On the fence about buying the new Kindle Oasis? I’ve been testing it out, and I’m here with an honest pro/con list so you can make the best decision for your reading habits. Just want the down and dirty? Scroll to the end!
The E-reader Debate
Like many other diehard (read “older“) readers, I was late to the e-reader game. It seemed a betrayal, a blatant thumbing the nose to my closest friends since childhood. How could I depart from my beloved paper books? The texture, the weight, the smell… especially the smell. I’m pretty much this way with anything technologically new. Let someone else do the research and the beta tests! I’ll read the reviews and hop on board eventually.
First Generation Kindle
On the other side of the spectrum, my mother-in-law enjoys the latest gadgets. This is how it came about that before we had succumbed to the e-reader, she was already into Kindle’s second generation. Her first letter-sized Kindle– kind of a dinosaur, really– was handed on to us. We were skeptical, but my husband was in grad school at the time, and we thought it might come in handy.
My favorite feature? I loved the idea of naming it. Because we were sharing this one, we named it The Bibliophiles. I can’t remember using it much at all and have no idea what we did with it, or I would share a picture.
Second Generation Kindle
It was probably that year or next that she asked if we would like Kindles for Christmas. Sure, why not? My husband decided on a small, streamlined version, as far removed from the first generation dinosaur as possible. I wasn’t ready to make the leap to a complete touch screen. (I do have a smart phone, I promise.) I wanted one with the physical keyboard and page turn buttons. It’s lovely. I searched long and hard for the perfect cover for it and found it in this New Yorker-inspired book print.
Now my favorite part. What to name it? I named it Reid, after my favorite character from Criminal Minds– Dr. Spencer Reid, the resident genius. Of course, the double entendre was intentional. (We may have liked the name and the character so much that it became our first son’s middle name.)
Reid became very useful. I must say that I still prefer a paper book, but an e-reader really is so handy for travel and general on-the-go. Superstitious as nurses are, I rationalized that if I always have a book in my bag, it can’t possibly jinx anyone with a super busy night.
The one drawback for me with this version is the lack of a light. I used a book light, but the shadows are annoying, and I did not use Reid much for bedtime reading. Still, even after my husband traded his in for a Paperwhite, I maintained that I was very satisfied with Reid.
Then came the ads for the Kindle Oasis. And my reserve started to buckle.
The Kindle Oasis
This, too, was a Christmas gift (I’m a lucky girl). I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I have both positive and negative things to say. In Rory Gilmore fashion, here’s a good ol’ fashioned pro/con list:
Not going to bury the lead here. This feature was #1 on my list for wanting the upgrade. When I had an amazing “momcation” last summer, I revealed one of my favorite pastimes— reading in the pool. Although I always choose a paperback that can weather mild splashes, it does get complicated and a bit precarious. No worries with the Kindle Oasis! It can withstand the splashes and even a quick dive to the bottom (up to 60 minutes in two meters of water, according to Amazon). Also, can we say bathtub reading? I have tested this out, and it’s the perfect addition to the relaxing experience. Definitely going in my beach bag next summer, too!
I was very pleased to learn that even though the Kindle Oasis is mainly touchscreen, it does feature buttons for page turning, if desired. To my excitement, I discovered today that the buttons can be switched to your preference. (For example, my thumb rests more comfortably on the bottom button, so I switched my settings to make that the “page forward” button.) You can also turn pages by swiping, or merely touching the right or left side of the screen. I alternate between all of those. The rest of the navigation is very user-friendly.
The Kindle Oasis was designed to fit into your hand ergonomically, feeling like a paperback novel, according to its description. It is very easy to hold and weighted well. The screen rotates so you can easily switch it from hand to hand.
This is a feature that I LOVE the sound of (pun intended). To be able to switch seamlessly from reading to listening sounds like the ultimate experience in efficiency and multi-sensory reading. However, I have not tried this feature. Frugal as I am, I can’t imagine buying both the digital and audio version of a book, nor being lucky enough to check both out from the library at the same time. I don’t even know if the feature works with library loans. So, good in theory, but I don’t know if I’ll ever use that feature. Have you? Tell me about it in the comments!
(New to Audible? Try a free trial, including a free book credit here!)
Like its predecessors, the Kindle Oasis keeps a charge far longer than your phone or tablet will. Turn off wifi to extend the battery’s life even longer. I’ve used mine practically every day for the past two weeks, and I’ve only charged it once.
Obviously, this is the first thing you’ll notice. The Kindle Oasis is significantly pricier than its siblings, for few additions. The waterproof aspect is the biggest difference.
That heading is misleading. I don’t have any reason to think that the Kindle Oasis is NOT durable. I do worry about my usage of it, however. My old Kindle is well ensconced in its case. The Oasis, because I do plan to use it in/near water, is trickier to enclose. Its square shape means that not as many cases fit it. A case also lessens the effect of the ergonomic hand grip. Because of its sleek metal back, my toddler has easily sent it flying, merely by bumping my arm while I was reading it. I also worry about scratching or breaking the screen when it’s in my purse or work bag. For my own use, I think I’ll get a protective sleeve to keep it in while not in use. Etsy has some really cute ones! In fact, this is the one I ordered.
I have to test this again because I am not 100% sure, but I think that when I restarted it after running the battery completely out, it automatically turned the wifi back on. This can be unfortunate if you (like me, perhaps….) turn on airplane mode to retain a library book that has expired before you have finished reading it. (That’s an invaluable tip, BTW!) Another minor con, at least in the winter– the metal case means that it’s always freezing in my hand! On the plus side, I finally have an excuse to buy these perfectly whimsical fingerless gloves.
I know, I know– this is one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade! Kindle is known for its readers’ lights. They are front-lit rather than back-lit (such as your phone or a tablet) in order to ease eyestrain and reduce glare. For some reason, this doesn’t work for me. I have trouble focusing on the words at night, despite trying many levels of brightness. Even during the day, I feel that my old Kindle’s screen was easier on my eyes. That may be a biased memory, so I’ll try out both screens side by side one of these days and update this.
My eyesight is not the greatest, and I have never heard anyone else complain about this, so take it with a grain of salt. If you have no trouble with the Paperwhite or other e-reader lights, I’m sure this will work well for you. I just discovered its inversion feature, however. The first e-reader of its kind to do this, under the accessibility option, you can invert the background and text color (giving it a black background with white text). I have not tried this extensively yet, but at first look, it seems to be easier on my eyes. Options are a good thing!
If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, the Kindle Oasis is for you. If you like long soaks in the tub, you’ll love this addition to your self-care. In my opinion, the waterproof feature is the main reason to buy the Oasis over the Paperwhite. The sleek, ergonomic design is a definite plus, as is the ability to invert the colors for light sensitivity. Are these improvements enough to justify the cost? That’s up to you and your budget. As for me, I really do love it and can’t wait to test its waterproof limits in the bath, at the beach, and summertime pool lounging. If the waterproof feature doesn’t float your boat, you’ll be very satisfied with a lower priced model, such as the Paperwhite.
Do you have anything to add to this pro/con list? I want to know! I’m sure that I haven’t explored all of its features yet, so drop me a comment in the box below.
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you what I named my Kindle Oasis! Reid H2O, of course. 🙂