In 2016, Amazon launched its flagship and most expensive e-reader at the time, the Oasis (review). A step up from the Kindle Voyage (review) of the year before, the Oasis aimed to provide the most premium e-reading experience money could buy, but brought its share of compromises. Over a year and a half later, Amazon has launched the successor to the Kindle Oasis, which inherits its name, but thankfully, not its flaws. I’ve been using the Kindle Oasis (2017) for the last couple of months now, and for me, this is as close as it gets to e-reader perfection. Here’s why.
The Kindle Oasis (2017) takes its design cues from its predecessor, which means you still get the razor-thin frame and protruding hand grip. It also retains the physical page turn buttons, while also letting you use the touchscreen to go backwards and forwards if you prefer. The useful auto-rotate feature is also still around, changing the orientation of the screen when you switch the hand grip between your left and right hand.
The similarities end there though, because the new Oasis features a 7-inch display, making it the largest Kindle in Amazon’s lineup. That extra screen real estate goes a long way in improving the reading experience. Not only does it fit more words per page on the screen, but it’s also more comfortable on the eyes. The larger display also means Amazon had room to cram a bigger battery into the new Oasis, eliminating the need for the bundled battery cover of the previous-gen model. Battery life was a major issue with the 2016 Oasis, which didn’t last more than a couple of days without the battery cover. This meant always needing to have the case on, which covered the one-handed grip in the process. The new Oasis doesn’t have either of those problems. The battery life is in fact even better than the Voyage, and is pretty much on par with the Paperwhite, easily lasting a few weeks on a single charge. The larger grip also makes it very comfortable for longer reading sessions, although the new all-metal build makes it a tad slippery. I would advise using a protective case for this reason, but unfortunately my review unit didn’t come with one this time. Amazon does make a waterproof cover for the Oasis, but following a barrage of negative reviews the company has stopped selling it, so you’d probably have to wait a bit for an improved one to be introduced.
One of the standout features of the Kindle Oasis (2017) is its waterproof abilities. It’s IPX6 certified, which means that it can be submerged in up to two metres of water for an hour without damage. This means you can safely carry the Oasis to a pool, beach or even a tub, and not worry about it getting wet or even dunked in water. While I didn’t use the Oasis in any of those scenarios, I always welcome waterproofing on any electronic device. I did hold the Oasis under a tap for a few minutes, and it worked fine after. The only thing I noticed is that water tends to activate the touchscreen, but this shouldn’t be an issue.
One of my major peeves with the 2016 Oasis was the lack of auto brightness, a feature Amazon introduced with the Voyage. It baffled me as to why the company would choose to remove a feature it introduced in a previous-generation model, but I’m happy to report that the Oasis (2017) brings back adaptive brightness. While it can be sluggish with detecting changes in ambient brightness at times, it works well for the most part. And of course, you can always fine-tune the brightness via the drop down menu at the top.
Internationally, the Kindle Oasis comes with Audible integration, so if you’ve purchased both an electronic and Audible edition of a book, you can switch between them easily. To listen to an audiobook, you’ll need to pair the Oasis with Bluetooth headphones or a speaker. Unfortunately, Audible isn’t available in India yet, but if you own an Echo speaker, Alexa will read to you from the furthest synced page.
Amazon has also made some changes to the Kindle’s software in the latest update. Apart from a bunch of new fonts, you can fine-tune the font size between 14 levels, and even adjust the boldness of the font. You can also choose between left and justified alignments. In the accessibility options, you can invert the page colours between black and white, which is useful for reading in the dark.
The new Oasis is available in two configurations 8GB storage with Wi-Fi, and 32GB storage with Wi-Fi and free 3G. The latter might seem a bit excessive for storing e-books, and probably only makes sense for Audible users since audio books have larger file sizes. Priced at Rs 21,999 and Rs 28,999 respectively, the new Oasis has a steep asking price, and would only appeal to a select audience. That said, the Oasis 2017 is a step up from its predecessor in almost every way, and is a worthy choice for users looking for a premium e-reader. For everyone else though, the Paperwhite (review) is still the best affordable option, especially given that the new software features are available across the Kindle lineup.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Larger screen
- Improved battery life
- Metal build can be slippery