massive price - double that of my aura. And including the case in the price but not in the physical dimensions is a bit of a con, frankly. But, it looks gorgeous, and I like the idea of physical page turn buttons, and the "fat" side to hold. However the small screen and the lack of water&dust proofing don't justify the price for changing. I just hope Kobo respond by copying the best of Oasis but retaining the best of the aura h2o

Harry B

April 13, 2016, 5:29 pm

So it's got page turning buttons just like my Kindle Keyboard? Progress marches on...

Securitass

April 13, 2016, 9:43 pm

I like the return of physical page turn buttons, hate everything else about it. Very ugly asymmetrical design that looks awkward for left handed readers (have to flip it upside down and now that precious Amazon logo on the cover is upside down! How awful! Please note the partial sarcasm). But yeah I don't like the physical design, price tag is horrendous, and the charge cover... neat idea but in my experience, covers on any device you carry around will inevitably wear out before the device they are covering (which is what theyre kind of supposed to do) and now it has electronic circuitry in it as well as a battery that shouldn't be tossed in with regular garbage. So now you have to worry about finding a place to recycle it properly unless you just want to say screw the environment and chuck it in the bin. And I can only imagine the cost of replacing it is likely well over $100.

jaykprime

April 15, 2016, 3:13 pm

I'm puzzled!
In some of the pictures the broad margin is on the right, in other pictures it is on the left.
Do they offer different versions depending in which hand you would normally hold it?
The majority of pictures I've seen of it show the broad margin on the right, which, for me, would be completely on the wrong side.

jaykprime

April 15, 2016, 3:21 pm

I have a cover on my Sony PRS-505 eReader, which I got very shortly after I was given the Reader Christmas 2008.
Both the eReader and the cover are still in fully functioning.pristine, condition, despite having been away with me at least 3 times each year (UK & abroad) and umpteen times at home.
If the cover is well made, there's no reason it shouldn't last.
Unfortunately, like many things these days, 'well made' means that companies probably only sell one per customer!!
Some people are very happy with their Kindles but I know some people who bought Kindles, and are now on their second, third, or more, whilst I still have my original Sony!

zakis

April 15, 2016, 7:59 pm

Other reviews say that it has an accelerometer, so that whichever way you hold it, the screen will be the correct way round for you.

Have to say, I love this design. It's so thin and sleek.

jaykprime

April 15, 2016, 8:09 pm

Many thanks, but it seems as if holding the 'broad margin' in the left hand, which is how I think I would prefer it, means that the buttons visible in this area are now not operable by the free hand?

zakis

April 15, 2016, 8:23 pm

"Oasis is comfortable to read on with either hand—a built-in accelerometer detects whether you are reading with your left or right hand, and automatically rotates the page and page turn buttons to match."

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/ph...

Rob Centros

April 17, 2016, 11:11 am

Can anyone who has one of these verify that the cover has a separate USB charging port? Kindle Chronicles mentions two charging ports -- one in the Oasis, one in its cover -- but I sure have never been able to see the one in the cover in any picture.

cros13

May 27, 2016, 9:33 pm

Nope, just one on the Oasis. No ports on the charging cover other than the magnetic docking connector (which is USB but as five contact dots)

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