When Amazon introduced the Kindle Oasis last year, its $289 price tag was a little hard to swallow. It was the prettiest Kindle yet, and it came with a neat battery cover, but otherwise offered few practical improvements over the cheaper Voyage and Paperwhite models. Now Amazon is releasing a new Oasis at $249, and it’s giving you more for the premium.
The most obvious change is the new screen. With a 7 inch diagonal, it’s larger than any Kindle display other than the ill-fated DX, but Amazon has also increased the resolution to maintain the 300 ppi (read: print-like) sharpness. The larger screen can fit about 30 percent more words, and Amazon says it has sped up the refresh rate for faster page turns too.
Thats great and all, but the real reason to buy the Oasis is waterproofing. I don’t know about you, but few things are more relaxing than reading a good book while taking a bubble bath – it’s nice to finally have a Kindle you don’t have to worry about frying when you invitably drop it.
Amazon says an IPX8 rating means it’s designed to withstand submerging “in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes,” and can survive being splashed at the beach or perhaps, erm, an actual Oasis. Heh.
The other neat upgrade is Audible integration, although it won’t be exclusive to the new model.
Amazon is bringing over the WhisperSync feature from its mobile apps which lets you pair your ebook with Audible so you can switch from reading to listening on the fly. I’ve found that feature super useful on my smartphone, and it’ll launch on the 8th generation Kindle and the original Oasis as well “in the coming months.” There’s no headphone jack though, so you’ll need Bluetooth headphones.
Other improvements include more font sizes, five levels of boldness, the ability to invert black and white, and an option for ragged text alignment. The Oasis will start at $250 for the 8GB model and $280 for 32GB, while a cellular model will retail for $350. The covers cost $45 (water safe-fabric) or $60 (leather); they no longer include an extra battery, but they do transform into a kickstand.
Pre-orders start today, and units will ship beginning the October 31. Better prep some spooky books for Halloween.