Due to the lack of any warm beaches, pools or large soaking tubs nearby, I tested the Oasis's waterproof feature the only way I could: by dunking it in a container full of water. It survived full immersion for several minutes, so I can't imagine it'll have any issues if you accidentally drop it in your bath. Perhaps that's just an expected feature today, when plenty of smartphones are also waterproof. But as someone who's protected my Kindles with Ziploc bags over the years, I still found it impressive.
The new Oasis is also the first Kindle with Audible support built in. To listen to audiobooks, though, you have to connect the e-reader to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones. While it sounds like a practical feature on paper, though, I found it to be pretty pointless. Audible customers are already used to playing titles from their phones; who would ever want to do that from their e-reader? Sure, the new Oasis lets you easily jump between text and Audible modes without having to find your place again, but Amazon's audiobooks can already synchronize with their Kindle counterparts across multiple devices. Audible support is also coming to Amazon's entry-level e-readers eventually, which doesn't make it seem so special on the Oasis.
I found the new Kindle's accessibility upgrades to be far more useful than audiobook integration. You can invert the text and background colors on the screen, for example, which makes the words white atop a sea of black. I found that particularly helpful for reading at night, since my eyes are very light sensitive. It could also be useful if you're worried about how late-night reading might affect your sleep. Amazon says it had to build some custom E Ink hardware to make that feature work. (I've definitely never seen it on an e-reader before.)
There are also a few features appearing in the Kindle Oasis that will eventually head over to earlier models. You can now choose different bold settings for fonts, which makes them easier to read, as well as a wider variety of font sizes. If you want your e-books to look more like printed titles, with text aligned along the left margin, you'll appreciate the Oasis's new ragged-right alignment view as well.
In my four days of testing the Kindle Oasis, the battery meter has gone down around 10 percent. It's also worth noting that I didn't turn off WiFi or cellular connectivity either. I can't tell if the Kindle would actually last the five to six weeks Amazon claims, but if this discharge rate holds, it could conceivably go for a total of 40 days.
Pricing and the competition
The $250 Oasis comes with 8GB of storage, but you can also get up to 32GB for $280. If, for some reason, its Audible support appeals to you, that larger model would make more sense. You can also get the Oasis with LTE connectivity and 32GB of space for $350.
If you just want a solid e-ink screen with a simple backlight, the $120 Kindle Paperwhite is still the best deal in Amazon's lineup. It's worth spending the extra $40 from the basic Kindle so you don't have to worry about strapping on a reading light. As for the $200 Kindle Voyage ... well, I'm still not sure why that one exists. If you want something beyond what the Paperwhite offers, it makes sense to go all the way to the Oasis.
As for non-Amazon options, you can get a refurbished version of Barnes & Noble's Nook GlowLight Plus for $80. But given that that bookseller has stopped making new models, I wouldn't bet on that e-book platform being around for much longer.
Once again, Amazon has delivered a premium Kindle for the lucky few. While it's expensive, the new Oasis is at least cheaper than the last one. It also has some useful features that you won't find on any other Kindle. If you have the means, it's the best e-reader option on the market. For everyone else, though, the Kindle Paperwhite remains a great deal.