Design

Amazon has taken an unorthodox approach to the design of the Kindle Oasis for 2017. It’s asymmetrical, with thin bezels on three sides, and a much larger bezel on one side. That same side has a bulge on the back, which houses most of the circuitry and battery storage.

The asymmetrical design shifts the center of gravity of the device to one side, which makes it easier to hold in one hand, since the device will have less leverage on your muscles. It’s a pretty smart design, and in use it does work well. It lets the device taper to just 3.4 mm thick, and the whole thing weighs only 194 grams, which is 10 grams less than a Paperwhite. 10 grams doesn’t sound like much, but with the larger display, the Kindle Oasis certainly feels lighter.

The side also has physical page turn buttons, which is not something that’s always available anymore on Kindles. Most of the devices just offer a touchscreen to turn pages, but that can mean moving your thumb over for every page. That still works on the Kindle Oasis, but the two buttons can be used which allows you to keep your hand in one place. The buttons are setup so that the top turns forward, and the bottom turns backwards, but you can switch that in the settings if you’d prefer it the other way around.

The Kindle Oasis also has an accelerometer which will automatically rotate the page 180° if you flip the book over, and the page buttons also swap around, so the top button stays as page forward.

The aluminum shell offers the same premium material feel of a high-end smartphone, and it is much more resistant to fingerprints than the soft-touch plastic of the Paperwhite. But the device is a bit too smooth in the hand, and more texture on the surface would be appreciated to make it less slippery.

With the asymmetrical design, and the aluminum exterior, the Kindle Oasis stands out compared to other E-Reader devices on the market. This, coupled with the light weight, make for a nice feel when holding the Oasis for long periods.

Accessories

With any Kindle launch, Amazon also creates some custom covers and cases for the Kindles, and the Oasis is no exception. For this round, thanks to the design of the new Oasis, the official covers fit in a unique way in that they fill in the gap on the back, and then have a cover that swings around the front. The cases are held on with magnets, and it includes a magnet on the top cover which will lock the cover on the front to keep it closed, as well as hold the cover open when it’s swung around to the back. It also has the benefit of being a wakeup signal to the Oasis to power it up when you open the cover.

The covers also have a flexible portion to allow you to use the cover as a stand. I’m not sure how useful this is, but if you want to prop it up, it’s an option.

Amazon sent both the leather cover, and the fabric cover. The fabric one gives a great texture to the device, and provides a lot more grip, and as such it’s my preference. It’s also splash resistant, so if you get water on it, it will bead off. The leather one is a soft leather, but a bit more slippery.

On most Kindles, I don’t run a cover anymore, due to the extra weight. The Oasis is a bit of an exception though, and the cover to fill in the gap and add a bit more texture to the device has been a welcome addition during some reading sessions. It does add about 100 grams to the total weight, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s half the weight of the Oasis itself, so even Amazon recommends removing the case when reading.

But, even though the cases that arrived with the review unit have worked very well, the reviews on Amazon for the first-party cases that first shipped with the new Oasis are very negative . It appears there’s issues with consistency of the strength of the magnets, and many customers are complaining about the cases not staying on. Amazon has clearly taken this to heart, and the current batch are no longer available from them. We’re told new versions will be available in the coming weeks. Luckily, there’s no shortage of 3rd party cases, and most of them seem to have better reviews.

Introduction Display, Performance, and Battery Life
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  • mode_13h - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    At 300 dpi, it might be. 1872x1404 is more pixels than you'd get on a computer monitor, unless it's >= 4k. Reply
  • bug77 - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    Considering I just need it to show text, no, it isn't. Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, January 28, 2018 - link

    What do you mean "no it isn't"? A 4k monitor has 2180 pixels, vertically. So, unless you tip it sideways, it's just a bit higher than than the 1872 pixels on the Kobo Aura ONE.

    Now, do you ever find letter or A4-formatted PDFs readable on a computer monitor, much less 4k? I do. Even 1080p is adequate for it to be legible (although a pretty hard lower bound, IMO). I refuse to read them on my phone's 5.5" screen, but I think 7.8" should be fine.
    Reply
  • bug77 - Sunday, January 28, 2018 - link

    I mean text books look fine already on my Kobo Glo. Reply
  • Carmen00 - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    It's surprising to me that you've written the whole article and haven't mentioned Kobo once. You even dismiss other e-Ink devices with a flippant "There’s other E-Readers on the market, but if you’re in the market for a Kindle, you’re likely after the Amazon ecosystem, so the Oasis really needs to compete against the rest of the Kindle lineup". Really? We've got 4 Kobo Glo devices. Sturdy as anything, with touch screens and good lighting, space for more books than I could read in a decade, a good online store, and at a very reasonable price point. We're extremely happy with the product, and yes, we also have 2 Kindles. They're hardly used - awful user interface and ridiculous physical keys, no thank you! Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    New kindles are really nice, especially anything paperwhite and above. They also benefit from Amazon's store. I'd definitely take an Oasis over anything else in the e-reader market. The main competitor to Kindle Oasis is less expensive Kindles like the Voyage and Paperwhite.

    With that being said Kobo is probably the best alternative.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I had the same thought. I searched the article for Kobo references, to see if there were any comparisons. Otherwise, such reviews have little value, as Kindle is basically the default option. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I've used a Kindle for about ten years but I've only used a Kobo for about 10 minutes. I can't comment on a device I've never really used. Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    So... maybe you can review it, next? Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    There was an article on Ars Technica just yesterday about how Walmart was going to start carrying Kobo e-readers, so perhaps you might consider reviewing it once that happens. One headliner feature is that it has a light that is adjustable in color temperature so you're not being blasted with blue light when reading at night. Reply

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