Kindle Oasis 2019 review: Reads like a real book
Quick verdict: The Kindle Oasis 2019 is a luxury model for avid readers who are willing to pay more than double the price of the Kindle Paperwhite.
- New adjustable warmth light
- Long battery life
- Comfortable to hold
- No headphone jack
- MicroUSB charging
- Very few updates from previous version
Amazon launched its new high-end ereader, the Kindle Oasis 2019, earlier this year. While the new Oasis looks and feels just like its predecessor, the Kindle Oasis 2017, it has one significant improvement that makes it worth considering.
For the first time, Amazon has added a colour-adjustable light, allowing you to change the tone of the display from cool to warm depending on the time of day. While this might not seem like a major improvement, it makes a surprisingly big difference to the user experience – especially if you (like me) read on your Kindle for hours at a time.
- No upgraded design
- Comfortable to hold
- Not compatible with magnetic covers
The Kindle Oasis 2019 has an almost identical design to its predecessor. Most of the device is extremely thin with a section along the edge that houses the battery. This edge is designed to be held comfortably with one hand. It's made of aluminium and only weighs 188g.
The new Oasis has three buttons, two large buttons along the front side that turn the pages and a small power button along the top, or bottom, depending on how you're holding it.
It's slightly lighter than the previous model because Amazon has gotten rid of the magnets on the back that connected to a magnetised cover. The new version is lighter, but not compatible with the same covers so if you upgrade to the new Oasis, you'll have to get a new cover to match.
The Oasis 2019 has a 7-inch display screen with the same touch system as previous models. The 300dpi e-Ink screen is faster than its predecessor and there's almost no delay when you turn the page.
As with the previous version, you can turn the Oasis 180-degrees and the screen will change orientation so that you can hold it in either hand. You can also use the Oasis in landscape mode and customise the screen with a range of fonts, sizes and layouts.
The Oasis 2019 has an IPX8 rating so it can be submerged in two metres of fresh water for up to an hour. I used my Oasis in the tub and while it survived a few dunkings, it was almost impossible to use the touchscreen with wet fingers.
The Oasis 2019 comes in two colours: graphite and champagne. While there's no headphone jack, you can listen to audiobooks using Bluetooth headphones and Bluetooth speakers.
- New adjustable warm light
- Few other upgrades
- Integrated SIM model is 4G compatible, but more expensive
The biggest – and arguably only – significant upgrade is the new adjustable warm backlight.
While previous kindles have had adjustable lighting, the Kindle Oasis 2019 is the first model with an adjustable warmth setting. Similar to smartphone screens that allow you to reduce blue light at night, the new Kindle Oasis has 24 levels of warmth.
On the lowest setting, the Kindle looks similar to the way it always has and on the warmest setting, the display is almost orange. Somewhere in the middle, the screen takes on a cream hue and looks more like an actual book page than any other Amazon ereader.
You can also use a scheduling tool to automatically change the colour at a specific time or when the sun sets and rises.
Like previous Kindle Oasis models, the LED backlight also offers 25 levels of brightness so that you can dim the light in a dark room. The light has an auto-brightness setting, but it's not as accurate as a similar feature on most smartphones. During testing, the Oasis screen would frequently get very bright or very dim, despite the lighting in the room not changing. I ended up turning the setting off.
Amazon offers a version of the Kindle 2019 with an integrated SIM that's 4G compatible, but it costs just over $100 more.
The software is very similar to previous versions with all of the formatting, page turning and customisable options we've come to expect from a Kindle.
The Kindle 2019 is also Bluetooth capable so you can listen to audiobooks with Bluetooth headphones.
As with previous models, the Oasis 2019 doesn't have the fastest menu, but it does what it's designed to do, and it does it well.
- Excellent battery life
- MicroUSB charging
- Three hours charging time
With a single charge you can use the new Oasis for up to 21 hours, as long as the wireless and Bluetooth settings are turned off, and the light is set at 13 (about halfway). If you need to turn the brightness up or use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you'll need to recharge it sooner. Listening to Audiobooks will also drain the battery much faster.
The Kindle Oasis 2019 takes around three hours to recharge fully, but short charging top-ups go a long way. Like other Kindles, it comes with a MicroUSB charging cable.
Should you buy Kindle Oasis 2019?
- New warmth lighting is the only major upgrade
- The most comfortable Kindle to hold
The only significant upgrade in Amazon's Kindle Oasis 2019 is the adjustable warmth lighting. While the feature makes a huge difference to the user experience, it alone is not worth upgrading from the previous Oasis.
However, if you have an older Paperwhite or don't have a Kindle at all, the 2019 Oasis is the best ereader in Amazon's line-up, as long as you're willing to shell out $399 or more. If you're an avid reader, you can't go wrong with the new Oasis. But if you're someone who only reads occasionally, the basic Kindle or Paperwhite will give you what you need for a fraction of the cost.
Pricing and availability
Price8GB Wi-Fi: $399 | 32GB Wi-Fi: $449 | 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE: $559
Where to buy
Images: Sarah Brandon
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