PROS / The Kindle Oasis's stellar build quality makes it easy to hold for extended reading sessions.
CONS / The eBook reader has a hefty price tag compared to competing models.
VERDICT / The Kindle Oasis is an exceptionally built eReader, but its cost and value are a hurdle for many buyers.
The eReaders in Amazon's Kindle line have generally been budget-friendly options for readers who don't need the extra horsepower of a full tablet. With the Kindle Oasis, Amazon's taken a decidedly premium-minded approach to its eBook readers.
Thanks to its height and width dimensions of 5.6 x 4.8 inches and depth of 0.13 to 0.33 inches – the eReader has an extremely thin tapered edge – the 4.6-ounce Oasis feels significantly more compact in comparison to other Kindles. Part of this is because of the Oasis's notably stout build – the eReader has a square form factor, although the screen maintains a standard rectangular aspect ratio. The Oasis's backside is also easy to hold and features a magnetic lock for the included combo case-battery accessory. The leather add-on provides extra protection and battery life for the Oasis.
In our hands-on testing, we found the Oasis to be a steady performer. The body is constructed from durable black plastic, and the back is lightly rubberized for additional grip. The eReader's bezel isn't spectacular for a product at the Oasis's premium price point – it's around 0.75 inches on the left side and 0.375 inches on the right – but it has two responsive physical buttons for page scrolling.
As with past Kindles, the reading experience on the Oasis is sterling. The 300 dpi screen handles text excellently in a variety of reading environments and pixelation was virtually imperceptible during our testing. The Oasis also carries over Amazon's other eBook and hardware assets. The onscreen reading interface is cleanly laid out, and Amazon's book store features a variety of popular authors. Software features like Amazon's X-Ray search engine, Goodreads integration and basic parental controls provide additional functionality for home users.
As solid as the Oasis's hardware and software are, the Kindle's cost as a single-use device remains a notable hurdle for the eReader. At the Oasis's price point, comparable devices include entry-level laptops or midrange tablets, which you can do much more on than an eReader, including gaming and full web browsing. Plus, the performance margins within the larger eBook reader market are narrow enough to muddle the Oasis's ostensible strength – being a high-end product in a budget market. Even within the Kindle family, midrange Kindles offer comparable specifications at a lower price point. While the Oasis's stellar specifications are easy to see, its value is far less clear.
On paper, the Amazon Oasis earns its billing as one of the best Kindles. With its stellar build quality and equally excellent display, it has a solid combination of performance and portability. While its price tag places it out of the range of most buyers, its top of the line performance makes it a viable option for power eBook reader users.