The third generation Amazon Kindle Oasis 3 is the best model the company has ever made. The big selling points is that it has a color temperature system that adds orange LED lights and helps mute the front-lit display.
The Kindle Oasis 3 features a 7 inch E Ink Carta HD capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1680 x 1264 and 300 PPI. The screen is made of glass and the body is made of high grade aluminum. It has a front-lit display and is the first Kindle with a color temperature system. So What exactly is a color temperature system? It has been employed for years on Barnes and Noble and Kobo e-readers. The standard front-lit display has white LED lights on the bottom or top of the bezel and project light evenly across the screen. When you are reading at night, this light can be bright, even on the lower settings. A color temperature system adds orange LED lights beside the white LED lights. This will allow you to use both LEDS at the same time and it helps diffuse the white light with various degrees of orange. The front-lit display and color system can both be controlled by slider bars in the quick settings menu, or can automatically be adjusted based on the time of day via the ambient light sensor.The new Oasis has 25 LED lights total, 12 white and 13 amber.
The Oasis 3 has a number of ways you can adjust the color temperature system. You can manually adjust it with a slider bar, similar to the way you control the illiminstosity of the front-lit display. You can also auto adjust the brightness with the two ambient light sensors above the physical page turn keys. Finally, the third option to utilize the current time of day to adjust the brightness, it is based on your timezone.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale/NXP IMX7 dual core 1 GHZ processor, 512 MB of RAM. The Oasis has kept the two manual page turn buttons on the right side of the screen and there is an option in the settings menu to reverse the page turns, so up is down and down is up, which is ideal for manga. This is the only Kindle model that has physical page turn buttons. If you are holding the e-reader in one hand when reading an ebook, there is a setting to disable the touchscreen, this is useful if you are taking public transit and are holding onto something or juggling a baby in the other hand.
There are two different storage configurations that are available, depending on your needs. The 8GB version retails for $249 USD and the 32GB variant will cost $279 USD. There are also two different colors to choose from – Graphite or Champagne Gold. These colors are only applicable to select regions, Canada for example only has the black model available. You can also pay extra for the Non-Special offers version, Special Offers basically displays adverts on the home screen and when the device is in standby mode. If your WIFI is spotty or you tend to not be around an access point, there is a 4G/LTE version that uses AT&T. It costs around $100 more than the WIFI variant, but you do not have to pay monthly data fees. It is important to note that you cannot browse the internet on data, or access GoodReads. You can only browse the Kindle Store and download titles from the cloud.
The Oasis weighs 188g, so it is lighter than the Kobo Forma which is 197g. It is powered by a 1130 mAh battery, which is a bit larger than the 1000 mAh found on the previous generation Oasis. It is also waterproof and can play audiobooks via Audible with a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones or an external speaker.
If you love reading in the bathtub or at the beach, the Kindle Oasis 3 is waterproof. It is certified IPX8 to protect against immersion in up to two meters of freshwater, for up to 60 minutes. If your Kindle is splashed with water, wipe it off with a soft cloth and keep on reading. If your Kindle is immersed in water, remove its cover, make sure no cables are plugged into the device, and do not attempt to charge your Kindle until it is completely dry. If your Kindle is immersed in salt water, chlorinated water, soapy water, or liquids other than fresh water, make sure you rinse that liquid out of the device with fresh water such as cold tap water. Then dry your Kindle.
To dry your Kindle, let the water drain out through the micro-USB port, gently tapping the side of the device as necessary. We recommend you also let your Kindle dry fully in a well-ventilated location, with it standing upright so that any excess water can continue to drain from the micro-USB port. Do not attempt to dry your Kindle with an external heat source, such as a microwave oven or hair dryer. Do not insert a foreign object, such as a cotton swab or paper towel, into the micro-USB port to dry it.
From an industrial design perspective the Oasis features the same asymmetrical design as Kindle Oasis 2. It is completely flat in most areas, but has a little hump where the Micro USB Port is. This is where the small motherboard, battery, processor and RAM is housed. The screen is completely flush with the bezel, which makes touchscreen interactions very easy to do.
I think the Oasis 3 might be the best Kindle Amazon has ever made. It is their flagship e-reader that has a glowlight system and physical page turn buttons. It does not need a case to draw power from, which the first generation Oasis needed.
The Kindle Oasis 3 is using Linux as the core operating system and the main menu that is available gives you a sense of the books you have recently added or are in the process of reading, along with a process bar. Underneath that are various recommendations from Amazon, based on past purchases or books you have looked at, but did not buy. The Special Offers version has a small bar that is persistent on the bottom of the screen that changes day to day. You can switch to the previous home screen in the settings menu that basically turns the homescreen into your library, showing all of the cover art of the audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels or magazines you have bought from Amazon. I will leave it with you to decide what homescreen you like the best.
Amazon has a system wide dark mode available on the Oasis 3. You can adjust it in the accessibility section in the settings menu. It will invert the colors of the entire device, the background will now be black and the text will be white. This is similar to the dark feature found in the latest version of Android beta and iOS 13. When you turn on the dark screen on the Kindle, the front-lit display is automatically turned on, basically give to give you added contrast, but this can be manually disabled.
No matter what homescreen you have turned on, the UI at the top is persistent. There is quick access to your library, GoodReads, Search, Kindle Store and the Settings menu. If you drag your finger down from the top of the screen you will get a quick option drop down that allows you to adjust the front-lit display, color temperature system, WIFI and Airplane mode. There is also a full settings menu available, but the options change depending on what screen you are on. For example, on the main home screen the main settings menu gives you control over most aspects of the device. When reading a book it primarily gives you features like X-Ray, Wordwise, flashcards, Prime Reading and font controls. When shopping most of it revolves around jumping to dedicated sections, such as the Kindle Store, Audiobook Store, Kindle Unlimited etc. Suffice to say, the settings options are anything but persistent.
The library menu is likely where you are going to spend the most time, aside from the Kindle Store. You can sort by a bunch of digital content, such as ebooks, audio books and comics. Amazon also considers graphic novels and manga as comic books, so all of that content that can be sorted independently. This is useful if you have a large selection of content in your library. You can also sort by documents, author, title and date, which is standard fare.
I found that navigating the menus, clicking on options and opening ebooks is lightning quick. This is due to the Oasis employing the Freescale IMX.7 dual core processor. Kobo e-readers for example are only using like a 10 year old IMX.6 solo lite 1 GHZ processor. The entry level Kindle and Paperwhite 4 are also using the same old processor.
The Kindle Oasis 3 supports Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PMP through conversion; Audible audio format (AAX).
Amazon developed a font called Ember and Ember Bold a few years ago and this e-reader supports that too. Ember was designed to give people with vision disorders a really bold font to make it easier to read. The new Oasis has a bold slider bar that can make any font bolder. You can do this with Caecilia, Bookerly, Ember, or any of the other default fonts. The slider bar has numerous options to increase the boldness.
If you need glasses or have a vision disorder, not only are there extra bold fonts, but you can actually scale the UI and all of the text across the device with an accessibility feature to increase the size of everything.
When you are reading a book, there are profiles that can customize your favorite reading layouts. There are a few by default, but you can delete them and create your own. This can ensure that your font selection, font size, margins, line spacing and margins are preserved.
When reading an ebook you can take notes, make highlights and annotations. You can lookup words in the built in dictionary and access them in Wikipedia. The Kindle also uses Bing Translations on all of their e-readers, so you can translate a specific word or a body of text from one language to another. If you highlight a block of text or a single word, instead of looking them up you can share them via Twitter, GoodReads or Email. It looks like Amazon has removed Facebook from their social media sharing.
The Kindle Oasis has a system called X-Ray. If you have never used it before, it basically breaks down people, places and things. It will tell you all of the major and minor characters in the book and let you know on what page they were referenced and give a quick character biography. The Oasis has a new option in X-Ray called “Images” which will show you all of the images in a book you are reading. Most books just have cover art, but there are many genres such as autobiographies that have dozens.
One of the features I dig about the e-reading experience is the ability to shut off things like time remaining in a chapter or what page you are on. Eliminating the status bar, or just giving the option to shut it off completely is truly excellent.
The best things about the Oasis are the customized fonts that Amazon has created, with the Kindle in mind. Bookerly, Caecilia, Ember, Ember Bold and others were specially created in order to provide the best reading experience on an E Ink screen. No matter what font you select, you will have an excellent reading experience with no weird spacing between the words. Amazon basically forces publishers to have excellently formatted books.
When you purchase a new Kindle Oasis 3 you will get six months complimentary access to Kindle Unlimited. Readers have access to over a million eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, kids’ books, and more.
Audiobooks are a billion dollar industry and Audible is the largest online retailer. The new Kindle Oasis 3 has audiobook functionality and you can buy them an audiobook section from the Amazon bookstore. When you visit the Kindle Store there are two tabs, Audiobooks and ebooks. Clicking on either will take you to the dedicated section in the Kindle Store.
It is important to note that Audible integration into the entire modern Kindle line is heavily dependant on where you live. For example, it is not available in Canada, but is in the US and United Kingdom.
If you do live in a market with Audible support, purchasing audiobooks on the Oasis is really easy, providing you already have an Audible account. If you do not have an Audible account you can register one for free. Audible basically has two different systems in place. You can subscribe and get X number of credits per month, depending on how much you want to pay or pay for each title individually without subscribing.
When browsing the Audible catalog on the Kindle everything is split up into genre sections and there are some editorial based content based on the season, various book awards or special events. There are free samples of every title available, so you can get a sense of the narrator and the production quality.
Once you download a full version of the audiobook you can listen to it with the audio player or delete it from your device when you are done and it will be stored in the cloud. If you already have an Audible account on your smartphone or tablet and already used credits for past purchases, these all will be available to download from your Kindles library.
The built in audiobook player is tremendously robust. You can skip forward or ahead fifteen seconds or change the pitch level. While listening to an audiobook, the Oasis displays how much time is left in a chapter and has software driven volume button. There is a bluetooth notification on the bottom of the screen that tells you what device you have paired it with. If you have not connected a pair of headphones or wireless speakers with it yet, it will walk you through the setup process. You cannot pair your smartphone and have that as an audio player sadly.
If you have a first generation Kindle Oasis, the third generation is a reason to upgrade. The battery life is better, you don’t need a case and the front-light and color temperature system are excellent.
Why should you buy a Kindle Oasis 3, instead of other flagship e-readers, such as the Kobo Forma or Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus? Amazon has the largest ebook store in the world and basically controls the North American market and also in the UK. They have so much revenue coming in from AWS and their e-commerce division that they can develop custom features not found in other e-readers, just to give people more options. A system wide dark mode is really solid and so are the customized Amazon fonts and manual page turn buttons.
The Oasis 3 is not cheap. If you are going for the 32GB No Special Offers and 4G/LTE you are roughly spending over $400+. This makes it the most expensive, non-professional e-reader in the world. You are getting value though, not found in other e-readers.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.