So, the new Kindle Oasis is almost here.
This luxury edition item with charging case
will be released on April 27, 2016. (UK: here, Canada: here, Int'l: here)
What's new? (Also see Updated info.)
For one thing, physical, dedicated page turn buttons are back !
The nicely-sized 'handgrip' side is wider and thicker, while the other side of the Oasis is slimmer.
HOWEVER, when you want to hold it with the other hand, you can just turn it around and the Oasis will auto-rotate the page orientation to match.
Amazon claims that "the tapered, ergonomic handgrip shifts the center of gravity to your palm, to rest in your hand like the spine of a book. Perfectly balanced for one-handed reading,"
It's now, overall, both thinner and lighter than previous Kindles.
Almost an inch shorter, it's a bit wider to get a more secure handgrip, and when you measure the thinness against earlier models, the NON-page-turn buttons side is at least twice as thin, which is hard to believe.
Oasis (UK: here, Canada: here, Int'l: here) comes with a removable leather charging cover included, which "boosts battery to last months." Color options are black, merlot, or walnut. I've read that without the battery cover, the battery life is shorter than on the earlier, larger Kindle e-Ink readers, but most use their Kindles with a protective cover and this will give battery life lasting "months" instead of "weeks" as with the earlier Kindles.
The product page explains that you can "charge the Oasis and cover simultaneously while snapped together and plugged in. When on the go, the cover will automatically recharge the device ...Plus, a new hibernation mode minimizes power consumption when your Kindle is inactive, extending battery life to its fullest capacity.
I haven't seen an Amazon-product option that isn't in leather (some don't want to buy animal skin) but I imagine 3rd party covers will be available, although I haven't seen if they'll be able to use Amazon's battery-charging technology.
Amazon describes the cover as one that "fits closely around the bezel, waking Kindle Oasis when opened and putting it to sleep when closed. Twelve magnets form a secure attachment between device and cover, while still easy to detach when the lightest possible weight is desired."
Without the cover, the Oasis weighs 4.6 oz. vs 6.3 oz. for Voyage and 7.2 oz. for the Paperwhite 3.
Display resolution is the same for all three of these, at 300 dpi.
The new Kindle doesn't have automatic light adjustments but it does have 10 LEDS vs 6 in the Voyage and 4 in the Paperwhite 3. Amazon explains that the 60% increase in lighting brings " enhanced page consistency" -- a feature that some Kindle users will appreciate when even the slightest variance has bothered some in earlier versions.
Storage capacity is the same at 4 GB.
They promise "Sharp, dark text" (which I hope they apply to the HOME page as well, since their latest update to the older Kindles lightened the font colors for the Home page and therefore reduced the contrast -- I'm still hoping they'll fix that).
"All fonts have been hand-tuned at the pixel level for maximum readability."
The CURRENT price showing as of today (prices can change from time to time) is $289.99, and if you want 3G cellular network capability in addition to the default WiFi, that's an additional $70 (or $359.00).
As with all the other Kindles, the default configuration includes "Special Offers," which can be good offers or sometimes just ads on the lock screen. To get the Oasis or any Kindle with NO Special Offers on the lock screen, it's an additional $20.
Comparison of Kindle E-Readers
Here's a link to Amazon's COMPARISON CHART of Kindle e-Readers (UK: here, Canada: here, Int'l: here) as of April 14, 2016.
Who might find this premium model worth a look?
While responding to a comment just now, it occurred to me that commuters who need to stand and hang onto a strap for long rides might find it easier to hold onto this Kindle with only one hand (no stretching the hand for screen taps to turn pages). It'd be less likely to cramp the hand.
And Tom Semple mentioned earlier that people going away (camping etc) to places with no electricity will find it useful. Then there are the few who see uneven lighting even on the Voyage and post that they're very bothered by it (while others don't notice, so it's a matter of how your eyes see).
That's it for now. Are the premium features attractive to you? I'll be back to update this as I find out more.
UPDATES - 4/16 and 4/17, 2016
Mashable's Lance Ulanoff offers interesting points, not mentioned on the product page, from his conversations with Amazon.
• While the screen is only 3.4mm thick, the grip side with page-turn buttons houses the e-reader’s CPU, storage and battery.
• The body is made of an electroplated polymer for added strength.
• The Oasis appears sharper and brighter due, Amazon explained, to a wider white gamut and with "brand new" lighting and screen refraction.
• "The lighting now flows in through the side and is spread evenly over the screen by something Amazon called a 'cylindrical refractive pattern.' What I noticed is that, even at its brightest, I could not see the actual LEDs.
• There's very little distance between the screen and the glass surface and you can feel as if you're touching the 'print.'
• Amazon explained that they chemically strengthened the glass after cutting it down to size rather than before. This helps prevent weak spots.
• The page turns, for him, were quicker, without noticeable flashing.
• As mentioned above, the battery life without the cover attached is about two weeks. The cover doesn't add much weight, he feels, describing it as 'relatively light, and brings the battery life to about 9 weeks
Ulanoff also describes how this cover works. See that and more at the full article.
ALSO The best Kindle Oasis photos I've seen for a good idea of what the new model AND cover look like are at The Verge article by Nick Statt.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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