Review: The Amazon Kindle Oasis E-Reader, You May not Need It but You’ll Want It

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There used to be a time when you couldn’t get a self-respecting bookworm to part with his paperback. But today, even the most hardened
of the lot have switched over to ebook readers thanks to the sheer convenience of carrying your entire library with you everywhere you go. And Amazon has led the charge in this space, consistently delivering the best ebook reading experience over the years.

With the latest Kindle Oasis though, Amazon’s turned the page on design, usability and probably more crucially, on pricing. Is the
nearly $300 Oasis worth the money? I went on a binge reading session over the past couple of weeks to answer just
that.

The most expensive Kindle e-reader from Amazon to date. (Photo:The Quint)

What Is it?

The Kindle Oasis is a radical design departure from the Kindles we’ve grown to love, yet it retains pretty much all the elements that
make Kindles the best reading devices around.

Amazon Kindle Oasis is really slim in size.(Photo: BBC)

Gone are the slab-like designs of yore, replaced by a wedge of a device that’s a
mere 3.4mm at its slimmest point – to put it in perspective, that’s half the thickness of most regular phones these days. It is,
without a doubt, the most premium, unadulterated reading experience that money can buy.

What’s Good?

Amazon’s radical design choices pay off well with the Oasis – it’s the first e-book reader that’s specifically designed keeping single-handed reading in mind. From the shorter squarish shape to the weight to the physical page turning buttons on the “spine”, the Oasis
feels balanced and natural in your hands just like a real book.

The accelerometer ensures that lefties aren’t left out in the cold.
In the hand, the plastic polymer frame is electroplated with a metal layer, which ensures that even while the Oasis feels thin and
fragile, it doesn’t bend or flex at all.

The e-ink display on the Kindle has done them wonders. (Photo: Amazon)

We’d even go so far as to say this is the first e-book reader that completely nails the
desirability quotient, which is pretty crucial if you want to charge that not-so-insignificant pricing!

To keep the Oasis this thin, Amazon slimmed out the battery which still manages to last several weeks depending on your reading pattern.
Snap on the included magnetically attaching smart case, which comes in a rich leathery finish, and you get well over a month’s use with
the case’s built-in battery.

Amazon Oasis Kindle is appealing. (Photo:The Quint)

It’s a high-quality accessory and only adds another 100 grams or so to the weight, so you’d be
tempted to leave it on all the time!

On paper, the Oasis’ 6-inch e-ink display with 300ppi resolution looks to be no different than the current generation Paperwhite and
the Voyage, but in the Oasis, the LED backlight lights up the screen from multiple sides, making for more even lighting that’s also a
tad brighter than before.

What’s Bad?

With the carefully considered design on the Oasis, Amazon missed a trick in not waterproofing its most premium Kindle, so you’re still
not going to be able to take your Kindle to the pool or bathtub. This could have been a big differentiator from the rest
of the lineup.

The other big regression is the lack of the ambient light sensor we saw on the Kindle Voyage, which means that brightness of the display
can’t be adjusted automatically when you move from indoors to outdoors.

Amazon Kindle Oasis e-reader. (Photo:The Quint)

Probably the biggest criticism of the Oasis is also a testament to how refined and mature the entire Kindle lineup is, and that is the
fact that while you get a fancy new design with the Oasis, the core reading experience remains largely unchanged and there are no standout
new features.

It’s the same version of the Kindle software that runs on the other Kindles, you go to the same Amazon store to download
books, and the screen, with all the extra lighting, isn’t fundamentally that much better.

Why Buy it?

The Oasis is Amazon going all out to make the e-reader get out of the way of the e-book reading experience, with the featherweight design,
considerably more intuitive physical controls and an unmatched premium in-hand feel.

Amazon Kindle Oasis with its leather cover.

Is it worth the upgrade?

Maybe to the niche or affluent, frequent-flying, compromise-at-nothing readers who place a serious premium on their reading
experience and will not compromise on a less desirable, significantly cheaper and mildly dated-in-comparison alternative a la the
Paperwhite.

But for the most of us, the Paperwhite is what you need, while the Oasis will remain the Kindle you’ll secretly want.

(Tushar Kanwar is a technology columnist and commentator and has been contributing for the past 15 years to leading newspapers and magazines. He can be reached on Twitter: @2shar.)

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