Amazon has unveiled the all-new Kindle Oasis, the 2017 successor to its premium e-reader, the 2016 Kindle Oasis (our review of the 2016 Oasis). Unlike its plastic ancestor, the all-new Kindle Oasis is made from metal, packed with batteries, can read books aloud, and survive a drowning.
If you’re in the market for a new Kindle, here are 9 things you need to know about the all-new Kindle Oasis:
1. You Can Read Digital Books in the Bath or Shower
The all-new Kindle Oasis sports a water resistance rating of Ingress Protection 8 (IPX8), meaning it can resist depths of over 1 meter for longer than 30 minutes. While that probably means you can’t go diving with it, taking the Oasis to the beach, or yachting in deck pants, might be on the cards.
2. Audible Comes as Standard
The all-new Kindle Oasis includes the Audible audiobook integration — provided the user pays for a subscription. On the downside, using Audible requires either Bluetooth headphones or speakers. In case you are in the market for either, we’ve covered the best Bluetooth headphones and best Bluetooth speakers you can buy right now.
3. It’s Bigger and Better
Unlike previous models of Kindle, the new Oasis’s screen stretches 7 inches diagonally, making it the largest screen ever fitted to an Amazon eReader. While it doesn’t capture a standard A9 page size, it should have enough pixel density to accurately render larger books on a tiny screen.
Overall, if you’ve been waiting for Amazon to release a larger screen, the all-new Kindle Oasis is your best bet.
4. It’s Thinner, Made of Metal, and Less Durable
The 2016 Oasis sounds similar in dimensions as its all-new successor. The original Oasis weighed 4.6 ounces with a thickness of 3.4mm at its thinnest point. On paper, it sounded like the smallest and lightest Kindle ever made. In reality, it had two dimensions and weights: with its cover and without. The battery cover put the Oasis at 240 grams, the heaviest Kindle ever made.
The all-new Kindle Oasis’s chassis is forged from aluminum. While that normally means a thinner, more solid device, it also comes with a trade-off. First, aluminum devices don’t do well when dropped. Aluminum’s rigidity and softness make it more likely to warp and bend under pressure. Plastic, on the other hand, handles impacts far better. For the accident-prone, the 2017 Oasis may be a less than optimal purchasing decision. But it’s not like the 2016 model is all that good.
5. It Has at Least Double the Storage
Unlike all previous editions of the Kindle, the all-new Oasis comes with 8GB of storage by default. With very small price increments, variants go up to 32GB of storage. Normally, though, you can fit thousands of ebooks onto a fairly small amount of storage. There seems to be little incentive to upgrade to a larger storage module, unless Amazon allows users to upload their own music and podcasts to the Oasis.
Unfortunately, there has been no word on user-added content.
6. There’s Still No Support for EPUB
Like all Kindles, the Oasis still lacks support for reading the EPUB format, the world’s most popular, non-proprietary ebook format. It’s very different from PDF books. Here’s how it differs:
For EPUB die-hards, MakeUseOf has covered various ways to manage your Kindle library using Calibre. The tips include how to convert an EPUB into a format that the Kindle can read, and more.
7. It Offers a New Accessibility Option
The all-new Oasis includes a new accessibility option for those with a learning disability: the OpenDyslexic font. Users can turn the font on, making it available in all texts.
Here’s a TED Talks video on YouTube explaining how the OpenDyslexic font helps make reading easier:
8. It Boasts Automatic Light Sensors
Unlike its predecessor, the new Kindle Oasis can automatically adjust its front light to match ambient lighting conditions. However, the light color isn’t amber-tinted. It’s still the same bluish-green backlight seen in most Kindles. If you suffer from sensitivity to blue or white light (how to filter blue lights), you may need to look at the Kobo line of eReaders for relief instead.
9. The Kindle Oasis Is Still Expensive
The Kindle comes in five variations. The high-end all-new Oasis comes with Audible installed, 32GB of storage, and both Wi-Fi and cellular internet connectivity (mobile service purchased separately). It’s available as a pre-order only up until October 31.
However, the pre-orders appear to have a substantial discount. The initial sticker price at launch for the high-end Oasis is $490. But its price on the preorder page is $350.
Going a step down, the Oasis’s price drops $50, but it loses its on-the-go cellular capabilities. The other components and features, though, remain the same as the highest tier Oasis.
The third version of the Kindle Oasis drops another $20, but it includes advertising. For example, here’s what the advertising looked like on the original Oasis:
The fourth Oasis version quarters the storage from 32GB to 8GB. The tradeoff is advertising. It loses the overt advertising but only comes down $10 from the third version.
The fifth and cheapest Oasis model comes with 8GB of storage and advertising.
Is the All-New Kindle Oasis Worth Buying?
We won’t know until the all-new Kindle Oasis is released on October 31. However, my gut tells me to look at the numbers. If an Amazon Warehouse second-generation Kindle Paperwhite sells for a quarter of the price of a new Oasis, the Oasis needs to provide a reading experience that’s four times better. And that’s simply not possible.
What do you think of the all-new Kindle Oasis? Can it possibly be worth the price Amazon is charging? Do you already own an Amazon Kindle? If so, are you at all tempted to upgrade to the all-new Kindle Oasis? Please let us know in the comments below!