The back of the new Kindle Oasis is aluminum, which gives it a premium look and feel. It's an update to a product that was best in its class a year ago; a product so good it was hard to to see how the company could improve it. I certainly didn't expect it to update it for some time to come. The less expensive Kindle Voyage had an ambient light sensor, but it was oddly missing on the 1st-gen Oasis - Amazon has rectified that here, adding twin sensors that automatically raise and lower the light brightness to suit your surroundings. It's an across-the-board revamp, with a larger 7in display, better battery life, water resistance and one brand-new, killer feature: support for Audible audiobooks.
For one, the screen is now an inch bigger sitting at 7-inches.
Another first for the new Oasis?
The new version has a string of changes created to improve on last year's model including a more detailed screen, a night mode that switches text to white on a black background, and an aluminium design instead of plastic. Amazon's definition of this is (the 8 designation is a bit of a moving feast, and typically defined by the standards body in agreement with the manufacturer) that it'll survive complete immersion in up to 2m of water for 60 minutes.
Amazon has been notoriously coy when it comes to saying how many units of Kindle it has sold - which was the first piece of hardware Amazon ever made and sold- but Kevin Keith, Amazon's general manager of devices, said in an interview that sales are still "quite good", with "tens of millions" sold. It's sharp at 300 pixels per inch, meaning both the written word and comics look good on the display. From normal reading distances, I couldn't see jaggies and you won't be able to either. Plus, Amazon has added a couple of extra LEDs for a more even lighting effect. You can make the display invert black and white, giving it a black background and white text.
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The real reason for this thicker part is to house the battery, but this time there's no ugly case connector on the rear and overall it looks superior to the original version.
Unlike last year's Kindle Oasis, which used a magnetic case you attached to the e-reader to extend its battery life, the new Oasis relies entirely on its built-in battery.
As I found when I tried the new Kindle Oasis out myself, page turns are significantly swifter than we've seen on previous Kindle models.
Nevertheless, it's still a handy feature to have, particularly for anyone who drives a lot for work. At it's thinnest point it measures an impressive 3.4mm. While Kobo is now into its second generation of bath-proof devices, Amazon has only just introduced the feature - and then it's only the latest, pricey flagship Kindle Oasis that benefits. Instead you can find covers to protect your Kindle, but there are no battery cases available for this model.
The Kindle Oasis sports built-in Audible.com support, which means it can read books to you so long as you have an Audible subscription (or own an audio copy of the book through Audible.) You can pair the Oasis with a Bluetooth speaker, tap a button, and it starts reading right from where you stopped.