Kindle Oasis Review

In January I make the classic, and dumb, mistake of leaving my Kindle Paperwhite in an airline seatback pocket. And that was the last time I saw my Paperwhite. For a couple months I used an old Kindle 2 or my iPhone. But as my birthday was coming up I decided to get a used Kindle Oasis. It is the most expensive Kindle and my thoughts on its release (one year ago yesterday), was that “smaller and lighter is good, but the Paperwhite was not heavy or large. Brighter screens are good, but the Paperwhite is not dark.”

After using the Kindle Oasis for a few weeks, I really like it. And I still am not sure that I can fully justify the extra cost.

Kindle Oasis Amazon Stock photo

I really like having real buttons to change a page. You can actually use it one handed without having to use the second hand to change pages or stretching your fingers across the screen. Buttons are probably the thing I like most about the Kindle Oasis. But there is no way to disable page turns on the screen. I understand why you can’t disable the touch screen because it is essential for highlighting, looking up words, changing settings, etc. But there is no reason why Amazon should not have an option to turn off the page turning by screen.

The Kindle Oasis, without the cover really is light. By my scale it is 140 grams, compared to my iPhone 6S (with thin case) at 191 grams or my Kindle 2 which was 300 grams. With the battery case the Kindle Oasis is 249 grams. But by itself, it really feels almost weightless. I really do think that any lighter would be too light.

The battery case was an interesting innovation. You do not need the case to read, but if you store the Kindle in its battery case, the case will charge the Kindle’s direct battery. Amazon claims that combined the batteries should last 8 weeks. I have not had it eight weeks, but the combined batteries will not come close to lasting 8 weeks. Amazon is using the assumption that the Kindle Oasis is used for 30 minutes a day.

Even assuming that I used it twice as much (which is probably a more than reality), the battery does not meet expectations. I did buy this Kindle Oasis used, but it was originally purchased in December, so it should not have a significant battery wear. I fully charged the battery four days ago and it is down to 100% on the Kindle and 60% in the cover. My estimate is that battery and Kindle will need charged every 2 to 3 weeks with my normal use. That is perfectly acceptable to me, but it is not anywhere close to the 8 weeks that Amazon advertises.

One side note, Amazon made the Kindle Oasis use a deeper sleep mode to save battery. But that deeper sleep mode takes longer to turn on and off, which makes the reaction time when you turn on the Oasis worse than the Paperwhite, or even the Kindle 2. And that deeper sleep mode prevents the case battery from charging main Kindle battery. So if it is completely off and put away, the case won’t keep the Kindle fully charged.

My kindle oasis and my kindle 2The screen is better than the Kindle 2. But the screen is the same as the Paperwhite 3 or Voyager. There just has not been significant innovation in the eink screens other than the addition of the lighting (which shines down at the print, not up at your eyes from behind the print like an LCD computer screen.)

The Kindle Oasis is basically all screen. The one side has two buttons, but the rest of the bezel is very small. The Oasis is approximately the same height as my iPhone 6S and about 1.5 iPhones wide. It feels very small compared to all previous Kindles, but the actual screen is the exact same size.

The buttons are only needed on one side because there is accelerometer so when you flip it over to hold with the other hand the screen flips. This makes it easy for both right and left handed use. I am right handed but tend to hold it with my left. However, I wish the buttons were either a bit larger or a bit further apart. I tend to accidentally hit the wrong one more often than I should.

Kindle Oasis side viewThe battery is pushed to the one side to create a natural wedge to hold on to and to weight the Oasis in your hand. That looks a little odd, but does work nicely. But it also only works if you take it out of the case.

Because I don’t really read with the case, I have considered whether I should sell the battery case on eBay and use a sleeve to carry it in. So far, I have just kept it in its case, but I do think Amazon should sell it without the case.

In the end I really like the Kindle Oasis. I am glad I didn’t pay full price. And when I compared the cost of a used Paperwhite to a used Kindle Oasis, it is hard to justify the extra cost. But as most of the reviews said when the Oasis initially came out said, this is the best kindle, but I am not sure if it is the best kindle to buy for most people.


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