Amazon's flagship Kindle Oasis is now bigger, cheaper, and waterproof too
A year and a half after launching the Kindle Oasis as the thinnest and lightest (and most expensive) of its e-readers, Amazon is back with a follow-up. The 2017 model slims down even more while offering a bigger 7-inch screen, and adds bonus features like water resistance and audiobook support.
Despite the jump in screen size from 6 to 7 inches, giving 30 percent more room for text, Amazon says the device retains the same 300 pixels-per-inch sharpness of its predecessor. It's also bumped up the number of LED backlights from 10 to 12, which should make for a clearer reading experience, and there's now an ambient light sensor that can adjust the screen brightness to your environment.
The newest member of the Kindle family is the first to come with water resistance, as we mentioned above. The IPX8 rating means it can survive up to 60 minutes under 2 meters (6.5 feet) of fresh water, and it can withstand splashes of salty seawater, too, should you be taking it down to the beach.
Here's another first for the Kindle line – support for audiobooks from Audible, thanks in part to the boosted internal memory that lets you store more on the device itself. Storage starts at 8 GB and goes all the way up to 32 GB, if you need that much. Bluetooth has been added, for headphones or speakers, though there's no headphone jack for cabled connection.
That same Audible support is coming to the previous Oasis and the standard 8th-generation Kindle as well, so you can switch between text and audio versions of the same book as you like. You still need to buy both standard and audiobook versions of your literature separately, though Amazon is offering discounts in some cases
While the design is similar to the 2016 model, including that asymmetrical sidebar you can use either left or right-handed, this time the e-reader is made from one seamless piece of aluminum. The device weighs in at 194 grams (6.8 oz), so it's a little heavier than last year's 131 g (4.6 oz) model.
As for the battery life, Amazon is promising a huge six weeks of reading between charges, but we'll have to wait for some real-world tests to see if that holds up.
You get a choice of new covers too, US$44.99 for the fabric ones and $59.99 for the leather ones. They no longer come with extra batteries as they did last time, but they can now act as kickstands for hands-free reading (or listening).
Last year's Kindle Oasis had a lot going for it, but it didn't quite tick all of the boxes, whereas the 2017 version seems to have everything you could want, and comes in cheaper too – the base 8 GB model is $249.99, which goes up to $279.99 for the 32 GB e-reader and $349.99 for 32 GB and cellular connectivity. Pre-orders are open now, with shipping starting on October 31.