- Crisp, auto-adjusting screen
- Audible support
- Loads of storage
- Sleek design
- Still expensive
- No built-in speaker
The latest Kindle model is a refreshed Oasis, which delivers enough updated specs and features to warrant an upgrade for existing owners. From the water resistant design work to the improved display, the Kindle Oasis 2017 is the ultimate eReader.
As anyone who loves to read in the bath will testify, the lack of a waterproof Kindle has been rather frustrating. Up until now, at least. Finally Amazon has served us an eReader that won’t sputter and die upon contact with the wet stuff, in the form of an all-new second-gen Kindle Oasis.
That’s not the only improvement compared with the original Oasis, however. The 2017 model is bigger than before, for one, which is good news for anyone put off by the first version’s dinky display. The specs have been boosted as well, to make this even more of a premium device.
Here’s how the new 2017 Oasis stacks up to last year’s edition and what we think after using it as our full-time eReader.
Read next: Which Kindle is best for me?
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: Design
Although the new Oasis’ bump in size from a 6-inch screen to a 7-incher may not sound like much of a difference, this updated model is considerably larger than before. Thankfully it’s still pleasingly light, so you can comfortably clutch it for an hour or so without your biceps burning. As before, the weight distribution is greater on the edge where you grip the device. That also helps as far as comfort is concerned.
The button and port layout is the same as the original Kindle Oasis, with physical forward and back buttons on one side. Up top there’s a power button and down below is the micro USB port for charging.
Of course the major advantage of the new Oasis is the IPX8 design, which allows you to fully submerge the Kindle in fresh water. Great news if you want to kick back with a novel by the pool, in the bath or anywhere else wet. The screen becomes unresponsive when wet, just like smartphone displays, but a quick wipe and you're back in action.
The general ruggedness stretches beyond the waterproofing as well. That metal back is tough as nails too, with a premium look and feel to boot.
You can once again buy a separately-sold leather cover for the Oasis, although this time around there’s no built-in secondary battery. This is simply to protect the screen, and of course add a touch of class to the Kindle. The two lock together magnetically and that cover holds firm, while also hibernating your device when closed up.
Finally, at long last, we can read the Kindle in the bath. The design is just as sleek as before, with leather cover support.
That leather cover will cost you extra.
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: Screen
Although the new Oasis’ screen has been boosted to a 7-inch panel, it’s just as sharp as the last generation. With a 300 pixels-per-inch resolution, you’ll find that text is perfectly crisp no matter how small you make it. Graphic novels also look fantastic, with no individual pixels on show. In fact, they’re more comfortable to read than before, thanks to that boost in size.
One of the most criminal aspects of last year’s model was the lack of an ambient light sensor, which meant you had to manually raise or lower the screen brightness to suit your environment.
Thankfully this has been rectified for the new Kindle Oasis. If you find yourself in a dark environment, the brightness will drop for an easier-on-the-eye experience. Likewise, in bright conditions it will boost up to maximum power, so you can clearly read every word. There’s also a night mode option, which gradually dims the display in dark conditions.
The light sensor seems to work perfectly, raising or lowering the brightness when needed. Less effort, happier reader.
Perfectly crisp visuals and automatic brightness adjustment makes for a super-comfortable read, even over extended periods.
We’d struggle to come up with any complaints about the new Kindle Oasis’ display. So we won’t.
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: Features and UI
If you’ve got another recent Kindle then you’ll already know the interface inside out. This new Oasis keeps the same intuitive layout, which offers fast access to your recently accessed books as well as the online store to buy and download new reading material.
You also now get full Audible support built-in, something that’s coming to the existing Kindles in an update. This worked perfectly; our Oasis sample connected to our wireless headphones without complaint and you get most of the controls found in the Audible app, including playback speed and the ability to add bookmarks. The only option we found missing in action was the sleep timer.
Note that the Kindle Oasis 2017 has no built-in speakers, so you’ll need to connect to a speaker, headphones or some other device via Bluetooth to listen.
WiFi support is of course built in so you can access the Kindle Store and grab some new books. You also have the option of a 3G model, which costs extra but can be used to grab Kindle titles even when a decent WiFi connection can’t be found. Amazon has also bumped up the storage to a minimum of 8GB, which is just as well if you’re planning on downloading loads of audiobooks. You can upgrade to 32GB if you want a definite collection to take on the road.
To see the UI in action, check out our unboxing and hands-on tour video below.
The Oasis packs in more storage than ever before, with the usual strong connectivity options. That easy-to-use interface gives fast access to your Kindle titles, and now your Audible books as well.
No built-in speaker means you’ll need to hook up to external speakers or ‘phones for listening to audiobooks.
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: Battery life
Last year’s Oasis was a bit of a strange one when it came to the battery life. Those reduced dimensions meant a smaller battery than usual, when compared with the rest of the Kindle family. In fact, we found we’d get less than two weeks of regular use per charge, which was around half of what we’d expect from an Amazon eReader.
To combat this, Amazon crafted a charging cover with a secondary battery built in. This attached via magnets to the Oasis and charged the device’s cell when the two were connected. As a result, you got closer to a month of use with both batteries filled up.
The second-gen Oasis is of course bigger, which means a larger battery has been crammed inside again. As a result, the cover no longer charges the device, which is a cleaner solution overall.
We’ve only spent a few days with the new Oasis so far, which means we haven’t managed to completely drain the device’s battery just yet. However, based on our usage so far and how much battery life still remains, we’re confident that we’ll get a minimum of three weeks of use before it’s fully drained. That includes a couple of hours of use per weekday, for the commute, with a bit of night time reading thrown in for good measure.
Of course, if you use the Kindle to stream Audible books to your ears, that battery life will take more of a hit. We’ll update this review soon with accurate figures for long-term use.
So far the battery life seems to be strong enough to last a full-length family holiday, with no need for a clunky charging case.
The new Oasis sticks with the old-school micro USB for charging, which is non-reversible.
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: Verdict
The Kindle Oasis is still a very pricey eReader at over £200 for the base model. However, Amazon has made enough improvements here to make it easier to recommend, compared with the original device.
Full water resistance is a joy to behold, while the larger screen and auto adaptive brightness are also pleasing to see. And now that Audible books are also supported, this really is a great all-in-one Kindle for enjoying a good read wherever you roam.