Is the Kindle Oasis worth the $290 purchase price? I’ve already pondered that question myself, but it’s worth looking at what others have to say. James A. Martin has a brief piece on CIO weighing up the pros and cons.

Under reasons to skip it, Martin suggests that the extra battery life is nice but not essential, the screen may only be a minor improvement, and the Oasis doesn’t currently support audio. (Whether it actually will support audio or Bluetooth at all is still an open question.)

For possible reasons to buy, Martin notes that it has a “cool cover,” is designed for use with one hand, and is much lighter-weight than previous models. So there’s that.

$290 is still a pretty hefty investment—the iPad Mini 2 David Rothman sent me cost considerably less than that, and does considerably more—but to someone who really loves to read, it may not be that much in the grand scheme of things. Plenty of people were willing to pay more than that for the first- and second-generation Kindles, which were a whole lot uglier and heavier and didn’t do as much.

And remember that commercial for the Kindle in which a smug Kindle user notes her sunglasses cost more? I personally don’t pay more than $20 or so for sunglasses—but it seems to me that the same sort of person who could justify buying stylish sunglasses that cost more than an e-reader might also be able to justify buying a stylish e-reader that costs more than a tablet.

In any event, I was never interested in buying a Kindle Voyage, and I doubt I’d buy a Kindle Oasis either—though I’ll be happy to use one if someone provides me with it. But I do think that coming out with a designer-quality e-reader is a good move on Amazon’s part. It’s a market segment that historically hasn’t gotten much attention—but there could be more than enough people in it to turn Amazon a tidy profit.

Do you agree with James A. Martin’s criteria for skipping or buying an Oasis? Have any others to add?

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TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows has been writing for us--except for a brief interruption--since 2006. Son of two librarians, he has worked on a third-party help line for Best Buy and holds degrees in computer science and communications. He clearly personifies TeleRead's motto: "For geeks who love books--and book-lovers who love gadgets." Chris lives in Indianapolis and is active in the gamer community.


  1. Quote: “Whether it actually will support audio or Bluetooth at all is still an open question.”

    Perhaps someone could interest iFixit in doing a breakdown of the Oasis. They could offer an excellent look at its internals, including what it might be able to do later. Sometimes they can even spot an idea in the development model that was dropped from the production model.

    Here’s what they did with the Kindle Touch:

    Of course, their interest lies in offering parts and tools to fix broken gear. Tablets offer more of a market there than eink readers.
    Also, fans of the Kindle 3/Keyboard like me might find this description of adding a remote page-turn switch helpful.

    Someone who’s looking for a small side busines might want to consider retrofitting eink Kindles with physical buttons (i.e. the Kindle 3 and the Oasis) to use an external switch. The wiring would not be hard. The external switch just needs to be in parallel with the existing switch. The skill would lie in coming up with an elegant way to do it, so it’s not just an ugly kludge.

    The result would be especially great for those with mobility issues. Third-party mechanical devices to do that can be expensive and are often out of production:
    I’d love to see Amazon not only restore text-to-speech, but include an earphone with switches to start or stop the playback, adjust the volume, or change pages when reading much like that on iPhones. The headphone jack could also be used for an external page-change switch.

    Innovations like that makes far more sense than merely extending the Kindle’s already long battery life.


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