Amazon today announced that its new high-end e-book reader, the Kindle Oasis, is available for pre-order. The device will ship in late April and is billed as the lightest and thinnest Kindle ever. But it costs a whopping $290, making it even more expensive than its predecessor, the Kindle Voyager.
As you may know, I’m a voracious reader, and a huge fan of Kindle e-book readers. In fact, I’ve owned virtually every Kindle ever made, with the notable exception of the Voyager, which I felt was too expensive. (Amazon later added the Voyager’s best feature, a 300 ppi screen, to the less expensive Kindle Paperwhite, which I did buy.)
The Oasis is out of my price range: I simply can’t justify spending almost $300 on a device that can only read books and some Kindle periodicals. Indeed, that is my biggest issue with the Kindle e-book readers: Many periodicals simply don’t work on the e-book readers. You need to use the Kindle app on a tablet instead. So that’s what I do: I just use Kindle with an iPad Mini. What I’m missing out on is the incredible Kindle screen, which is better/safer for your eyes, especially in low/no light.
Anyway, the Oasis. It provides a radically different form factor from previous Kindle devices, with a unique wedge-shaped design that Amazon says makes it more ergonomic and easier to hold. Basically, one side of the Oasis is thicker than the other, and you use this area to hold the device one-handed. Leftie? No problem: Just flip it over and the Kindle works (and looks) identically “upside down.”
The Oasis is also unique because it comes with a leather charging cover in black, merlot, or walnut. This cover of course contributes to the cost, but it also helps the Oasis emulate a book while protecting the device in transit. The Oasis also features dual-batteries, with one battery in the cover. So when you attach the cover, it immediately begins charging the device’s built-in battery. The result, Amazon says, is the longest battery life in Kindle history. The device now provides months of battery life, compared to weeks for previous Kindles (when used with the cover).
As promised, the Oasis is also thinner (3.4 mm at its thinnest point, or about 30 percent thinner) and lighter (4.6 ounces, 20 percent lighter) than its predecessor. It provides both physical buttons and touch-based controls for navigation, and redesigned front-lighting for the display that improves the consistency and range of screen brightness.
In an Apple-like move, Amazon is keeping previous Kindle products in the market, providing a range of options for buyers. The entry-level Kindle is just $80, but you can step up in turn to the Kindle Paperwhite for $120 and theKindle Voyager for $200. So long story short, the sweet spot is still the Kindle Paperwhite. Though I am as always lured by the newness of the latest device.