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Google Home or as it was rebranded, Google Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa are fierce competitors in an otherwise non-existent market – that of smart speakers. While the hardware remains the same, the functions available and the technology behind the service constantly evolve and improve.
Of course, while most users already have a preference, be it based on aesthetics or function, or even price, a comparison can help the undecided make a decision. On the face of it, the two compete on relatively even grounds. In fact, for casual users, both devices will likely work just fine, but we decided to look a little deeper.The Assistant
Both devices have their own smart assistant – Amazon has Alexa, and Google has the nameless Google Assistant. While both are great voice assistants and can answer questions, control smart devices, and more, there is a key difference: skills.
Alexa has support for third-party functionality, which allows users to teach it things like ordering pizza, or reading a child a bedtime story. Google Assistant has several ‘unnecessary’ functions such as the ability to tell jokes on request, but it lacks the variety of things that Alexa can learn. Is all of that necessary? No. Is it nice to have? For many users, definitely.
The flip side is that while Google Assistant has become very good at understanding natural syntax, Alexa is quite rigid and will only understand commands if they follow the right syntax as closely as possible. For older users or those with memory problems, having to change the way they speak can be difficult – and therefore, a barrier that the Google device doesn’t have.
Another limitation of Alexa is how harshly it is tied into Amazon – while that makes sense, it’s almost impossible to get her to help you shop anywhere else, something the Nest has no issues with. The Nest is also much better at scouring the internet for information – Alexa largely relies on Wikipedia, and, again, Amazon.
For basic functions such as reading the news, setting timers, and spelling words, both devices work equally well. As far as conversations go, Google Assistant has an edge – it can remember things during the conversation. With the Nest, it’s possible to ask ‘Who wrote Harry Potter?’ and after the answer, follow up with ‘What else did she write?’. For Alexa, you would have to phrase the second inquiry as ‘What other books did JK Rowling write?’.Appearance
Both the Nest and the Echo have a simple design with several different versions, be they square or round. The Dot used to be rectangular but is now cylindrical – just like the Nest Mini. The bigger Nest is shaped like a rectangle with rounded edges.
The Dot has options for a version with a built-in clock, and both devices are available in different colours. Both come in blue, black, and white – the Nest also comes in green and salmon.
The Echo Dot is available in a few special versions as well – such as the kids’ edition, which features a panda design on a white Dot, or a tiger design on an orange one. Both the Nest and the Echo also have more niche device options that come with a screen – the Nest Hub and the Echo Show.
Both are economically sized and have smaller and full-sized options available, so as far as appearance goes, it’s entirely up to preference. The additional colours of the Nest look good but aren’t exactly revolutionary. The Dot has additional RGB lighting strips that may appeal to some.Speaker Quality
While the main appeal of both devices is definitely the smart functionality, they are also speakers – and therefore, sound quality matters. The original and now discontinued Google Home Max absolutely lead the way in terms of sheer volume – without it, the Echo Studio is the new king. The Echo Studio has an impressive level of sound quality as well and boasts angled drivers that allow for directional sound.
The mid-tier devices – the Nest and Echo – sound very similar, with good enough audio quality to be nice to listen to. The Echo has a slight edge when it comes to bass, while the Nest does treble a little better, but for most users, the quality is absolutely comparable.
The smallest devices – the Echo Dot and Nest Mini have somewhat more noticeable differences. The Nest Mini is quite weak in the bass and midrange, an issue the Echo Dot doesn’t have. The smaller ones are ideally suited to be on bedside tables or less spacious desks, so their smaller size naturally also means some trade-offs – the Echo Dot has an edge over the Nest Mini, but the larger sized devices are about the same in terms of quality.Smart Home Functionality
One of the key driving forces for people actually buying a smart home assistant is their ability to control smart devices around the home. Almost everything can be a smart device now – lights, heating, doorbells, the radio, even fridges and washing machines. Not all devices are compatible with both the Echo and the Nest, although market-leading smart device brands do generally offer support for both.
The exceptions are Blink and Ring – both are owned by Amazon and therefore only work with Alexa. The Nest thermostats and cameras, both owned and created by Google take a more user-friendly approach – they are compatible with both Alexa and Google assistant.
Regardless of what smart devices you have though when they are properly set up and connected to your chosen device, you can do things like combining them into rooms, setting up routines, and so on. While both devices let you combine different actions – turning things on, dimming the lights, changing the temperature, and so on – into a routine that can be activated with one command, there is a marked difference between the Nest and the Echo. As mentioned before, the Nest is remarkably better at understanding natural speech – and that extends to its understanding of commands.
Where Google is likely to understand “turn off the bedroom lights” as a routine or command, Alexa tends to ask follow-up questions – and it definitely doesn’t take commands as reliably as the Nest does. It’s partly a question of getting used to just how Alexa’s syntax works, however just working straight out of the box is also a factor – and there, Google Nest wins, hands down.Privacy
Of course, privacy is a topic that needs to be addressed. There’s no shortage of stories where smart speakers violated people’s privacy – such as when Amazon sent one person’s voice recordings and files to someone else by accident. It happens – and of course, it’s a serious issue.
Privacy concerns are a major sticking point for many, and there is a clear winner when you compare the Echo and Nest; the Google Nest. To date, there have been no major issues reported with the Google devices. The company also hasn’t shared private information with the wrong people yet.
For those concerned with privacy, the Nest also has an additional feature – a physical off-switch that disables the microphone, meaning that it can’t ‘secretly’ stay on as some people fear. The Echo also has a button to turn off the mic, but it only shows that it’s off by changing the colour of a light, which subjectively feels a little less trustworthy, in regards to whether it’s ‘really’ off.
Of course, both of them have a 100% trustworthy switch – pulling the plug. Since both devices need to be plugged in to work, if you want to be absolutely certain they’re not recording, you can simply cut the power. While that may not always be practical on a daily basis, especially as time-activated functions are reliant on a smart hub being on, it is a sure-fire option!The Verdict
Both devices are incredibly close, ability-wise. They have each have some benefits. Ultimately, it’s nearly impossible to say which is better. It depends specifically on how you want to use it and if any devices you have are compatible.
For beginners or those not too tech-savvy, the Google Nest is definitely the better choice. It’s easier to get used to. If you are looking for extensive third-party functions, however, you’ll want to go with Alexa. Its third-party skill setup offers a solid number of options.
Appearance-wise, both devices are fairly similar. Unless you are specifically looking to have an always-visible clock like in some Echo devices, there is little difference between the two, other than some colour options and shapes.
The speakers also compete on even ground, though in the smallest devices, the Echo Dot and Nest Mini, the Echo Dot has the edge on sound quality, though both sound just fine.
When it comes to cost, they are also fairly equal. The Nest Mini costs around $50, the Nest Audio around $100, and the Nest Hub about $80. The Echo Dot is about $35, the Echo $125, and the Echo Show about $250. While the larger Echos are a little more pricy, the Dot is cheaper than the Nest Mini. This makes it a more affordable ‘test’ device for those not really sold on getting a smart speaker.
Privacy-wise, Google also has the edge. It lacks the horror stories that Amazon’s devices have given us. The physical microphone off switch also feels more reliable than the light-indicated button that Echo has, but that is fairly subjective.
We like the Google Nest better if only because of the superior speech recognition and understanding it offers. The Alexa is a strong competitor though – you can’t really go wrong with either!
You're reading Review: Google Home/Nest Vs Amazon Echo Alexa Dot
Commuters will enjoy the Bose noise-reduction features. It’s not quite noise-cancelling like you’d see on other buds, but it’s effective and certainly better than nothing.
Athletes should be pleased with the IPx4 water-resistance rating. You can sweat as much as you want without worrying about frying your music.
Smart assistant lovers can’t go wrong with the Alexa integration. Setup is quick, and then you can rely on Alexa whenever you need to.
Can you use the Echo Buds while working out?
Lily Katz / Android Authority
An IP rating is a must-have for workout earbuds, and the IPX4 rating on the Echo Buds tops both the Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds. Amazon’s IPX4 rating is good enough to keep sweat at bay, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re planning to swim with earbuds in.How do you connect the Echo Buds?
Open the lid to your Echo Buds, but don’t remove them from the case. Now, press the button on the bottom of the case until the LED light flashes blue. Once you see the flashing light, head to your phone’s Bluetooth menu, and select Echo Buds from the list. This process is universal for both Apple and Android listeners.
See also: Bluetooth codecs 101
Amazon’s Echo Buds feature Bluetooth 5.0 and support for the AAC codec, which is great news for iOS fans. Both iPhones and iPad will offer high-quality streaming, but Android users are slightly out of luck. There’s no aptX support, but most users won’t really be able to tell the difference, especially when auditory masking is a factor. The wireless buds use the Realtek RTL8763B Bluetooth SoC, which is great for low power usage.
How to update the Echo Buds?
Lily Katz / Android Authority
We briefly mentioned the fitness update earlier, but how do you go about setting it up? Well, the answer is simple — the Amazon Alexa app. Amazon previously rolled out other updates to help with problems such as overheating, so keeping your Echo Buds up to date is a must. If you’re signed into the Alexa app, the updates should process automatically. If not, just follow these steps to check on your update status:
Open your earbuds, confirm that they’re connected to your phone
Open the Alexa app and head to the devices tab
Select Echo & Alexa and locate your Echo Buds
Scroll to the About section and check on your update version
Set up your Buds through the Alexa app for best results
Adam Molina / Android Authority
Almost every pair of wireless earbuds comes with a must-have companion app. In the case of the Echo Buds, you only have to worry about the Amazon Alexa app. If you have other Echo speakers, you’re probably already familiar with the process, but it never hurts to have a refresher. After all, the Alexa app can help you check emails, set reminders, ask questions, and thousands of other skills. Here’s what you need to know:
Open the Alexa app and navigate to the Device tab
Press the “+” button and select Add Device
Next, choose the Amazon Echo section, and specifically Echo Buds
Continue through the setup until you get back to the Alexa app home screen
Once you make it back to the home screen, you’re fully in charge. Now you can mute your microphone, tinker with your listening modes, and adjust your EQ profile. You’ll also need the app to take the ear tip sizing test, similar to that of the AirPods Pro. The test involves a series of beeps and low rumbles, and you’ll get a readout of your results upon completion.
Amazon claims around five hours of battery life on the Echo Buds, and we actually managed to exceed expectations in our testing. We found closer to 5 hours, 40 minutes of playback. Although this isn’t class-leading, it beats a few big names. The fast charging is excellent — 15 minutes of charging is enough for two hours of playback. Once you factor in the charging case, the Echo Buds are good for about 20 hours of total playback. Unfortunately, the Echo Buds charge via microUSB — really Amazon? What year is it?
Another curious feature of the battery life is that the right earbud tends to die before the left one. We found around 20 minutes of extra listening on the left earbud, which isn’t something we’ve really seen before. You probably won’t notice thanks to the charging case, but it’s an odd feature to be sure.Is the microphone good for phone calls?
Another category, another odd result for the Echo Buds. Low frequency sounds are heavily attenuated, so deeper male voices tend to sound distorted. The three microphones do well to pick up on the “Alexa” buzzword, but only in quiet environments. It’s tough to deliver voice commands in louder coffee shops. However, my voice seemed to relay well enough — nobody asked me to switch to the microphone on my phone, which has happened before.
Amazon Echo Buds microphone demo:
Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with Wireless Charging Case
Add the power of Alexa to your ears. Amazon’s Echo Buds are packed with Bose technology and they’re some of the best earbuds around if you want a true hands-free experience.
See price at Amazon
Adam Molina / Android Authority
Looking to buy one of the Google Home or Nest Audio smart speakers, or a Chromecast? Perhaps you want to make the most of the one you already own? Regardless of which camp you fall in, we have you covered. Here’s a list of the best hidden Google Home and Nest Audio features, along with some Google Chromecast tips.
Get your devices: The best Google products you can buy
Google Home and Nest Audio tips and tricks
Lily Katz / Android AuthorityFind your phone Remember where you left things
As well as finding your phone, Google Home and Nest Audio speakers can deliver handy reminders for those all-important, yet easily forgotten items dotted around your home, like your passport or house keys. For example, say something along the lines of, “OK Google, my passport is in the filing cabinet”, and it will remember when you later ask, “Hey Google, where’s my passport?”.
More: The best Google Nest productsLearn your family by voice
Ask Google Home to remind you to exercise
Sometimes we get so busy, we forget that we need to take care of ourselves. If you like to exercise at a certain time of the day or week, you can ask Google Home to remind you to work out at a specific time. Simply say, “OK Google, remind me to exercise daily at 6 AM”.Get word definitions
Ever taken a pause to ponder a word or phrase while reading a book or article? One of the Google Home features can help with that too. Simply ask, “What does ‘pontificate’ mean?” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.Go Shopping
Control your smart home devices!
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
One of the coolest things you can do with smart speakers and smart displays is controlling your smart home devices. This includes smart light bulbs, switches, cameras, locks, and every other smart home device you can think of.
Given you have supported devices, you can say things like “OK, Google, turn on the living room lights,” or “OK, Google, unlock the front door.”
Here: These are the best Google Assistant devices you can findPlay games with Google Home
More: The best Google Home appsControl your Chromecast with Google Home
Expanding your smart home beyond a single Google Home hub opens up a world of possibilities. The first add-on you should consider is a Chromecast, freeing your TV to stream pretty much anything from the internet.
Read next: How to use Google Home with Chromecast?
Using nothing but voice commands, it’s possible to start up a video of your choice on YouTube or Netflix. The same applies to Spotify, YouTube Music, TuneIn, and other music sites. You can also search for something less specific, such as a recipe video guide, and Google will send a video result straight to your Chromecast. Google Home also supports pause, skip, and volume controls via voice, so you won’t need to reach for your phone or remote.Relax with the sounds of nature Broadcast to all Google Home devices
This tip comes in handy for those with multiple Google Home or Nest Audio devices in their house. If you’re one of them, you can broadcast a message to all Google Home speakers by saying something like, “Hey Google, broadcast that it’s time to go”. You can use Google’s smart speakers like an intercom system, which means you don’t have to go upstairs to let the kids know it’s time to go or yell like a crazy person.
You can also broadcast to Google Home devices via your phone that you’re on your way to the house while still on the road. If you do, your dinner may be waiting for you when you get home. Or not. It’s worth a shot, though.
Read more: 5 more Google Assistant tips and tricks you might not know about
Chromecast tips and tricks
David Imel / Android AuthorityStream local content, too
Google’s Chromecast is all about internet streaming, so beaming local content to your TV has been left as a bit of an afterthought. Using Chrome to stream your PC desktop or your phone’s Cast screen/audio option is a less-than-ideal workaround, but fortunately, Android apps like Plex, AllCast, and LocalCast can help organize your home media collection for beaming straight to your TV.
Emby vs Plex: Which media server is right for you?
If you’re a Plex user, install the Plex Media Server on your PC or wherever you keep the bulk of your video library, and you’ll be able to cast your library using your phone. If you’re not a fan of Plex, Emby and Jellyfin offer familiar features for a local media server. AllCast and LocalCast open up similar functionality for media on your phone, DLNA/UPnP media servers, and even files saved on cloud storage platforms Dropbox and Drive. You don’t have to be limited to YouTube and other video apps.Keep using your TV remote
You don’t have to stick to streaming music and video to your Chromecast; games are perfectly viable too. In fact, there are games designed specifically for the Chromecast available to download from the Play Store, so it’s not always a case of casting your Android display onto the big screen.
Related: 9 best Chromecast games for AndroidEnable Guest Mode
Just like for Google Home, you don’t have to mess around with Wi-Fi codes to allow your guests to cast content to your Chromecast. Head into the Home app and your Chromecast’s settings. From here you can enable Guest Mode, which uses a guest’s Location settings and audio pairing to quickly connect if they’re within 25 feet of the device.
Whether you have a busy schedule or just a poor memory, it’s easy to forget appointments, meetings, or even important family events, such as birthdays and anniversaries. If you have an Amazon Alexa account, you can sync your calendars to Alexa and ask her to read your upcoming appointments, remind you about important events, and even add new events to your calendar using voice commands alone.
You’ll learn in this tutorial how to connect your calendar to your Amazon Alexa account and ensure you never forget your anniversary again.How to sync your calendar with Alexa
Regardless of whether you want to add the Google, Microsoft or Apple calendar to your Alexa-enabled device, the initial steps are always the same:
1. Launch the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
2. In the upper-left corner, tap the “Menu” icon.
4. Tap “Add Account.”
You can now choose which calendar application you want to add to your Alexa account:Link Google Calendar to Amazon Alexa
If you’re a user of Google Calendar, follow these instructions:
1. Tap “Google.”
2. Alexa will now request access to your email and calendar; push each of these sliders into the “On” position.
3. Tap “Next.”
4. When prompted, enter the login details for your Google account.
5. Alexa will now ask for permission to access your emails and calendar; read the onscreen information, and if you agree, tap “Allow.”
Your Google Calendar will now be added to Alexa and will be accessible via your Alexa-enabled device.Connecting Microsoft’s Outlook Calendar
Microsoft’s Calendar is tightly integrated with Outlook, allowing you to easily switch between your inbox and your calendar – perfect for juggling all those incoming email invites!
To add Microsoft’s Calendar to your Alexa account:
1. Tap “Microsoft.”
2. Alexa will now request access to your email and calendar; push these two “Permissions” sliders into the “On” position.
3. Enter the login details for your Microsoft account and tap “Next.”
4. Read the permission requests, and if you agree, select “Accept.”
Your account has now been successfully added to your Amazon Alexa account.Sync Apple Calendar and Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Apple’s Calendar app comes built into macOS and iOS devices and offers full backup functionality via Apple’s popular iCloud service.
To add Apple’s Calendar to Amazon Alexa:
2. At this point, you’ll be asked to set up two-factor authentication for your Apple account. To configure this additional layer of security, tap “Next.”
3. When prompted, launch your iPhone’s “Settings” application.
4. Find your name at the top of the screen and give it a tap.
5. Tap “Password & Security.”
6. When prompted, enter the password for your iCloud account.
7. Tap “Turn On Two-Factor Authentication,” if it isn’t already. If it’s already turned on, skip ahead to step 13 and 14. Skip steps 15 and 16, and pick them up again on step 17.
8. Answer the security questions associated with your Apple account.
9. You’ll now be prompted to enter the details for the credit card that’s registered with your Apple account.
10. When it needs to verify your identity, Apple will send a verification code to your smartphone; enter the number where you want to receive these codes.
11. Tap “Next” and Apple will send a verification code to the number you provided.
12. Enter this verification code into your iPhone.
Next, you’ll need to enter some information into a web browser. To make life easier, you may want to switch to a laptop or computer for this step!
13. Head over to the Apple ID webpage.
14. Enter your Apple ID username and password.
15. Apple will now send a notification to your iOS device. Review the notification, and then tap “Allow” if you agree.
16. A verification code will now appear on your iOS device; enter this code into your web browser.
19. Apple will now use this password to generate a more secure, app-specific password. Make a note of this password.
20. Switch back to your Alexa mobile app, and tap “Add Apple Calendar.”
21. On the subsequent screen, enter your Apple ID.
22. Enter the app-specific password that Apple generated for you in the previous step.
23. Tap “Sign In.”
Your Apple Calendar will now be connected to your Alexa account.Control your schedule from your Alexa-enabled device
Now that you’ve added your Google, Microsoft or Apple Calendar to your Alexa account, you can ask her about your schedule. For example, you can ask:
Alexa, what are my plans for Saturday?
Alexa, am I busy on Monday?
Alexa, do I have plans on August 14th?
Alexa, what’s my schedule for this afternoon?
You can also add an event to your Google, Microsoft or Apple Calendar, by saying: “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.” Alexa will now guide you through the process of adding a new event to your calendar.
Syncing your calendars to Alexa only solves part of the puzzle. You still need to populate it with useful calendars and events to make sure you get notified of important matters.
Jessica Thornsby is a technical writer based in Derbyshire, UK. When she isn’t obsessing over all things tech, she enjoys researching her family tree, and spending far too much time with her house rabbits.
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The study was conducted by Marin Software, extrapolated from billions of dollars of PPC budgets. Wes MacLaggan, SVP of Marketing at Marin Software offered this insight:
“While Google and Facebook continue to be the most prominent channels for digital ad spend, we’re now seeing more and more early adopters experimenting with Amazon’s ad offerings…”Google Ads Google Shopping Ads
Of the billions of dollars of ad spend researched, Google Shopping Ads represented about 27% of the Google Ad spend in US Dollars. Although it fell to 24% during the fourth quarter it regained in the following quarter, essentially staying flat.Amazon Advertising
Amazon offers Headline Shopping Ads and Sponsored Product Ads. Headline Shopping Ads are more prominent, showing at the very top of the search results. They received a significantly higher CTR of 2.68% versus 0.49% for the Sponsored Product Ads (SPA), yet the SPA represented nearly 80% of the ad spend.Key Differences Between Google and Amazon 1. Return on Advertising Spend
“Amazon searchers are typically much further along in the purchasing path, and are already in the mindset of wanting to purchase a product. Customer searches tend to be much more specific, and product focused. In Google, customers typically are still in the browsing stages, and wanting to either learn about products, or searching product categories. With customer’s search intentions differing greatly in Amazon vs. Google, it causes your PPC strategies to be much different as well.”
He then elaborated and explained that the Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) is dramatically better on Amazon. And not just on your own brand name, but across the board on keyword phrases and competitor brand names.
The benefit of the higher ROAS is, according to Mark Jackson of Vizion Interactive:
“This allows your ability to boost incremental sales much higher than in Google.”2. Algorithms
Amazon’s algorithm factors in things like reviews. This adds an additional layer of complexity to bidding on Amazon versus Google.3. Ramp Up Time 3. Budget Strategies
A key feature of Amazon is that it is a de facto shopping search engine (much like YouTube is a video search engine). Because of this, consumers are lower on the sales funnel (lower is better).
This affects budget strategy because bidders on Amazon on more specific as opposed to on Google.
Mark Jackson of Vizion Interactive offered this insight:
“In Amazon, customer’s searches are much more specific, causing broader terms to be less utilized (and less expensive). This ends up having a direct effect on the size of budgets you can push in Amazon vs. Google.”
It’s exciting to see competition in PPC. Competition benefits everyone.
Read the interactive Digital Advertising Benchmark Report by Marin Software here.
Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
Screenshots by Author
Amazon Kindle Oasis Review (2024)
The medium may not be the message but, when it comes to the new Amazon Kindle Oasis (2024), it’s hard to ignore the fact that this is a highly covetable – and expensive – ereader. The original Oasis promised lighter, more portable ebook consumption than ever before, and now its successor arrives with long-awaited features like audiobook playback and waterproofing. Even the price has taken a dip, albeit only by a little. So, is the new Kindle Oasis the must-have gadget for ebook fans?
You only really notice it properly when you have the first- and second-generation Kindle Oasis side by side, but the new model is significantly larger. At 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13-0.33 inches it’s almost square, with the front taken up by a 7-inch glare-free 300ppi display. As you’d hope, there’s edge illumination for night reading, but Amazon has increased the number of LEDs to twelve for more consistent lighting.
It also added an adaptive light sensor, which the original Oasis lacked. That means the screen can change brightness according to the surrounding conditions, and it’s a big improvement. If you’d rather, you can adjust the brightness yourself manually, or turn off auto-brightness altogether.
To the side of the screen there are two page turn buttons, which are a little thicker than on the old model. However, as before you can control everything via the touchscreen. It’s more responsive now, an improvement most noticeable in screen rotations, which happen automatically courtesy of the accelerometer.
Gone is the hybrid cover-battery of the first-generation Oasis, which Amazon needed in order to deliver on its battery claims. The new Kindle Oasis keeps the asymmetrical shape – thicker on one side, to give you somewhere to grip (and, of course, accommodate the electronics), then tapering – because Amazon says it’s more ergonomic. I can’t disagree: the way weight is balanced in the Oasis is just more comfortable than with a regular Kindle, because the heft is biased toward your hand.
I say “heft”: there’s not much of it. The new Kindle Oasis may be bigger than its predecessor, but it’s only 6.8 ounces. In contrast, the first-generation was 4.7 ounces in WiFi + 3G form, but for a like-for-like comparison you really need to add in the case too, at which point the original rises to 8.5 ounces.
It’s also Amazon’s first waterproof Kindle. Officially, the rating is IPX8, which means it’ll withstand up to an hour in two meters of water. However, realizing that the water an ereader is likely to face includes the sea, the bathtub, and other less-than-perfect examples, Amazon also tested it with those, too.
I’m not much of a bath reader, but I am pretty clumsy, and have been known to spill a cup of coffee or glass of wine across a table – and across a book – accidentally. The Kindle Oasis will shrug that off merrily. As will, indeed, the fabric standing covers, $44.99 apiece, which cling magnetically to the ereader, though you’ll need to take more care with the $59.99 leather versions.
The second-gen Kindle Oasis debuts Amazon’s latest software for its ereaders, though it’ll be pushed to older models too. There’s a broader range of size adjustment across the eight fonts, which should be welcome to those who require reading glasses, and you can now adjust text boldness too. I found the default a little anemic to my eyes, but the maximum level is positively chunky.
There’s also support for blowing up the general interface, including not only the buttons and text but the graphics too. If you want, you can switch off the justified text in books and have left-alignment instead. I suspect many people will just turn on and start reading, but having more options – including the OpenDyslexic font especially designed for those with dyslexia – is certainly welcome.
The other big change is audiobook support. The new Kindle Oasis lacks a headphone jack, Amazon instead relying on Bluetooth. I hooked up a set of Samsung’s new Gear IconX 2023 Edition earbuds, but you could wirelessly pair a speaker if you preferred, or even your car’s audio system.
Battery life is a quoted six weeks, though that’s based on a half hour of reading each day, wireless turned off, and the light at a little under half brightness. What you’ll actually see will depend largely on how much Bluetooth you use and whether you leave the wireless turned on; I’ve been reading each day for the past five or so days, with wireless left on, and the gage has dropped from 50-percent to a little more than a third. You recharge via a microUSB port.
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