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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  • Wolfpup - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    I still wish I could have a color eInk reader that did Marvel Unlimited and whatnot! Comics on eInk that worked as well as eInk does for prose stuff would be awesome... Reply
  • Threska - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/mirasol.html

    I believe Amazon bought the technology.
    Reply
  • grant3 - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    "Ebook Readers with these types of displays are expected to hit the mainstream market in Fall of 2010." <-- apparently not. Reply
  • Threska - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Funny thing is the Qualcomm display only showed up in Korea. There seems to be a big story not being told in a sort of "whatever happened to...". Maybe the "good enough" of LCD stole their thunder? E-ink themselves came out with color E-ink. Reply
  • Threska - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    https://qz.com/112444/amazon-is-working-on-display...

    Liquavista is another.
    Reply
  • grant3 - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    My non-scientific, anecdotal experience says the lighting is EXTREMELY sleep friendly. Quite often I will spend about 15-30 minutes reading my paperwhite before turning it off and falling asleep immediately. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    iPads aren't frontlit like the lighted Kindles. Even though OLEDs are better (generally) than LCD displays, eInk is better than both for reading overall. It's also much more compatible with late night reading habits and doesn't hinder sleep as much. Night Light settings (or whatever they're called on non-Windows platforms) might help for extended late-night reading, but it still isn't as good.

    Just do a search on the web. eInk is better for sleep.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    I really like everything the Oasis offers - I have the 2nd gen Kindle Paperwhite (wifi, no adverts) - but dang, $300 (after tax) for no adverts wifi Oasis... I just can't justify it unless/until my Paperwhite breaks. Reply
  • dennphill - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    Thank you for the review. With the asymmetrical form factor, you DID say that us left-handers can flip it over and use it backwards, didn't you? :-) Anyway, two years or more ago I took up Amazon on an offer to upgrade (very old) original Kindles to latest version with Paperwhite, which I loved. Was fine for my wife, but I found out that the latest generation (7th?) would no longer support 'active content' (whatever that means ???) and so Amazon was very helpful in taking my newest Kindle back and arranging a source for an overhauled (reconditioned?) 5th Gen Kindle which was the last to support 'active content.' The 'active content' allows use of a simple game that I have found both entertaining and instructive - Every Word. (Problem is the 5th Gen reconditioned Kindles come with a 90 day warranty but seem to last only about 5-6 months, so I keep buying them to keep playing Every Word...oh, and read other Amazon titles as well.) Stoopid question, maybe, but is this Oasis coming with support for 'active content?' (I really DO wish I knew what that term meant of implied....and why the Amazon game Every Word needs it. I really am clueless on the subject, but do like having the game.) If not, Amazon has one user 'stuck in the past' not able to progress beyond their 5th Generation Paperwhites. Reply
  • docbones - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    Really would like to see comparison to the Kobo and Waterproof Nook. I have gone through two Kobo's (warranty replacement failed shortly after the warranty ended) But so far the waterproof Nook has worked well. All the mobi and epub books I have put on it have been great.

    Just not sure I want to pay the premium to move up the Oasis if its not that much better then the Nook.
    Reply

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