The new Amazon Kindle Oasis is an incredible eReader but it's way too expensive

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The new Amazon Kindle Oasis is an incredible eReader but it's way too expensive

  • The Kindle Oasis checks all the boxes with a premium design and water-resistance
  • It's the best eReader I've ever used, but it's also really expensive
  • Most consumers are best served by a Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon's Kindle Oasis is the best Kindle I've ever used and, while it's chock full of features, it's a hair too expensive.

I spent the last couple of weeks using the new Kindle Oasis, which follows in the footsteps of the original but adds a new design and fresh features, and while I think most folks are going to love it, the general population is better served by one of Amazon's more affordable Kindle eReaders.

What's good

This is the new Kindle Oasis
Todd Haselton | CNBC
This is the new Kindle Oasis

The Amazon Kindle Oasis is a fantastic eReader. It's comfortable to hold with a nice balance, especially during long book binges, and I love the premium aluminum back. The display lighting is also very even, which is important especially since uneven lighting can lead to blotching and annoyances while trying to focus on a book.

I love the aluminum back of the Kindle Oasis
Todd Haselton | CNBC
I love the aluminum back of the Kindle Oasis

It's also water-resistant, which means it won't be a big deal if you accidentally drop it in the pool, the tub, or spill a glass of water on it. Just don't drop it in the ocean, gadgets can't really survive salt water. More on that in a bit, though.

The Kindle Oasis is thin and nicely balanced
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Kindle Oasis is thin and nicely balanced

And, even cooler, the Kindle Oasis offers support for Audible books, which means you can switch from reading to listening to the book on a Bluetooth speaker at the tap of a button. I loved doing this while reading and listening to Ready Player One.

What's Bad

This is Amazon's newest Kindle
CNBC | Todd Haselton
This is Amazon's newest Kindle

I really don't have a lot of complaints. Amazon say the Kindle Oasis should last about six weeks on a charge, though I found it down to about half of a charge after two weeks of use, probably because I almost always read at night with the backlight on. Also, using Bluetooth will drain the battery quicker.

It survives water but doesn't work well while wet
Todd Haselton | CNBC
It survives water but doesn't work well while wet

Also, while it's water resistant and survived just fine in my tests, it kind of went bonkers while it was wet. The screen didn't respond well (it kept adjusting the font size) and was generally unusable. That means it'll survive a spill, it'll just need time to dry before it works properly.

The price is the hardest pill to swallow.

It starts at $250 with 8GB of storage and that's the Special Offers model, which means you'll see ads on the homescreen. I think Amazon should stop doing this for its high-end products. $250 is more than half the price of a $329 iPad, and while I understand that's a totally different product, consumers shouldn't be nailed with ads when they spend this much money.

There are lots of new Kindle covers to choose from
CNBC | Todd Haselton
There are lots of new Kindle covers to choose from

Toss in a leather stand cover and a power adapter and the price is up to $310. You can get an add-free model for $300, or a 32GB model with more storage for audio books for $350.

Should you buy it?

Text is still really crisp
CNBC | Todd Haselton
Text is still really crisp

I love the Oasis, but it's too rich for my tastes. I think most folks are better served by the super-affordable Fire HD 8, which is a tablet that can play movies and also allows you to listen to books or read. You'll only pay $80, but you'll sacrifice battery life.

Or, just buy one of Amazon's more affordable eReaders. I'm a huge fan of the Kindle Paperwhite, which starts at $120 and includes a backlight. Or buy both the Fire HD 8 and the Kindle Paperwhite. You'll still be saving $50.