A couple of months ago, Amazon released an all-new Kindle Oasis, and I’ve been using it since mid-November. The E-Reader market is a niche inside of a niche, but there’s little doubt that Amazon has been at the forefront of E-Readers since the Kindle first launched. If you’re someone who loves reading, you’ve hopefully had a chance to try reading on an electronic ink display, but if not, maybe this is the time to jump in.

Amazon offers the Kindle lineup for pretty much one reason. Owners of Kindles are almost guaranteed to purchase books from Amazon, and as such, Amazon has done a pretty reasonable job keeping the entry cost into the Kindle lineup fairly low. Right now you can get the lowest cost Kindle for just $79.99, assuming you are ok with Amazon’s “Special Offers” which is advertising from Amazon on your lockscreen. If you don’t want that, the Kindle is $99.99. However, the new Kindle Oasis for 2017 starts at $249.99 with Special Offers, or $269.99 without, so for that much of an increase, Amazon needs to pack in the features. Luckily they did.

The Kindle Oasis doesn’t just need to compete with the base Kindle though. Amazon also offers the Kindle Paperwhite, which is their entry level model with lighting, and the Kindle Voyage, which at one point was at the top of the stack, but now sits below the Oasis in terms of features and pricing. And that’s just the competition with other Kindles.

The 2017 Oasis adds some nice features over it’s cheaper brethren though. The once change that is hard to miss is the larger E Ink display, now at 7-inches diagonal, compared to 6-inches for the other devices. It’s still the same 300 PPI display as offered in both the Paperwhite and the Voyage, but with additional LEDs for a more even lighting. The Oasis is also made out of aluminum, rather than plastic, and is thinner and feels lighter than the other models despite the larger display. It supports Bluetooth for headphones or speakers, which lets you use the device for Audible audiobooks, and for those that like to use their Kindle around water, it’s also IPX8 rated meaning it’s able to be dropped in water and still function.

Amazon Kindle Lineup
  Kindle Paperwhite Voyage Oasis
Display Size 6-inch 7-inch
Resolution 167 PPI 300 PPI
Built-in Light No 4 LEDs 6 LEDs + auto-brightness 12 LEDs + auto-brightness
SoC NXP i.MX6SL Cortex A9 @ 1 GHz NXP i.MX7D dual-core Cortex A7 @ 1 GHz
Page Turns Touchscreen Touchscreen + Buttons
Colors Black, White Black Graphite, Aluminum back
Connectivty Wi-Fi Wi-Fi plus optional Cellular
Weight 161 g / 5.7 oz Wi-Fi model:
205 g / 6.6 oz
Cellular model:
217 g / 7.6 oz
Wi-Fi model:
180 g / 6.3 oz
Cellular model:
188 g / 6.6 oz
Wi-Fi or Cellular:
194 g / 6.8 oz
Dimensions 160 x 115 x 9.1 mm
6.3" x 4.5" x 0.36"
169 x 117 x 9.1 mm
6.7" x 4.6" x 0.36"
162 x 115 x 7.6 mm
6.4" x 4.5" x 0.30"
159 x 141 x 3.4-8.3 mm
6.3" x 5.6" x 0.13-0.33"
Waterproof No IPX8 - 2 meters, 60 minutes
Audiobook Support No Yes with Bluetooth headphones
Starting Price $79.99 $119.99 $199.99 $249.99

With the addition of audiobook support, Amazon offers double the storage by default, or you can opt for the 32 GB model for another $30. For those that like the always-connected nature of cellular, Amazon continues to offer cellular enabled devices as well, for a premium. Luckily you don’t have to deal with a data plan if you do get a cellular equipped device, since Amazon covers that for the life of the device.

I’ve been a heavy Kindle user since the 3rd generation Kindle launched back in 2010. The one big issue with the older kindles was the lack of a built-in light, so when the Paperwhite launched in Canada I jumped on it. That model lasted for about four years until the power switch started to fail, so I upgraded to the latest generation of Paperwhite. This review will focus on the Oasis, but with comparisons to the Paperwhite where applicable.

So with a new body, bigger display, and IPX8 rating, does the Kindle Oasis tick all the boxes, and make it the device to get? Let’s dig in and find out.

Design and Accessories
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  • bobsmith1492 - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I read a couple hundred books on my Paperwhite over the last couple of years. Since I got my Galaxy S8 this summer though I've just used that instead. With the OLED screen and blue light filter it doesn't keep me up late. I like the dark background option which gives many hours of reading since OLED only powers active pixels. One fewer thing to keep maintained. Kind of sad though to see my Kindle sitting there begging for a recharge. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    The need to carry something else around is probably the biggest drawback to dedicated eReaders like the Kindle. Sure eInk is lots better for reading and the longer battery life is a benefit too, but I already have a phone with me and it's sometimes hard to justify an additional device. I love my Paperwhite, but there are lots of times when I've left it at home because I don't want to carry it around or just don't remember to pick it up on the way out. They're large enough that you're basically carrying a tablet and phone with you if you do take it and that can get sort of cumbersome. Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Wow, first world problems!

    Back in the day, I'd be debating how many books and papers to put in my backpack. Heavy textbooks and technical books, no less.

    I still think it's amazing that I could carry my entire technical library in an e-reader. Physical media of some form or another actually comprises much of my possessions.
    Reply
  • Threska - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Moving day's easier when most is digital. Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    So true. A few years back, I had the revelation that most Millennials and younger probably own close to zero physical media. Maybe with the exception of a crate a vinyl records.

    I do have LDs, but zero LPs.
    Reply
  • xchaotic - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Thank you for the review. I read a lot and this confirm that there isn't enough to upgrade from Voyage. Reply
  • Hixbot - Sunday, January 28, 2018 - link

    Hmm, I was hoping to finally see a color e-ink display. Perfect for comics. Oh well, I'll stick to a 7" tablet. Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, January 28, 2018 - link

    Exactly what I had been waiting for, but finally I decided that even a couple current monochrome e-readers would be adequate for my needs and provide enough benefit to justify the expense.

    Does anyone have solid info on the prospects for color e-readers? Is there any tradeoff vs. resolution or contrast?
    Reply
  • bhauertso - Sunday, January 28, 2018 - link

    The article touches on a few downsides, but for anyone considering an Oasis, I want to give a heads-up on some of the issues that have bothered me with the Oasis.

    I bought an Oasis because it is the first Kindle to offer the ability to invert the screen colors. That alone is a sufficient counterbalance to the downsides for my particular preferences. But if that feature were absent, I would consider the Oasis a downgrade from my Paperwhite.

    The most important downside (and the article does mention this briefly) is that the material is smooth and lacks any texturing. Combined with the positioning of the hard buttons and inability to turn off paging via the touch screen creates a situation where it can become very fatiguing to hold the device upright while reading.

    Additionally, although the Oasis has screen rotation, it does not have a rotation-lock feature. I've had several circumstances where the screen flips unintentionally for a moment. This is irksome at best and actually disruptive at worst (sometimes the software does re-flows the document when rotating which can cause the sentence you were reading to move).

    More here: http://tiamat.tsotech.com/kindle-oasis
    Reply
  • wiper - Monday, January 29, 2018 - link

    Size matters, but not the way you might think. Voyage fits my pockets, while Oasis wouldn't. This was deciding factor why I decided to stick with Voyage instead of buying Oasis. Reply

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