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Gadget Review: Kindle Oasis e-reader - Cool new features, but expensive

The Kindle Oasis pricing is perhaps an example of Amazon trying to position itself as a premium e-reader, and it might succeed in a market with few alternatives

 The debate between those who prefer to read physical books and those who’ve moved on to the e-reader is an endless one. And just to spice things up, the new Kindle Oasis has arrived on the scene. At Rs 28k for an e-reader, we’re asking if it’s worth the price, especially when one can buy four first generation Kindles, two Kindle Paperwhites, one Kindle Voyage (which by the way has the similar specs) and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (16GB) and still have plenty of moolah left to go on an e-book shopping spree. Let’s find out:

Amazon's Kindle Oasis is priced at Rs 27,999 for Wi-Fi and 3G version
Amazon's Kindle Oasis is priced at Rs 27,999 for Wi-Fi and 3G version

What we like
The specs, though not changed much from the Kindle Voyage, still makes the Oasis an enticing deal. Most importantly, weighing just 133 gm (without the leather cover), the Kindle Oasis (Wi-Fi plus free 3G) is lighter than the Xiaomi Mi5 we reviewed last Monday. At 143 mm x 122 mm, it’s smaller than a paperback and as big as music CD case (we hope, you have not forgotten about them). It can easily fit in the front pocket of your trousers. Though, a bulge is evident, the point is, it’s easy to carry. Just remember to take it out when you sit down.

We also like the glare-free 6-inch display, which with its 300ppi pixel density, is easy to read. The e-Ink display is again absolutely pleasing. We are also glad to see familiar features offering the same set of options as in the previous Kindles, and more. Just tap on a word to highlight text, make notes, share quotes on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Email and Goodreads) and/or search a citation or the meaning of a word on dictionary, all on the e-reader. You can also change pages by just touching the display. On the right, there are two buttons placed on the device as well, that allow you to go back to or forward a page by pressing them. The micro-USB port and the power button are placed on the top.

The 3G cellular connectivity is good, and seems to have improved a lot as compared to what we had seen in the Voyage. There’s also a Wi-Fi (b/g/n)-only variant that costs Rs 23,999.

What we don’t like
The pricing of the new Kindle is just way too much for both Wi-Fi and 3G variants, and that too without any sincere hardware improvements. Yes, it’s lighter and smaller, but isn’t that the natural order of things with gadgets? We are not happy with the pricing also because the Kindle Voyage offers the same set of features and specs for just `16.5K. So, technically, Amazon is charging another `11.5k for the leather cover.

But all that wouldn’t matter much had Amazon been able to offer more colour choices, positioning itself as a niche product as well as appeal to the creative aspirations of its fans. But instead, Amazon has gone monochrome offering black as the only option.

As for battery life, Amazon claims the Oasis lasts nearly eight weeks with half an hour reading everyday and the brightness level set at 10, which give you a roughly 28 hours of reading on a single charge. We will reserve our comments on the battery life at the moment, considering we need more usage hours to make any statement, but we must inform that the settings used by Amazon to claim the battery life are way too low to be taken seriously.

You need at least a ‘level 15 brightness’ to be able to read any book on the Oasis. And though the design gives it a good ergonomic hold, the Oasis by itself (without the cover) is not much of a performer when it comes to battery power. But Amazon deserves a pat in the back for launching the Oasis with a cover that also doubles up as a powerbank. It’s refreshing, and comes very handy.

Overall rating

The guide VERDICT To say it loud and clear, being a Kindle fan may not be sufficient to buy the Oasis. You have to be crazy and have pots of money to spend R28k on an e-reader. But then, from what we’ve been reminded of repeatedly, there are plenty to fall for it.

Specifications
DISPLAY: 6-inch e-Ink IPS display, 300ppi
MEMORY: 4GB ROM
CONNECTIVITY: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n and 3G cellular
PRICE: Rs 27,999
Available at: Amazon.in

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