MEGATech Reviews: Amazon Kindle Oasis 7-Inch (2017) E-Reader
For avid readers who are serious about their ebooks and want to take their stories with them to the beach or in the bath, the newly updated (and waterproof) Kindle Oasis for 2017 cannot be beat.
  • The best Kindle experience
  • IPX8 waterproof certification
  • Audible support with Bluetooth
  • Most expensive Kindle
  • Loses battery case connection
  • No headphone jack
8Overall Score

Remember when the whole e-reader phenomenon first hit the scene? There were several other players in this space at the time, all vying for a piece of the action. For the most part, you could say the dust has now settled and Kindle has become the Q-Tip, the Kleenex or the Velcro of the ebook reader industry. This doesn’t mean that you are without choice, however, because it really depends on how much you want to spend.

And if you’re really serious about reading those ebooks, the new 7″ Kindle Oasis for 2017 sits above all the rest with a price point to match. But is it worth such a premium over the others in the Amazon Kindle family?

The All-New Kindle Oasis

You might remember when we reviewed the original Kindle Oasis last year. It was the most expensive Kindle at the time and its successor, which we are looking at today, continues with that tradition. It retains the touchscreen display with adaptive brightness, as well as those two great physical buttons (you can flip the Kindle Oasis for lefties too) for the best page-turning experience on a Kindle today.

Amazon decided to step it up a notch in a few other ways too. This new Kindle is waterproof, so while it may not necessarily survive the bubbles in your bubble bath, it should survive a regular bath or a reading session by the pool. And remember those rumors of secret Bluetooth powers? They’ve come to fruition here, so you can enjoy Audible audiobooks on the go too.

There is no headphone jack, so you’ll need to rely on wireless. Thankfully, you can use something like the Tunai Clip to transform your regular ear buds into Bluetooth headphones with ease.

Bigger, Better and Waterproof

Going back to the waterproof certification for just a moment, the new Kindle Oasis is IPX8 rated. What this means is that it’s not just water-resistant; it really is waterproof and you could completely submerge it in up to two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. And while there is no specific mention of temperature, Amazon says that “it’s built to withstand getting… dropped in the bathtub, hot tub, or pool.”

Perhaps the biggest (pun intended) and most notable difference is the size. The new Kindle Oasis upgrades from the 6-inch e-ink screen found on its predecessor to a new 7-inch, 300 ppi glare-free display. There are 12 LEDs in there, plus the adaptive light sensor for reading under virtually any condition. This increase in size doesn’t make the Oasis unwieldy but it is noticeably bigger and most definitely does not fit in my jacket pocket anymore.

The asymmetrical profile is the same, measuring 3.4 mm at the thin end and 8.3 mm at the thicker end. The footprint is considerably larger at 159 x 141 mm (6.3″ x 5.6″), compared to 143 x 122 mm (5.6 Γ— 4.8″)for the 2016 model. That’s almost 30% bigger! Whether this is a pro or a con is up to you. I personally the dimensions of the previous model.

The Familiar Kindle Experience

If you’ve used any Kindle device in the last year or two, you’ll feel right at home with the 2017 Kindle Oasis. The user interface is practically identical across all models. On the home screen, you get some thumbnails from your library, your reading list off to one side, and some recommendations along the bottom. Primary navigation is found near the top with home, back, brightness, Goodreads, Store and Search, along with a menu button.

No surprises there. And as before, when you’re in a book, you can tap near the top third or so to bring up the settings menu and tap either the left or right half of the screen to go back or forward a page. Again, no surprises.

In terms of the actual reading experience, I really liked the asymmetrical design for ergonomics and, as with the previous model, I really liked having the physical page turn buttons so I never needed to adjust my grip or anything. That said, I found the added size and weight was less comfortable for longer reading sessions, depending on my position.

Curiously, the old Oasis with the cover actually weighs more than this new, larger Oasis, but likely because of the added size, more of the weight is further away from my hand, resulting in added strain. It’s still pretty great — don’t get me wrong — but I did notice a difference.

What Have We Lost in Exchange?

Speaking of size and weight and differences, I really like the more premium feel of the 2017 Kindle Oasis. The aluminum back really makes this e-reader stand out from its plastic-clad cousins. The body doesn’t feel cheap at all and this is further enhanced when you invest in one of the premium leather standing covers. I found that the “standing” part of that didn’t work nearly as well as I had hoped (it uses an fold as a kickstand), but that doesn’t really detract from the experience as you’re likely holding the ereader while reading, right?

Something that I found more disappointing, however, was that this new Kindle Oasis no longer supports charging covers like last year’s model. The connectors on the back are gone. This makes for a much cleaner and sleeker appearance when outside of a case/cover, at the expense of losing additional battery life. Amazon promises “weeks” of power on a single charge, though, so I suppose it isn’t too big of a concern. I just liked the added utility of the charging cover.

Also, at one point during my review period, the page turn buttons just stopped working. The touchscreen was still perfectly responsive. After a reasonably quick restart, the buttons started working again. I’m not entirely sure what happened. And it may have all been in my head, but I found that sometimes I thought the buttons would get “stuck” when I pressed them (they never did). Maybe they need to reduce the amount of travel for actuation?

MEGATechie Ebook Ecstasy or MEGATechie Ebook Extravagance?

If you’re looking for the absolute best Kindle reading experience available today, you can do no better than the new Kindle Oasis. The waterproof protection provides huge peace of mind and the added Audible support will be appreciated by many. I really like having those physical page turn buttons too. The question is whether those buttons are worth that much more money.

I didn’t really like the pressure sensitive PagePress “buttons” on the Voyage and the lack of a backlight on the base Kindle is a deal breaker. For my money, and this is something that I’ve said before, the Paperwhite still provides the best bang for your buck. If you’re an avid reader and you want to invest in a better experience, though, the new Oasis is well worthy of my recommendation.

The 2017 Kindle Oasis 7-Inch is available now ranging from $249.99 for the 8GB model with WiFi and special offers, up to $349.99 for the 32GB model with WiFi+Cellular and no special offers. The pricing is set at $389.99 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model up here in Canada. That gets bumped to $489.99 if you want 32GB and the WiFi+Cellular connectivity.

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