The "1-Minute" Review
- No integrated speaker
- Can not read a book and listen to an audiobook at the same time
Whereas the smartphone and tablet world continues to see rapid changes in specs, designs, and features, Amazon continues to make subtle tweaks to their e-reader line up. The Kindle Oasis (2017) might not seem like a huge improvement over the original, but it includes several refinements.
The 2017 Oasis takes design cues from the original with its asymmetric design. It packs the internal components into a thick portion on one side of the device and then tapers down to only 3.4mm on the other side. While it takes getting used to, this design offers good balance in the hand regardless of which hand you hold it in.
At 194 grams, the Oasis 2017 is lighter than the Paperwhite, making it easy to use for long amounts of time. While it’s not small enough to fit into your pockets, it can slip into a bag, purse or laptop bag without taking up too much room.
As always, the Kindle offers an E-ink screen. This time, however, Amazon has bumped the size up to 7-inches and increased pixel density to 300ppi.
It’s sharp and, thanks to the extra one inch, can hold up to 30 percent more text than its predecessor. And there’s also 12 LEDs, which provide fairly even backlighting.
It seems like Amazon has taken people’s complaints to heart -- not just with a larger screen but also by including waterproofing.
That’s right, the Oasis (2017) is waterproof up to six feet for up to an hour. With that said, getting the touch screen wet can trigger some unexpected touch responses. So, it’s best to use the physical turn buttons if you want to read in the tub.
Amazon also added some new accessibility features -- such as inverting the text and background colors. These features are also great for people worried about how late-night reading might affect sleep or those with light sensitivity. In addition, it comes with 10 different fonts instead of 8 plus different bold settings.
Performance-wise, you won’t notice much of a difference from the previous release. That’s not a bad thing -- the Oasis is one of the faster e-readers on the market. Still, experts noticed slightly faster e-ink refresh rates compared to the original.
They were also happy to note the battery life lasted them much longer than its predecessor. While Amazon touts around 6 weeks of use, reviewers claim the results will vary -- especially when listening to audiobooks.
Speaking of audiobooks, the Oasis does not have internal speakers, which means you will have to connect Bluetooth headphones if you plan on listening. Unfortunately, you cannot have the book open and listen to the audio at the same time.
This brings us to the biggest drawback to the device -- its price.
It is the most expensive mainstream e-reader. While Amazon dominates the e-reader market, other companies like Kobo have offered the same features for some time and at a lower price.
With that said, the ease of purchasing e-books from Amazon is one reason the Kindle remains the giant it is today.
While it might not be cheap, critics highly recommend the Oasis 2017 for those who want a bigger screen and waterproofing. PC Magazine states, “It’s lighter, more ergonomic, waterproof and less expensive than the previous Oasis... That makes it our Editors’ Choice on the higher end.” Engadget adds, “... it's the best e-reader option on the market…”