A new e-reader has burst onto the scene, once again making bibliophiles weigh exactly how much they love the smell and feel of a good, old fashioned, paper book.
Amazon’s newest addition to the Kindle family, the Kindle Oasis, has a stunningly slim profile and the battery life to match. Weighing in at just 4.6 ounces, this baby lets you absorb all of Tolstoy’s wisdom without so much as straining your wrist. It also comes with a custom built, magnetic charging case to ensure you don’t run out of battery during a critical plot twist. That is, if you can afford one. The Oasis is one of Amazon’s most expensive e-readers in years, with a price tag of just under £300. While a certain cost is to be expected just because of the components and technology involved, that still seems excessive. It’s a lot to ask for a dedicated e-reader, especially when you can get an iPad mini that does a lot more for the same price.
Form and Function
This Kindle is 30% smaller, and 20% lighter than any other, but don’t let its small size fool you. Inside are all the powerful features readers have come to expect from their Kindles, all packed into a device as thin as two quarters stacked on top of one another. The design incorporates a thicker, ergonomic grip on one side where the battery is stored, defining a clearly right and wrong way to hold the device. Luckily for left handers, this Kindle also incorporates an accelerometer that can tell which hand you’re using to hold it and flip the display accordingly.
Despite its paired down size, it shares the same 6 inch, 300 ppi screen as its predecessor, the Voyage. It also has the same dictionary, vocabulary building, X-Ray, and translation tools that enhance the unique Kindle reading experience and make it more of an educational experience than regular screen time for both children and adults. The main functional difference between the Oasis and the Voyage is that the new device has a few more LED lights built in for a brighter daytime display.
Unlimited power (well, almost)
The best thing about this new Kindle is the included charging cover. It boosts the battery life from weeks to months. This is a great feature for travellers, outdoor enthusiasts, and people who are constantly losing their chargers. You definitely won’t need to pack an extra charger on that extended business trip, or worry about your battery giving out on your next camping expedition. With the new backup battery, users almost never have to worry about charging their device, putting maintenance levels more on par with traditional books. It’s obvious that Amazon is still striving to make their e-readers as much like paper as possible.
A Step in the Wrong Direction?
The major defining feature of this new device is its size. It is very small, but is that what we really need from an e-reader? Don’t many of us turn to dedicated e-readers after experiencing the frustration of trying to read on a small smartphone screen? The Kindle Oasis incorporates a number of features that seem to be heading in the wrong direction, like clunky physical buttons for page turning, rather than focusing its efforts on innovation. Are readers really in the market for a tinier device, or is what they’re really looking for something more like, say, a waterproof e-reader? Especially given its choice of name, this seems like an opportunity that the Oasis has missed.
It also fails to include some of Amazon’s best products that could greatly improve the user experience, like Audible integration or Alexa, Amazon’s new personal assistant. Instead, each generation of the Kindle remains focused on providing a distraction-free environment for reading only. The price point of the Oasis also seems a bit out of step. It would be different if the size of the price tag matched the size of the device, but time will tell if buyers are willing to pay four times the cost of the base model Kindle for a device with all the same features tucked into a smaller package.