I've always enjoyed reviewing Amazon's Kindles. In the Indian context, Kindles, especially the more expensive ones are not about whether you should buy them. They're more like luxury products, that you buy because you're enticed by the nerdy tech angle to it. It's not a utility product here.
At Rs 21,999, the Kindle Oasis is darn expensive. It's an excellent e-reader, but I've had to spend many a day explaining to people why I love it so much. But even the friends who did agree with me decided to buy the cheaper Kindles. In fact, if you want the 3G version of this, it'll cost you Rs. 28,999, so best of luck!
Why does that make sense? Because a big part of this market is focused on value more than technology. And the fact that you can buy a plethora of books for 22 grand is just inescapable.
So, why exactly am I writing this review? I'm doing that because, in its infinite wisdom, Amazon believes there's a market for this here. And the company has been able to sell some too.
The Kindle Oasis is built completely out of metal. So much so, that it becomes deathly cold in the Delhi winters. It's a solidly built device, with a slight bulge on the left side, on its back. You get an impressive grip because of this and the Oasis feels like you're reading a book with one side folded backwards.
The Oasis also has two buttons on the front left, meant to switch pages. It's a touchscreen system, but you'll never really have to use the touchscreen when reading a book. That is unless you're using the dictionary etc.
It weighs just under 200 grams (194 to be precise), making it easy to carry around and read on. It's also IP68 certified, meaning it will stand both water and dust damage. And all this really makes it the perfect Kindle for the rich and famous. The only real drawback is that while the metal on this device feels premium, it also makes it somewhat slippery.
Using the Kindle Oasis
The Kindle Oasis is all about the absolute best reading experience an e-reader can provide. It has a 7-inch E-Ink Carta HD display with 300 ppi pixel density and 12 LED backlights. Those specs really don't make a mark on paper till you actually use this device.
The display is fast, responsive and doesn't need to refresh between page turns. That last part is what makes the Oasis excellent. You see almost no transitional elements, like you do in other Kindles. Pages change as soon as you press the page turn button, and when you're reading for long hours, that really makes a difference. It just makes the whole experience more intuitive.
For those who prefer the feel of a real book over a machine, this feature alone could convince you. You can not only carry over a thousand books in under 200 grams, you can turn pages almost as intuitively as you do on a real book. It helps you forget that you have a machine in your hand, helping you focus on reading. Yes, yes, I know I didn't convince you Jaipur Lit Fest types. And yes, I do apologise for generalising.
Moving on, the Kindle Oasis supports 16 level grayscale. That and 1GB of RAM make this feel better than any other Kindle. Better grayscale means book covers will look better, while 1GB RAM makes it faster when switching from book to book, or navigating the UI.
The whole point of Amazon's Kindles is to provide a device that lets you forget the world around you and just read. For that, the Kindle Oasis is without a doubt the best there is. Seriously, if you can afford it, buy it.
The Oasis' responsiveness makes it easier to type when required, a welcome feature when typing pesky Wi-Fi passwords. It also has auto-brightness and a "Nightlight" feature, that tweak screen brightness based on ambient light. I used both the features and noticed them at work only when I was actually looking out for them. That's important because visibly changing brightness levels can be really distracting.
My last Kindle was the Kindle Voyage, and the Oasis is a significant step up from that. Yet, I wouldn't call it an "upgrade". Certainly not one that warrants spending this much money. If you're in the market for a high-end Kindle, or your Voyage conked off, the Oasis is your go to.
Bluetooth and audible support
Unlike in other markets, the Indian variant of the Kindle Oasis 2nd generation does not support Audible. So, you can't connect a Bluetooth headset and walk around listening to audiobooks. I don't listen to audiobooks, so it doesn't matter to me. However, it would certainly be a nifty feature to have.
Amazon refused to provide any details on Audible integration on India.
The Indian version does support Bluetooth though, which you can turn on using the VoiceView Screen Reader from the Accessibility settings.
"A single charge lasts up to six weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless and Bluetooth off and the light setting at 10. Battery life will vary based on light settings, wireless usage," - that's straight from Amazon's product page for the Oasis.
Well, I can't yet confirm that. What I can tell you though is that I've been using this for a week on auto brightness and I haven't charged it yet. I started with less than 80% battery in the first place, so things are looking up.
It's been 10 days at the moment, so expect an update here when the battery runs out. While some say the Kindle Oasis doesn't last as long as other Kindles, I see no reason to complain yet.
For the skeptics, the Kindle Oasis is the closest a machine will ever come to convincing you to give up books. For the nerds, this is the best Kindle you can buy, even without Audible support. Barring its price tag, there's really nothing keeping me from buying one of these. So, if you can afford to spend over 20k on an e-reader, this is the one to buy.
For me, I never want to give up the Kindle Oasis.