Kindle Oasis evaluation: The right e-reader for the 1 %

Amazon’s Kindle Oasis is sort of a feast with the world’s best caviar. It is an all-you-can eat Wagyu steak dinner. It is an $eighty cup of espresso. Merely put, the Oasis is a $290 extravagance meant just for the few who can afford it. For the remainder of us, it is simply one thing to lust after. We referred to as the $200 Kindle Voyage the “Rolls Royce of e-readers” two years in the past, however as an alternative of going cheaper (the usual Kindle is presently $60, and the backlit Paperwhite mannequin is $one hundred), Amazon pushed even additional into luxurious standing. For $290 you get an e-reader so mild, it virtually feels such as you’re holding nothing in any respect. Sadly, Amazon nonetheless hasn’t made a robust argument for why anybody truly wants a excessive-finish studying system.

Gallery: Kindle Oasis | 10 Pictures

Engadget Rating





from $289.ninety nine+


  • Insanely skinny and lightweight
  • Comes with a charging case
  • Higher backlighting than the KindleVoyage
  • Expensive
  • Does not do far more than the $one hundred Paperwhite


The Kindle Oasis is the most effective Kindle ever made. Nevertheless it’s approach too costly for most individuals, particularly when cheaper fashions supply the identical sharp show and backlighting.


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Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

I’ve held loads of e-readers, tablets, smartphones and different devices through the years, and few the place as exceptional because the Oasis. If you take a look at it head-on, it is unmistakably a Kindle, although its 6-inch E-Ink show is pushed to the aspect to make room for 2 bodily web page altering buttons (answering the prayers of Engadget’s Chris Velazco). However tilt it barely and you will discover that it is, properly… kind of funky. A lot of the gadget is insanely skinny — a mere three.three mm — whereas the remaining is a barely thicker hump meant for gripping one-handed.

Its uneven design seems bizarre at first, however it solely takes a couple of seconds to get used to it. That is principally as a result of it is mild — loopy mild, at simply four.6 ounces. To match, the Voyage weighs 6.three ounces, and the Paperwhite clocks in at 7.2 ounces. These do not sound like big variations, however they’re noticeable whenever you’re holding one thing for hours on finish. The Voyage and Paperwhite are near the load of a typical paperback. The Oasis, then again, is so featherweight it virtually feels alien as a studying system.

Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

“We’re not going to be completely satisfied till we have got this magic sheet of paper that accommodates all of the books on the earth,” stated Chris Inexperienced, VP of commercial design at Amazon’s Lab126, throughout our preliminary demo of the Oasis. “Edge-to-edge, all content material, no system. And once we get there, I could be out of a job.”

Regardless of being so skinny, Amazon’s newest Kindle can also be surprisingly sturdy. Amazon says it electroplated a metallic alloy over a plastic case to make that occur. You will not really feel or hear any creaking when utilizing the Oasis, and it barely even flexes if you attempt to bend it. The sides and skinny portion of the Oasis really feel cool and clean, whereas the hand grip portion has a barely softer contact.

As soon as once more, Amazon used micro-etched glass for the Oasis’s display, which ought to make it much more immune to glare (it is also stronger than the Voyage’s). The Oasis’ display nonetheless packs in a pointy 300 pixels per inch, which seems to be about nearly as good as textual content on paper. That is the identical decision you get with the Voyage and Paperwhite, although you do get 60 % extra LED lights right here than on the Voyage. That is nothing huge, however it makes for an general extra uniform lighting presentation. I do know loads of Kindle followers who have been irked by the Voyage’s barely uneven lighting, which was notably annoying given the worth.

There’s additionally a leather-based case included with the Oasis (out there in black, walnut and merlot), which doubles as an additional battery pack to make up for the Kinde’s decreased battery measurement. Amazon had to surrender one thing to make the Oasis so skinny, in any case. The case snaps proper onto the angled portion of the Oasis’s again, and provides one other three.eight ounces to the Kindle’s weight when related. Fortunately, you’ll be able to cost the Kindle and case collectively.

Software program

Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

Not surprisingly, the Oasis ships with Amazon’s most up-to-date Kindle working system, which hit its present units again in February. It is principally an organizational facelift. Now, the house display exhibits the newest books you’ve got been studying on the highest left; a choice of titles added to your want listing (which is a significantly welcome addition); and a few steered books on the underside. You may also entry settings like airplane mode (a good way to save lots of battery life) and knowledge syncing from the Oasis’s toolbar, which saves you from hopping into the settings web page like earlier variations of the Kindle OS.

In use

Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

It is no shock that books and black and white comics look nice on the Kindle Oasis: Amazon just about mastered that with the Voyage’s 300-ppi E-Ink display. For lack of a greater phrase, there’s an “inkiness” to the show that makes textual content and line artwork interesting to your eyes. It is utterly totally different from a backlit smartphone or pill, which might be simply as sharp, however also can really feel like they’re attacking your eyes with mild. Studying on the Kindle Oasis (together with the Voyage and Paperwhite), is extra like settling in with a guide proper subsequent to a mild lamp. There’s one thing soothing about it.

Provided that Amazon has been utilizing the identical E-Ink panel for years now, it is onerous to not assume that this can be nearly as good because it will get for black and white E-Ink shows. Positive, it might attempt to stuff in a bigger display (the DX was a failed try at that), and naturally, colour E-Ink might occur ultimately (although the development of pill screens have made that much less urgent).

Probably the most noticeable enchancment with the Kindle Oasis is the best way it feels when you’re studying. Its light-weight, uneven design makes it ultimate for holding with one hand and lounging on the sofa or in mattress. In my first few days with the Oasis, I simply dove into a number of titles that have been gathering digital mud in my Kindle library, together with Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence: Paths, Risks and Methods, Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk biography and Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook. It might have simply been the shininess of a brand new gadget compelling me, however I observed that my studying periods with the Oasis have been for much longer than with the Voyage. The anal retentive aspect of me additionally appreciated its extra uniform backlight; there’s not one of the splotchiness from cheaper Kindles.

I used to be so enamored with the Oasis’s design that I solely used its included leather-based case for touring. It isn’t precisely heavy when the case is related — I had no drawback protecting it on throughout crowded subway rides — however the Oasis feels so good by itself that there isn’t any purpose to have any additional burden until your actually need it. The case itself looks like a excessive-high quality piece of leather-based, and does an excellent job defending the Kindle’s valuable display.

It is also an ideal journey companion because it has its personal battery and extends the Oasis’s runtime to round eight weeks on standby. (Amazon says the Kindle ought to final round two weeks by itself.) From full cost, the Oasis and its case misplaced round 20 % of battery life after every week of heavy studying. Principally, it ought to final so lengthy that you simply in all probability will not have to fret about charging it for some time.

As nice because the Oasis feels, be ready to wipe off loads of fingerprints if you wish to maintain it wanting pristine. It attracts much more oil and smudges than any earlier fashions — a lot in order that it is even worse than the Voyage, which has a shiny rear case.

Different choices

Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

This is the place issues get muddy for the Oasis. I have been a devoted Kindle fan because the Kindle 2 launched in 2009, and I’ve adopted together with Amazon because it steadily improved its lineup. The Oasis, for all of its design thrives, is not that a lot better than Amazon’s present batch of Kindles. And it is definitely not value a $ninety premium over the Kindle Voyage, which was already overpriced because it launched at $199.

With the Kindle Paperwhite out there for $one hundred, which additionally packs in a pointy display and backlight, there’s merely no purpose for most individuals to even think about the Oasis. It might have made extra sense for Amazon to nix the Voyage and worth the Oasis at $200 (and even barely extra). Asking $290 ($20 greater than an iPad Mini 2), is just insanity.


Kindle Oasis review: The perfect e-reader for the 1 percent

I get it. Amazon needs to show that its Kindle model has a spot within the premium gadget market. However that is an concept that appears dramatically out of step with actuality, as extra individuals are getting used to studying books on their telephones and tablets. The Kindle Oasis is certainly the most effective Kindle ever made. However as an alternative of creating the case for costly e-readers, it makes clear that they only do not make sense at this time.

I am definitely intrigued by how Amazon plans to evolve the Kindle, however it additionally wants to take action in a approach that is sensible. I can not watch for the “magic sheet of paper” that the corporate apparently goals of. I simply need it to do rather more than the prevailing Kindle lineup. And naturally, I might need it to be reasonably priced, too.

from $289.ninety nine+


Devindra has been obsessive about know-how for so long as he can keep in mind — beginning with the primary time he ever glimpsed an NES. He spent a number of years fixing different individuals’s computer systems earlier than he began down the treacherous path of writing about know-how. Mission completed?