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When Amazon released the Kindle Oasis in April 2016, nearly everyone balked at the price tag. $300 for an e-reader? I don’t think so. The cost was an immediate turn-off for most Kindle fans, and many never gave the device a second glance.
After all, the basic Kindle can be had for close to $60, and that is, without a doubt, a much easier pill to swallow at a fraction of the cost.
But once you get over the initial shock of the Oasis’s unusually high price, I think you’ll find that it actually offers a lot — enough to justify the price at least, but depending on your needs, you might even consider it great value.
Here’s why you should seriously consider buying the Kindle Oasis, assuming you have the money to afford it.
1. It’s More Comfortable to Hold
The biggest difference between the Oasis and all other Kindle models is its new ergonomic design. Instead of looking like every other flat tablet device out there, it’s thick on one side and thin everywhere else.
This makes the Oasis far more comfortable to hold. It’s the same reason why compact cameras are uncomfortable for long sessions and why higher-end DSLRs are chunkier on the hand-held side — it makes it easier to grip.
For some reason, people have been downplaying just how useful this new design can be. Until now, the main benefit of e-readers over tablets has been the screen technology. This new grip is another point in favor of e-readers.
It also goes hand-in-hand with Amazon’s decision to move the screen off-center. The thicker side of the Oasis now has more of a margin as well, giving you more space for your thumb without having to worry about touching the screen.
This also means that the device’s center of gravity is more towards the hand-held side, which means the weight is centered in your palm, not on your fingers. This shift in balance is subtle, but you’ll notice it during longer reading sessions (say, 15 minutes or more).
And just because the device is weighted to one side doesn’t mean you have to use one hand or the other. The screen flips depending on which hand you use. It’s a small touch that can make all the difference in the world.
I probably sound like a salesman at this point, so allow me to acknowledge that these features aren’t massively innovative. At the end of the day, it’s still just a Kindle — but the small details do add up.
On top of all this, it’s the smallest, thinnest, and lightest model yet. Compared to the Paperwhite, it’s 38 percent lighter, 64 percent thinner (not including the grip), and 13 percent smaller by area. Not insignificant by any stretch.
2. It Has Incredible Battery Life
Kindles have always had outstanding battery life, which is one of many reasons why e-readers are preferable to tablets for lengthy reading sessions. Yet somehow Amazon managed to take it to the next level.
The Oasis comes with a “charging cover,” which is as simple as it sounds: a normal protective cover with a built-in battery pack that you can dock your Oasis onto. When docked, the pack charges the device. Easy.
If you consider both batteries — the one in the body and the one in the cover — then you can expect it to last about eight weeks on a single charge (assuming 30 minutes per day, light setting at 10, wireless off). Without the cover you can expect it to last for about three weeks.
The Oasis also has a new hibernation mode that detects when you’ve stopped reading and responds by putting the device to sleep, which helps extend battery life for those who aren’t diligent enough about turning it off when they stop reading.
And for those who are curious, the Oasis charges from zero to full in about three hours via USB cable. Charging the Oasis while docked will also charge the cover.
3. It Oozes Luxury and Status
I know it sounds weird that anyone would ever flaunt their status with an e-reader, but I dare you to look at the Kindle Oasis in all of its glory and not feel a little bit jealous of the people who own one.
Whether you want an Oasis or not, you can’t deny that it looks great and definitely has more class than any of the other Kindle models, all of which lean more towards the “bland but practical” end of the spectrum.
The charging cover isn’t just a normal cover. It’s made of leather and comes in three beautiful varieties: Walnut, Black, and Merlot (as shown below).
That might not be good news if you’re boycotting leather for personal reasons, but for everyone else, it must be said that the leather does feel good in the hands. And what says “opulence” more than leather? Not much.
That’s really what the Oasis comes down to. Opulence. Luxury. Buying something that offers more than you actually need just because you can afford it. In that sense, it’s similar to the Apple Watch and a lot of smart home gadgets.
Want to feel rich while reading your eBooks? Or maybe show off your status without being overly tactless? The Oasis neatly hits that sweet spot.
Is the Kindle Oasis Right for You?
To recap, here’s a summary of what you get by paying $200 extra for the Kindle Oasis over the Kindle Paperwhite:
- Ergonomic grip and design.
- Smaller, lighter, thinner.
- More than twice the battery life.
- More LEDs for consistent page lighting.
- Leather charging cover.
- Page turning buttons.
The Kindle Oasis is clearly made for enthusiasts and power readers. If you think you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of it, then it’s absolutely worth the bump in price. Your hands will thank you.
For everyone else, the other Kindle models provide more than enough value for what they offer. You’ll miss out on the luxury aspects of the Oasis, of course, but you’ll be more than happy with the Paperwhite if you’re a casual reader.
What do you think of the Kindle Oasis? Is it worth buying for the convenience, status, and ergonomics? Or is it utterly unjustifiable no matter what? Please let us know in the comments below!