Kindle Oasis: 5 Things to Know About Amazon’s New Kindle

Amazon’s new Kindle, the Kindle Oasis is the company’s most daring Kindle yet. With an all-new design and a strange new cover, here’s what you need to know.

This week, after a few leaks on the organization’s various international sites, Amazon announced a new Kindle. Unlike the previous generations, this model isn’t an iterative device, created by making the last year’s Kindle just a little bit better.

Kindle Oasis 2No, the Kindle Oasis features a wildly different design. most notably, the new Kindle is much thinner than previous editions, with a taper across the rear of the device; the thinnest part measures just 3.3mm thick, or less than half the thickness of a new iPhone. The battery is stuffed into the right side of the Kindle, creating a hump that makes the device easier to hold.

Kindle Oasis: Price

Perhaps the most important question to ask about the new Kindle Oasis is: how much does it cost. In this respect, the Oasis has much more in common with the Kindles of old than it does with today’s affordable models. Amazon is pricing it at $310 for the base model. An optional 3G model is available for an additional $70 more.

In Canada, you can expect to pay $399 for the Kindle Oasis with Wi-Fi, and $499 for the Oasis with both Wi-Fi and 3G. In the U.S., you can save $20 off of the high price by accepting Amazon’s “Special Offers” functionality, which puts ads onto your device’s lock screen and a few other areas.

Kindle Oasis 1The Special Offers sound like a frustrating experience, but on the e-ink Kindles, they’re really not so bad – if you’re an Amazon fan, you may actually like the functionality, since Amazon often extends some pretty attractive deals to those who agree to its advertising.

Kindle Oasis: Release Date

You can pre-order the new Kindle starting today. Amazon isn’t officially releasing the new models until April 27th, which is two weeks from now. If you pre-order either the Wi-Fi or 3G models right now, your device should ship by the 27th (Amazon hasn’t said whether they’ll ship earlier so that you get your Kindle on the 27th).

The company is expecting high demand, however, and is already tempering delivery expectations. On the Oasis page, Amazon notes that, “Due to popular demand, some configurations will ship after April 27th,” noting that you’ll get a revised shipping estimate on the checkout page. If you decide to pre-order, make sure you check to see when your Kindle will arrive.

Kindle Oasis: Features

The new Kindle is such a drastic departure from the current models, it’s hard to decide which of its features are the most noteworthy. We mentioned earlier that this is the thinnest Kindle yet, a fact that Amazon is really pushing. That’s mostly true; it’s the thinnest Kindle in the same way that Apple’s MacBook Air was the thinnest laptop for a while – parts of the device are a normal thickness, and parts are very thin.

Kindle Oasis 4Inside, the Oasis’ display is powered by an e-ink display that’s very likely the same models inside of Amazon’s Paperwhite and Voyage Kindle models. That means you’ll get a 1440 x 1080 display, with an average pixel density of 300ppi; the Oasis should look nearly as sharp as any modern, high-end smartphone.

One way the screen is different is when it comes to the frontlighting system. Base Kindles have no built-in lights; the Kindle Paperwhite features four LEDs, the Kindle Voyage features 6 with a light sensor, and the new Oasis has 10 LEDs, which should make the lighting much more consistent than in prior years, which featured models with patchy spots in the light.

Kindle Oasis 3This new e-reader features a touchscreen for navigation, like Kindles have had for years, but it also brings back another old idea: page turn buttons. That’s probably a result of this Kindle’s design – instead of being centered across the face of the unit, it features a noticeable shift to the left. Southpaws won’t have to worry, however, as there’s an accelerometer inside that will flip the display so that you can use it in your left hand, too.

Battery life is hard to nail down for the Oasis, thanks to Amazon’s inclusion of a proprietary, external battery. When used in conjunction with both batteries, the new Kindle purports to deliver a battery life of “months”, which is a noticeable upgrade over prior Kindles’ “weeks” of battery. Amazon is promising, however, that you’ll be able to fully charge the Kindle in just three hours, which is a nice touch in comparison to some mobile devices (looking at you, iPad Pro).

Kindle Oasis: Accessories

You probably perked up at the mention of an external battery case, and it’s true – Amazon is included one of these stylish leather cases in the box along with every Kindle Oasis. That’s probably one of the reasons why the starting price point of the new model is so much higher than for previous devices.

You’ll be able to purchase the Kindle with your choice of either Black, Merlot (a wine red color), or Walnut shades of leather (Canadians get black only); if previous cases are any indication, you can expect Amazon to do a really nice job on how the case feels.

Kindle Oasis 5Twelve magnets are built into the cover, making it very secure – this Kindle isn’t going to pop out of its case – while giving you the ability to easily remove it if you want to use a lighter Kindle around the house. Much like the iPad, when the case attached to the device, you can wake up and put your Kindle to sleep just by opening and shutting the cover.

This new battery cover doesn’t seem to be able to charge on its own, meaning you’ll need to put it on the Kindle and plug that in, at which point both batteries will be charged. Having said that, you shouldn’t need to charge either battery very often; in addition to the 20 months of standby battery life that Amazon is estimating, a new hibernation mode will drop your battery use even more when you aren’t reading.

In the box, all you’ll get is the Kindle, battery cover, and a USB 2.0 charging cable. Amazon suggests picking up an overpriced, $20 USB charger when you check out, but you can use any of the chargers you got with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device – or just charge it on your computer.

Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Voyage

With the introduction of the new Kindle Oasis, Amazon now has Kindles available at a range of price points. You can pick up the base model, which still gets you weeks of battery life, for just $100, the Kindle Paperwhite costs $140, the Kindle Voyage costs $220, and the Oasis is $310 (Amazon lists the default price as including Special Offers, which drops the price by $20 on each model).

KindleKindle PaperwhiteKindle VoyageKindle Oasis
Price$100$140$220$310
Page turningTouchscreenTouch + PagePressTouch + Buttons
Screen size6 inches
Resolution800 x 6001440 x 1080
Pixel density167 ppi300 ppi
Battery lifeUp to 4 weeksUp to 6 weeksUp to 8 weeks
WirelessWi-FiWi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
Weight191g205g (3G: 217g)180g (3G: 188g)131g (3G: 133g)
Dimensions169 x 119 x 10.2 mm169 x 117 x 9.1 mm162 x 115 x 7.6 mm143 x 122 x 3.4 – 8.5mm
Storage4GB with unlimited online storage for Amazon-purchased books

Note: the weight in the above table doesn’t include the Kindle Oasis battery cover: that adds an extra 107g, making the weight of the Oasis plus cover a whopping 240g, or the heaviest Kindle in the lineup. Battery life is estimated with a daily reading time of 30 minutes; depending on how often you use the backlight or wireless access, your battery life might be lower.

11 Comments

  1. Marciajsalcido

    04/13/2016 at 7:47 pm

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  2. Betsy True

    04/14/2016 at 4:32 am

    Note that your comment about the Oasis being the heaviest Kindle in the lineup is very misleading as the other Kindles do NOT come with cases. As a point of comparison, my Kindle Voyage (180g) weighs 268 grams with its cover, chosen as one of the lightest covers available. My backup, a Kindle Paperwhite (205g), weighs 300g in its third-party cover, also one of the lighter choices available for that device. For the record, I am a moderator at the largest independent Kindle forum in the US, http://www.kboards.com.

    Reply

  3. Kindle user

    04/16/2016 at 3:03 am

    Hi Betty, but you can read the Voyage for six weeks (half an hour a day no WiFi mid lights – usual caveats Amazon uses, that people should really take on board). But the Oasis, sans cover is only going to give you two weeks (ie, 7 hours, no WiFi, mid light – considerably less than that if you keep WiFi on). So factoring in cover weight is relevant. Think how many people just use sleeves on Voyage and PW.

    As far as I can see, and so far we have no real life reviews, the new ergonomic design, which is the real benefit, is nullified by the severely limited battery life

    if you don’t use the case.

    Not the situation with the Voyage. So one can argue case with Voyage is optional. Less so with Oasis. And you can’t even charge the case without the device being in it.

    The case is much more integral to the Oasis than to the Voyage, adds real weight and means the form goes back to being a flat back.

    Seems like there’s no light sensor, and it is hard to imagine physical buttons that are totally silent….

    It’s good that there are choices, but I do hope people comprehend the battery situation. 20 months on standby…. Who is going to spend this sort of money on a reader and then not open it for nearly two years? I don’t get that selling point.

    Reply

  4. Timothy Hoff

    04/16/2016 at 6:25 pm

    Although the Kindle Oasis weighs what you term “a whopping” 240 grams with its cover, the Kindle Voyage with an Amazon Kindle cover actually weighs more: 323.2 grams.

    Reply

  5. tigresslily

    04/17/2016 at 1:52 pm

    Why is it that Canadians do not have the same colour options for the cover? It might sound like a minor detail, but I would like a Merlot cover, and considering the hefty price-tag, I think we should have the same selection. I would have pre-ordered, but will wait and see for now; Canadians always get shafted in the Kindle arena it seems.

    Reply

  6. Arcquist

    04/18/2016 at 6:18 pm

    The crazy thing is every other Amazon website I checked had all 3 colors. UK, France, Germany, etc. No clue why the color would matter in Canada. I tried to contact support about how to get a Merlot one but they gave generic responses indicating it wasn’t available and black was available… Managed to talk myself into a $400 ereader and Amazon makes it hard to take my money lol. First world problems I guess.

    Reply

  7. Dave M

    04/19/2016 at 8:19 pm

    Just preordered – Shipping date in September – to have a 4-5 month estimated ship date is a bit ludicrous. Either the Fire phone fiasco tempered their supply, or they are woefully unprepared for the demand. Even Apple’s worst delays are 6-8 weeks at the most, not 16-20 weeks…

    Reply

  8. Vickie O

    05/06/2016 at 1:12 pm

    Just received my Oasis. It’s awesome. It’s very light weight, and small. It will be easy to carry. I am still learning about the device, and will probably some features to figure out, As for covers, well I wanted merlot, ordered it and had a Sep delivery date. I opted for black and received in less than 2 weeks.

    Reply

  9. Jeanne Currie Welch

    05/08/2016 at 8:00 pm

    Have received the Oasis and love the size and weight. I had preordered the Merlot case and got an August 27th ship date. I switched to a black case and got my Oasis is 2 days.

    Reply

  10. Evelyn Mills-Murtagh

    08/11/2016 at 3:15 am

    I need to know if I can backup all my unread books and samples from my paper white to my new oasis, if I get one.

    Reply

  11. Nancy

    01/30/2017 at 4:48 am

    J.R. Nelson – in terms of weight (Oasis plus cover), would you consider the Kindle Voyage to be a better buy? I’m not so concerned with needing months of battery life as I work from home, plus electric outlets are everywhere these days. Thank you in advance.

    Reply

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