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Happy 10th Birthday

As the Kindle turns 10 this year, Amazon celebrates with the updated version of the Oasis — an indulgence for every serious reader

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It is common  knowledge that the iPhone turned 10 this year, but did you know another product — one that has had a profound impact on millions of lives — marked a decade of existence as well? It’s the Kindle, Amazon’s E Ink based e-reader that has literally defined its segment. Now, while Amazon has a Kindle for every budget, the no-compromise option for the truly serious reader was last year’s Oasis, a Kindle that was super portable and weighed the lightest in your pocket, although the heaviest on your pocket! And now, it has a worthy successor — the 2017 Oasis truly is the update that every Kindle owner would hope for, and then some.

If you have happened to pick up last year’s Oasis, the 2017 update will feel rather familiar, with a premium aluminum finish that sits only a bit bigger in the hand. It retains a similar asymmetric shape, thicker at one end and 3.4mm-thin on the other, to give you something to grip onto — no matter which hand, the accelerometer flips orientation accordingly — while staying perfectly balanced in the hand. It’s marginally heavier, but the grip and the weight distribution allows it to be held up for long periods without cause for complaint. Crucially though, this is the first water-resistant Kindle, certified IPX8 water-resistant, so it can survive a dunking in water — a much needed bit of holiday-proofing, this.

The bigger deal, quite literally, is the larger 7-inch E Ink panel — the largest on any Kindle at the moment — and the extra visual real estate means you can fit in more words on each page, or better enjoy graphic novels and magazines on the larger screen. A series of 12 LEDs cast an even glow across the front of the device, and adaptive lighting adjusts the brightness to suit the ambient light, which makes using the Oasis super comfortable on your eyes for extended reading sessions. The larger size affords the Oasis a larger battery built into the device, unlike last year’s Oasis that had a small battery in the device and a larger one in the included snap-on case. Amazon claims the new device will see you through six weeks of daily use, and my usage over the past couple of weeks points in the same general direction. In a world where I regularly charge my phone as a daily ritual, going a week without having to charge the Kindle is an understated luxury. For what it’s worth, the Oasis supports fast charging to juice it up in under two hours.

Amazon’s software refinements (for the bigger screen) keep the Oasis easy to use, and as always, you can download or delete the books whenever you wish, though with the extra 4GB of storage over a regular Kindle (28GB on the pricier variant), you will have to delete books a lot less often. Of course, the Kindle is the gateway for Amazon to sell you books only from its storefront, but given their selection and prices, that’s hardly an issue. What I did wish for was that Amazon bundled in a water-proof fabric case to give the Oasis the protection you would accord to an expensive purchase. Even so, as it stands, the Oasis is the indulgence any serious reader should pamper themselves with, but the price will deter all but the seriously loaded.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 23 December 2017 amazon kindle Oasis smartphone

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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