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The second-generation Kindle Oasis is Amazon's flagship device for what an e-reader should be. It has a great build, long battery life, twice the storage when compared to the other Kindles, along with a larger display. The fact that audible isn't active in India is a bummer and to get a good grip you will have to invest in a case. This isn't the Kindle you need if reading is your primary objective. The Paperwhite is the best for that. You can pick this up if budget isn't a problem and you want the latest and greatest, along with futureproofing yourself for when the audible feature is made available in the country.
If you are a bookworm, chances are you have a Kindle or are looking to pick one up. Yes, there is the age-old debate about the joy of reading a physical book vs one on an e-reader, but you can deny the convenience of carrying all the 10 books in the Malazan Book of the Fallen franchise, in the palm of your hands, on a device that weighs less than 200 grams.
The entry level Kindle is priced at Rs 5,000, but that isn’t the device we are talking about today. Today we have with us the top-of-the-line Second Generation Kindle Oasis that launched in 2017. It is available in two variants – one with 8GB storage, Wi-Fi only connectivity priced at Rs 21,999 and another with 32GB storage, Wi-Fi + 3G connectivity priced at a whopping 28,999. The 2016 Oasis has a 6-inch display, whereas the 2017 edition has a 7-inch display. The 2017 edition is waterproof too, which makes reading on the toilet or in the bathtub a less risky affair.
Another interesting feature of the Kindle Oasis 2017 is Audible support but sadly, that doesn’t work in India.
Build and design
The Kindle Oasis 2017 has an asymmetrical design, with physical buttons for turning the page. You can customise the buttons in the settings to choose which one to use for going forward and backward. The back of the device is all aluminium and this makes the kindle feel very premium. Whichever variant you pick up, the Kindle Oasis weighs 194 grams making it quite light and comfortable to hold for long durations. Because of the asymmetrical design, the side where you grip the Kindle is thicker than the rest. This thickness also helps house a lot of the internals. A good thing is that when you switch hands, the orientations and button mapping also changes accordingly which is nice. You won’t be passing the device from one hand to the other as you would do with every other Kindle under Amazon’s roof. This isn’t a big deal and it only came to my attention when I switched hands for the first time. After that, the rotation of the display felt like second nature.
The Second-gen Oasis is also IPX8 rated. This means that it is waterproof in up to two meters of freshwater for up to 60 minutes. So, if you take it in the bath tub with you, you can rest assure that it won’t conk off if it falls in the water by accident.
The device has only one port, which is the microUSB port, to charge the device. The power button rests on top of the device.
The metal back makes the Kindle Oasis feel very premium, but it is also one of the biggest cons of the e-reader. The metal back fails to add grip to the device, making it feel quite slippery. Also, considering the Delhi winters, the device does get rather cold to the touch.
Overall, the build of the second-generation Kindle Oasis is premium, it is the design that could have used some more thought. Amazon should have included a sleeve or a back cover that could have given it a sturdy grip for those long bedtime reading sessions.
The 7-inch Second-gen Kindle Oasis has a fantastic e-ink display and its crispness and brightness is evident when you place it next to the entry level Kindle. The 7-inch display has E Ink Carta HD technology and boasts of a pixel density of 300ppi along with16-level grayscale.
Speaking of the grayscale, this is something that will make a difference when you see images on the display. From the cover a book to an image in the book, the sharpness and detail, and of course the range of grey shades between white and black all look very good.
Another interesting thing about the display is that you don’t need to refresh it between page turns. This means that when you turn a page, the new page loads really fast and there is no residue of the previous page left behind. If you want, you can force the page to refresh every time from the settings. You also have the standard slew of margins, fonts and font sizes to play with on the display.
Coming to the backlight, the Oasis has 12 LEDs to illuminate the display. The display has auto brightness and in my experience the auto brightness worked fine for keeping the display at an acceptable level of brightness. There is also a feature called Nightlight that gradually dims the brightness of the display in the dark to get your eyes accustomed to the display.
The Kindle has a touchscreen which is very responsive with no lags whatsoever. The QWERTY keyboard layout to search for books in the store is comfortable to type on and responsive to the touch. When reading a book, you have the option to disable the response of the touchscreen to prevent accidental touches. To get the touchscreen working again you have to press the power button to put the device to sleep and then wake it up.
Overall, the display of the second-generation Kindle Oasis is a treat to read on. The pixel density makes the text sharp, the brightness is just right for varied lighting conditions and Nightlight is interesting. You can read in either landscape or portrait based on your convenience.
There is very little new with the UI of the Kindle Oasis this time around. If you have used a Paperwhite or Voyage in the past, then you should feel at home. The home screen shows you three of your books along with a row of recommendations at the bottom. You can access your entire library of Amazon Kindle books, or check out the ones locally stored or navigate the store to buy a new book.
When reading a book, you can simply select a word to see what it means. Amazon’s X-Ray feature is also a part of the Oasis. X-Ray essentially gives you additional and or relevant information about the character that you’ve selected or the name or place from the book. This is especially helpful when reading fantasy or science fiction novels with a lot of lore to keep track of. Don’t recognise a character, simply long press the name and let X-Ray refresh your memory.
Audible support, but sadly not in India
One of the biggest additions to the Oasis is support for Audible audiobooks. If you have an Audible audiobook, you can connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones to the second-generation Oasis and listen to it. Sadly, the feature isn’t active in India which is a bummer.
Being an e-book reader we can expect some crazy long battery life for the device. Amazon says that if you read for half an hour a day, keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off, and set the brightness to 10, the device will last you for six weeks. Since you will keep the Wi-Fi on at least, set the brightness to auto you can get about 10 days of voracious reading which isn’t bad. We haven’t had a chance to check the battery life with audible support, since the feature isn’t available in India.
The Kindle Oasis is a fantastic device. It brings with it a premium build, a great display and of course, Amazons large library of books. So why is it the one you want but don’t need? Well to be honest its really expensive. And one of the key highlight features – Audible support, is missing as of now in India. Apart from the build, there is little reason to consider this over the Paperwhite or even the Voyage. The Paperwhite and the Voyage come with 4GB of storage but that’s enough to house thousands of books at least. Features such as X-Ray, dictionary, store, and more are present on the Paperwhite and the Voyage as well. Until Audible support arrives, you are better off with one of the other Kindle options.