When you think of “e-reader” you think of “Kindle”. And it’s no wonder why: Amazon has really cornered the market with its Kindle e-reader devices. But was what once just a line of a single model or two, the Kindle line now includes four different devices.
The latest of these is the Kindle Oasis, which Amazon surprised everyone with by dropping it this week out of the blue. The Oasis is the most radical redesign to the Kindle line in years thanks to its new handgrip design and it takes its place as the flagship Kindle, displacing the Kindle Voyage the company introduced last year (and has kept around).
But just how do the Oasis and Voyage compare? We took a look to find out.
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Voyage: Specs
As always, let’s get started with the specs first.
Screen: 6-inch glare-free, 300ppi
Built-in Light: Yes
Weight: Wi-Fi: 131 grams, Wi-Fi + 3G: 133 grams
Dimensions: 143 mm x 122 mm x 3.4-8.5 mm
Page Turns: Touchscreen + Page turn buttons
Battery Life: “months” based on 30 minutes reading a day
Storage: 4GB total (3GB usable) – enough for 1000’s of books
Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + free 3G
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Voyage: Display
From a resolution point of view the Oasis and Voyage have the same display: each features an all-glass 6in screen with 300 pixels per inch. What’s interesting here is last year’s Voyage still has the technically better display because the Voyage offers an adaptive front light. What is an adaptive front light? Amazon explains it best: “In order to more closely resemble reading on real paper, we researched and hand-tuned the optimal brightness setting for every lighting condition. The new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display’s brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness.”
In short, this adaptive front light makes reading on the Voyage under varied conditions much easier. That being said, Amazon has added some new display tech to the Oasis which makes it better than most older Kindles: “A redesigned built-in light features 60% more LEDs than any other Kindle, increasing the consistency and range of screen brightness for improved reading in all types of lighting,” says the company.
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Voyage: Design
The design is the biggest difference between the two Kindles. The Voyage uses the standard “slate” e-reader design Kindle is known for, but the Oasis uses a new tapered design with a handgrip built into the side of it. Amazon says this hand grip mimics the spine of a physical book, shifting the center of gravity to your hand, which makes it the easiest Kindle to hold for long stretches of time. The hand grip also features “page turn buttons”—buttons you can physically touch to turn the page.
Because of the hand grip design, the body of the Oasis tapers off. Its maximum thickness is 8.5mm at the handgrip—thicker than the Voyage’s uniform 7.6mm thickness. But the Oasis tapers off to less than half the Voyager’s thickness at just 3.4mm at its thinnest.
As for the Voyage, it has PagePress technology built into the bezel. PagePress uses haptic sensors in the bezel to sense when you touch it. Press a little harder than normal and it will prompt the book’s page to turn. This means your hands don’t need to leave the device to touch the screen to turn the page, enabling you to concentrate on continuous reading. Both the Voyage and Oasis also allow you to turn pages by tapping the screen.
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Voyage: Battery, Storage, and Connectivity
The remainder of the features for both the Voyage and the Oasis are the mostly same. Each Kindle has 4GB of internal storage–but after the OS takes up its room, that storage is limited to 3GB for you to use for books and documents. And as for connectivity, each comes in a Wi-Fi-only model or a Wi-Fi+3G model.
When we get to battery life, the two differ. The Voyage features a battery that lasts for up to 6 weeks based on 30 minutes reading each day. The Oasis will last for a similar duration—unless you attach it to its included cover, which also has a battery in it. When the Oasis uses its internal battery and its cover’s battery, it can last for “months” at a time on just a single charge.
Kindle Oasis vs Kindle Voyage: Price and Verdict
The Oasis is the flagship Kindle, with the new design and that included battery cover, which means it's going to cost you more for all that extra tech. The Wi-Fi model of the Voyage is £269 and the Wi-Fi+3G is £329. The Kindle Voyage is £169 for the Wi-Fi-only and £229 for the Wi-Fi+3G model. So basically, the Oasis is £100 more than the Voyage.
Is that £100 worth it? That really depends on how radical and improved a redesign the grip handle is on the Oasis. If it really is that much better, and does make it easier to read for hours at a time, then £100 is probably worth it for the extra comfort. We won’t know for sure, however, until the Oasis actually ships at the end of this month.