The Kindle Oasis has one of the most unique designs in the e-reader business, and Xiaomi managed to copy it and surpass it. It has the same build quality, including the asymmetrical design and page-turn buttons. Still, it has a larger battery, and users can install their apps and alternative app stores.
The Xiaomi 7 features a 7-inch E INK Carta 1200 display with a resolution of 1680×1240 and 300 PPI. The screen is flush with the bezel and protected by a layer of glass. The colour scheme is the same as the Kindle Oasis, with the entire body being piano black and made of aluminum. A front-lit display and colour temperature system will allow users to read during the day or night and has 32 white and amber LED lights.
One of the significant benefits of this e-reader vs the Kindle Oasis 3 is the Carta 1200 display. This results in faster page turns, no ghosting and performance increases by 30%.
Under the hood lies a quad-core RK3566 processor with 2 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The Xiaomi e-reader comes with a 1200 mAh battery built into the device, though interestingly, the e-reader is also accompanied by a charging case, which too comes integrated with a larger 1950mAh battery. It has a USB-C port at the bottom left. Bluetooth 5.2 lets you pair it with wireless headphones or earbuds to listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts. You can connect to the internet with WIFI. The dimensions are 7.7×3.9 and weigh 166 grams.
The Xiaomi 7 runs Google Android 11 but does not have the Google Play Store. However, you can sideload your apps or an alternative app store like Amazon or Samsung Galaxy. You can use the browse to download Google Chrome, and it has a native package installer, which you can use to download apps manually from sites like APKPURE or APKMIRROR. The one drawback is that this does not support English out of the box, nor is English available as a firmware update.
However, if you want to get English on this e-reader, we installed Nova Launcher, one of the most popular Android launchers. When we installed it, the entire device switched to English automatically, including the UI, menus, settings, and sub-menus; if anyone were to buy this e-reader who does not speak Chinese, I would recommend installing Nova Launcher using the stock internet browser. When you install Nova Launcher, it replaces the stock home screen and UI. This is not bad since everything is in Chinese, which is Xiaomi’s target market.
One of the nice things about this device is the speed modes. There is transparent mode, which is the stock enabled as default. It is geared towards visiting websites or reading PDF files. Quick mode is ideal for apps and best for comic books, graphic novels and image-heavy content. Finally, Clear mode is best for reading digital books since you will get the best text quality and anti-aliasing. It also boosts the grey scale from 16 to 256 levels.
There is a stock e-reading app right out of the box that supports TXT, EPUB, PDF, DOC and XLS. You can sideload in your ebooks. The e-reading software is standard fare; you can adjust the line spacing and margins, select various fonts and adjust the font size. Books are stored in the e-reader root directory. However, all menus and sub-menus are in Chinese, so I don’t recommend using it.
A Chinese Bookstore pre-loaded on the device has many books available in Mandarin. This is useful if you buy this e-reader outside of China but still want to buy Chinese books when studying abroad or just living in a different country.
The real power of this e-reader is sideloading in your apps or alternative app stores. I recommend installing the Amazon and Samsung Galaxy App Store since you can access the most popular apps worldwide. Installing Kindle from Amazon lets you buy and read books directly within the app. You might have to manually find Kobo, Nook, Scribd, Libby and other apps from websites such as APK Pure or APK Mirror; they have most of the best manga, comics, audiobooks, ebooks and other apps you want to use. A 7-inch reader is suitable for books and manga, but not so great at PDF files since the screen is too small. You need a 10.3 or 13.3-inch display to read them.
There is a pre-loaded App Store that comes stock with the unit, but it only has 8 Chinese apps, such as JD Read, Netease, Baidu Books, WeChat Reading, Bilibili Comics, Palm Reading and one of the best e-reading apps, Koreader.
The overall design is the same as the Kindle Oasis, which we’ve seen before from numerous manufacturers. But copying the Oasis has never been done entirely as well as this.
On the outside, you get one of the best-looking ebook readers I’ve seen in a long time. It starts with a wrap-around leather case and an expandable battery cover that snaps on with heavy magnets and transmits via Pogo pins.
This is the most significant battery cover I have ever seen in our 16-year career.
The problem with Oasis 1 was that only 10% of the battery was in the unit itself and heavily relied on having the expandable battery cover for the rest. Whereas Xiaomi situates a hefty 1900 mAh in the case, it is meant to supplement it, not carry it.
The unit is built meticulously with high-quality materials and nice bevelled edges, and it is a very classy-looking e-reader. However, unlike most Xiaomi devices, the English operating system is inconsistent. Only 60% of the unit is currently in English, right out of the box, without using launchers.
However, they do technically have you covered because not only do they allow side loading of your content, but they also allow you to sideload in your own APK, and everything works. It has wi-fi, Bluetooth, glow lights, and everything else you’ll need, including speed modes and even key mappable page turn buttons. From a quality perspective, this kills the Oasis three times over.
Xiaomi 7 e-reader$399.99
Michael Kozlowski is the editor-in-chief at Good e-Reader and has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past fifteen years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.