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The maker of one of the best smart speakers- the Echo line-up - the Amazon had unveiled the 2017 model of Kindle Oasis back in April this year. However, the company brought this water-proof premium e-reader to India just last month.
The new Kindle Oasis is priced at Rs. 21,999 for the 8GB model and Rs. 28,999 for the 32GB model (Wi-Fi + free 3G). Talking about the specifications, it is fitted with a 7-inch display with the resolution density of 300ppi. The e-reader is said to pack a battery that can last six weeks. Just like other Kindle e-readers, the updated Kindle Oasis is waterproof with the IPX8 rating, which means it could be submerged into 1 meter of water.
In India, Kindle Oasis is available in India in two variants: the Wi-Fi only and the Wi-Fi + free 3G model. The highly upgraded e-book reader also comes with Bluetooth and integrates with the Amazon Audible service to stream audio books to wireless headphones or speakers. It is worth noting that, the Kindle Oasis comes is one of the few devices for reading which comes in a metal jacket.
Now that you have got a fair idea about the specification of new Kindle e-reader, let's get into it's aesthetics and how we felt about it for the first time.
Design and Build
With the upgraded 7-inch display, which amazon says should harbor 30% more text, the display is arguably the best part of the new Kindle Oasis as it was highly awaited. The Android Tablet industry back in early 2010 had already inculcated among the user the adaptability towards the 7-inch or bigger display. However, Kindle line-up was somewhat a disappointment in that aspect. The Kindle Oasis 2017 is a great product in this particular regard.
The display has the resolution density of 300ppi and a built-in adjustable light (front light). We were also quite impressed by the fact how lightweight and sleek the device is.
Being the first Kindle e-reader with a metal build, the Oasis has brushed-aluminum back panel. It is the same material that you find on premium smartphones. Unlike most of the e-readers with standard plastic rear plates, we got a premium feel while using the new Kindle Oasis. So design-wise, it is up to the mark.
Talking about the lip of the e-reader or what Amazon refers to as the spine, it is slightly wider as compared to its predecessor. The bump looks quite odd, only because Amazon wanted to make the rest of the device "as close to paper as possible". Well, there is no point complaining as the bump actually houses the battery. And, in any case, it should not even bother most of the users out there.
The bump or the spine is there for another reason. It is there so you can grip the device while reading something on the Kindle Oasis. Unfortunately, due to the smooth finishing of the spine, it is a little difficult to get much traction. So we had to be quite careful while handling the e-reader. However, the solution to this comes handy with the two Kindle Oasis cases that Amazon is selling separately.
Although the touch screen's responsiveness of the Kindle Oasis is pretty good, compared to Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon has included physical buttons on the device. The side bezel of the device holds two sizable buttons. Since the Kindle can flip the screen orientation based on which side is up, both right-handed and left-handed users will be able to use the buttons easily. The front of the device doesn't even have any logo, so there's no definitive top and bottom.
On the flip side, we didn't like the placement of the power button. We could not easily reach the button when needed. However, it is most likely to be a problem only for people with small hands.
Upgrades from previous Kindle e-book readers
Since Amazon has added many upgrades to the 2017 model of Kindle Oasis, it makes this one quite special in many ways
To start with, it is the first Kindle to feature a waterproof chassis. As it comes with IPX8 certification, we splashed some water on just for testing. Well, the device faced no problems and kept working just fine. So if you get water splashes on your Oasis, you can just wipe away the water with a soft cloth. However, we don't recommend you to immerse it into the water just for fun.
As we have mentioned earlier, the Kindle Oasis is available in 8GB and 32GB storage, expanding the storage up to 8X from the previous generation. While we were using it, we downloaded so many books and we consider it to be some sort of a pocket library.
The inclusion of Page Turn buttons on the side bezels are also something new and adds to the convenient user experience. The Page Orientation of Screen Orientation feature also features in Kindle Oasis which is also another way Amazon has improved user experience in terms of holding the device. So, whether we choose to read Kindle on our left or right hand, the page orientation automatically adjusts to match your orientation. Thanks to this, we could easily use the device by using both hands.
Moreover, on this new Kindle e-reader, we could change the fonts or embolden the texts as per our wish. So with more font options available, it offered us a more customized reading experience.
As claimed by Amazon, the display of the new Kindle Oasis fits 30% more words per page resulting in fewer page turns. We did notice this while we were using the device. Also, the adaptive front light of the display can automatically adjust the brightness based on the environment.
The battery life of the Kindle Oasis is also claimed to be promising by Amazon. However, we will talk about this in detail in our full review.
One of the most significant features that set the 2017 Kindle Oasis apart from other e-readers, is the Bluetooth accessibility for streaming of audio books.
All in all, the Kindle Oasis 2017 did fascinate us quite a lot. The bold move of getting it clad with aluminum body, which fits flush to the display leaving no bulge between display and bezel, unlike the one we saw in previous Kindle (esp. Paperwhite).
Not a lot of people would be okay with enjoying the design of the Kindle Oasis, which uses a bump on the half-side of the rear panel. However, it does come with some important functionality. The fact that this very hump houses a bigger battery, Bluetooth chips, and more is quite a deal to sign in for.
With adaptive display, fonts customization ability, built for Audio Books via Audiable, IPX certified, larger display, does account while we vouch for taking its side.
One of the doubtful areas, rather a challenge for the company would be the acute pricing. With a price tag of Rs. 21,999 attached to it, the Kindle Oasis might just not be able to receive applaud-able remarks in India, as the price-to-performance ratio stands quite clear and unbalanced for smart Indian consumers.