It’s been about a year and Jeff Bezo’s “Last Kindle You’ll Ever Have To Buy” has gotten a major upgrade to become the next “Last Kindle You’ll Ever Have To Buy.”
All-New Kindle Oasis
Let’s not bury the lead, the biggest news is that the all-new Kindle Oasis (which is just called the “All-New Kindle Oasis?” That’s not awkward) is waterproof. With an IPX8 rating, you can completely submerge the Kindle Oasis in fresh water for up to 60 minutes at a depth of up to 2 meters without it dying. But the important distinction is that, while the new Kindle Oasis can handle being splashed and submerged, you’re not going to get any reading done underwater. You might not be able to read in overly wet environments either – there are widespread accounts of water drops triggering the touchscreen. It makes sense, water conducts electricity just like fingertips. Still, it’s nice to know I can take the new Oasis to the beach or pool and not freak out if it gets splashed.
Judging a Kindle by its Cover
After hearing about the new submersible tricks, my next thought was “what about the leather charging cover?” Obviously that’s not going to stand up well to getting soaked. Well, the easy answer is that there is no more charging cover. Amazon has released water-safe fabric covers with a kickstand feature like the Kindle Voyage’s origami cover. If you still prefer leather, there are non-waterproof leather versions.
The new Kindle Oasis is bigger, now sporting a 7-inch 300dpi display – a full inch bigger than any other Kindle display (even though the device is still smaller than even the Kindle Voyage). All that extra space gives the new Oasis plenty of room for a larger battery.
Some of that extra space is taken up by the larger on-board storage. You can now get the Kindle Oasis in 8GB and 32GB capacities, letting you store up to 160 Audible books (on the 32GB device) and, for the first time, stream them to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones.
All-New Kindle Oasis vs. Original Kindle Oasis
Besides being larger and not having to rely on the charging cover, the new Oasis also now features adaptive backlighting, one of my favorite features of the Voyage and one of my sole black marks against the original Oasis. Now, ambient light sensors will dim the backlight on the Paperwhite screen to provide the right amount of illumination for your reading conditions. In practice it’s not quite as responsive as the Voyage’s adaptive backlight, but I still works as expected.
The new Oasis is a little bulkier in-hand, but I’m a fan of the larger screen. And the non-symmetric design is still perfect for one-handed reading. Without the weight of the battery in the cover, it’s even a little better than the original Oasis was.
All New Kindle Oasis vs. Kindle Voyage
With the new origami-esque cover and brighter, larger screen, the All-New Kindle Oasis demolishes any residual reasons I had for recommending the Voyage over the Oasis last year (except maybe the price, we’ll get to that in a second). I prefer the thumb buttons of the Oasis to the pressure-sensitive sides of the Voyage, since they’re harder to trigger accidentally. With the addition of Bluetooth and double the amount of storage by default, the Oasis has finally cemented itself undeniably as the top-tier Kindle.
Which Kindle Reigns Supreme?
Now for the really good part. Not having to include a cover has made the all-new Kindle Oasis much more affordable. It starts at $249.99 for the 8GB model with WiFi and Special Offers enabled. Bumping the storage up to 32GB gooses the price to $279. Incidentally, if you want WiFi with free cellular connectivity, you’ll have to choose a 32GB option for $349.99 (the nice thing is that this option automatically gets rid of the Special Offers). It’s worth noting that, even at that maxed-out price, the All-New Kindle Oasis is still $10 less than the original Kindle Oasis.
Of course, that’s sans cover (the original Oasis still comes with a cover included) – the leather covers are currently $39.99 a piece. Water-safe fabric covers are $29.99 right now. I like both quite a bit. They complete the feel of the device in my hand and the textured fabric cover is attractive and feels good on your fingers. Despite there being a lot of complaints about the leather marking easily, I expect that from a heavily-used piece of leather. Personally, I find myself using the leather more than the fabric when I’m at home.