Last year Amazon introduced its best e-reader until then: the Kindle Oasis. Portable, premium and wrapped in a battery-boosting cover, it won us over almost instantly.
It’d certainly take a lot to top it, but with this year’s successor, Amazon seems to have done precisely that. With a bigger battery, better Bluetooth, bigger screen and above all, IPX8 abilities, this one’s a waterproof beach bum too.
So, is it the best Kindle Amazon’s ever made? Let’s just say, it may be time to let go of those dust-magnets you so fondly refer to as your beloved books. Here’s why…
Design and build: Tempted to touch
The new Oasis’ premium intentions are loud and clear from the moment you pick up the device. The pure aluminium back feels really nice, and the whole device just feels crafted to perfection.
The top-notch finish extends all the way to the front with glass covering the entire front panel making for a seamless surface atop the bezels and screen. Gaps and uneven surfaces simply do not exist here.
Like before, two buttons flank the side of the screen for when you need some tactile feedback to your commands. The whole thing really just feels like the old Oasis was neatly steamrolled.
Since the device is thick on one side and skinny on the other, it’s effortless for one-handed reading because your fingers tuck firmly into the curves around the back. It stays perfectly balanced too. Switching hands while reading? The built-in accelerometer quickly reorients the page so you can continue reading without delay.
This new Oasis can go where no Kindle has ever gone before. By that we mean, your pool. IPX8 water-resistance means this thing isn’t afraid to get wet. That makes it the first waterproof Kindle ever. Suits the name now, doesn’t it?
Display: supersize me
The previous Oasis measured a convenient 6in in screen size, make it ideal for most hands. The new one bumps that number up to 7in without losing any of its predecessor’s comfort levels.
Amazon’s ensured readability stays at a crisp 300ppi by bumping up the resolution to match the new screen size. This keeps text and images sharp enough to be seamless.
The 10 LEDs that illuminated the previous Oasis are now replaced by a solid 12 LED setup providing lighting that’s even more uniform than before. It all adds up to achieve Amazon’s goal of replicating the experience of a paperback with critical tech enhancements.
Dual ambient light sensors for instance, make the Oasis easy on the eyes no matter how bright / dark your surroundings may be. That means bedtime reading needn’t blind you with unnecessary intensity. It strikes just the right balance between battery life and visibility prolonging the time spent reading between charges without any apparent compromise.
Software: old meets new
We’ve gotten fully accustomed to the previous Oasis and its user-friendly experience so it’s a huge relief that much of what we like about it is carried forward with the new one.
Books you’re reading sit right in front of you like a beloved ol’ bookshelf while suggestions from friends on Goodreads are placed underneath. Titles you purchase are always residing on your cloud so you can always bump them off the device to clear space for newer ones without losing anything.
With Amazon’s humongous library at hand, you really feel anything but short-changed.
Battery life: champion marathoner
The missus, now a regular first-gen Oasis user courtesy yours truly, wasn’t always so. Au contraire. Her reluctance wasn’t quite unfounded, mind. After all, you can’t argue with ‘I don’t ever have to plug-in my paperback, you know’. Well, we aren’t quite there yet, but the new Oasis is a massive leap in that direction.
It outperforms the outgoing model’s battery life by a whopping 3X which translates to six weeks on a full charge. Obviously, the larger screen makes room for a bigger battery around the back, but it does all that without the battery boosting flip cover skills of its predecessor. Now that’s impressive.
You still get a stylish selection of luxurious flip covers. Ask a paperback reader, and they’ll swear by the reassuring feel of ‘shutting’ the Kindle like a regular book.
If only we’d gotten USB-C over the ageing micro USB instead. Oasis 2018 then?
Audiobooks: hear ye, hear ye!
The Oasis’ Bluetooth skills aren’t just there to look pretty on a spec sheet. It’s audiobook heaven right here, my friend.
Pair it to a speaker / wireless headphones, and give your digits a rest as you tune into Audible audiobooks straight off the device. Jumping between reading and listening is a doddle and all it takes is a couple taps.
Worried your Kindle can’t handle the load? A roomy 8/32GB of on-board storage should banish any such thoughts. Even the cheaper of the two options is good for thousands of books and hundreds of audiobooks since they only take up 200-500mb per recording.
AMAZON KINDLE OASIS (2017) VERDICT
The new torch-bearer of the Kindle line-up is worthy of its well-earned title. Bigger screen, premium build, brawnier battery and most importantly, waterproofing skills make for meaningful upgrades all around.
Audiobooks add a whole new dimension to your library and give your eyes a much-needed break. Yes, it’s a pricey affair for an e-reader but the overall experience is par excellence.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the definitive e-reading experience making the new Oasis the best Kindle yet.