High-resolution e-ink display offers paper-like crispness
Warm lighting is a lot more comfortable on the eyes
Premium build quality
No 5GHz WiFi
Between tablets and ever-larger phones, people are consuming most of their long-form content on digital devices. Indeed, sales of physical books continue to decline. E-book readers serve as the perfect middle ground between the convenience of digital reading, and the physical experience of consuming a real-world book.
With devices at every price point, Amazon has a near monopoly over the world of e-book readers. Earlier this year, we named the 2019 edition of the entry-level Kindle the best e-reader for most users. While that recommendation still stands, Amazon’s Kindle Oasis is a more premium device aimed at the discerning reader: Someone willing to spend more for small, nice-to-have features that make a difference over time.
In the Android Authority Kindle Oasis 2019 review, we explore whether it makes enough strides to hold its position as the best premium e-reader.
Same old design
The Kindle Oasis mirrors the form factor of the previous model so closely that it is almost impossible to differentiate between the two. Unfortunately, that means it carries forward the pain points of the previous model, too. For example, the all-new Kindle Oasis stuck with microUSB for charging, which is borderline ridiculous for a premium device that is supposed to last years.
Further, it carries over the significant bezels on three sides, though I don’t really mind those since they make the Kindle easier to hold. The key design differentiator over the Kindle Paperwhite are the dual page-turn buttons on the side. I wish Amazon would bring these back to the more affordable line up. Touch screens are great, and the Oasis has a suitably responsive display, but being able to change pages without lifting your thumb is a significant convenience.
The Kindle Oasis is IPX8 rated, so you can take it with you to the beach or the swimming pool if you wish. I’m a bit unsure of the soft glass on top, though, so you might want to be a bit careful around dust. On that note, I found the metal back to be a bit too slippery. A case would go a long way in making sure that the Kindle doesn’t slip out of your hands while reading. The screen’s off-center skew is an acquired taste, and the imbalanced weight takes some getting used to.
Range anxiety isn't an issue thanks to the excellent battery life of the Kindle Oasis.
Battery life is plenty good, and you can easily go weeks between charges. During my time with the device, I was able to read through two lengthy tomes before the battery hit the 30% mark. Suffice it to say that range anxiety isn’t something you need to stress about with the Kindle Oasis.
What’s new in the Kindle Oasis?
Not much has changed compared to the previous generation Kindle Oasis. Page turn animations are a smidgen faster, but the difference is so minor that you might not notice it at all unless you place it next to an older Kindle.
The biggest change is the addition of warm lighting support. You can set the Kindle on a schedule or simply adjust it between completely off, and a deep, warm yellow shade. I found setting it somewhere midway on the scale made for a close approximation of a paperback novel. Unlike an LCD, an e-ink display doesn’t really emit blue light that can disrupt sleep, but the colder tones of a regular Kindle can still make it hard to relax when reading in dim light. The warm lighting option on the Oasis mitigates this almost entirely.
Like the previous generation Kindle Oasis, the new one can automatically manage screen brightness levels. I found it to err on the lower end of the scale, but give it a few minutes and you get used to the book-like characteristic of the display.
The reading experience on the Kindle Oasis is exemplary. Truly, the 7-inch, 300ppi display with 12 LEDs illuminating it is fantastic to look at. That extra pixel density compared to the entry-level Kindle makes text look crisp, and it doesn’t take long to forget that you are reading on a digital device.
Does warm lighting really make a difference?
With the addition of warm lighting, things get interesting. After spending a few weeks with the Kindle Oasis, I found it hard to go back to the harsher, colder tones of my Paperwhite.
I do most of my reading late at night, and the white display always felt a bit too harsh with you room’s ambient light turned down low. Set correctly, the Kindle Oasis gets remarkably close to the warm, yellowish tones of old-school paperback books. Not only is this easier on the eyes, it aids immersion and I found myself enjoying reading a whole lot more.
Kindle Oasis: Price and Availability
- Kindle Oasis 10th Generation: 8GB storage — $249, Rs. 21,999
- Kindle Oasis 10th Generation: 32GB storage — $279, Rs. 24,999
- Kindle Oasis 10th Generation: 32GB storage + 4G connectivity — $349, Rs. 28,999
The Kindle Oasis is available in three different varieties. You can opt for the basic version with 8GB of storage, which should be enough for most users. If you like to carry your entire library with you, perhaps step up to the 32GB version. Finally, there’s a 32GB variant with 4G support in case you find yourself shopping for e-books while out and about.
The average e-book is usually well under a megabyte, so even the 8GB variant should suffice for most users. Amazon claims that the Kindle Oasis supports Audible over bluetooth, unfortunately, I was unable to get this working. Regardless, unless you listen to a lot of audiobooks, the higher storage variant will likely be overkill for most users.
Who is the Kindle Oasis for?
The 10th generation Kindle Oasis is a fantastic device that errs more on the side of being a luxury rather than a must-have. I’ll be honest here, the Kindle Paperwhite is more than plenty for the vast majority of users. The Paperwhite starts at $129 or Rs 12,999, which means significant savings over the Oasis. The latter offers just a little more for hardcore readers, people who spend hours on their Kindle reading late into the night. There are benefits here, but I’m not sure if the slightly faster refresh rate, page-turn buttons, and warm lighting features justify the significant price jump over the Paperwhite. More so now that the Paperwhite is waterproof.
This is the Kindle that you want to buy, but not necessarily the one you should. Unless budget is no constraint and you want the absolute best, most users should be just as happy with the Paperwhite, which gets you most of the way to a top-tier e-reading experience.