Trick or treaters who go knocking at the Amazon store door are in for a real treat this Halloween, because that’s the day that the first fully waterproof Kindle in history makes it highly-anticipated debut. The Kindle Oasis is now set to compete directly with the Kobo Aura H20, which we wrote about in a recent blog. Until now, the Kobo Aura H20 (which is now available in a highly-rated second generation model) was really the only game in town if you wanted a truly waterproof e-reader. But now you have a choice, and choice is always good when you’re a consumer.
Overview of The Kindle Oasis
The Oasis is 6.3 inches by 5.6 inches, and weighs approximately seven ounces. It has been tested under two meters (about six and a half feet) of fresh water, and was still operable after being underwater for a whole hour. So it’s ideal to use for reading in the tub, swimming pool, or at the beach…and if you accidentally drop it in water, no problem. You could conceivably even take it snorkeling for long enough to read a chapter or two. The gadget is fully wireless, so you do not need a computer to download books. You also get free cloud storage on Amazon, the device is Bluetooth-enabled, and the battery is good for up to six weeks of use on a single charge. You can recharge it about two hours or less if you buy and use an Amazon 5W charger…otherwise it charges in about three hours.
You Can Also Upgrade to Free Connectivity
Many readers want to have an e-reader that offers Wi-Fi connectivity, but not everyone has affordable high-speed internet. To help solve that problem, Amazon is offering to provide free cellular connectivity with your Oasis. You don’t have to do anything to set-up your wireless connection, the way you normally need to do when you get Wi-Fi. It is built-in for you already, and it uses the same cell phone signals that smartphones utilize to connect you when you use a mobile phone. But Amazon picks up the tab when you buy a Wi-Fi connected Oasis package. You won’t have any monthly fees and no contracts. You’ll just have a convenient and speedy way to shop for e-books and download them from wherever you are, any time you want to…without looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Jeff Bezos Story
You may have heard about an interview that Jeff Bezos, who is the CEO of Amazon, did several years ago. He was talking to the reporter about the Kindle when the reporter asked what you are supposed to do if you want to use a Kindle to read in the bathtub. Bezos famously answered that what he would do is put the device inside of a plastic zip-lock bag. Now journalists who have reviewed the new Oasis are quick to point out that the super-wealthy founder of Amazon will no longer have to keep sandwich or freezer bags handy when he bathes, swims, or hangs out in the hot tub. The takeaway from the story is that neither will you, if you have the new waterproof. Oasis.
How to Get Your New Oasis
The new Oasis can be pre-ordered on Amazon between now and Oct. 31st, for a price $249.99, and that includes free shipping. You can also take advantage of a bundle package, which includes an Oasis, a cover for the device, plus a power adapter, all for $309.97. That’s a pretty good discount compared to buying each component individually. Amazon is offering its Oasis with free connectivity, as explained above, for $349.99.
Happy is he who has laid up in his youth, and held fast in all fortune, a genuine and passionate love of reading.
Now, with the availability of a newly upgraded e-reader, the Kobo Aura H20 (a new 2nd generation Aura H20), it may be a good time for you to see how it might compare in a match-up with the ever-popular Kindle Paperwhite. Many fans of e-books are familiar with Kindle e-readers, and know that the Kindle Paperwhite is definitely one of the best e-readers on the market. But especially in the United States, Kobo e-readers are not quite as well known or popular. That’s understandable, since Kobo has always focused it marketing efforts on more of a global and international scale, instead of targeting the USA, which is Amazon and Kindle’s main turf. Amazon also dominates because it invented the first mass-marketed e-reader. But Kobo is a rather young company, not launched until 2009. Ever since then, however, Kobo’s e-books and e-readers have been competing directly with Amazon and its big line of Kindle products…and gaining market share.
The Kindle Paperwhite is widely regarded as the best screen for reading, thanks to its elegantly soft lighting, consistent illumination, and lack of glare. But if you compare the Paperwhite to the Kobo in terms of that visual reader experience in bright sunlight, it’s virtually a tie. Kobo doesn’t just make a dustproof, waterproof e-reader, in other words, but it makes one that’s bright sunshine- proof too as far as reading comfort.
Sometimes when you’re outside that may be more important that the waterproofing. After all, you may use your e-reader all summer and, if you’re careful, never get it wet. But you’ll spend many hours reading e-books on super sunny days, and if the screen handles direct sunlight exceptionally well, that’s going to be a real value-adding feature.
Advanced, User-Friendly Technology
The Kobo touchscreen reads essentially like printed paper, which never glares back at you, even when you use the e-ink powered e-reader in direct sunlight. Fourteen file formats are supported, you can read e-books from your public library. Choose from 11 different fonts, and 24 different font sizes…compared to 8 font sizes on a Kindle.
While you are reading a book, you can use the Kobo graph in the menu to see how many minutes are left in the chapter you are on, whereas with Kindle most books will only give you an estimate of time left to finish the whole book. Plus you can read in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Japanese.
Kobo Aura H20 can be put underwater, to a depth of two meters (more than six feet) of water, for up to an hour, and the manufacturer says it should still operate just fine. The screen size of the Aura H20 is a little bigger….6.8 inches compared to the 6-inch Paperwhite, but both weigh almost the same. A Paperwhite has slightly more pixels per inch, but for most readers the high-definition resolution of these competing e-readers is virtually indistinguishable. Both are backlit, Wi-Fi capability, and boast similar battery life.
Kobo Aura seems to win out in terms of which of these two great devices perform better in bright, glaring sunlight, although the Paperwhite also wins rave reviews for how well it performs in bright sunlight. A cool feature on the Kobo Aura is that if you want to adjust the light setting, all you have to do is slide your fingers up or down the touch screen. You don’t have to go to the setting menu. Meanwhile Kindle offers one of the largest selections of e-books in the world, and it the Paperwhite provides lots of easy ways to synch your e-books between devices and download all sorts of reading material to your e-reader.
The Price Tag and Bottom Line
Most people are budget-minded, and it is important to note that other than the waterproofing feature, the big difference between these two e-readers is price. You can buy a Kindle Paperwhite for about $119, whereas you’ll need to shell out around $179 for the new Kobo Aura H20. Those who are around water when they read may be willing to pay a premium price for serious waterproofing. Others will be content with the Kindle, and can always invest in a protective cover to use around water.
The bottom line is that both of these e-readers are pretty fantastic. If this kind of side-by-side comparison still doesn’t sell you on one or the other, the best way make a final determination is to handle one in person. Everyone has their own unique preferences and needs when it comes to e-readers. But there is no substitute for actually reading with one and getting a total experience of the pros and cons of each.