The Amazon Kindle is in a space of its own. Across the world it has replaced traditional books, bookshelves and libraries with its e-ink displays, ability access and store titles. Over the years, all competition seems to have been relegated to the history books. But that hasn’t stopped Amazon from pushing the envelope with its Kindle series. Now it is back with the latest version of the Kindle Oasis, its top-end e-reader.
Amazon claims the new Kindle Oasis (2017) is the best they have ever made. It is certainly the thinnest and lightest to have come out of the Kindle stable. But there is more to this new device. It has a 7-inch display now, that too with 300 ppi. So it is the brightest, sharpest Kindle display ever. And if you feel so, take this Kindle to the tub or pool and the IPX8 rating means water can’t really spoil your read.
What is good?
The design makes it great for those who love long reads. I have always felt my hands tire after a few hours, even with regular books. And though most Kindles have been light, it does get to you after a while. With the Oasis becoming lighter, it’s going to be easier and less of a pain. This is also a very sturdy device, despite its thin chassis. The glass can withstand the rigours of being inside your manbag with all sorts of sharp objects.
The display is really good and soft on the eyes. In fact, there is a reverse mode with better accessibility. It is also great for those who just love to read while on black. As a reader you get more controls from brightness to size of the font, even bolder text. And, yes, there is a right align option for those typo nazis who just can’t justify a book without it. Trust me, this does make a different to a lot of us. You can also adjust the brightness manually, or just put in on auto to let the sensor do its job.
With 8 GB in the Kindle, there is more storage. Now, you can pack in so many books that on a short Delhi-Mumbai flight, the two hours are spent just figuring out what to read. But as a regular user, my tip is to get a Kindle Unlimited subscription instead of buying each title you want to read.
What is not that good?
My biggest issue with the new Kindle Oasis is that it is a very slippery device. It’s early winters in Delhi and with dry hands, the Oasis just slips off your hands if you are not careful. In fact, on a flight I kept it on the tray and it kept sliding off as I hadn’t realised that the aircraft was still climbing. So you will need to get a good cover for this one, more to give you a better grip than to protect the device.
The new Kindle Oasis offers fast charging and can go to 100% storage in under two hours. But in a world where smartphones charge up in 30 minutes, this is a rather long wait. Also, it is usually when you are in a hurry to catch a flight or to read a few pages before you sleep that you realise that the Kindle is without charge. So for me this fast charge is not really faster.
Unless you have Amazon Pay balance, it is still a bit hard to buy a book quickly—for me again this is a last-minute decision, often when the plane is taxiing for take-off. Though this is more of a market hurdle, Amazon could think of a solution that makes it easier. Also, with the Kindle store being so heavily localised, discovering new books from around the world is a pain. My Kindle home page is full of Ruskin Bond and Harry Potter. If I just needed to see what the Wheeler store at the railway station has to offer, then I wouldn’t really invest in a Kindle.
Should you buy?
Well, this is clearly the most premium Kindle you can buy. It is also the thinnest, lightest, brightest and most advanced Kindle ever. But all that comes at a price and I am not convinced the premium really makes sense when the more affordable Kindles do such a good job. Anyway, if you are the type to pay a premium for a hardbound when the paperback has already hit the shelf, then this is the device to buy. It will be like reading an Orhan Pamuk in a metro compartment where everyone has an Alchemist in their hand.
Estimated street price: Rs 21,999 onwards