By Jason Snell
August 1, 2019 12:11 PM PT
Kindle Oasis (third-generation) review: Easy on the eyes
Warning: This story has not been updated in several years and may contain out-of-date information.
I read all my books on a Kindle, and the $250 Kindle Oasis is the model I prefer. It’s not for everyone—the $130 Kindle Paperwhite is a better buy for most people. But the Oasis offers a collection of features that make it appreciably nicer than either of the lower-priced Kindle models, and after spending some time with the new Paperwhite, I’m more convinced than ever that the Oasis is worth the extra price if you’re going to use it a lot.
Amazon recently updated the top of the Kindle line, introducing a new third-generation Kindle Oasis that adds a few minor display improvements. There are more LED lights encircling the screen, giving this Oasis the most even lighting of any Kindle yet. (Kindle screens are reflective, not backlit, which makes them much more readable—but a bit trickier to light.)
Most people won’t notice the improved backlighting, but if you’re someone who is concerned with the amount of blue light wavelengths you receive in the evening, you are the target audience for the one major new feature in the third-generation Oasis. The color temperature of its lighting system is adjustable, so if you prefer a more orange hue in the evening, you can set it to adjust itself automatically—or you can just take control and make the lighting more or less blue anytime you like. (You can also turn all of that off and use the “normal” Kindle color, if you like.)
I’m not going to comment on the debate about whether blue wavelengths really affect sleep, but I will say that I am one of those people who finds warmer color temperatures more aesthetically pleasing. The lights in my house are warmer in temperature, and Apple’s introduction of TrueTone displays (which adapt to the existing color temperature of the room) has really hit that point home. If I’m reading in the dark, a redder light will also mean that my eyes adapt more rapidly when I turn off the Kindle, too.
That’s it. The rest of the Oasis is unchanged from the second-generation model, so far as I can tell. If you’d like to read the case for the Kindle Oasis in general over other models, read on.
Why it’s better than the others
The Oasis is oddly shaped because it’s designed to be as thin as possible except in the place where you grip the device. As a result, there’s a thicker (8.3mm) grip area that features the Oasis’s two physical page-turn buttons, and a thinner side (3.4mm) that helps the device weigh less.
Oh, the page-turn buttons! They’re great. Other Kindles require you to constantly move your fingers on and off the touchscreen in order to tap or swipe forward or backward. With the Oasis, you can rest a finger or thumb on the button and then just gently press to advance to the next page.
People will tell you that it’s just fine to find a grip that lets you slide a finger over to the screen, tap, and then slide back every single time you turn the page. Sure, it’s fine. But this is way better.
At 6.8 ounces, the Oasis is very slightly heavier than the other Kindles, but with that you get a much larger screen. The Oasis screen is seven inches diagonal, up from the six-inch screen found on all other current Kindles. This means more words on a page and fewer page turns, which is especially important if you’re reading at larger font sizes.
The Oasis is also the highest-quality device hardware I’ve ever seen from Amazon. The sides and back are a single piece of aluminum, giving this a premium device feel that the cheaper, plastic Kindle models lack.
It feels good, for twice the price
For me, Kindles are all about price and ergonomics. The Oasis doesn’t really do it on price, but it’s the best when it comes to feel. As someone who reads a couple dozen books a year, paying more for the best reading hardware makes perfect sense. And the pace of change in Kindle land isn’t particularly great; an Oasis will serve you well for many years to come. It remains the best Kindle you can buy, and is appreciably nicer than the Paperwhite on almost every front. And now with better lighting and an adjustable color display.
Yes, the $120 Paperwhite is the better buy. But the Kindle Oasis is a great splurge for people who simply want the best ebook reading experience around and don’t really mind that it costs twice as much as the step-down alternative.
If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.