Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Oasis

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Ever since the original Amazon Kindle hit the virtual shelves back in November 2007, the company has managed to refine the design with each passing generation chipping off bits here and there to make it one of the best looking ereaders on the planet.

What the new Kindle Oasis proves is Amazon has struggled to refine it any further in its current form. The Kindle Oasis is a time for change.

The new ereader sits at the top of the Kindle hierarchy as the highest priced ereader so far making it even more expensive than the Kindle Voyage. Amazon launched that back in 2014 to various criticisms of it being too pricey.

The Kindle Oasis, however, costs a whopping US$289.99 (£269.99, AU$449) which upon first look seems like too much money to spend on a device you can only read ebooks on.

But don’t throw your arms up in disgust too soon – if you’re an avid reader surely it’s worth getting the best possible experience while using ebooks? Amazon is trying to offer that in the Kindle Oasis and make it as close to reading real books as possible.

Picking up the Kindle Oasis, this does really feel like a new generation for ereaders.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The design is radically difficult to what the last few Kindles have managed to achieve and I was assured by a Kindle rep that this is the next step toward Amazon’s future vision of an ereader. The company wants to eventually make a device that acts just like a sheet of paper.

There are three key elements within the Kindle Oasis – a screen, a battery and a processing unit. That’s then all inserted into a metal case and covered over with a plastic body on the top.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon has slimmed this thing down to the smallest it can make it. If you’re looking for something that feels entirely different to a traditional Kindle, this won’t disappoint as one half of the Kindle Oasis is thinner than the other.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

At its thinnest point, it comes in at 3.6mm and that looks fantastic. The other side is then slightly thicker, but is still thinner than all the other Kindle devices around. The thick end is designed to grip the device while the thinner end is lighter so it feels more natural in the hand.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

I found this device easier to hold than other ereaders and I feel like I’d be able to spend more time holding this up on a commute than other Kindle devices I’ve used before.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

On the front of the device there are two buttons to press to flick through your pages, or you can use the display to tap through like you do on other Kindle devices. The button comes in useful when reading one handed though, your thumb can just jump to it without having to reorganize your whole hand and break the reading experience.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

If you’re left handed, you’re covered here too. You can just flip the device the other way round and the screen will follow suit. From there you can use your dominant hand for grip and page flicking.

The only issue here is the power button and microUSB charging slot will now sit at the bottom of the device rather than on the top. In all honesty, you’ll use this rarely so it shouldn’t cause an issue.

There’s plastic gripping on the side you’ll be holding with your fingertips, which doesn’t look as premium as I’d have liked at this price. The other side features the Amazon logo emblazoned on the back and was a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but luckily you won’t be touching this much unless you use the device two handed.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

On the grip section sits a connector for Amazon’s new range of cases.

You’ll get one of these in the box. It’s a flip case to cover over the top of your Kindle, but it also attaches a larger battery which will sit on the thinner edge of the Oasis so it’s now a similar size all over.

You snap this on the back and it’ll up your battery life by another seven weeks. The shame is the device without the case will now only last for two weeks rather than the usual six weeks on a Kindle. That’s according to Amazon, we’ll have to test it out in full when we get a review unit.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

You’ll get a case in with the price of the device and your choices are brown, red or black leather. There’s no option for those who aren’t a fan of leather products though.

The screen on the Kindle Oasis is similar to what we’ve seen on the Paperwhite before. It comes with a 300ppi display that means reading text is super clear and isn’t going to strain your eyes.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

There are improvements in the screen on the Kindle Oasis and I think these are the real highlights of the device.

Amazon has moved the backlight onto the side of the device rather than leaving it at the top edge. In doing so Amazon has managed to make its e-ink display 60% brighter than ever before and you can really notice it when reading.

Even only reading on the device for a few minutes really highlighted how much brighter the display was and I much preferred reading on this than any other Kindle I’ve used before.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Clarity and ease of reading is the main aim of the game with ereaders and Amazon has managed to make the most comfortable experience I’ve ever seen on an ereader device. I think if you’re reading for a long time you may actually find your money’s worth in the Kindle Oasis.

If you’re an avid reader, I can see a place for the Kindle Oasis. It’s certainly not going to be for everybody or the casual book flicker, but that’s why Amazon has a selection of other Kindle products for you to choose from.

The Kindle Oasis instead sits at the top end for those who are using an ereader almost daily or have already fully submersed themselves within the Amazon ebook market.

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