Advertisement
Advertisement

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review: Only a warm upgrade but still the best ebook reader

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
230
8GB Wi-Fi

Not much of an upgrade from the previous model, but the Oasis is still the best e-reader you can buy

Pros 
Big, sharp E Ink screen
Blue-light-reducing front light
IPX8 waterproof
Cons 
No memory expansion
No 3.5mm headphone jack
Not compatible with magnetic covers
Advertisement

There was only one thing missing from the last Kindle Oasis, and I knew it the very first time I saw it: a blue light filter. While every smartphone manufacturer on the planet was taking on board the medically recognised fact that beaming blue light into your eyes just before you go to sleep wasn’t great, Amazon chose to ignore that and ploughed on with its regular white LEDs in its premium Kindle ebook reader.

Finally, however, the retail giant has seen the light warm, orange glow and added the feature to the 2019 edition of the Kindle Oasis. You can now read at bedtime safe in the knowledge that it won’t be your reading habit that’s disturbing your sleep.

READ NEXT: Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis – which Kindle should you buy?

Kindle Oasis (2019) review: What you need to know

What else is new? Not much, if truth be told. The previous Kindle Oasis, in case you didn’t know already, was the most expensive, most luxurious of all the company’s ebook readers, and the new one replaces it. It sits above the regular Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite in the pecking order, and is a direct rival to the rather excellent Kobo Forma.

It’s slimmer and sleeker than the cheaper readers and its all-metal body feels nicer to hold. It has a larger, higher-resolution display, too, supports Bluetooth playback of Audible audiobooks and it’s IPX8 waterproof. The Paperwhite shares the latter two features but misses out on other features, such as automatic light and page-orientation adjustment. 

The 2019 Kindle Oasis’ big new feature, however, is its “adjustable warm light”, which lets you switch from the standard white LED over to an amber light. This feature promises to reduce the amount of blue light you experience when you’re reading just before going to bed. The new Kindle has a slightly bigger battery than before (1,130mAh vs 1,000mAh), and it’s also now available in a rather fetching of gold.

Kindle Oasis (2019) review: Price and competition

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the price. The Oasis still costs £230 for the 8GB model, £260 for the 32GB model – which you’ll probably want to opt for if you plan on downloading and listening to a lot of audiobooks – and £320 for the 32GB model with cellular internet.

That’s a lot of money to pay for an ebook reader when the Kindle Paperwhite (2018) starts at only £120 for the 8GB model and is also waterproof. Sure the cheaper Kindle has a smaller screen, no page-turn buttons and isn’t quite as attractive, but it’s brilliant and almost half the price.

Kindle Paperwhite (2018)

Kindle Oasis (2019)

Kobo Forma

Screen

6in, 300ppi

7in, 300ppi

8in, 300ppi

Front light

White, 5 LEDs

25 LEDs (12 white, 13 amber) 

17 LEDs (white/red mix)

Water resistance

IPX8

IPX8

IPX8

8GB model, Wi-Fi

£120

£230

£240

32GB model, Wi-Fi

£150

£260

£290

32GB model, Wi-Fi & cellular

£220

£320

– 

If you’re willing to forgo Amazon’s slightly superior selection of ebooks, however, you’d do well to consider Kobo’s current offering. In fact, there are three Kobo ebook readers that have blue-light-reducing LEDs: the Kobo Aura H2O (£150), the Kobo Clara HD (£110) and the premium Kobo Forma (£240) (see above for options). It’s also worth noting that both the Aura H20 and the Forma are IPX8 waterproof, just like the Oasis.

Kindle Oasis (2019) review: Design and features

The new Oasis’ physical appearance is – you guessed it – identical to the previous model, which is to say it’s pretty from the rear and not so attractive from the front. The anodised aluminium finish feels lovely and smooth under the finger, particularly in gold, and there’s a little step about two-thirds of the way across, giving you a grip to hold onto.

I’m not a huge fan of the rather ugly black border surrounding the screen at the front, though, or the fact that the border is asymmetric and much wider on one side than the other. It looks lopsided and awkward.

This does have a practical side effect, however. The side with the wider border houses the reader’s two physical page-turn buttons – a feature no other current Kindle can boast – and it gives you a little more to hold onto as well.

While I’m talking about lopsided borders, I might as well mention at this point that you can hold the Oasis with the wide border to the left or the right of the screen. The display will flip orientation so it’s the right way up however you hold it. Again, this a feature neither the Paperwhite nor the regular Kindle can boast and it’s another small reason you might want to consider shelling out a bit more on the Oasis.

Elsewhere, the Kindle Oasis (2019) remains super light, weighing a mere 188g, is extremely comfortable to hold for long periods and is still waterproof to IPX8, which means it can be submerged in fresh water to a depth of two metres for up to 60 minutes.

It retains most of the rest of the previous Kindle Oasis’ key features, too. There’s Bluetooth, which lets you connect a pair of wireless headphones for listening to your Audible audiobooks. And if you own both ebook and Audible audiobook editions, the Oasis can synchronise your reading position between the two.

Surprisingly, given the Audible functions, you still can’t add extra storage via microSD, which is just baffling, and neither can you connect old-school analogue headphones, as there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

One final note of mild disappointment is that new Oasis no longer seems to have magnets embedded at the rear so it won’t work with the attractive, magnetic slimline cases the previous Oasis worked with.

Kindle Oasis (2019) review: Reading

As before, the Kindle Oasis has a 7in E Ink touch-compatible display, with a pixel density of 300ppi. This delivers a superlative reading experience. E Ink displays are easier on the eye than the LCD and OLED screens on phones and tablets and, as a result, are more comfortable to read for long periods of time.  

It’s monochrome, but you don’t need colour for reading books and at that task the Oasis’ display excels. Characters on screen are sharp and clear, and the contrast between text and page background is excellent. It’s not precisely the same as reading a proper book – the screen background is a little greyer and the text not quite as dark – but it’s still perfectly readable. And, of course, the advantage of an e-reader is that you can tweak the line spacing, character size and font, margins and justification to your liking. 

As with the previous Oasis, the new version has a touchscreen, and this works well. It’s mainly used for general navigation around the Oasis’ UI, which is largely the same as all Kindles, accessing settings, and buying ebooks in the Kindle store. You can also it to turn pages by tapping or swiping, though I found myself using the physical page-turn buttons to keep the screen clear of fingerprints.

For reading at night or in dim conditions, the Oasis has a series of built-in white and amber LEDs arranged around the edges of the display. In daylight mode, these cast a perfectly flat, even glow across the screen and they can be adjusted manually or automatically, according to the ambient light conditions.

The adjustable warm light works equally well. A secondary array of 13 amber LEDs illuminate the screen in varying degrees of orangey light. The aim is to reduce reader’s exposure to blue light just before going to sleep and thus improve your quality of their sleep. As with the white LED lighting, the “warmth” of the display can be adjusted by way of a simple, onscreen slider control: slide it to the right and the screen takes on a pronounced orangey appearance; slide it to the left and the effect is more subtle.

^ There are 12 white LEDs, which light the screen perfectly evenly

^ The 13 amber LEDs bathe the screen in a gentle amber glow 

^ The warm light at its most intense level is a pleasing orangey colour

The effect can be simply adjusted manually like this or you can set it to switch on and off to a predefined schedule. It’s also possible to have it fade in and out in synchronisation with the sunset and sunrise. However you choose to control it, though, the LEDs produce a perfectly even illumination across the display with no bright or dim spots at all brightness levels. 

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Verdict

This is, no two ways about it, a great new feature and one I’ve been wanting for a very long time; all the same, the new Kindle Oasis is not what you could call an essential upgrade.

Aside from the new warm front light and the rather strange withdrawal of the cover magnets from the rear, it’s exactly the same Kindle as the previous model at exactly the same price. If you already own an Oasis, don’t waste your money.

Anyone looking to move up to Amazon’s luxury ebook reader who might have previously been considering the 8in Kobo Forma can now comfortably turn their gaze back to Amazon. With Audible audiobook support, IPX8 waterproofing, super-sleek design and Amazon’s peerless ebook catalogue included, the Kindle Oasis remains at the top of the e-reader tree. It’s simply sublime.

1 Kobo Forma
Our Rating 

The Kindle brand has become synonymous with e-readers and ebook reading over the years and most of the alternatives have gradually fallen by the wayside. Kobo is still going strong, though, and it has a full range of e-readers to pick from, including the super luxurious Kobo Forma. The Forma matches the Kindle Oasis in many ways and in some ways, in fact, it's a superior product: it has a larger 8in E Ink display, is waterproof, has a warm front light and physical buttons as well as a touchscreen.

The Kobo's ebook store can't quite match Amazon's for either choice or price but it isn't bad and, as a bonus, you can use the Forma to access the Overdrive local library lending system for free. Another big miss with the Forma is that you can't download and listen to audiobooks as you can with the Kindle. However, if you have a yearning for something different or you'd simply prefer to read on a larger display, it's certainly worth considering.

Price when reviewed 
240
Click here to read the full Kobo Forma review

Read more

Reviews