TED OFFGRID SERIES
KINDLE OASIS
I've been deliberating over the purchase of this unit for months now and finally decided that, given that my oldest Kindle Keyboard is now no use as (thanks) Amazon won't register it again, I'd leap. The other issue is the down-sizing/up-powering theme of 2017 here, going OffGrid and enabling some tech, at least, to survive away from connectivity and power.

So, this isn't really a full-blown review of the capabilities of the software, the internet is littered with those if you have no idea about Kindle, so just Google it. No, this is about the hardware, new battery arrangement/case and justification or not of £269 (or £329 with 3G).

I go through phases of reading all the time, then not for months. For a book to hold my attention, it needs to be gripping and thrilling, not slow and dull. I guess that my attention span and 'removal from the present' is just not good. I'm the kind of person who would much rather read the book of a film after I've seen the film, spoilers accepted, so that I have characters/actors to hang the book's action on. I know, that's shallow too, and clearly shows that I have no patience or imagination! Hence why I need to be choosy and that my reading activity stops and starts.

So, having said all that, one might say that a cheap-as-chips Kindle is a much more likely fit. And you'd probably be right. However, I have to say that I've always found Kindle units to be too heavy in the hand, even the most recent 'light' ones like the Paperwhite. I'm forever changing hands and trying to hold the thing comfortably. Maybe this is part of the problem with my staying power with reading at all!

So, this Oasis is a peach, in that respect. It's super-light. You really don't know you're holding it half the time. It's also more favourably shaped than the 'book' shaped predecessors. It's square! Which sounds odd, but it really works. The forward/back buttons are on the bezel on the side, which, because of an accelerometer inside, can be placed either side. It just turns round, on the fly.

It's got a backlight for the screen, which seems to work really well on a sliding scale of brightness but which I try to keep off whenever possible, in keeping with preserving battery. The battery is in two parts. Some of it is in the unit, which, alone, they claim, will work for a couple of weeks, but the trick here is that the Oasis comes bundled with a leather case (in 3 colours - Walnut, Merlot or Black) and inside the case is another battery, which, when attached, either can extend the unit itself from weeks into months or pass its charge to the unit if the unit is depleted. They clack together with a good strong magnet, almost as convincingly as a Moto Mod onto a Motorola Moto Z mobile phone!

To make all this fit together, the unit itself is, on the face of it, oddly-shaped on the back, like a jigsaw, fitting flush when the case is on. But when it's not on, actually the shape works really well too, with fingers having somewhere to hold round the back on a grippier surface as well, like a camera's 'grip' does on its front. It all works really well and the design is really very pleasing, well thought out and top-notch. The unit is made mostly of metal and feels well constructed. One thing to note is that you can't charge the case when it detached from the unit. The charging MicroUSB port is on the Oasis itself. The display gives a readout of the charge that each part of the duo has left via Settings, so yes, really well thought out.

So, is it worth £269 (£329 with 3G)? That's the big question. And it probably depends on how much money you've got! How much you would value the well designed and luxury unit as a best-in-class. How much time you spend reading. I guess it's really quite a leap up from the next one down in the range financially, which is £169, so £100 more. I can't really see that in 2017 anybody need to buy the 3G version by the way, being able to piggy-back even the cheapest of mobile phone's connectivity as a hot-spot. There's also the battery drain to consider. Leaving 3G and WiFi on all the time will not help the OffRoad antics. But that can be turned off except when sync'ing.

Personally, I think it's an object of class and very desirable. The weight, design, facilities, materials and operational time make it a reasonable purchase over the others for those who have the money. But let's not forget that many folk would not sniff at paying significantly more than this for a SIM Free mobile phone. But then a phone does more. Including being able to install a Kindle App (for most!). I guess it comes down to priorities, like a lot of things in life relating to stuff that nobody really needs. I would recommend it though.
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