Amazon expanded its Kindle e-reader lineup with its highest-price Kindle ever, the $289 Oasis with included leather charging cover, brighter screen, and a center of gravity shifted to one side for easier one-handed reading.
An Oasis version at $359 comes with both Wi-Fi and free 3G cellular service. The Oasis is available for pre-order from Amazon and will start shipping to consumers in the coming weeks.
The Oasis joins the Wi-Fi-equipped Kindle at $79, Paperwhite at $119, and Voyage at $199 Voyage. The latter two are also available for $70 more in Wi-Fi/3G versions.
Prices include the “special offers” display of onscreen advertising. Versions without special offers cost $20 more.
Here are the key differences between the Oasis and other Kindle models:
Ergonomics: For extended reading sessions, the Oasis shifts the center of gravity to one side by making one side thicker than the rest of the device. As a result, Amazon said, the Oasis will “rest in your hand like the spine of a book so that the device feels balanced for one-handed reading.”
A built-in accelerometer detects whether someone is reading with the left or right hand, then automatically rotates the page and page-turn buttons. Users can turn pages by using the touch display or physical buttons.
Leather charging cover: The charging cover recharges the Oasis battery as soon as the cover is connected, extending battery life for months, the company said. The Oasis and cover can also be charged simultaneously while both are snapped together and plugged in. A new hibernation mode minimizes power consumption when the Oasis is inactive.
The cover, made of leather and available in three colors, opens like a book and fits around the Kindle’s bezel, waking the Kindle up when the cover is opened and putting it to sleep when closed. The cover attaches to the Kindle via 12 magnets.
Screen: The Oasis display features 300 PPI like the Paperwhite and Voyage e-readers but is brighter than any other Kindle, thanks to 10 front LED lights, up from the Paperwhite’s four and Voyage’s six. The display also incorporates new cylindrical diffractive patterns to increase the consistency of screen brightness.
The Oasis is the first Kindle with a 200 micron display backplane that is as thin as a sheet of aluminum foil.
Weight, depth: The Oasis weighs 4.6 ounces for the Wi-Fi version and 4.7 ounces for the 3G version. It measures 0.13 inches at its thinnest point and 0.33 inches at its deepest point. It’s said to be 30 percent thinner on average and more than 20 percent lighter than any other Kindle.
To lighten it up, Amazon used a light-weight polymer frame plated with metal to give it the strength and rigidity of metal, the company said.
The Paperwhite, in contrast, weighs 7.2 and 7.6 ounces for the Wi-Fi and 3G versions, and the Voyage weighs 6.3 and 6.6 ounces.