Amazon Kindle Oasis review

There's yet another new Amazon Kindle to consider if you're looking to buy an eReader. The Kindle Oasis is the best eReader yet but it comes at a price which most won't be able to afford. Find out whether this is a good buy for you in our Amazon Kindle Oasis review. Updated with our video review. See also: Best eReaders 2016.

Amazon has gone all-out to make the best eReader ever and it has certainly done so with the Kindle Oasis. However, the premium experience on offer here comes at a steep price so for many this won't be the best buy. Find out if the Kindle Oasis is worth upgrading to.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Price and where to buy

There are some interesting and exciting things about the Kindle Oasis but price is a huge factor this time around. We were a little taken aback by the £169 Kindle Voyage when that was released in 2014 but the Oasis is in a new league of its own.

The Oasis will set you back a whopping £269 and that's for the cheapest model which is Wi-Fi only. That will be fine for most but if you're someone who just can't handle the thought of not being able to download a book wherever you are without finding a data source then the 3G Kindle Oasis will cost you the serious sum of £329.

You can buy the Kindle Oasis from Amazon, of course, but also get it from retailers including John Lewis (an extra year of guarantee) and Currys.

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Kindle Oasis review

As usual, the data costs are included for the life of the Kindle but even at the cheaper price, it's more expensive that many tablets – which, of course, can be used to read books albeit with a different experience.

There's no doubt that the price is the biggest barrier for the Kindle Oasis. It's hardly great value for money so this is really the Kindle for those who want the best eReader possible. Bear in mind that when compared with Amazon's other options, which are perfectly good, the Voyage is now £135 and the Paperwhite is £87 so these will be much more suited to those on a budget.

See also: Which Kindle should I buy? Paperwhite vs Voyage vs Oasis.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Design and build

Far from being a just another new Kindle with the same design blueprint, the Kindle Oasis is a radically new take on the eReader. It's easily recognisable as a Kindle by sight but not so much when you hold it in your hand.

Kindle Oasis thinnest

Amazon has not only made the Kindle Oasis the thinnest and lightest to date, it's just 3.4mm at one point and hardly balloons at the other end at 8.5mm. You'll be able to hold it for longer without strain due to it being a featherweight 131g. It's 20 percent lighter and 30 percent thinner on average than any other Kindle.

The reason we've provided two different dimensions is that Amazon has gone for a wedge shape. We've seen devices like this before such as Sony's Tablet S and it works really well, putting the majority of the weight in your hand makes for a less strenuous time. You can use it in either hand as the screen orientation will change automatically.

The result of the new design means the Kindle Oasis is the most comfortable and easy to use eReader ever. You can choose whether to use the touchscreen to turn pages or use two physical buttons instead – which we found far easier and more reliable.

As well as a new tapered design, the Kindle Oasis comes with a new cover – which partly explains the price. It comes in Black, Merlot or Walnut and is made from real leather. It's a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship and our only real complain is how easily it marks and dents – this is the nature of leather though, so just don't be too surprised when it looks quite worn after just a couple of weeks.

Kindle Oasis leather cover

The cover doesn't just look nice though, it easily attaches and detaches with 12 magnets a little like Apple's iPad cover. This means although it adds weight, it's ever so easy to remove when you're reading. The tapered shape of the Kindle means the cover fills the gap to make a relatively uniform shape. It wakes and puts the Oasis to sleep when you open and close it, too.

Even more important than all of this, is that the leather cover has a battery inside the back section. When attached, the cover will charge the Kindle Oasis to keep it topped up and there's a new hibernation mode to minimise power consumption. You can check the level of each via the cog wheel in the menu.

One small not about the cover is that we found it wasn't always charging the Kindle so make sure the metal contacts are properly connected if you don't want to be disappointed. This only happened once or twice during testing but it's worth pointing out as a minor observation.

Kindle Oasis leather cover colours

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Specs and features

We've already mentioned many of the Kindle Oasis' most important features since they lie in the design and cover. However, there are still some important things to mention including the screen and performance.

Screen

For the Oasis, Amazon has stuck with what works so you're getting a 6in touchscreen with a 300ppi pixel density thanks to the 1080x1440 resolution. It uses Carta e-paper technology but doesn't have the adaptive front light found in the Voyage.

Instead, Amazon says the redesigned light "features 60% more LEDs than any other Kindle, increasing the consistency and range of screen brightness for improved reading in all types of lighting."

It's an awesome experience in essentially any lighting condition and while it's a shame to not have the automatic adjustment found on the Voyage the screen itself is better quality. The contrast is superior and the lighting is extremely even so there's no obvious part of the display that is brighter than anywhere else.

Kindle Oasis review screen

Performance

Considering the price of the Kindle Oasis, we were expecting lightning fast performance. Although page turns are very fast, the device can feel laggy at times.

It's quite fast to browse the pages of your library, which only relies of the refresh rate of the display. However, returning to the homescreen, loading the store and switching between sections can take a while – on occasion taking a good couple of seconds.

It's not especially bad but worth bearing in mind if it's something you're expecting to gain by spending the best part of £300.

Battery life

Amazon touts eight weeks of battery life from a single charge and since we've only had the Kindle Oasis for a couple of weeks we can't verify this. That figure is based on 'half an hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10'. We've been close to that usage scenario for and the Kindle is fully charged with the cover at 50 percent.

Kindle Oasis charging cover

Storage and audio

As with previous Kindles, the Oasis has 4GB of internal storage. That might not sound a lot compared to smartphones and tablets but it's enough to hold thousands of books so it will take you a fair while to fill it up.

One thing to note about the Oasis is that it does not have a 3.5mm headphone socket so fans of audiobooks will want to opt for a different model.

Amazon Kindle Oasis: Specs

  • 6in E-Ink touchscreen,300ppi
  • 4GB storage
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi (optional 3G)
  • microUSB for charging
  • 143x122x3.4-8.5mm
  • Weight without cover/with cover
  • Wi-Fi: 131/238g
  • Wi-Fi+3G: 133/240g
  • 6in E-Ink touchscreen,300ppi
  • 4GB storage
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi (optional 3G)
  • microUSB for charging
  • 143x122x3.4-8.5mm
  • Weight without cover/with cover
  • Wi-Fi: 131/238g
  • Wi-Fi+3G: 133/240g

OUR VERDICT

There's no doubt that the Kindle Oasis is technically the best eReader you can get. Amazon has done a great job with the new design which is impressively small, light and ergonomic. The cover is a nice touch too and adds additional battery life to boot. All that said, the price is a big barrier and anyone shocked at even the cheaper Wi-Fi only model will be better off with the Voyage or the Paperwhite which are comparatively budget.