Like Apple's iPhone, Amazon's Kindle turns 10 this year. And to mark that 10th anniversary, Amazon is releasing the best Kindle yet, the "all-new" Kindle Oasis. The first fully waterproof Kindle, it features a larger 7-inch E Ink display, a very slim design and an aluminum back. It also marks the return of Audible audiobook support to the Kindle platform.
The new Kindle Oasis may not be as expensive as the the iPhone X, but it's quite expensive for an e-reader, starting at $250 for the model with 8GB of storage, going up to $350 for a 32GB model with cellular connectivity, which has all-you-can-eat cellular data for the lifetime of the device included in that price. All versions are available today for preorder globally, with an initial ship date set for Oct. 31.
See US pricing | See UK pricing | See Australia pricing
Amazon Kindle Oasis prices
|32GB + data||$350||£320||$AU529|
Bigger screen and battery
When you first see the new Oasis, the thing that jumps out at you is that larger 7-inch, 300 pixel-per-inch (ppi) display. Amazon says it's the largest Kindle display with that level of resolution. Compared to the original Oasis' 6-inch display, which was also 300 ppi resolution, it provides slightly more than 30 percent extra screen real estate. That's a significant difference.
The other big change is to the battery. The original Oasis had a small battery built into the device and a larger one built into the included case, which attached to the e-reader magnetically. With the new Kindle Oasis, the larger battery is integrated into the device itself and Amazon has made the case an optional accessory that starts at $40. It also adheres magnetically but isn't a charging case.
The new Oasis tapers down to 3.4mm at its thinnest point and weighs in at 194 grams (6.8 ounces) -- 10 grams lighter than the Paperwhite, which has a 6-inch display. Amazon says the display's cover glass is the strongest to date, and the new dual-core 1GHz processor (with 512MB of RAM) is the zippiest too, giving you slightly faster page turns. You can either turn pages using the physical page turn buttons -- you can hold the device in your left or right hand -- or tap the screen.
In my limited time with the device, I found it comfortable to hold -- it's well balanced -- and the touchscreen is quite responsive. The text on the screen was sharp and had excellent contrast.
It's worth noting that the integrated lighting scheme now features 12 LEDs instead of the 10 found on the original Oasis. The extra LEDs appear to help the light splay across the screen a little more uniformly (some people get distracted by any flaws or shadows in the lighting scheme), they adjust to ambient light conditions. I haven't yet been able to compare the new Oasis with the original, however, so I can't tell you exactly how much better the new lighting scheme is.
Audible on board
The other big addition is support for Audible playback on the device. There's no headphone jack, but there is Bluetooth connectivity that allows to connect the new Oasis to a Bluetooth headphone or speaker. If you have the license to the Audible version of a book you're reading on the Kindle, you can toggle between the Audible version and the e-book versions. However, you can't have the book's text appear while you're listening to the audible version.
For those who bought the original Oasis, despair not: Audible support is coming to the original Oasis via a software upgrade. It's also coming coming to the most recent entry-level Kindle. Both those models -- and only those models -- have Bluetooth, with the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage missing out.
We'll have a full review of the new Kindle Oasis in a few weeks. For now, here's a look at a few of its other new features, according to Amazon:
- New font size and bold settings: The new Oasis offers 14 total font sizes, plus five boldness levels.
- New accessibility options: "In addition to the OpenDyslexic font, Amazon has added a feature to invert black and white on the display if you have light sensitivity. And the new Enlarged Display option lets you increase the size of items like the text on the home screen and library as well as the book icons to make them easier to read."
- New ragged right alignment option: "You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text instead of justified (aligned on both left and right margin)."
- With an IPX8 waterproof rating, the new Kindle can be fully submerged in water.
- Amazon says the Oasis' battery life can be measured in "weeks," and its fast-charging capability is designed to go from zero to 100 percent capacity in 2 hours.