I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Review of the Kindle Voyage

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

I talked about getting my Kindle Paperwhite (pictured on the right) back in 2012, and how much I loved it.  I said in the review that I hoped the Paperwhite will be my one and only for years and years, but more than two years later, here I am with a new Kindle.  Oh well.  I really have very little impulse control when it comes to new and shiny technology.  I did feel that getting the Paperwhite was a necessity for the glow screen which is so useful, but with the new Voyage, it was much more a "just because" buy.  Just because I wanted it and could get it.  But here are some of the new features of the Kindle Voyage -
  • Smaller bezel (same screen size)
  • Lighter and thinner
  • Better screen resolution (300 ppi vs. 212 ppi)
  • Auto brightness 
  • Page press technology (pinch the side of the kindle to turn the page forward or backward)

About the size

The Paperwhite is no brick, but holding the Voyage is noticeably nicer than holding the Paperwhite.  It's much easier to hold for a longer time without support and it feels just a bit more portable too, since it's smaller and thinner.  Which can be especially important when you add the bulk of a case to your eReader.  The case was a difficulty for me though.  Amazon's official origami case was very tempting for the fact that it can be made into a stand, but I didn't really like the look of it, and I definitely didn't like the idea of it flipping from the top like a notepad, instead of from the side like a book.  I know it doesn't really matter since when you read your Kindle, the flap is folded behind, but I just like that bookish form factor and I think I would have really missed it.  

So for a case I went with the Moko brand because I liked that it covers all sides of the Kindle (as opposed to just gripping corners and the vertical sides of some of the other brands) and it had a nice picture design that was a bit more enticing than the uniform color ones.

My new Moko case on the left, and the Amazon Paperwhite case on the right

About the Auto Brightness

Just a brief comment on the auto brightness function.  It seemed to work pretty well at first - I was happy to leave the function on, and see the display get brighter automatically.  But I have a lamp at my desk and also an overhead light on in my room and if I happen to have both lights on at the same time, then just shifting around in my seat would cause the screen to dim and brighten accordingly which was annoying.  So maybe it is too sensitive.  Yet, at another time, I was in what I considered a darker room, and the light didn't change at all.  So I'm not yet sure how much I like the auto brightness function.  It works well on cell phones (my iPhone for example) but perhaps the technology isn't quite there yet with eReaders.

That Page Press tho

The page press technology is awesome.  I love that I don't have to move my finger in a swipe across the screen.  If you normally hold your Kindle with a finger on the side of the bezel, then it's very natural to just give it a gentle squeeze to turn the page.  And it's nice that you can do it from both sides.  It makes one-handed reading a breeze and is definitely the best perk of the Voyage!  It does give a little buzz (a very unobtrusive one) when it recognizes that you have pressed it, so you know when you triggered the page turn.  I think I should note though that since the screen of the Voyage is now flush to the side of the bezel, your finger can touch the side of the screen without your noticing, and that can also trigger a page turn.  So I have to get used to making sure my finger doesn't stray off the black bezel area.  The Voyage screen seems much more touch sensitive in that way. 

I also wanted to mention that with the new Voyage, the screen is very smooth, while with the Paperwhite there was a sort of texture to it I felt.  I kinda miss that texture, but then again, if I'm not going to be turning pages with a swipe of my finger, it's not really necessary any more.

Final thoughts

The Voyage is quite a bit more expensive than the Paperwhite, and I feel that if you are happy with your eReader at the moment, the Voyage is not a necessity.  It has some really cool features, and it is probably the best eReader on the market right now (although I don't really have experience with other eReaders!), but the reading experience - especially to the Paperwhite - is very similar, and there are no user interface changes that would make the Voyage a dramatically different experience.  The response time of the screen seems to be about the same, and while the quality of the resolution is improved in the Voyage,  I don't think you would generally notice the difference unless you are looking at illustrations.  I feel like whether or not you buy the Voyage depends on how much you want that page press technology.  The Voyage is expensive, but it is very sleek and just delightful and I am very happy to have one!  Oh and I hope this Kindle will be my one and only for years and years!

And now I'm curious about how many book bloggers who visit my blog are Kindle users - what eReader do you currently use?  And what name have you given your eReader if you've named it something special?

BTW, in that post from 2012 on the Paperwhite, I mentioned the name I gave it, which was Idris - from the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Wife".  With a new eReader, I had to give it a new name, so I've called it Tamsin.  Just because of this tweet from my favorite magician/mentalist Derren Brown.  Derren is so funny and silly.  And now I really like that name too!

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