Amazon Kindle Oasis (9th Generation, Waterproof), First Impressions

I’ve owned just about every Kindle, with the exception of the first, very large model with keyboard. As an avid reader, I have welcomed the experience of reading on a dedicated device, and the ability to store lots of books and read in many font sizes. The latest Kindle Oasis is the first model of this device to be waterproof (finally), and it also features a larger screen than the other current models. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Being waterproof is a great idea, for the bath, the beach, and the pool (for those who have the latter). It’s still a bit pricey, but they’ve lowered the price a bit. And it comes with either 8 GB or 32 GB storage; the larger capacity is only $30 more. You won’t need that storage for books, but if you want to put audiobooks on it, it will come in handy. (That’s new to the Kindle Oasis too.) And you can get a cellular model for a bit more.

It’s an improvement on the first Kindle Oasis, which was a two-part device, with an additional battery in its magnetic case. The new Oasis is a standalone device, with a bit of a hump on one side, meant for reading one-handed. You can buy a case, which works like the older Oasis’s second part, and it might be a good idea to do so to protect the screen. (I’ve been putting my Kindles in sleeves or cases since I damaged one; miraculously, however, the screen damage healed itself some months after I dinged it.)

The new Kindle Oasis has the nicest display of any Kindle yet. In the past, Kindles have been plagued by uneven lighting; it was sometimes a crapshoot with different models, whether you’d see the LED bleed on the bottom or the side of the display. If you look at the photos in my review of the original Kindle Oasis, you can see that the lighting is uneven. But on the new model, it’s very smooth, with just some additional brightness at the bottom (which doesn’t show up in the photo below).

Kindle oasis

The new Oasis is also fast; page turns are fast, accessing menus is fast, and even typing is faster than before. It’s still got a bit of a lag, but you no longer have to wait to see a letter display before trying the next one when you’re searching for something.

I find the device well balanced, even though all the weight is on one side. It’s easy to hold in one hand – though I have large hands – and, like the previous model, it’s designed to use with either hand: the display flips when you turn it upside down. The buttons are tactile, and have enough travel (unlike on the Kindle Voyage), and you hear a satisfying click when you press them.

The latest Kindle software (which was not installed on my Oasis; I had to download it and manually update the device) adds some useful features for readability. There are more font sizes, and five font weights (levels of boldness), making it a lot easier to find a comfortable font. I’ve long appreciated the Kindle for the ability to use larger fonts; I’m able to read it without reading glasses, which is a lot more comfortable.

The screen – 7″ compared to 6″ on the other device – is a bit taller and wider, and this works well to make longer lines of text, especially with larger fonts. The bezels are a bit smaller, which, as you can see below, makes for much more text on a page.

Kindle oaisis2

You can also see above that the display’s color is a bit warmer, which is good if you read at night (or at least that’s what science seems to think these days).

All in all, this is certainly the best Kindle display I’ve seen, and, while the price is high, the added size makes it a great choice for people who read a lot, especially with larger fonts. If you can read with smaller fonts, you might want to opt for one of the other devices – smaller and cheaper – but if you want the most comfortable display, then this is it. Oh, and it’s waterproof… (I haven’t tested this yet). (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

4 thoughts on “Amazon Kindle Oasis (9th Generation, Waterproof), First Impressions

  1. But what about reading in the perpetual showers of Seattle while waiting for a bus? You’d think that Amazon, based in Seattle, would consider that a major use case. I have a Kobo Aura H2O that has a setting that’s supposed to detect water, but instead of then ignoring it, it tells you dry it off. That’s possibly better that the frantic random page turns and settings changes that have been reported in a couple of other Oasis reviews, though still not very useful. It’ll be nice if someone can manage to solve the problem.

    After playing with the kobo for a while (both hacked and unhacked) I’m sticking with an ipad mini in a ziplock bag. The kobo at least is just too slow in comparison. It does fit a jacket pocket better, though, and the e-ink would certainly be better in bright sunlight, if I was ever in any (next opportunity, about mid-July…)

    • Yes, in that situation, it wouldn’t work. I have to assume that the waterproofing is more for protection, rather than for reading, say, in the shower. 🙂

  2. But what about reading in the perpetual showers of Seattle while waiting for a bus? You’d think that Amazon, based in Seattle, would consider that a major use case. I have a Kobo Aura H2O that has a setting that’s supposed to detect water, but instead of then ignoring it, it tells you dry it off. That’s possibly better that the frantic random page turns and settings changes that have been reported in a couple of other Oasis reviews, though still not very useful. It’ll be nice if someone can manage to solve the problem.

    After playing with the kobo for a while (both hacked and unhacked) I’m sticking with an ipad mini in a ziplock bag. The kobo at least is just too slow in comparison. It does fit a jacket pocket better, though, and the e-ink would certainly be better in bright sunlight, if I was ever in any (next opportunity, about mid-July…)

    • Yes, in that situation, it wouldn’t work. I have to assume that the waterproofing is more for protection, rather than for reading, say, in the shower. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.