Kindle’s are awesome. Kindle’s are amazing. Kindle’s are possibly one of the best inventions in literacy since the printing press. My Kindle collection includes every model from the original Kindle released in 2007 all the way through the Paperwhite gen 3 (actually several of the PW3’s). However, right around the time of the Paperwhite, Amazon’s eInk Kindle’s started to falter. The Voyage was a great unit which I was tempted to purchase on numerous occasions, but The Verge said it best: “this is the best E Ink e-reader I’ve used, and it’s unquestionably the best that Amazon has ever made. The thing is, it’s only marginally better than the fantastic Paperwhite”. Needless to say, that model was not added to my collection. Yesterday was the release of the brand new Kindle Oasis, but I’m fairly confident that my collection will sadly continue to be lacking the “latest and greatest”.
So, the brand new Kindle Oasis. It certainly looks nice, a little funky, but nothing as terrible as the Original Kindle. Speaking of the original, for those that don’t recall that unit retailed in 2007 at $399. The price tag was a bitter pill for some to swallow but I’d been dreaming of a quality ebook reader for years so I jumped in feet first. As chance would have it, I was lucky enough to order in the first 5 hours, before the original sold out. Of course for an eReader, $399 is not a price tag most would accept, especially upgrade after upgrade. The Paperwhite (all generations) are $119 which is reasonable for a quality device. One could go cheaper to the Kindle 7 at $79 or more expensive to the Voyage at $199. Then there’s the Oasis, which is retailing at $289. A major step backwards in price, Ouch.
Being a die hard technologist, I’m generally an early adopter willing to accept a higher price tag for the latest and greatest. Even with that fact AND being a tried-and-true Kindle lover, I cannot possibly fathom paying that much. What does the Oasis give me over the Paperwhite Gen 3? Well the first feature bump listed is 6 more LEDs “for enhanced page consistency”. Um. Okay. Oh good, it’s also got touchscreen AND page turn buttons (the latter of which we used to have). Since I’m not a fan of touchscreen page turns, that would be a nice bonus. Same screen resolution, nothing there. The Oasis has a charging cover so the battery can last for months. That’s nifty but I already charge my Kindle so infrequently on my “weeks” of battery life that I don’t remember the last time I did charge it. The only other differentiator is that the Oasis is thinner and lighter.
Do I want a better lit screen? Of course. Do I want buttons? Duh. Do I want a battery life so long I could forget that the device is battery operated? Totes. Is a Kindle that’s so light it’s like reading a feather appealing? You bet. Is paying an extra $170 for those features going to happen? Hell no. I’ve lost/broken a few Kindles — I’d much rather buy two Paperwhites AND still have $50 left over to splurge on my favorite books, like The Martian by Andy Weir, Jumpers by Steven Gould, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card … oh AND still have a few bucks left over for a Starbucks to enjoy while reading.