Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review: the most paper-like reader yet

Luxury model has colour-changing frontlight that gets warmer as the sun sets

Amazon’s most expensive, luxury e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, has taken a leaf out of the modern smartphone’s book for 2019 with a colour adjustable light that gets warmer as the sun sets.

It’s a small thing that makes quite a difference to the reading experience, which is just as well as the rest of the £230 Oasis is basically the same as it was two years ago.

That’s not a bad thing, of course, as the 2017 Kindle Oasis provided the indulgent experience required for a luxury single-use product. As such, the new Kindle Oasis has the same aluminium body, asymmetrical design, flush screen and page turn buttons as the previous version. It’s actually 6g lighter than the old model, and 0.1mm thicker, not that you’d notice.

The buttons are just as responsive, and for many they will be the reason to buy it, as page-turn buttons are simply better than just a touchscreen when reading. The screen is also as good and responsive as e-ink displays currently get. The 7in display, about the size of a small paperback, is crisp and a delight to read. The 25-LED frontlight is even across the whole page with auto-brightness or manual control.

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
You can manually adjust the colour temperature of the screen or set it to become warmer as the sun sets. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The warm light function moves from brilliant white to a warm yellow over 24 gradations. It’s very similar to the white ambience smart bulbs available from Hue and others that shift in tone of white for less clinical lighting when needed.

Like a smartphone you can set it to gradually shift to a warmer white as the sun sets removing blue light to aid with sleep. But some might prefer to have a warmer light all the time. Set to between 12 and 19 on the sliding scale, it matched the colour of a traditional paperback page, which is a game-changer for those looking to replicate the feeling of reading paper as much as possible. A yellow-tinted page appears slightly friendlier than clinical white.


  • Screen: 7in Paperwhite with colour adjustable frontlight (300ppi)

  • Dimensions: 159 x 141 x 8.4mm (3.4mm at thinnest point)

  • Weight: 188g

  • Connectivity: wifi, optional 4G, Bluetooth, microUSB

  • Storage: 8 or 32GB

  • Rated battery life: six weeks reading 30 minutes a day

  • Native format support: Kindle (AZW/AZW3), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC, Audible (AAX)

Power and charging

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
The smooth aluminium back is a pleasure to hold. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The new Oasis is water resistant to IPX8 standards, which means it’ll survive up to 60 minutes at depths of 2m in water. Accidental dunks in the bath or pool should be fine.

Despite it being 2019, the Oasis still has a microUSB charging socket (the one typically used on older, cheaper smartphones). Given smartphones, laptops, tablets and Apple are standardising around USB-C charging, having a microUSB socket means you might have to carry a dedicated Kindle cable in the future.

Luckily the battery life is excellent. Amazon rates it for six weeks of 30 minutes of reading a day at brightness level 13 set to airplane mode, which works out at 15 hours of reading. In reality, the Oasis lasted long enough for me to get through the equivalent of two 300-page books at a fairly slow reading pace with a mixture of brightness levels and 4G on and off to sync progress.

Charging took the best part of three hours with a 5W USB charger, or slightly faster with something more powerful.

Cases and reading

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
The case clips onto the sides of the Oasis covering the entire front and back, leaving the sides exposed for the microUSB socket and power button. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

While the Oasis is well made, with no overly sharp edges and a solid-feeling aluminium frame, the flush screen feels vulnerable. You’ll need some sort of case for it, which is where Amazon has made a backwards step.

The 2017 Oasis had magnets on the back allowing a case to snap into place against the thin part, slotting into the groove of the aluminium body. It would then close over the screen, turning on or off the screen as you open it like a book, but also being able to be easily removed. This meant you could easily read the Oasis in its best, balanced and ergonomic state: naked.

While Amazon sells cases that do something similar, they cover the entire of the back, clipping in around the edges, which makes them slightly harder to remove for the best reading experience. They are at least attractive, with the premium leather case providing the supple and sumptuous finish of a really expensive notebook - something that was a key selling point for the first generation Kindle Oasis from 2016.

Software features

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
Amazon’s X-Ray and look-up tools are best in class, particularly if you opted for the 4G-connected version. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Amazon’s Kindle software still nails the mechanics of actually reading a book. There are plenty of customisation options for formatting, including nine fonts, a sliding scale of font size, differing levels of boldness, page spacing, margins and alignment adjustment and new themes, which roll all the settings together into one-tap options. You can even create your own themes and change the size of font on the fly with a pinch-to-zoom on the screen.

Amazon’s dictionary, Wikipedia and X-Ray look-up system continues to be excellent for figuring out unfamiliar words, concepts or characters. The quick setting panel makes getting to brightness controls easy, while integrated Goodreads, Audible for audio books and the Kindle store make finding and downloading your next book easy. Syncing locations between audiobooks and ebooks is remarkably good if you have both.

The only weakness is the organisation of your library on the home screen, which makes if difficult to find the next in a series of books if you’ve bought a lot. There doesn’t seem to be a way to list something like Ian Rankin’s Rebus series by book order. Still, the search works well enough if you know what you’re looking after.


Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
The page turn buttons are difficult to press accidentally, while offering good tactile feedback when you do. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • You can play audiobooks via Bluetooth headphones

  • I swapped the page turn buttons over so the top one went to the next page as my thumb naturally fell there

  • Turn the Oasis 180-degrees and the screen swaps orientation automatically, but you can also make the page display in landscape if you so wish.

  • You can set a passcode to protect your Kindle

  • The 4G is significantly faster and has better reception in the UK than 3G


The Kindle Oasis 2019 comes in either grey or gold with 8GB of storage for £229.99, £259.99 with 32GB or £319.99 for 32GB with 4G.

For comparison, the 2019 Kindle costs £70, 2018 Kindle Paperwhite costs £120 with 8GB, while Kobo’s Forma costs £240.


Amazon hasn’t changed much for the latest edition of the Kindle Oasis. Side-by-side they are identical on the outside. But what looks to be a small change – the ability to shift the colour of the frontlight from cold to warm white – makes a surprising amount of difference to the reading experience.

The warmer tones of white can match the colour of paper novels, not just the brilliant white of printer paper, and ease strain on your eyes as the sun sinks below the horizon. This is the best e-ink screen going, in the most sumptuous of e-readers.

But not every change is good. The loss of the magnetic cases means it’s more difficult to use the Oasis in its purest, most balanced form without anything attached to it. Amazon’s premium leather case is particularly nice, but given I’d want a case just to protect the screen I’d be more inclined to find a slip case or similar.

It’s also still difficult to justify spending twice as much on an e-reader over the excellent £120 Kindle Paperwhite, or even the great new £70 basic Kindle. And £230 is really not that far away from the cost of an iPad.

But in the era of constant distractions by notifications and the hubbub of modern life, the Oasis is the luxury antidote to overload. It only does one thing, but it does it better than anything else.

Pros: long battery life, light, easy to hold, excellent screen, auto-brightness and colour frontlight, great page-turn buttons, luxurious feel, Audible integration, water resistant

Cons: expensive, cover not included, no magnetic covers, no support for third-party audiobooks, no headphones socket, microUSB

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review
The warm light allows you to match the colour of a paperback for the closest experience to reading real paper yet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Other reviews


Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Amazon Kindle Scribe review: supersized e-reader aims to replace paper
Monochrome device offers reading and handwriting on a big e-ink screen with very long battery life

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

20, Dec, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
Amazon launches Kindle e-reader aimed at children
New 6in Kindle Kids Edition comes with 1,000 books, word-building tools and parental controls

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

07, Oct, 2019 @1:00 PM

Article image
Amazon Kindle Oasis review: the luxury e-reader really is something special
Top-end e-reader is a cut above the rest, rethinking the Kindle design and experience, cutting 20% weight and costing a pretty penny in the process

Samuel Gibbs

26, Apr, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
Kindle Oasis: Amazon finally launches a water resistant e-reader
Premium device switches between ebooks and audiobooks and comes with Bluetooth, longer battery life and aluminium design to tempt readers

Samuel Gibbs

11, Oct, 2017 @1:00 PM

Article image
Amazon launches Kindle book reader worldwide

British book fanatics will soon be able to get their hands on Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, after the company unveiled an international version of the gadget

Bobbie Johnson, San Francisco

07, Oct, 2009 @6:08 AM

Article image
Kindle 2019 review: Amazon's cheapest e-reader gets adjustable frontlight
Amazon’s basic Kindle lights up with a better screen to close the gap with the Paperwhite

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

18, Jul, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Amazon Kindle Voyage review: expensive but top quality e-reader
Amazon’s latest e-reader is a top-of-the-range Kindle Voyage with high-resolution screen, new haptic page turns and slim, angular design

Samuel Gibbs

27, Nov, 2014 @11:35 AM

Article image
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2018 review: the new standard
Refined design, water resistance and good screen makes latest e-reader about as good as a single-use device gets

Samuel Gibbs

06, Dec, 2018 @6:00 AM

Article image
Amazon launches water-resistant Kindle Paperwhite
Update of popular e-reader introduces thinner and lighter design, Bluetooth compatibility and audiobook support

Samuel Gibbs

16, Oct, 2018 @1:00 PM

Article image
Kindle Oasis: Amazon's next big step towards its goal of digital paper
Company’s thinnest, lightest and most expensive e-reader yet has a new design with 9-week reading battery, ergonomic grip and page-turn buttons

Samuel Gibbs

13, Apr, 2016 @1:00 PM