Amazon launched a revamped model of its Kindle Oasis e-reader on Wednesday. The brand new system will stay the highest-end mannequin in Amazon’s well-liked Kindle collection, however it comes with a bunch of tweaks in comparison with the earlier Oasis, which launched in early 2016.
The reader now has a 7-inch e-ink show, a full inch bigger than its predecessor. Amazon says that show will nonetheless sport 300 pixels per inch, so textual content ought to be simply as sharp as earlier than.
Maybe probably the most welcome information for Kindle diehards is that the brand new Oasis is waterproof. Amazon says the system is IPX8 rated, which suggests it ought to survive being dunked in additional than two meters of water for as much as 60 minutes. Although it’s lamentable that such waterproofing remains to be restricted to Amazon’s priciest Kindle, the addition is lengthy overdue; competing producers like Kobo have bought waterproof e-readers for years now.
The brand new Oasis retains the identical normal ergonomics because the final mannequin: there’s a giant, asymmetrical bezel on one facet, full with devoted page-turning buttons, and a big hump accompanying it across the again. It’s a tool made explicitly for one-handed use, and we dug the way it was put collectively final yr.
Amazon says the brand new mannequin trades final yr’s plastic for a largely aluminum end, although, so it might really feel somewhat extra premium. The system has turn into somewhat bit heavier within the course of, leaping from 131 grams to 194 grams, however Amazon says it nonetheless measures a slim three.4mm at its thinnest level.
The primary Oasis sacrificed a little bit of battery life to acquire that skinny design—relative to different Kindles, not less than—however Amazon tried to work round that by pairing the system with a removable charging case. Right here, the corporate is scaling the case idea again. It’ll nonetheless promote varied covers that double as stands (priced at $45, with leather-based covers priced at $60), however an Amazon spokesperson says the brand new Oasis has a higher-capacity battery that’s projected to rise up to 6 weeks of studying time on a cost. Older Oasis covers is not going to work with the brand new system.
Amazon says the brand new Oasis comes with fast-charging help, too. It didn’t specify a regular, noting solely that the system will cost from empty to full inside two hours. That mentioned, don’t anticipate the brand new system to final fairly as lengthy by itself as a extra primary Kindle.
The system itself also needs to be a bit quicker than earlier than—an Amazon spokesperson mentioned the brand new mannequin runs on a dual-core 1GHz NXP i.MX7D processor, up from the Cortex-A9 chip within the final Oasis. The brand new Oasis additionally comes with ambient mild sensors, which had been unusually lacking from the final mannequin however ought to now permit the reader’s backlight to mechanically regulate to your environment.
All of this comes with the same old Kindle retailer and software program. There’s nonetheless no help for open-source EPUB information, and the corporate’s Alexa assistant remains to be nowhere to be discovered, however Amazon’s e-book platform stays large both means.
The massive characteristic the corporate is touting is the power to play audiobooks from the system by its Audible app. Amazon says that may arrive by a software program replace when the brand new Oasis ships, however because the reader doesn’t have a headphone jack or built-in audio system, you’ll need to hook it as much as a Bluetooth system to reap the benefits of the brand new performance. Amazon says the Kindle (2016) and previous Oasis will get this replace as effectively; the favored Kindle Paperwhite is not going to, because it doesn’t help Bluetooth.
The Oasis remains to be dear for an e-reader, however rather less so than earlier than. The system now begins at $250 for a mannequin with 8GB of storage, with a 32GB mannequin out there for $280 and a mannequin that provides mobile connectivity out there for $350. The brand new reader is up for pre-order at the moment and can begin transport on October 31. The earlier Kindle Oasis began at $289 for 4GB of storage.
That’s nonetheless chunk of change for a tool that’s solely made for one factor. The $120 Kindle Paperwhite will seemingly stay probably the most wise purchase for most individuals who’re nonetheless occupied with an e-reader in 2017, however it’s ageing, so the brand new Oasis may make extra sense as a luxurious gadget for ebook lovers who use a Kindle typically and simply need the nicest factor attainable. The dimensions enhance seems to be to be Amazon’s means of differentiating the Kindle in a world the place large-screen smartphones have gotten the norm, and the addition of waterproofing ought to solely be factor. We’ll check the brand new Kindle Oasis to see if it will probably higher justify its asking worth later this month.