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2017 Amazon Kindle Oasis Review: Premium E-reader Now Waterproof

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Back in October, Amazon Canada unveiled the all-new Kindle Oasis, the company’s newest, biggest and baddest e-reader, now also waterproof.

We recently went hands-on with the new Kindle Oasis and Standing Cover, as sent to us by Amazon Canada. Let’s share our quick first-impressions of this newest Kindle.

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Before we begin, those following the site for some time now probably know I already own the first generation Kindle Paperwhite, which has been great on vacations. But since having a kid and traveling less, the e-reader has been collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. Will the new Kindle Oasis change that? Let’s find out.

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Upon unboxing the Kindle Oasis, the first thing you notice is just how thin it is, aside from the thicker area which houses the battery and logic board. The Oasis is also light, as it weighs 194 grams, lighter than the Paperwhite by 10 grams. Its build quality is excellent as it does not feel cheap, but rather premium in the hands, despite the balance of weight leaning towards the ‘hump’ side.

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Amazon cleverly made its Standing Cover fit like a glove with the Oasis, to the point where I was reciting “when 2 becomes 1” like Baby Spice (#90sdadjoke).

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With the Standing Cover on, the Oasis was a bit bulkier, but there was added grip from the cover itself. Below is the bottom of the Oasis, which contains a micro-USB port for charging.

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Top view of the Kindle Oasis power button:

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The Oasis comes with a 7-inch 300 ppi display (same ppi as Paperwhite/Voyage), which Amazon says allows for 30 per cent more words per page. The tapered section of the device is 3.4mm thin, while the back is anodized aluminum, reminding me of an iPad, while its chamfered edges bring back memories of an iPhone 5/5s. The fit and finish of the Oasis reminds me of an Apple product.

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Amazon says the Oasis is made for one-handed reading, with the bulk of its weight shifting to your palm “like the spine of a book”. Pages can be turned by tapping the buttons or the left and right sides of the 7-inch display.

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The Oasis has an adaptive front light sensor, which automatically adjusts its 12 LEDs to bright up the crisp display. This means the Oasis has the highest number of LEDs out of the Kindle family, double that of the Voyage and triple that of the Paperwhite. You can notice this impact immediately as reading text is so much easier as it’s much brighter:

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The LED lighting is also evenly balanced and looks nice and smooth on the display, without any super bright corners or spots showing. The extra front-lit LED lighting makes text pop even more, for a super pleasant reading experience on the eyes:

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Here’s what Calvin and Hobbes looks like on the Kindle Oasis. You can turn the page by press the back and forward buttons, tapping on the left and right sides of the screen, or swiping left and right like you would a book. The Kindle Oasis loads new pages instantly, and when I say instantly I mean it’s blazing fast, compared to my old Paperwhite.

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The Kindle Oasis is also the first waterproof Kindle, with IPX8 certification, which the company says can protect against submersion in up to two metres of fresh water for up to 60 minutes. We weren’t able to test this out yet, but for those who take their Kindles to the beach or swimming pool, rest assured your Kindle won’t get destroyed if it gets soaked or submerged.

The Oasis also has an advantage over its siblings, as it comes with 8GB or 32GB storage options, whereas the rest of the line up has 4GB. I don’t know if you could ever fill 8GB or 32GB, as that’s a lot of storage for books and more.

Here’s the Oasis and its water-safe fabric Standing Cover (oddly enough, not sold on Amazon.ca yet; the company suggested this third-party alternative), which is attached using magnets. It’s pretty sturdy and can support your Kindle without detaching while resting on a flat surface. However, when dangling the Kindle from the front part of the Standing Cover, the rear magnets weren’t able to survive my ‘shake’ test. So make note not to hold the Oasis just by the front part of the Standing Cover, as the latter’s magnets could be stronger.

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Here’s the footprint of the Standing Cover from an aerial view:

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The Kindle Oasis and its 7-inch display is really a stunning design, but I did find it was larger than normal to fit into the back of my jeans pocket, whereas the Paperwhite does have a smaller footprint. I was never the type to carry a Kindle in my pocket, but with the Oasis, you may want to measure your pockets before buying.

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The Oasis comes with a micro USB charging cable to charge and sync, plus a quick start guide. The Standing Cover has some brief instructions which show you how to attach it to the e-reader:

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Last but not least, it’s worth noting Audible support is not available in Canada for the Oasis. You should be able to pair Bluetooth headphones to the Oasis like our friends in the USA, but the option is not available in Settings.

Amazon Canada told us in a statement, “There’s no information to share at this time regarding Audible capabilities for Kindle in Canada. We’ll be sure to keep you informed of any future news!”

The Kindle Oasis is a beautiful e-reader that feels great in the hand, plus the larger 7-inch display makes for a much better reading experience, supported by the addition of more LEDs. The Oasis also is very fast, as it refreshes pages instantly and also is much quicker to navigate menus and settings, unlike our older Paperwhite model. With its new waterproof capabilities, those who love to read in a bath, by the pool or at the beach, you can rest assured your Oasis will survive the elements.

While the Kindle Oasis is the best e-reader out there, there are some shortfalls though. To start, the physical footprint is wider than other Kindle e-readers, meaning it may not fit in your jeans or jacket pocket. The device also is definitely in the premium category of e-readers, as its $389.99 CAD price tag is more than double the Kindle Paperwhite, which has the same 300 ppi display, but lacks the extra LEDs. Again, it also lacks Audible support in Canada (for now).

The Oasis is also a $90 premium over its sibling the Voyage. When a regular 6-inch Kindle costs $79, the Oasis definitely is priced in the upper echelons of the Kindle family.

But if you want the best and the brightest (no pun intended), and money is no object to you, the Kindle Oasis will not disappoint. The new wider display makes reading such a joy, and I can’t wait to put the Oasis to good use over the holidays (who am I kidding, I’m online 24/7, fml).

Click here to check out the Kindle Oasis on Amazon.ca. What’s your e-reader of choice at the moment?

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  • Aron Feuer

    Gary, thank you for the post – I enjoy your web-site and visit it frequently. The new design is a nice change!

    So, I’m a technology enthusiast, reader, Canadian, dad of four, and I love Kindles – owned ’em all. Here’s my story with the new Kindle Oasis reader.

    I picked it up on release day. It’s a beautifully engineered, elegant, and capable device. The screen is gorgeous. The build quality is remarkable – flagship level and sturdy. The page refresh? Crazy – it’s practically instant. I bought it with an equally beautiful tan leather case.

    I think the Oasis is an excellent reader, for some. In some circumstances. But this reader is just too present to use lying down, or placed in a pocket; it’s too wide! A bit too unwieldy in weight and weight distribution. My Voyage would disappear and go everywhere, but I struggled with this beautifully broad metal slap to do the same.

    Me, I read up to a couple hours a day on my Kindle. I read at the kitchen table. On the sofa. When taking my boys places. And lying down in bed – usually 40% of my use is lying back holding the device up at chest level. So – I hold the device aloft, a lot.

    I used the Oasis exclusively for over a week. For the next 5 days I swapped between Oasis and Voyage, usually in 20 minute cycles. Finally, over 5 days, I stopped using the Oasis entirely to see how my Voyage still felt. Here’s what I learned:

    Put a skin on your devices, people. This Oasis in particular is slippy, not grippy. Buy a sheet of skins that you can cut, gaffer tape, whatever. It doesn’t interfere, renders it scratch-proof and much more grippable.

    Oasis & Voyage – reading in virtually any lap or table position is most excellent, particularly with their leather cases. But as a pick-and-carry, Oasis Fails. Now, I think many readers are like me – We carry the thing around in our back pocket at home, and read where we find ourselves. Stuff it in a pocket, pack it in a bag, whatever. But…the Oasis won’t fit in my jeans pocket which means I’m constantly looking for the thing in my house. If it’s not pocketable just for a few minutes, I lose it. It’s also too wide to fit in many of my jackets, so that means I’m reading on my phone. Sux.

    Grip: The Oasis tries hard to slip sideways. And landscape view is okay, but not auto-rotating nor truly preferable. It feels like a compromise. With the Voyage, it’s light, nimble, grippy and you forget you’re holding it.

    I used to take the Voyage on the voyage. The Oasis? Nah, you go to it.

    Conclusion? The names are the truth of it: the Oasis is a more pleasant reading experience if you are prepared to visit it, in situ at the table or family room sofa, desk or chair. But if you need your device to fade into the background travel with you the Voyage is preferred.

    Jeff Bezos, please make us a Voyage that is thinner and lighter and metal. Make it borderless and waterproof, and if you want to make it ridiculously cool put a decent greyscale browser on it :). I would take that, with a 5-day battery, and pay premium tablet prices for it in a heartbeat – many would.

  • Thanks for your Oasis feedback Aron. I totally agree the back is way too slippery. But I still think it’s a nice device…but for a price!

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