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Kindle Oasis Review: In Depth

The Good

  • Slim, smart design
  • Rammed with features
  • Great display
  • Leather cover with extra battery

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Adaptive lighting culled

Kindle Oasis Review: Is Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis worth the steep asking price, and what’s the difference between the Oasis, the Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Paperwhite? Here’s our full Oasis review to help you choose your perfect Kindle.

Kindle Oasis Review: Design

Although it’s unmistakably a Kindle, the Oasis still boasts a completely reworked design compared with previous models. With that squat new form it’s practically square, helped by the extended bezel on one edge. Kindle fans should immediately notice a difference when they grapple with the Oasis too, as it’s significantly thinner and lighter than the Paperwhite and Voyage (a shade over 130g, compared with 180g for the Voyage and 205g for the Paperwhite).

That lighter frame makes the Oasis effortlessly comfortable for long, lazy afternoons, especially when coupled with the tapered design. Amazon has built most of the Kindle’s components into the gripping edge of the device, which sticks out at the rear. This bit of bulk fits naturally beneath your fingers and provides intelligent balance, so you barely need to clutch the Oasis at all.

Best of all, the screen rotates depending on which way you hold it, so left-handed users aren’t screwed over by the new design.

Check out our Kindle Oasis unboxing video

The rest of the Kindle Oasis design is pleasingly clean. I was happy to see the return of physical page turning buttons on the grippy edge, which add a nice bit of tactile feedback to the Kindle experience. You can swap them around in the Oasis’ settings menu, which is a neat touch; it just makes more sense to my brain to have the bottom button scroll forwards through your book.

Besides those buttons, you have a power button up top and a micro USB charging port right next to it. And while the Oasis sadly isn’t water resistant, so you still shouldn’t take it in the bath, it is at least splash-proof.

Kindle Oasis Review: Leather battery cover

Unlike previous Kindles, the Oasis comes bundled with a leather cover to keep it protected against the elements (and an unexpected tumble or two). The cover comes in a choice of three colours (we’d recommend grabbing the merlot version, which looks awesome) and gives the Oasis a premium feel, which you’d most likely expect at this inflated price point.

A series of built-in magnets firmly pairs the cover with the Kindle Oasis, and the two won’t separate until you want them to. Believe me, I’ve clutched the cover and frantically tried to shake the Oasis free, to no avail.

Added protection isn’t the only advantage of the cover either; there’s a secondary built-in battery, which extends the Kindle’s life considerably (more on this later). Of course, that extra battery adds considerable weight and bulk to the cover, so when it’s paired with your Kindle you immediately lose that sexy slim and light effect.

The Oasis’ cover automatically hibernates the Kindle when closed, but occasionally upon reopening I found that my place in the current book had skipped forwards a couple of pages. The only way to stop this was to hit the power button before closing the cover, which was mildly annoying.

Kindle Oasis Review: Screen

Although the Oasis’ 6-inch screen is identical to the Paperwhite and Voyage displays on paper, packing a mighty 300 pixels into every inch, Amazon has added more LED backlights for a more uniform panel. As a result, you don’t get any light or dark patches when the backlight is boosted to maximum.

As usual, the anti-glare surface and backlighting means that you can comfortably read in any conditions, be it chilling in the sun or buried beneath your duvet. However, for some barmy reason Amazon has removed the adaptive backlighting of the Kindle Voyage, so you’ll need to manually adjust the Oasis’ brightness to suit your environment. The Voyage’s automatic brightness was a great feature, so it’s a massive shame to see that feature killed off for this more expensive model.

Still, that super-crisp resolution means that comics and other illustration-heavy books look fantastic. And even if you love a ridiculously tiny font, everything is still nice and sharp.

Read next: How to read comics on your Kindle eReader

Kindle Oasis Review: Interface and features

The Oasis uses a similar touchscreen interface to the Kindle Voyage, so existing users should intuitively take to this new model in no time at all.

From the home page you see your most recent reads as well as any reading list you’ve set up, as well as book recommendations in case you’re running dry. You can quickly jump into the Oasis’ settings, open up the Kindle Store and also access the GoodReads website with just a tap, while all of the typical Kindle features such as X-Ray and Kindle for Kids are present and correct.

Dive into a book and you can check your progress, add a bookmark or note, share your reading session and loads more, again with just a tap or two. The touchscreen also allows you to turn pages with a tap or a swipe, if you don’t want to use the physical buttons. Skipping through a book or searching for key terms is also dead simple, as you’d expect.

Kindle Oasis Review: Performance and battery life

The Kindle Oasis performs as well as previous Kindles, with only a minor pause as a book is loaded or a menu is called up. Our model was the 3G and WiFi version and it connected quickly and cleanly to the Kindle Store on demand, even well outside the hustle and bustle of London.

Kindle battery life has nosedived in recent times, mostly thanks to that backlighting screen tech, so you typically get mere days of use on a single charge instead of several weeks. However, that secondary battery hidden inside the Oasis’ cover helps matters considerably.

Without the cover, my Oasis lasted roughly nine to ten hours before giving up the ghost (and that’s with WiFi and 3G deactivated). That was enough for a week’s worth of commuting, so not too shabby. However, connect the cover and you’ll more than double that battery life, which should keep most commuters going for close to three weeks.

Kindle Oasis Review: Verdict

The Kindle Oasis is our favourite Kindle model so far, despite the lack of adaptive brightness. That slim and light build, along with the battery-packing cover, make this the most desirable eReader we’ve ever clutched.

Unfortunately you’ll have to dig deep if you want one. At £100 more than the excellent Paperwhite, it’s hard to justify stumping up this much for the Oasis, especially as it adds very few new features (and actually removes a key one).


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