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Kindle Oasis review: Amazon's newest e-reader is nearly perfect

Séamus Bellamy | Aug. 15, 2016
The Oasis makes reading a pleasure, but its free 3G only works inside the United States.

oasiscover
Séamus Bellamy: The more abuse the Oasis’ leather battery cover takes, the better it looks.

To boost the Oasis’s run time, Amazon baked a battery into the its cover. The battery cover, available in chestnut brown, black or red leather, will begin to charge the internal battery as soon as it’s magnetically mated to the e-reader’s asymmetrical chassis, significantly boosting your reading time.

Amazon claims that between the Oasis’s two batteries, it’s possible to wring eight weeks of use out of the device, provided you keep your reading to 30 minutes per day and keep the screen lighting turned down to a reasonable level. On average, I read a few hours per day. As such, a month into my using the Oasis, I’ve already had to charge it once.

batterycover
Séamus Bellamy: The Oasis’s battery cover mates to it magnetically.

The edge of the Oasis that the battery cover connects to is wider and deeper than the rest of the device and contains the e-reader’s battery. Why jam the battery into one end of the thing instead of spreading it out flat like you see with other Kindles or tablets? Because doing so allows for a couple of awesome features. First, when the Oasis is not in its cover, its battery bump makes a great handle for one-handed reading.

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Séamus Bellamy: Buttons for turning the pages can be found in the bezel.

The shape and width of the bump is such that when you hold it, your thumb naturally rests on the wide bezel just to the side of the display. It’s a ideal location to place a pair of page-turn buttons—so that’s exactly what Amazon did.

onehand
Séamus Bellamy: An accelerometer makes sure that the text on your Oasis will always be right-side up.

Lump all of this in together and you get a lightweight e-reader that you can comfortably hold with one hand, while still turning pages. And thanks to a built-in accelerometer, the Oasis can be used by left or right handed individuals without compromise. Simply flip the Oasis over and the text on its display and page-turn buttons will adjust to the device’s new orientation. Hate buttons? No problem: You can also control the Oasis via its touchscreen.

Disadvantages

So, that’s the fancy. Let’s talk about the plain.

The Oasis uses the same operating system as Amazon’s other Kindle e-readers; if you have used a Kindle in the past, you’ll find no surprises here. It has the same amount of internal storage as the Paperwhite and Voyage. And, despite having 1GB of RAM—twice that of a current generation Paperwhite—I didn’t notice a huge improvement in performance. None of these things are terrible, but you’d like to think that with it’s costing $190 more than the latest iteration of the 3G-equipped Paperwhite, there’d be a significant boost in performance.

 

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