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Kindle Oasis review (2019 model): A great high-tech ereader

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Amazon Kindle Oasis

My favorite thing about the Kindle Oasis is its page-turning buttons.

Guillermo Garzon/Business Insider


  • I’ve been reading on Amazon’s Kindle Oasis (2019 model) for almost a full year now, and I maintain that it’s the best ereader you can buy despite its high price.
  • I fully acknowledge that no one needs such an expensive ereader, especially now that the Kindle Paperwhite offers nearly all the same features for $120 less.
  • However, if you read as much as I do, you love ebooks, you find joy in pressing buttons to turn pages, and you want the most modern, high-tech ereader, you won’t regret buying the Oasis.
  • I can also say with confidence that the Oasis will last through years of daily use.
  • I retired my original 2016 Oasis in favor of this new 2019 model about a year ago, but the original model still works perfectly.

 

Back in 2016 when the original Kindle Oasis launched, I fell in love with reading ebooks on an ereader. At that point, I had already been testing ereaders for about two years and I was still lukewarm on the idea of reading ebooks on one.

The Oasis changed the way I read.

It sounds ridiculous, but it came down to one thing: the page-turning buttons.

Finally, I could read one-handed while holding onto a pole in the subway as I trundled along underground to work on my long commute! 

Since then, I’ve never looked back. I read on my original 2016 Kindle Oasis nearly every day for three years — only pausing to review other ereaders in between — until Amazon sent me the 2019 version to review.

Now that I’ve been using it for almost a full year, I can confidently say that it’s better than the original and the second-generation Oasis, largely thanks to its new screen that lets you adjust the color temperature.

Here’s my full review of the Kindle Oasis and everything you need to know about what it’s like to read on a $250 ereader.

  • Screen: 7-inch E INK screen, 25 LED front lights, 300 ppi, adjustable color temperature, 16-level gray scale
  • Size: 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13-0.33 inches (159 x 141 x 3.4-8.4 mm)
  • Weight: 6.6 ounces (188g)
  • Storage: 8GB stores thousands of books or 35 Audible audiobooks; 32GB stores thousands of books or 160 Audible audiobooks
  • Battery Life: Up to six weeks if you read half an hour each day with the light set at level 13 and wireless and Bluetooth off
  • Formats Supported: Native support for Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC, and Audible audio format (AAX) and support after conversion for HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and PMP
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth, LTE (optional)
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty and service or you can get a 1-year2-year, or 3-year Extended Warranty in the US
  • Water resistance: IPX8 rating for submersion in up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) of fresh water for up to 60 minutes

Design and setup

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The Oasis has a modern, slim design that’s great for reading one-handed.

Guillermo Garzon/Business Insider


The design of the Oasis is what sets it apart from every other Kindle Amazon makes. It has a slim design that’s just 0.13 of an inch wide at its narrowest point and 0.33 of an inch wide at its widest point. The aluminum body is well made and durable. The front of the device is flat, smooth glass.

On the thicker side of the Oasis, you’ll find a wider black bezel with two page-turning buttons. It gives you a place to comfortably rest your fingers and your hand while reading, plus, you can use the buttons to turn the page instead of having to swipe on the screen. The screen’s orientation rotates as you turn the device, so you can have the buttons on either the left or right side of your Kindle. I often switch hands while reading, and the switch over is quick and seamless.

Read more: Amazon Kindle review

The Oasis has the highest quality screen of all the Kindles, thanks to its built-in LED lights. It has 25 LED lights, which is five times more than the 5 LED lights you’ll find on the Paperwhite. What that means in real life is that the screen’s lighting looks perfectly uniform and the text looks even crisper than it does on the Paperwhite. The lights are so bright that you can easily read in broad daylight without any issues. The screen’s brightness can also auto-adjust based on the lighting conditions you encounter, and you can alter the screen’s color temperature. I have mine on the warmer end of the light spectrum because it’s easier on my eyes — especially when I read at night.

Like all other Kindles, setting up the Oasis takes very little time and effort. The first step is to charge it until the battery is full, and then you can turn it on, connect to your Wi-Fi, log into your Amazon account (or make one if you don’t have one yet), and start buying and downloading ebooks. You can also add ebooks from your local library or other free ebook sites, like Project Gutenberg in a few steps. For more tips, check out my guide on how to use your Kindle and get free ebooks on it here.

After you have downloaded the ebooks you want, you should turn off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to preserve the battery. You can do so quickly by turning on Airplane mode. 

After that’s done, you can happily read your ebooks for about six weeks before you need to charge it again. Of course, if you keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on or you have the brightness on higher than 13, your battery life will run out faster. Just get into the habit of turning Airplane mode on after you download your ebooks, and you’ll be all set. I rarely need to increase the brightness level above 13, either.

To listen to Audible audiobooks, you’ll have to turn Bluetooth back on so you can connect a pair of wireless headphones to the Oasis and listen to the audio. It will drain your battery more quickly than just reading would. It may shorten the battery life by a couple weeks, depending on how often you use it.

Kindle Oasis

Nobody needs an ereader this fancy, but the Oasis will last through years of daily use.

Malarie Gokey/Business Insider


I find page-turning buttons deeply satisfying. I don’t know what it is — if it’s that pressing the button reminds me of the tactile sensation of turning a physical page or if I just really like buttons. Whatever it is, I love them, and I miss them whenever I test and review ereaders that don’t have them.

The buttons also make it easy to read one-handed, which is key not just when you’re holding onto a subway pole, but also if you want to drink from a mug or snack with one hand while reading with the other. You can’t do that with a physical book or with any other Kindle. Amazon’s main ereader competitor, Kobo does have a more affordable ereader with page-turning buttons called the Kobo Libra H2O, which costs $170. It does not support Amazon Kindle ebooks, but it does support a wide range of ebook formats, including the popular EPUB format.

The slim design and light weight of the Oasis make it easy to hold one-handed for hours on end without getting tired. I like to have a case on my Kindle to keep it safe during my commute and to avoid scratching the screen. Amazon’s cases are good, but you can also find cheaper ones on Amazon.

Read more: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

The Oasis is water resistant, so it’s okay if you accidentally spill water on it, it gets lightly rained on, or it falls into the tub for a short time. So long as it isn’t submerged for more than an hour and the water is no deeper than 6.5 feet and you dry it off after, it will be just fine. Mine has gotten soaked in the rain a few times and I’ve even washed it to sanitize it recently.

Just like every other Kindle, the Oasis has lots of features that make reading fun and interactive. One of my favorite ones is being able to highlight my favorite quotations and share them on Goodreads, a social network for bookworms. It’s a fun way to share my thoughts on books and to remember my favorite passages from them. I also track how many books I read each year and see what my friends are reading to get inspiration.

The entry-level Oasis comes with 8GB of storage, which holds thousands of books or 35 Audible audiobooks. Most people won’t need more than that, plus, you can simply store your other ebooks in the cloud while you’re not reading them. If you want to have a lot of audiobooks downloaded at once, you may want the 32GB option, which stores thousands of books or 160 Audible audiobooks. Still, I wouldn’t recommend getting the 32GB version — you won’t need it.

Kindle Oasis

I’ve been reading on the 2019 Oasis for about a year now, and I enjoy reading on it.

Malarie Gokey/Business Insider


No one needs such a fancy expensive ereader, and the Kindle Paperwhite or entry-level Kindle are much more affordable alternatives that you should also consider. However, if you want the absolute best ereader, you won’t regret spending more on the Oasis. Its modern design, unique page-turning buttons, and well-lit screen make it a joy to read on for hours at a time.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you want the best e-reader money can buy and you don’t mind the high price. If you love page-turning buttons as much as I do, the Oasis is a great choice. The slim modern design also makes it ideal for one-handed reading. However, if you want to save money, we don’t think you’d regret getting the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite instead.

If you have a second-generation Oasis from 2017, you don’t need to upgrade, but if you have the original or an older ereader, the 2019 Oasis is a solid upgrade.

Which model should you get?

If you really hate ads on your lockscreen, you may want to pay extra for the ad-free version, but it’s not necessary, as the ads aren’t really intrusive. The 8GB version offers more than enough storage, so we don’t recommend spending more for the 32GB version.

What are your alternatives?

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a more affordable alternative that’s also water resistant and has a crisp back-lit screen. It lacks the page-turning buttons and the lighting isn’t as high-tech as it is on the Kindle Oasis, but it’s really just as good in every other way. The basic Kindle is also a good option if you want to spend less than $100 on your ereader. If you don’t want to get an Amazon-based ereader but you still want page-turning buttons and you want to save money, we recommend the Kobo Libra H2O, which costs $170. The $120 Kobo Clara HD is another good option that’s more like the Kindle Paperwhite. Kobo is Amazon’s main competitor, and it supports more ebook formats, including EPUB files.

Pros: Page-turning buttons are great for one-handed use, adjustable light color temperature, best lighting on a Kindle, water resistant, access to tons of ebooks, supports many ebook formats, easy to use, comfortable to hold, long battery life, Audible for ebooks

Cons: Expensive, no EPUB format support

Check out more Kindle how-to articles on Business Insider:

 

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