Traveling and reading are my two passions in life. Frequent travels require you to travel light – you see you have to carry your own luggage most of the time. Books come with their own weight. So, a few years ago Amazon Kindle entered my life and I have never traveled without my library of books since then. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, joy, and assurance that I have 250 books to choose from at any point in time to read. Yes, that is the number of books my Kindle currently has, more books get added every few days.
Traveling with Amazon Kindle
For 4 years now, I have been using Kindle Paperwhite, that was easy to use, light to carry and easy to read with its paperwhite technology. This year, I upgraded to Kindle Oasis – the highest end of e-readers available at the moment. Why did I upgrade – well, if you read as many books as I do and in landscapes varying from beaches of Goa to deserts of Arabia, you want to be best prepared for reading under any circumstances?
I remember when we were on the Spiti Valley Road trip for 2 weeks, every evening after it was dark, I used to snuggle in the bed with my Kindle, lost in another world. At places, there used to be no electricity, but the Kindle battery did not betray me. It filled my evenings with the joy of reading and never let me feel alone.
I always read for at least half an hour before I sleep. However, Kindle has filled my time at airports while waiting to board the flight, on long flights and in solitary evenings during my solo travels. At Goa Airport, more often than not, I board the flight with Kindle in my hand.
What’s new with Kindle Oasis?
Let me take you for a walk around it and show you what’s new:
The design is entirely new. From symmetric rectangular version, it has moved to an asymmetric square looking dimensions. The reading area is still rectangular.
The base is bulgy on one side and paper thin on another side. On the thinner side, it feels so fragile that I almost fear I will end up breaking it. The thicker side is good to hold. All aluminum back compared to the soft plastic one earlier takes some time to adjust to. The hand initially slips but, in a day, or so human adaptability does its job.
A broad panel on one side has page turn buttons. My first thoughts were why do you need page turn buttons when you can just swipe and turn. The answer came when I started using it. The device sits or fits into the hollow of my hand with my thumb rests on the next page button. So, instead of moving my thumb or using the other hand, I can just press the thumb a bit and be on the next page. This is really convenient for long reads or quick reads when you need to turn pages fast enough.
The 7-inch screen allows you to read more words on a single screen. I am still trying to find a reasonable and reliable cover for it as the one Kindle Paperwhite came with.
Home screen, now with more space has three sections. There is your personal library of books and documents you own. On the right is a panel that shows you books in your Amazon Wishlist in a way reminding you what is in the queue to read. At the bottom panel, you get the recommendations based on your reading. This keeps you abreast of the new releases and old masterpieces that may have escaped your eye.
Goodreads integration lets you see what your friends are reading and recommending.
Kindle Oasis is Easy on Eyes
I have always admired Kindle for the fact that I can read it in harsh sun and pitch dark with equal ease without straining my eyes. Every time I struggle to use my mobile phone in daylight, I wish they used the same display technology as Kindle. At night, you can read without the need to keep the lights on or annoying your better half. My favorite though is reading under the stars on a moonless night as I did at Chandratal.
The screen display is even easier on the eye and the page flips so fast that you do not even realize a new page has appeared in front of you.
Adaptive light adjusts automatically depending on the light around. It is fun to see the light change on the screen as I moved from sunny outdoors to artificial light in my library, and then at night from artificial light to pitch darkness. You can, of course, switch off the auto mode and adjust it manually as per your comfort.
Asymmetric but Ambidextrous!
The new design flips the display depending on which hand you are holding it in. I think left-handed people would really appreciate it as this device is ambivalent.
There are other options for special accessibility needs like voice access and inversion of colors for reading.
Water – No Problem!
One thing that I always missed in my Kindle Paperwhite was that I could not sit close to the water and read. It is always a pleasure to sit next to a pool and read while others play in the pool. It gives me the freedom to take it close to the water – be it at my neighborhood beach at Caranzalem or at the pools of Chorla ghats or sit next to the pool on a vacation.
Technically speaking it has an IPX8 rating which means it can be under 2 meters of water for up to 60 minutes. Practically, I would not take it underwater to read – although together with my Go Pro Hero 5 it may make for a good shot. However, it can be taken near waterbodies or maybe to a luxurious bathtub without the fear of losing it.
More Storage = More Books
It comes in two variants 8GB and 32GB of storage & I have the 8GB variant. Older versions of Kindle came with 4GB of storage and I could carry 100s of books with me. So, it is safe to assume that with my new Kindle Oasis I would be able to carry 1000 odd books with me wherever I go.
I must confess, I enjoy looking at my own book The Mouse Charmers the most on my new Kindle.
As a happy Kindle user, I am looking forward to enjoying my all new all-weather Oasis.
In conclusion, let me just put it this way – if car lovers have a Ferrari, pen lovers a Mont Blanc, then e-book readers have their Kindle Oasis. This is what we pamper ourselves with.