Amazon’s Kindle range has dominated the eReader market for a while now. There are other players in the market, but few can compete with the sheer dominance Amazon holds over the space.
From the standard Kindle to the Paper White, if you are buying an eReader, chances are the Kindle has come up in conversation. While most are relatively inexpensive, the Oasis remains the pinnacle of the range. And while not a major upgrade from last year, the 2019 Kindle Oasis feels like a solid tablet for anyone looking to spend a bit extra for your eReading needs.
This being the third iteration of the Oasis range, smaller changes are to be expected, with a more nuanced take as to what an eReader can be. This year, while most of the feature set remains the same, there is one noticeable addition: you can now make the screen yellow. A feature similar to phones night mode, the Kindle Oasis now allows you to tint the screen for nighttime reading, or to just get a bit closer to the feeling of paper.
Much like your phone, there are two ways to activate the change in colour temperature. You can set it manually, by going into the settings and adjusting it to your heart’s content. Or, conversely, it can be set to a timer, that will work with sunrise/sunset or a specified time that fits your needs. As with any night mode, you can adjust the temperature from a mild yellow to a full-on amber colour depending on your needs and style of reading.
I will be honest; I have never had a problem with the standard Kindle look. The light was never too intense to cause major strain, and reading at night on the device was always comfortable. Yet, after testing out the new Kindle Oasis 2019, I found it hard to go back. The slight yellow tint, as minor, as it may sound, just feels more natural. It feels akin to reading paper. So much so, I have been leaving on the tint even while daytime reading.
The screen is bright and clear, so the tint does not detract from reading. In fact, after sitting last years Kindle next to the 2019 model, the screen starts to feel washed out. The yellow adds something I did not think I needed with the Kindle, but now I quickly find it has become the new norm.
The new 2019 Kindle Oasis also has improved e-ink technology. This new screen, according to the documentation, is slightly faster when page-turning and refreshing. Comparing the 2019 model with past versions, this can be noticed, but it is not a major change. It is, however, nice to see Amazon constantly working to improve the underlying technology that powers the Kindle.
This will be an odd review because, beyond the above features, the 2019 Kindle Oasis is largely unchanged from last years model. The body has remained the same since the 2017 release of the Oasis, to the point that sitting next to each other, you would be hard-pressed to identify which Kindle came out when.
The core of what made the Kindle Oasis a solid offering in 2018, still stands today. Amazon has found a design and stuck to it. And while I would have liked to see some improvements (USB-C for one), the “if it ain’t’ broke, don’t fix it” approach works, especially for a device that sells to such a wide range of people. But on such a high-end device, a little more is always welcome.
The 300 PPI e-ink screen is still sharp and easy to read on. The IPX8 waterproofing still works like a charm and makes it an ideal choice to take travelling. And I am still a fan of the clean, industrial design. But for anyone looking for a revolution, you may want to look elsewhere.
Amazon nailed the concept of the Kindle Oasis when it first launched, and it still stands true today. But, as with everything, as technology improves, and the other offerings start to look better, it becomes harder and harder to recommend the flagship. While the Kindle Oasis is the pinnacle of tablets you can currently buy, at $250, it is a harder sell, especially with the Paper White catching up in features.
I am a fan of the improvements Amazon has made for the 2019 Kindle Oasis, and the new tint settings have been a game-changer for reading on an eReader. That said, I hope Amazon takes another crack at the core of the Oasis for the 2020 release. As a flagship, it still stands tall, but there is so much potential left to explore, especially for the price point. The 2019 Kindle Oasis is a solid device, but hard to recommend as an upgrade for anyone who already has an Oasis device.