Amazon Kindle Oasis review: the discerning choice for Kindle devotees

Trip the light fantastic with Amazon's super flagship ereader

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For

  • Lovely and lightweight
  • Unbelievably thin
  • Charging case a nice touch

Against

  • Expensive
  • 3G version is even more
  • Needs more case choices

So here we are. A brand new Kindle. Lovely-looking isn’t it? This is Kindle Oasis. It’s an interesting product because, instead of refining its current range of devices, Amazon has chosen introduce it as an even more premium line, sitting above the rest of the Amazon Kindle e-reader range.

This should probably be called ‘doing a MacBook Pro’ as it’s a similar idea to Apple’s when it introduced the third generation retina MacBook Pro – the existing models remained after launch.

The premise with the Oasis is that Amazon believes the Kindle should get smaller and lighter up to a point where it is like reading from a piece of paper. We’re not sure what people who like the weight of a paperback will think about this, but it makes sense to us from a technology perspective and we’re sure Amazon has done its research.

After all, Kindle isn’t a one trick pony but the Oasis is a niche device at £270 (Wi-Fi only, the 3G+Wi-Fi version is costlier than an iPad mini at £330), so a high-end e-reader like this needs to have a reason to be – and Amazon clearly believes the lack of weight will appeal to readers. Indeed, Amazon’s site is already saying that some configurations will ship after launch date.

Remember though – if you buy the 3G version you do get free 3G connectivity for life like other Kindles.

There’s almost nothing to the Oasis; it feels featherweight (although is a similar minor heft to many non-phablet smartphones at 131g) and you can easily balance it on one hand. The 3.4mm thickness of the screen part seems rather incredible compared with other devices and if it’s the way all tablets could be, then we want to go there.

However, there is one disadvantage to this - without the included battery cover case feels almost too delicate. And that’s not good for those of us who expect to take our Kindles poolside, on planes and – well – everywhere we go. Mind you, concern about the strength is unjust. The internal structure of the Kindle Oasis has been treated to add resiliance.

Even so, the inclusion of the charging case is no doubt a key part of keeping the Kindle Oasis in pristine condition. After all, most of us will throw a Kindle in a bag or case. And it has a secondary use, too, with the considerable extension to battery life that the charge case affords (weeks and weeks).

You’re certainly not going to need to charge it that often. Our favourite of the charging covers is the walnut one. It’s effortlessly smart, though we can see a lot of people opting for black. We’re not sure about the merlot, though.

The controls are so simple – whether you prefer touch or physical buttons, you’re catered for, while the controls are reversible depending on whether you’re right or left-handed.

The display is incredible and, while there wasn’t a descernible difference between the Oasis’ display and the Kindle Paperwhite’s under the harsh lighting in the room we saw the new Kindle in, we’ll be trying it out in different environments when we get our review sample. The night light is adjustable

We also really loved the new sans-serif Amazon Ember font (as well as last year’s new font Bookerly) and although we didn’t read a lot with it, we’re keen to get our hands on a Kindle Oasis to check it out properly.

T3 Verdict

There’s a lot to love about the Kindle Oasis, even if many of the core features are available on the significantly cheaper Kindle Paperwhite. But that’s missing the point – and if you’ve got this far we’d bet that won’t bother you. It’s unashamedly premium; the top-line Kindle that says you’re a serious reader.