Kindle Oasis review: a small (and expensive) breath of fresh air

Many of us who have followed the evolution of the electronic market are cured by new products. Little competitive, with just two or three prominent players, the absence of disruptive innovations has caused the e-book to suffer from a potentiated version of the tablet syndrome: furthermore, their owners find little reason to renew them unless they lose or break yours.

What's more, what many are wondering is if it makes sense to buy an electronic book reader again and bet on reading on paper and mobile or tablet, simplifying your life with a device less than carrying.

So when the Kindle Oasis has arrived with its asymmetric design, its small size, its touch screen but with physical buttons and its price much higher than Amazon has accustomed us, we have asked ourselves what the category needed for us to return to talk about it as an innovative space in which remarkable devices are created? Let's see.

Kindle Oasis technical features

KINDLE OASIS, MAIN SPECIFICATIONS

Physical dimensions

143 x 122 x 3.4 - 8.5 mm, 131 grams and 238 grams total with cover (wifi) or 133 grams and 240 grams total with cover (3G)

screen

6.0 inch Touch E-Ink Letter

Resolution

1440 x 1080 px (300 dpi)

Internal memory

4GB

Compatibility

Format 8 Kindle (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, MOBI without protection, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP by conversion.

Connectivity

Wifi n

Price

289.99 euros (wifi), 349.99 euros (3G)

The design for reading

By being honest, one finds no better way to make an analysis of an electronic book reader than to tell the experience: what it is like to read with it.

With the Kindle Oasis, however, Amazon's design choices make it make sense to stop just before turning pages.

What places Oasis as a disruptive reader of the Kindle line is its commitment to asymmetry, a rarity in the design world that plays against everything that neurobiology preaches about our taste for beauty: the human being finds the harmony and beauty in symmetry.

However, the Kindle Oasis comes to the rescue of the digital book reader to the point that, I suspect, most of us will be more than willing to go from the symmetrical to embrace what this reader offers us: holding with one hand is a delight and This opens up new moments of reading.

Amazon bets on asymmetry with the Kindle Oasis and makes holding it with one hand a delight

The thick side of the Kindle Oasis allows part of the hand to rest with it and the device can be held firmly. The weight and size of the Oasis help this experience improve compared to any other book, which greatly improves all of the above from Amazon and its competitors.

To this they add a new decision to applaud in terms of design, the return of the physical buttons. After several years with Paperwhite as a reader - I am one of those who remain in the bet of reading digitally with an ad-hoc gadget - I had just convinced myself that the touch screen could offer a solvent experience, but never better than the physical buttons.

It is not the only personalistic trait at the Oasis. By having it in your hand, the hump with which they have endowed it. In this aspect it is difficult to discern if they wanted to compensate for all the space lost by the battery due to its smaller size than its predecessors and adding thickness was a solution or, thinking about the one-hand hold, they took the opportunity to add this irregularity that improves grip.

Be that as it may, the Kindle Oasis can boast something light and thin.The process of dwarfing the reader makes the Oasis the third great leap in the line of the Kindle: the first started with the original, the second nation by Paperwhite with the backlit screen. Oasis inaugurates the path towards the "invisibility" of the reader ... and at this point the accompanying battery comes into play.

This section on size, weight and thickness is not trivial. With a reader the mission to achieve the experience of reading a book, but to take advantage of those aspects in which the device can be better than a book. We have the classic section of how many we can carry with it (Oasis with its four non-expandable gigs leads us to thousands, no more is needed), but in the support for hours we have another point of possible improvement: Oasis with its 3.4mm of thickness and its weight of 133 grams (240 grams with cover) is not that it can compete with a 300-page paperback, it is even lighter. If we think of nineteenth-century novelons or installments of 'Game of Thrones' the improvement is overwhelming.

In another sense we can speak of sacrifice in size and, therefore, in autonomy with respect to Paperwhite. Amazon has wanted to compensate by making the Oasis inseparable from the case in reverse to the hump of the reader. The case not only have an aesthetic and protective function, it has its own battery that we can charge together with the Oasis through its microUSB (without the Oasis the case cannot be charged alone).

The case not only have an aesthetic and protective function, it has its own battery

Without the case, the new Kindle loses autonomy compared to Paperwhite. Amazon is still targeting two weeks, but in my case it has been around ten days of use with a couple of hours or three and medium brightness. The model is 3g and I have kept the connection: with less brightness and using airplane mode (something that many Kindle users prefer, even sharing can be distracting), it increases appreciably. With the cover it becomes above the average in the category, in fact Amazon indicates that it is nine weeks! In the time of this test we have not been able to exhaust it after having exhausted the Kindle Oasis without a case once, so we can only assure that it will give at least four weeks with the previous pattern of use.

In any case, the inclusion of the case is also a symptom of the commitments that Amazon reaches with Oasis. With current technology they are not able to maintain the previous autonomy standards, when the new Kindle is used with it it loses that extreme lightness even though it can still be used with one hand.

Before we get serious about reading, one last must on the Amazon Kindle side: We still have no resistance to water and dust. Here Kobo took a step forward in favor of beach readers and fish farmers who carry a Kindle, fearful of its survival in a hostile way.

Reading with the Kindle Oasis

We commented in the design section that the return of the physical button was an element to applaud. Amazon takes a trip back in time to rescue the buttons before the Kindle Touch line was imposed.

This time the buttons are not located on the edge like they were years ago, nor are they fake capacitive buttons like in Voyage, but rather stand out highlights from the wide side of the Oasis. His return makes the experience with one hand round and, above all, breaks with that moment that "takes you out of reading", which is none other than not hitting the right gesture and movement on the touch screen that causes It doesn't take you to the right page.

In this some of us may seem maniacal, but there is nothing more important than one to ask an e-book reader. We are users who buy a gadget which does only one thing and we hope that in that use case they will behave beyond reproach.

What's more, the great virtue of the book reader is everything it doesn't do. It does not interrupt you with notifications, it does not tempt you by offering to add videos or music (we could discuss if it was a good decision to abandon the audio support and with it the audiobooks), it does not have games or messaging or anything. An ideal reader is the one that least hinders you when reading.

An ideal reader is the one that hinders you the least when reading, and the Kindle Oasis more than meets this point

Amazon at the time fell prey to the framework dictated by touchscreen phones and its rise as hegemonic gadget of the industry. Along this path, he greatly improved several key experiences, from selection and highlighting to sharing fragments of books. However, additional complexity was added by mixing them in the same interaction element as the critical use case, the page turning.

The return of the physical button, as much as it seems a step back, is great news when trying to get that immersion in the book that users of this type of gadgets demand.

Something to note is that the upper button is used to turn the page forward and the lower button is used to return to the previous one ... let's grab the Kindle Oasis. Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the reader detects with which hand we are holding it and it configures itself for both the use of the buttons and the screen, offering the same experience to left and right-handed users.

Returning the view towards the screen we have the aspect in which there is greater continuity with respect to the previous Paperwhite and Voyage. The 300 PPI of backlit electronic ink remains - you know, that effect by which you can read without light but at the same time not emit this directly to the reader's eyes - and for a user of Paperwhite there is a curious effect: When comparing together its screen and that of Oasis, it is true that the screen of the latter is clearer, more contrasted and brighter, but as a user up to that point, it did not feel a great need for improvement.

One aspect in which the improvement was demanded is that of uniformity in luminosity. At Paperwhite this was not entirely achieved and at Oasis the improvement is noticeable. Amazon affirms that it is due to the increase in LEDs, be that as it may, it is the point in which its screen still had a pending issue when it came to approaching the reading on paper.

An important point is that something that Amazon incorporated into the Voyage line has been lost, the ambient light sensor with the option that the screen automatically adjusts its brightness depending on it. We're back to Paperwhite's point of having to adjust every time if we want to optimize the experience. In my case, after years of use my impression is that adjusting the brightness to a medium level gives an outstanding experience in almost any environment, so it is something that I forget about as long as I have been with each new Kindle for a while.

In addition to all the noted goodness, there are a few points that still obscure the Kindle experience. One is recurring, the touch screen (by the way, less rough with Oasis, smoother than in other readers) continues to offer a user experience that we can hardly classify as acceptable: select and turn the page yet, write not so much and both far from what that we have today with a tablet.

The Kindle experience still has two points of improvement: the touch screen and the time it takes to return to the page when we want to continue reading.

To that I would add a step back with the Oasis. If we stop reading and return soon, in less than an hour, the "return to the page I was going" happens quickly; if more than an hour passes, the device goes into a "hibernation" state (again we have autonomy due to its thinness and size), which causes two or three seconds to elapse when wanting to return to reading. This may seem like a "little nonsense to look for flaws in the analysis", but when a device has the mission of getting closer to reading on paper, this is what you have to demand. And so far no paper book has required me three seconds from when I open it until I see the words in front.

Business and price

Until now, the Kindle business seemed like a "non-business" for Amazon. The price of each reader was so low that they ended up kicking out almost any other actor in the sector. High quality, as good as the best of the competition (and here I think longingly about Sony readers)

As with its tablets or its "console / set top box", Amazon's strategy has always remained within the framework "we do not do business with hardware, we make hardware cheap to do business with content."

Seeing the price of Oasis we can contemplate two scenarios. One is that Amazon, seeing itself almost alone in the market, begins to flirt with the idea of ​​making money from book readers; The other is that the costs of making Oasis have taken a new step upwards, something that already started more timidly with Paperwhite and especially with Voyage.

Looking at the price of Oasis, one can think of several scenarios: either Amazon wants to make money from its readers, or its costs have risen ... or it may even be pure "marketing" machinery

There is a third scenario that I would not rule out from Amazon's “marketing” machinery. It is a classic of price psychology that if we have two options ahead, customers will opt much more for the cheapest compared to a scenario in which there are three options, in which the middle one (previous more expensive) no longer seems so so much. In the Kindle area this translates that offering the Oasis can get customers to choose more Paperwhite than the cheapest and most basic model and, therefore, the average sale price improves for Amazon.

Be that as it may, the Oasis is in another price league. It is an outstanding device, with a great design (reminder: not understanding the design as mere aesthetics) despite the fact that the asymmetry and the hump give it a very marked personality that not everyone will like. With it Amazon is asking that for a single use case - reading well-formatted books and content, not even PDF documents - that we pay much more than it has been saying for years that an e-book reader is worth.

At least this time there are more successes and steps forward than in the previous attempt, Voyage, which Amazon, intelligently, hardly shows anymore.

Kindle Oasis, Xataka's opinion

There is one aspect in which Oasis is extremely seductive to us. Its reduction in size, its lightness, its improvement of the experience in various aspects (from the physical buttons to turn the page to the quality of the screen) make it a step, a milestone towards that chimera of the disappearance of the gadget that mediates between the content and us.

At the level of the purchase decision we have a couple of dilemmas. On the one hand it is difficult not to recommend the Oasis for an ebook user, it is the best we have ever tried; On the other hand, we have a “complicated” purchase rationale: we go to the range of 300 euros for a device that does only one thing. And as much as you are the best, when you have next to you one that is 70% good at half the price, the decision becomes complicated.

In any case, this new Kindle has been an oasis within the category. When the lack of competition seemed to doom us to the lack of innovation in the category, Amazon has come with a small breath of fresh air.

The device has been loaned for testing by Amazon. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader, 6 "(15.2 cm) high resolution (300 dpi) screen with built-in light, wifi (Black) - includes special offers

Today in amazon for € 129.99

Kindle Voyage e-reader, 6 '' (15.2 cm) high resolution (300 dpi) screen, with self-regulating built-in light, redesigned page turns, Wi-Fi

Today in amazon for € 112.48

Kindle Oasis e-reader with black leather charging case, 6 "(15.2 cm) high resolution (300 dpi) screen with built-in light, wifi

Today in amazon for 0¤

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