Time flies. The Amazon Kindle Oasis is now in its 10th generation. Never realized that, to be honest. Perhaps that is just how captivating the Kindle e-book readers are. Or is it the continuity that gets passed down generation to generation? Amazon has updated its most expensive e-book reader, and this still remains firmly placed in realm of luxury. The Kindle Oasis 10th generation is yet another attempt at bringing the e-book readers ever closer to reading an actual paperback. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but from what we have observed with the Kindle readers over the past couple of years, some significant and some incremental improvements in the Paperwhite display technology with the E Ink Carta and the front light.
So, how much does this brilliance cost you? Pretty penny, and there is no getting around that fact. This is the flagship Kindle e-book reader device and there is a premium to pay for all that finesse. At present, Amazon is selling this in two variants in India. The 32GB Wi-Fi only variant is priced at Rs 24,990 while the 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G variant will set you back by Rs 28,999. This time around, there is some play with colour as well, thereby increasing your choices. You get to choose between Graphite and Champagne Gold colour options, the latter being the real dash of uniqueness.
Amazon has retained the brilliance of the predecessor. The 2019 edition of the Kindle Oasis retains a lot of what worked earlier as well, which means the premium-ness aspect doesn’t get altered in any way. The Kindle Oasis has the same aluminum body with the immediately noticeable asymmetrical design and the page turn buttons. In fact, the new Kindle Oasis is 6 grams lighter than before but also 0.1mm thicker—and these are both changes that you will not notice even if you hold up both the Kindle Oasis generations side by side.
The display sits flush with the spines, and that seamless transition for your page turn gestures and also as you hold the phone, just makes the experience better. screen and page turn buttons as the previous version. And the display is where the biggest improvements are. This 7-inch display is pretty much as good as it gets. The touch response is slick, and the visibility levels are great. There are 25 LEDs front-lighting this E Ink Carta display and that makes for a very evenly illuminated virtual page. You can either manually alter the brightness level depending on what you find comfortable, or simply let the auto-brightness feature do its job.
It is all about the love and warmth. The biggest change has to be the inspiration taken from modern day smartphones. This Kindle Oasis can change the warmth level of the display, from warm light to warm amber—and as many as 24 gradations are available. Just like the Night Mode on smartphones, you can either set it to activate automatically for a preset time of the day or night, or you can manually enable this whenever you wish to. In my opinion, set at 19, this mode is the ideal balance between keeping the harsh blue light in check, and yet retaining the feeling of a paperback change. The less blue light you consume, particularly before hitting the bed, the better it is for your eyes, your sleep cycle and eventually your health. It is all a cascading effect, starting from the screen you use before hitting the bed—there are no two ways about it, and it is better to err on the side of caution.
To be honest, I have never had any complaints about the Kindle displays over the years, and in fact, these e-ink displays have always remained quite easy on the eyes. Yet, once I got used to the warmer display on the latest generation Kindle Oasis, everything else just feels inferior. This is a very subtle change, nothing that one would want to shout about from rooftops and on massive billboards, but one that avid readers would appreciate from the core of their heart.
There are other changes under-the-hood too. For instance, page turns are ever so faster and smoother, the text just feels very crisp and easily readable, but all these are firmly incremental changes that one would expect with generational upgrades. Battery life remains as long as ever, which means you probably need to charge this once every 5 weeks or so, depending on how often you read.
In terms of the design, the one-hand operation remains as robust and convenient as ever. The page turn buttons fall perfectly to hand and even though this tips the scales at around 194 grams, it never feels like a strain on your wrist or elbow as you are engrossed with a page-turner. That is a testament to the finely balanced design. You may be able to take the Kindle Oasis to the bath as well—this has the IPX8 rating which means the Kindle Oasis remains unscathed for up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water. If it accidentally slips from your hand and decides to take a dip in the water, you can be rest assured it will emerge as if nothing has happened.
Then there is the question of how many books can you save on this? Well, there is 32GB internal storage which basically means a lot of books. Wi-Fi is standard across all options, but you can go for the LTE version if you wish to download and read books while traveling.
That said, the Kindle Oasis does seem to be missing a few things that we would have otherwise expected as standard. One is the lack of a USB-C port. The Kindle Oasis still retains a micro-USB port, and it is quite odd for a premium device these days. Then there is the small matter of the Kindle Oasis still restricted to the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks. I had to specially enable the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network on my home router because the Oasis does not support the 5GHz networks, which are now commonplace with TVs, streaming devices, computing devices, phones, tablets and even smart displays such as the Amazon Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub. Finally, the design. While every single gadget that has a display is attempting to slim the bezels around the screen (TVs, laptops, tablets, phones and even smartwatches), the Kindle Oasis has made no such attempt. These wouldn’t have been a big deal otherwise, but the price tags of the latest generation Kindle Oasis does highlight these shortcomings a bit more than otherwise.
There remains no doubt that all things considered, this is the very best display ever to grace a Kindle reader. The latest generation Kindle Oasis remains the most premium Kindle reader you can buy, and perhaps indicate your love for reading to friends, without actually having to cobble that sentiment with words. It has its strong points, including lots of storage and great battery life. But it is hard to shrug off the feeling that it is a tad too familiar to the predecessor. At this time, when design is in focus, it just feels a tad out of place. But all the shortcomings melt away into the background, once you start reading.