Following the impressive debut of the Oasis last year, Amazon is back with a new model of the premium eReader with a tweaked design and a lower price. Here’s our Kindle Oasis 2017 review.
It’s getting a bit confusing but this new Kindle is the 2nd-generation of the Oasis and the 9th-generation Kindle overall. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
With the original Oasis coming in at £269 and jumping to £329 if you wanted 3G data, it’s nice to see Amazon bring the cost down a bit. It’s unusual with so many other device categories going up in price.
The Oasis 2017 starts at a more moderate price of £229 and that will get you the model with 8GB of storage and Wi-Fi. That will be fine for most users but you can also opt for 32GB at £259 if you need more storage or add 3G to that larger capacity at £319.
So it can get expensive, and even the cheapest Oasis is still quite a lot for an eReader when you consider the decent Kindle Paperwhite is less than half the price at £109.
A key rival in the Kobo Aura H2O is lot cheaper than this new Oasis at £149. And the more premium Kobo Aura One is still only £189 so these are worth considering if your budget won’t stretch.
Design and build
We loved the radical new wedge shape introduced with the original Oasis and Amazon has stuck with this for the 2017 model.
It goes all the way down to 3.4mm and the design means that most of the weight is in your hand. It is a little harder to hold due to the bigger screen, namely for those with smaller hands though.
Once again there are physical buttons for page turns as well as the touchscreen and the wedge shape can be turned 180 degrees to be held in either hand.
Although the Oasis 2017 is the same shape, Amazon has made a few changes starting with a metal chassis. It’s made from graphite with aluminium and looks and feels premium, much more so than the cheaper Kindles as you might expect.
The metal does mean it can get pretty cold, however, and we found the front edge a little sharp all the way around which is not ideal. Speaking to another Oasis owner, this may be an issue with our specific sample.
To compete better with rivals, Amazon has also added waterproofing so you can read in places like the bath without worry. The Oasis 2017 is IPX8 rated so can be dunked in up to two meters of water for up to 60 minutes – probably a bit overkill but that’s more than the Kobo Aura One and we’re not complaining.
Another other major change in design is that the cover (now an optional extra) doesn’t contain a battery. It’s all within the main unit in a traditional fashion. It was a nice idea before, but perhaps unnecessarily fiddly having to charge two different things.
This, combined with the metal casing, means it’s heavier than its predecessor at 194g compared to 131g.
If you do want a cover, it will set you back £39 for fabric or £54 if you want leather. They attach neatly with magnets and fill the space created by the wedge shape of the Kindle. They also fold along the diagonal so you can stand the Oasis up on a flat surface.
Specs and features
As well as the various design tweaks, Amazon has upgraded the hardware of the new Kindle Oasis to improve the experience.
The most important part of any eReader is the screen and the new Oasis for 2017 has the biggest of any Kindle yet. It’s 7in which is an inch bigger than the rest of the current line-up.
Bigger means the display can fit more on it (30 percent more words on default font size) and Amazon has ensured that the pixel density remains at its standard 300ppi – only the basic Kindle is lower.
As you’d expect, the display uses E Ink Carta technology and has a backlight like the Paperwhite and Voyage. A small complaint with the original Oasis was not getting the adaptive light sensor but this has now been added. The backlight is once again excellent providing even coverage and a great experience when reading in the dark.
As long as you like the larger sized screen, there’s really nothing to complain about here. It’s a premium reading experience, whichever way you look at it.
Storage and audio
Typically Kindles come with 4GB of internal storage and while that’s enough for plenty of books Amazon has doubled this to 8GB on the Oasis and you can even get a 32GB model if you need more space.
The main reason for an increase and the larger model is a push towards audiobooks which take up more storage space. The Oasis 2017 now has Audible support (Amazon’s audiobook service) and although there’s no headphone jack, the device has Bluetooth so you can connect wireless headphones.
This really isn’t the main reason to get the new Kindle Oasis though, considering you can easily just get the app on your phone.
With the battery now entirely inside the Kindle, Amazon claims a battery life of ‘weeks on a single charge’ like others in the range. This is based on half an hour of reading per day with wireless and Bluetooth off and the light setting at 10.
We haven’t had it long enough to comment, but so far it appears to be as good as you would expect from a Kindle.
You’ll need to charge via the older microUSB socket rather than USB-C used on most new phones and other gadgets. As usual, just a cable is supplied in the box.