Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis e-reader has received praise from reviewers for its design and engineering, but with a price tag of £270 for the cheapest model and £330 for added 3G internet capabilities it has also been called "too expensive for the average user".
Time Magazine’s Lisa Eadicicco called the new Kindle “gorgeous but expensive”, and gave it three and a half stars. She praised an attractive, thin and light design, and a long battery life that Amazon claims can "last ‘months" without being recharged thanks to a removable leather charging cover.
Eadicicco said: “Picking up the Oasis marked the first time I actually felt like I wanted to buy an e-reader, specifically because it felt so nice. It’s appealing in the same way a luxury item is.” She added, however, that the new design “doesn’t add enough to the reading experience to justify the price”.
Wired’s Matthew Reynolds gave the Kindle Oasis a score of eight out of 10, praising the design and screen display, but also noted that this was not enough to justify the price tag.
He said: “The Kindle Oasis is a wonderful e-reader and is a pleasure to use. Its asymmetrical design is the biggest jump forward for any Kindle yet. But that doesn't make it worth £270. The Kindle Paperwhite costs less than half that and is still an excellent e-reader with a great screen.”
The cheapest Kindles can be bought for around less than £50 on Amazon, and the software used on the Oasis model is the same as the company’s Paperwhite model, which sells for £110.
The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs awarded the Oasis five stars out of five, meanwhile, and said “like a fine pen makes writing a more enjoyable act, the Oasis accentuates the reading experience".
However, he also raised the issue of the model's hefty asking price. “Is it a £100 better than the already expensive £170 Voyage or £160 better than the Paperwhite? No, it is basically the same experience minus the buttons and body," he said. "But is it worth the extra £100 as a luxury item, absolutely. Should you buy it? Probably not.”
Damon Beres, the senior tech editor for The Huffington Post however, believes the model is worth the moneny. He said: “It’s a good enough device to define the e-reader category as the iPhone is a benchmark for smartphones. This is the Kindle that future e-readers will be judged against.”
Discussing the question of whether the Oasis justified its $290 US price-tag, he added: “The answer is yes, if you do not have a recent e-reader, if money is not particularly an object in your life, if you read a lot of books and if you commute with frequency. It would be a mistake to purchase this otherwise.”
Beres was critical of e-readers as a whole, however. “They are not inherently better than the printed books they replace, and they are quickly becoming eclipsed in function by the smartphones most of us carry around,” he said.
The Kindle Oasis is released in the UK on June 1st.