The Kindle Oasis has always been the luxury end of the Kindle market. And with the new 2019 version, which vastly improved the display, it cements its place as the very best of the entire e-reader market.
Its display is sharp, and now features a warmth feature that means the screen will fade to a cosy and non-dazzling yellow as the light changes over the day. The build quality remains fantastic, and the combination of crisp display and light design make for a delightful experience.
But that experience commands a premium. And the central question of the Oasis is not why you'd want it – the answer is immediately clear as soon as you look at it, or feel its build quality – but why you would buy it, when Amazon already makes such a great competitor.
That is not a mark against the Oasis at all. It does just about everything that you would want an e-reader to do, and many things you would never expect this kind of device to feature.
Its screen is dazzlingly sharp, and now not quite so dazzlingly white. It has a more crisp and clear display than any other Kindle, and means that the experience of reading is much sharper than it would be with a normal book.
And that display is newly upgraded with the warming feature, which is easily switched on from the Kindle's menus. When you do, you can choose how orange the screen should go, and whether it should activate automatically at sunset – if you do that, then you'll avoid the bright white glare that can come out of the backlight.
It means that the Oasis is the perfect night-time reading companion. While the change in colour is subtle, it's makes a difference, especially when the light coming from the Kindle is the only light in the room.
The rest of the Oasis is impressive as ever. Its strange design – which means it has a bulge on the side, and a display that doesn't go across the whole of the front – looks unusual but sits very nicely in the hand once you are used to it; the metal design of the body mean that it feels substantial and hefty, despite being as light as the plastic version.
It also keeps those same features that have come to the Oasis and other Kindles in recent years, including the waterproofing. It means that reading around the pool or in the bath is a much less stressful experience, and is yet another way that the e-reader beats out the traditional reading experience.
The trouble the Oasis has is that it is in competition with so many other Kindles, all much cheaper and each of them with many of the same features. The Oasis is very good – but so is the rest of Amazon's e-reader line.
They don't, of course, have the luxury or now warmth that the Oasis has. But nor do they have the price tag: the Oasis costs £259.99, compared with just £69.99 for the entry-level model, and £120 for the Kindle Paperwhite.
You do get extra for your money, of course: the warming display and the unusual design make reading vastly more comfortable. But it is up to you whether that increase in comfort is worth the vastly increased price, which ups the cost of the Kindle from being an accessory into a device as expensive as a smartphone.
But it's very useful that Amazon now offers a full complement of options, for just about everyone who wants a Kindle. The entry-level Kindle is a tatty paperback, not especially beautiful but doing the job very well; the Paperwhite is the fresh hardback, easy to read and nice to handle, without breaking the bank too much; the Oasis is the special, beautifully crafted limited edition, offering the same content but in a lavish and lovely package.
The new Oasis e-reader is the best money can buy. But the questions remains whether you want to spend all that money to buy it.
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