Kindle Oasis (2019) review: Top Kindle e-reader approaches pricey perfection

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The Good The Kindle Oasis has been upgraded with a new color-adjustable integrated light and is a touch lighter and zippier. It's fully waterproof (it can be submerged) and can play your Audible audiobooks to Bluetooth headphones or speakers.

The Bad It's expensive, and no case is included. It still uses Micro-USB charging instead of USB-C.

The Bottom Line The Paperwhite remains the better overall value, but the updated Kindle Oasis secures its position as the best e-reader if price is no object.

9.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Ecosystem 10
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9

The Kindle Oasis, Amazon's top-of-the-line E Ink e-reader, has been updated for 2019. I wish I could tell you that it's been upgraded in a major way, but for better or worse the "all-new" Kindle Oasis is very similar to the previous Kindle Oasis except for one key difference: It has a new color-adjustable integrated light that allows you to customize the color tone from cool to warm, depending on whether you're reading during the day or at night. You can also schedule the screen warmth to update automatically with sunrise and sunset -- not unlike Night Shift mode on Apple devices.

Available in Graphite or Champagne Gold colors, the new Kindle Oasis costs the same as the previous version: $250 (£230, AU$399) for the 8GB version and $280 for 32GB. Six months of Kindle Unlimited Service, Amazon's version of Netflix for e-books and audiobooks, is included for free. It costs $10 (£8, AU$14) a month after the six months is up.

The new color-adjustable lighting scheme.

David Carnoy/CNET

Aside from the new lighting feature, there are some small design changes. The 2019 model is still made out of aluminum but the previous model had a set of magnets in the rear housing that has been removed in this model, reducing its weight by 6 grams (188 versus 194 grams), which is about a fifth of an ounce. Those magnets allowed Amazon's previous generation magnetized cover to stick to the back. Now it doesn't.  

Read more: The best gifts for readers in 2019: iPad, Kindle vs. Fire and more

Instead of only partially covering the back of the Kindle (a design flaw), the cases for the new Oasis cover the whole back and sides of the device and are backward-compatible with the previous-generation Oasis. Amazon-branded Oasis (2019) cases range in price from $40 for the "water-safe" fabric covers to $65 for the leather option. Third-party cases cost less -- sometimes much less.

To be clear, although Amazon calls it a "color-adjustable" light, the fully waterproof (IPX8-certified) Oasis has a sharp 300 pixel per inch 7-inch monochrome display. That's larger than the 6-inch display found on the step-down Paperwhite, which is also fully waterproof and remains the best value when it comes to Kindle e-readers. There's no doubt the Oasis has better curb appeal, however -- it's certainly a sleek-looking e-reader.