One of the true tech joys in my life is digging out an ereader which was buried at the bottom of my bag for a few weeks and feeling overjoyed when I can just sit back and enjoy a book without having to worry about battery life.
If you buy the new Amazon Kindle Oasis though, that dream might be dead.
Amazon has seen fit to shrink the battery within its brand new Kindle in order to change the traditional ereader design to something a little bit different.
This time Amazon has focused on slimming down the body of the device for a lighter, thinner and more comfortable reading experience.
Instead of the average six week battery life of a Kindle, Amazon confirmed to me its new device only lasts two weeks between charges. That’s not good enough.
During my brief time using the Kindle Oasis I’d agree it is by far the best reading experience of any ereader I’ve used, but I’m still very disappointed at that drop in battery life.
Most customers for a Kindle Oasis are likely to already own an ebook reader. At £269.99 (US$289.99, AU$449), Amazon’s premium ereader is pitched at those looking to update to a newer, sleeker version, rather than those jumping into the world of ebooks for the first time.
That said, will Amazon make it clear to customers that battery life won’t be anywhere near as good as you’d expect from an Amazon ereader? I fear it won’t.
When you buy a McDonald’s meal you do so because you know what you’re getting – imagine getting a Big Mac box, opening it up and realising it was just a cheeseburger.
It’s the same with the Kindle – I expect an impressive battery and I worry Amazon won’t make it clear to users that they’re in for a different experience.
Amazon has taken steps to make the battery life stronger, but not in a way you may expect. There’s a smart battery case included in the box that looks gorgeous with a leather front and attaches to the back of your ereader to give you extra charge.
Stick one of these on and Amazon assured me you’ll then get up to seven weeks battery life – but it means losing that revolutionary design the Kindle Oasis is selling itself on (and you’re paying through the nose for).
The Kindle Oasis is an impressive idea and a step in the right direction for ereaders in general, but it’s not worth crippling the key draw of an ereader.
Parting with £169 (US$219, around AU$250) for a Kindle Voyage felt like too much in 2014, but here we are two years later and we’re being asked to spend considerably more to get an Oasis. You’re paying more for less in terms of battery, and it’s hard to sell the Oasis for that reason.
Even the nerds
So, who is the Kindle Oasis really for? Bookworms. But that’s too broad a term. We’re looking for affluent bookworms who prefer digital scripture over the printed page – which suddenly makes the market a very defined niche.
Even those amongst my team who call themselves literature fans are finding the Kindle Oasis a hard sell. Of those who take the plunge and buy one, some will be disappointed by the battery life.
Amazon has taken a step back in the search to make the ultimate ereader that little bit more like paper. The biggest USP of a physical book or ereader is that you don’t need to charge it every night to read it… but that just got a little bit harder if you buy a Kindle Oasis.
Article continues below