How do you improve on something that is already the best in the market? That is the question Amazon had to ask itself with the Kindle Oasis 2019. It debuted earlier this year, and while there you may not make out any differences in design from its predecessor, there are a few notable features.
Of course, you don't need to buy an Oasis if you're looking to get started with e-readers. Amazon has devices starting from $80 that are good enough for reading on the go. With the Oasis, it's all about getting the best possible features: it has the highest number of LEDs, the largest screen of any Kindle, and physical page turn buttons.
With the Oasis 2019 coming in at nearly twice the price of the Kindle Paperwhite, do these extras justify the added cost? Let's take a look.
The best around
Kindle Oasis 2019
Bottom line: The Kindle Oasis 2019 builds on the strengths of its predecessor with a great new warm light feature that makes it so much more convenient to read at night. The 7-inch e-ink screen is fantastic for reading books, you get physical page turn buttons, IPX8 dust and water resistance, and weeks-long battery life. If you want the best e-reader, look no further.
- Warm light is a fantastic addition
- Welcome design tweaks
- Physical page turn buttons
- Large 7-inch screen
- IPX8 dust and water resistance
- Audible integration
- Still uses Micro-USB
- Doesn't connect to 5GHz Wi-Fi networks
Kindle Oasis 2019 What I love
In terms of design, the Oasis 2019 is nearly unchanged from its predecessor. It has the same aluminum chassis, physical buttons on the right side, and the same asymmetrical design with a "spine" to one side that houses the battery and the internals.
And like last time, what makes the Oasis 2019 stand out is the screen. The 7-inch e-ink screen is larger than that of other Kindles, and while it has the same 300PPI pixel density, the Oasis has 25 embedded LEDs that provide a much more uniform backlighting.
Adjustable warm light fundamentally changes how you read books.
That's just the start — the Oasis 2019 has adjustable warm light that makes it much more convenient to use at night. If you've ever used a Kindle in a low-light environment, you know that it isn't particularly conducive as the default color balance skews cooler. The Oasis 2019 changes all of that. The warm light is significantly easier on the eyes, and you can adjust the intensity of the filter based on your needs. You can set the warm tone to kick in automatically from sunset to sunrise, but I left it on during the day as well.
I've been using the Oasis 2019 for just over a month, and the warm light makes a huge difference. Using it side-by-side with the Oasis 2017 it's immediately evident just how much of a difference there is, and the warmer tone does a better job mimicking the feel of a paperback. The warm light has made such a difference that I wouldn't be able to go back to the Oasis 2017.
Anecdotally, the Oasis 2019 is the first e-reader that my wife used for any significant stretch of time. She's never taken to e-readers — instead preferring physical books — but that changed with the Oasis 2019 because of the adjustable color balance. It's one of those features that you have to use to appreciate, and once you get used to the Kindle Oasis 2019 you wouldn't want to go back to any other e-reader.
There are other areas where the Oasis 2019 excels. There's an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness and warm tones based on the lighting conditions. It also automatically adjusts the screen orientation, so you can hold the device in either hand and the screen will rotate. That comes in handy because the Oasis has physical page turn buttons that are a delight to use.
Physical page turn buttons are fantastic, and you can't find them on any other Kindle available today.
Undertaking a physical action to turn the page just makes things that much more immersive when reading a book, and furthers the belief that you're reading an actual book instead of a digital screen. The page refresh itself is immediate and lag-free, and while the buttons are on the mushy side and not as tactile as I would like, they do make a tangible difference.
Unlike the more affordable Kindles, the Oasis 2019 has an aluminum chassis, and the asymmetric design does take some getting used to. But once you do, you'll see that the lighter design is better for longer reading sessions, and combined with the physical page turn buttons makes the Oasis a fantastic e-reader.
Elsewhere, the Oasis 2019 has an IPX8 rating that makes it ideal for reading at the beach or at the pool. The battery life is stellar — I try to read for two hours every day and I routinely get over a week's worth of usage from a full charge. Oh, and there's Audible integration as well, so you can connect your Bluetooth headphones to the Oasis and listen to audiobooks on the go. The base variant of the Oasis 2019 has 8GB of storage, and Amazon says that should hold 35 audiobooks.
Kindle Oasis 2019 What needs work
For the second generation in a row, my main issue with the Oasis 2019 is that it connects over Micro-USB. It was annoying when the Oasis 2017 came with the older port, but for a brand-new device at the end of 2019 to offer Micro-USB charging is just downright infuriating.
Also, for a device that costs $250, the fact that there's no ability to connect to 5GHz networks is inexcusable. These are basic hardware features that you'll find on entry-level phones these days, and for Amazon to not include it on its premium Kindle is a major omission.
Kindle Oasis 2019 Should you buy it?
With the Kindle Oasis 2019, the notable feature is the warm light. The ability to tweak the color balance of the screen makes the Oasis 2019 a much more versatile e-reader, and makes it a joy to use at night. The rest of the features are largely unchanged from its predecessor, but the changes to the screen alone make it worth the investment.
If you already have the Oasis 2017, then you don't need to upgrade — unless you've been waiting for a Kindle with a warmer display. But if you're thinking of making the switch from a more affordable e-reader, there's plenty to like here. The page turn buttons are fun, the 7-inch screen is incredible, you can take it to the pool, and listen to your Audible audiobooks on the go. A Kindle is a long-term investment, and in that context the Oasis 2019 is absolutely worth the money.
Sure, you don't need to spend over $250 on a Kindle when there are alternatives that deliver a similar set of features for half the cost. But if money isn't an object and you're in the market for the best e-reader available today, the Oasis 2019 is the one to get.
The best around
Kindle Oasis 2019
The best Kindle gets even better.
The Kindle Oasis 2019 builds on the strengths of its predecessor with a great new warm light feature that makes it so much more convenient to read at night. The 7-inch e-ink screen is fantastic for reading books, you get physical page turn buttons, IPX8 dust and water resistance, and weeks-long battery life. If you want the best e-reader, look no further.
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