After moving to ebooks from physical books about four years ago, my Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks library has grown to over 200 ebooks and over 100 audiobooks. I have not read or listened to them all, nor is this anywhere close to others with massive libraries, but due to the amount that I have aqcuired over the years it is hard to leave the ecosystem.
Amazon has made it easy, though, to continue buying Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks by providing access to all of my purchases on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This is the main reason I went with Kindle instead of investing in Apple Books. I like the quality of Apple Books, and it is excellent on the iPad but not having the flexibility to read the books on other devices was an automatic no.
E-Readers are a great alternative to reading physical books. The convenience of having my Kindle ebooks on my iPhone is excellent, but I prefer reading them on an actual Kindle device. I have used the normal Kindle, the Paperwhite (which I reviewed the most current version), the Voyage, and the Oasis.
The longest one that I have used is the Paperwhite, using a previous version before using the one I currently have now. The second most used Kindle was the Voyage. This was my favorite Kindle because of its size, similar to the Paperwhite, but also the first having a flush screen and having physical buttons to turn the page.
The main reason why the Kindle Voyage was my favorite were these pressure-sensitive buttons that provided haptic feedback once you clicked them. You had a way of turning the page without having to touch the screen. Not only was keeping your screen fingerprint free beneficial but one of the most significant negatives about my Paperwhite is inconsistent page-turning.
This is a minor issue but enough to cause me to get frustrated. The actual physical power button on the Paperwhite is another frustration with my current Kindle. The way I hold the Paperwhite puts my finger near the power button on the bottom and, more often than you would think, I hit this button in the middle of reading when adjusting my grip, putting the device to sleep.
I have been reading a lot more during the pandemic, and with my new bedroom setup making my Kindle my new bedside friend, I have been reading ebooks a lot lately. At the beginning of the year, I was reading all of the Harry Potter books, which I talk about in this post, but soon transitioned to baby books like From Dad to Dude, Go-To Guide For New Dads, Expecting Better, Becoming BabyWise, and Crib Sheet — just to name a few.
These minor annoyances have become more significant annoyances leading me to want to try out Amazon’s only available Kindle with physical buttons, the Kindle Oasis. I could get myself a used or refurbished Kindle Voyage again, but I thought I would instead try out Amazon’s new top-of-the-line Kindle and see if it is worth the double price Paperwhite.
I had used the original Oasis briefly when I was in need of a new Kindle years ago but at the time didn’t read as much as I do now, so I felt a Paperwhite was good enough. Now that I am reading more, and plan to keep reading more if my new infant allows it, I wanted to see if my new reading habit would justify the Kindle Oasis’s premium price.
Build Quality and Screen
Compared to the Paperwhite and even the Voyage, the Oasis’s build quality is so much more premium. The aluminum casing and large screen make the other plastic Kindles feel like toys. I have always appreciated the soft touch feeling of the Paperwhite, but holding the Oasis in your hand just feels better.
It is similar to holding an iPhone or an iPad in a plastic case versus having them in your hand naked. The cold aluminum and glass just feel good. This isn’t to say the Paperwhite is awful, but it is hard not to lean towards the Oasis when holding each in one hand.
Technically the Oasis weighs a tad bit more at 6.6 ounces versus the Paperwhite at 6.4 ounces. It is such a slight difference you can’t tell; they both feel very light. Because the Oasis is slightly thicker on one side, the weight distribution makes it feel lighter when holding it in one hand.
The Oasis also shines with its screen. The matte glass is far superior to the matte plastic on the Paperwhite, and with a 7-inch screen compared to the 6-inch, it just feels good while reading. The 300 pixels per inch is crisp on both e-readers, and the brightness is very similar too.
Some people don’t like the larger size of the Oasis since it doesn’t allow you to slip the Kindle in your back pocket like the Paperwhite can. This has never been something that I do, so I prefer the larger screen more than I need it to be compact.
The build quality on the Oasis is hard to beat. Amazon did everything right in making the Oasis it’s top of the line Kindle. If price is not a concern for you and you want the best Kindle Device Amazon offers you will not be disappointed with the design and build of this e-reader.
Comfort and Usability
Other than the build quality differences with the Oasis, one additional area I wanted to talk about was comfort and usability. When choosing to go to an e-reader over physical books, you have to be convinced that it is a better experience. Like my best friend, most will never use a Kindle because they love physical books too much.
Whether I compare the Oasis to the Paperwhite, a paperback, or a hardback book, I feel the comfort of holding the Oasis is sublime. Having the Oasis in one hand for an extended period is no issue at all, and the ability to flip the device around, which also rotates the screen, to use on the other hand is really nice.
Holding the device in one hand and having physical buttons to go forward or back is the main reason I wanted to try out the Oasis again. Holding the Paperwhite in either hand is fine, but trying to turn the page with my left hand was always a pain.
I always hit the back page part of the screen, making me go backward in the book instead of forward. Even with large hands, I could never get in the habit of reaching far enough to hit the screen in the right place. The nice thing about the Oasis is that you have both the physical buttons and the touch screen to choose from.
Holding the device and flipping pages is excellent on the Oasis but another prominent feature providing comfort is the blue light filter. One of the things I started doing was reading my Paperwhite in bed instead of my phone. I have prescription glasses with the blue filter that I would wear to help the blue tint before falling asleep.
With the Oasis having the blue filter tint built-in, you can have the screen gradually become more yellow as the sunsets. You can also manually turn it on or set your schedule on when to turn it on. Either way, reading in low light has been very nice with the Kindle Oasis and provides a much softer light in bed when I am reading while my wife is asleep next to me.
Overall the Oasis is a great device. With an aluminum casing, 7-inch glass screen, physical page buttons, and a slim device, it is hard not to enjoy using the Oasis. It is also expensive, with $249 for a device that only allows you to read and listen to audiobooks. But if you are an avid reader, I think the premium cost is worth it.
The one I got was certified refurbished for only $209 and I plan on selling my Paperwhite for about $80. So the cost of upgrading for me wasn’t so bad for what I am getting. If you read a lot, though, I think the money you save on ebooks over new physical paperbacks or hardbacks should balance out over time.
You also get Bluetooth on the Oasis, which also comes on the new Paperwhite, to listen to audiobooks, but as I mentioned in my review of the Paperwhite, this is not something I would ever do on a Kindle. My iPhone is the best media player for audio, so on top of music and podcast, audiobooks are in constant rotation through my AirPods.
Having to worry about connecting my AirPods or Sony headphones to use a Kindle as my audiobook player would not be a great experience. It doesn’t fit in my pocket, the Bluetooth range is nowhere as good as my AirPods to my iPhone, and since I have my iPhone always on me, it just makes sense to listen to audiobooks from there.
After using the Kindle Oasis for a couple of weeks, you start to see how the benefits outweigh the additional cost. The best part about Kindles is that Amazon supports them for a very long time too. So your investment will last awhile. I know some who have had kindles for over 10 years, which if you kept this Oasis for that long would be about $25 a year — a lot less than new hardback books for sale.
So if you are in the market for an e-reader and already own Kindle ebooks, I would recommend looking at getting a Kindle. I always recommend the Paperwhite since it is the best entry device, but if you read a lot and the idea of moving away from physical books to an e-reader is difficult, look at the Oasis since the premium features of it will have you forgetting all about paper and ink.