Hands on: Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review

More of the same, but a much better screen

What is a hands on review?

Early Verdict

This latest version of the Kindle Oasis isn't the biggest tech upgrade we've seen Amazon make, but it has developed the top-end ereader by improving the screen technology vastly. It's still expensive though, so we'd recommend thinking through whether you need all its bells and whistles.

For

  • New warm light
  • Still a premium experience

Against

  • Expensive
  • Still uses microUSB

Amazon’s Kindle Oasis series is arguably the best ereader on the market, and its latest edition looks to be a very limited upgrade on 2017’s version.

It comes with the same ergonomic design, strong battery life and access to Amazon’s Kindle store, but the core upgrade is that the screen tech has improved so it's easier to read at night.

We’ve tried out the Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) for a little while now, and this is our first impression of the ereader ahead of our upcoming full review.

Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) release date and price

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The new Kindle Oasis 2019 was announced in June this year, and it’ll be on sale directly from Amazon on July 30. Other retailers are likely to start stocking the Kindle soon after then.

It’s set to go on sale for the same price as the previous Kindle Oasis, which launched at $249.99 / £229.99 / AU$399 for the 8GB version. 

There's a $279.99 / £259.99 / AU$449 32GB variant, and if you want free mobile internet on your Kindle to download books on the go, you can opt for a more expensive $349.99 / £319.99 / AU$559 Oasis with, again, 32GB of space.

You can expect that price to drop around sales periods like Black Friday, but this is undeniably the most expensive Kindle available right now. It’s far more expensive than a lot of the rest of the range so you'll want to consider if it's the right fit for you before buying one.

Amazon Kindle Oasis design and display

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We'll kick off with the biggest upgrade here, and the improved display technology also doubles as the most interesting element of the new Kindle Oasis. It comes with a warm light for the very first time, which should make for easier reading in dark spaces.

We've tried out the feature - which is easy to activate on the device - and it gives a more orangey tinge to the screen to make it easier to focus on when you're reading at night.

This is a feature that has been sorely missed on the previous Kindle Oasis incarnations, and while you've been able to change the brightness you've quite often had to suffer through the bright white background on the page.

Previously you've been able to invert the colors so you've been reading white text on a black background, but it's unlikely you'll have to use that feature as much if you've got the warm light activated.

The display also has 25 LEDs on this latest version, which should make it markedly brighter considering the last variant had 12 LEDs behind the screen. We've yet to notice the difference in our testing, but we'll be sure to tackle that further during our full review.

Amazon has opted to keep the 7-inch glare-free display with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. It still makes for an easy reading experience, and it offers lots of room for you to be able to look at magazines and comic books as well as the traditional printed word.

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Onto the design of the ereader itself, and it's made of metal, unlike other products in the Kindle range. One side of the ereader is fatter than the other, and it's rounded on the rear to allow you to grip onto the device.

It's a difficult design to get used to at first, but it's something we've gotten comfortable with over time.

It's a premium-feeling ereader with buttons on the edge of the product to help you cycle through pages of the ebooks. You'll be able to buy it in Graphite or Champagne Gold.

The design itself is also IPX8 water-resistant so you'll be able to take this near a swimming pool when you're on holiday without worrying about whether it'll get ruined by the odd splash of water.

Amazon Kindle Oasis features

The Kindle Oasis plugs directly into Amazon's ebook store, which allows you to download titles from one of the biggest libraries of ebooks available right now.

It means you can make the most of the retailer's regular sales, and if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber you even get free books from something called Prime Reading. Then there's also Kindle Unlimited, which allows you to read titles for a monthly fee.

If you've got an Audible subscription, you can also listen to those audiobooks on your ereader by connecting up Bluetooth headphones to your device and listening to it that way.

Amazon's software has gently been tweaked over the years too to offer one of the smoothest ereader experiences you'll find on a product today. 

We'll dive more into the nuances of this in our full review, but the software is remarkably similar to the last Kindle Oasis if you want to know more about it.

Amazon Kindle Oasis battery life

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Amazon hasn't offered a specific estimate of how long the Kindle Oasis 2019 will last, but it does suggest on its website it'll offer "weeks of battery life" from a single charge.

If the previous generation model is anything to go by, it'll last for over a week of reading for a few hours a day. We'll be sure to push this to its limit at the time of our full review.

One thing we have noticed, is how Amazon has included a microUSB slot to recharge the device, which is frustrating given a lot of other devices people own no longer use microUSB.

That means you'll likely have to take a separate cable to recharge your Kindle if you're on holiday, which can be frustrating if your phone uses the more advanced USB-C tech.

Early verdict

It doesn't seem like there's a huge reason to upgrade your existing high-end Kindle (especially if you've bought one in the last few years) to this latest Kindle Oasis, but if you're certain you'll use your ereader a lot and you've been looking to upgrade for a while this latest variant is sure to be the best yet.

The upgrades on this 2019 edition are limited, but if you were going to buy one anyway it's likely this will be one of the best reading experiences around.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.