Amazon launched a revamped model of its Kindle Oasis e-reader on Wednesday. The new gadget will stay the highest-end mannequin in Amazon’s fashionable Kindle collection, but it surely comes with a number of tweaks in comparison with the earlier Oasis, which launched in early 2016.
The reader now has a 7-inch e-ink show, a full inch bigger than its predecessor. Amazon says the show will nonetheless sport 300 pixels per inch, so textual content ought to be simply as sharp as earlier than.
Perhaps essentially the most welcome information for Kindle diehards is that the brand new Oasis is waterproof. Amazon says the gadget is IPX8 rated, which suggests it ought to survive being dunked in additional than two meters of water for as much as 60 minutes. Though it’s lamentable that waterproofing continues to be restricted to Amazon’s priciest Kindle, the addition is lengthy overdue; competing producers like Kobo have bought waterproof e-readers for years now.
The new Oasis retains the identical basic ergonomics because the final mannequin: there’s an enormous, asymmetrical bezel on one facet, full with devoted page-turning buttons and a big hump accompanying it across the again. It’s a tool made explicitly for one-handed use, and we dug the way it was put collectively final 12 months.
Amazon says the brand new mannequin trades final 12 months’s plastic for a largely aluminum end, although, so it might really feel slightly extra premium. The gadget has develop into slightly bit heavier within the course of, leaping from 131 grams to 194 grams, however Amazon says it nonetheless measures a slim three.4mm at its thinnest level.
The first Oasis sacrificed a little bit of battery life to acquire that skinny design—relative to different Kindles, at the very least—however Amazon tried to work round that by pairing the gadget with a removable charging case. Here, the corporate is scaling the case idea again. It’ll nonetheless promote varied covers that double as stands (priced at $45, with leather-based covers priced at $60), however an Amazon spokesperson says the brand new Oasis has a higher-capacity battery that’s projected to rise up to 6 weeks of studying time on a cost. Older Oasis covers is not going to work with the brand new gadget.
Amazon says the brand new Oasis comes with fast-charging assist, too. It didn’t specify a typical, noting solely that the gadget will cost from empty to full inside two hours as long as you utilize a 5W charger. That stated, don’t count on the brand new gadget to final fairly as lengthy by itself as a extra fundamental Kindle.
The gadget itself must also be a bit sooner than earlier than—an Amazon spokesperson stated the brand new mannequin runs on a dual-core 1GHz NXP i.MX7D processor, up from the Cortex-A9 chip within the final Oasis. The new Oasis additionally comes with ambient mild sensors, which had been surprisingly lacking from the final mannequin however ought to now enable the reader’s backlight to mechanically alter to the environment.
All of this comes with the same old Kindle retailer and software program. There’s nonetheless no native assist for open supply EPUB information, and the corporate’s Alexa assistant continues to be nowhere to be discovered, however Amazon’s e-book platform stays large both method.
The large function the corporate is touting is the flexibility to play audiobooks from the gadget by means of its Audible app. Amazon says that can arrive by means of a software program replace when the brand new Oasis ships, however for the reason that reader doesn’t have a headphone jack or built-in audio system, you’ll must hook it as much as a Bluetooth gadget to reap the benefits of the brand new performance. Amazon says the Kindle (2016) and previous Oasis will get this replace as nicely; the favored Kindle Paperwhite is not going to, because it doesn’t assist Bluetooth.
The Oasis continues to be dear for an e-reader however rather less so than earlier than. The gadget now begins at $250 for a mannequin with 8GB of storage and advertisements (or “special offers”), with a 32GB mannequin out there for $280. Those fashions price $270 and $300, respectively, with out advertisements. Another mannequin with 32 GB and mobile connectivity is on the market for $350. The new reader is up for pre-order at the moment and can begin transport on October 31. The earlier Kindle Oasis began at $290 for 4GB of storage.
That’s nonetheless an excellent chunk of change for a tool that’s solely made for one factor. The $120 Kindle Paperwhite will seemingly stay essentially the most wise purchase for many people who find themselves nonetheless keen on an e-reader in 2017, but it surely’s getting old, so the brand new Oasis might make extra sense as a luxurious gadget for e-book lovers who use a Kindle usually and simply need the nicest factor attainable. The measurement increase seems to be to be Amazon’s method of differentiating the Kindle in a world the place large-screen smartphones have gotten the norm, and the addition of waterproofing ought to solely be an excellent factor. We’ll take a look at the brand new Kindle Oasis to see if it may possibly higher justify its asking worth later this month.