Review – Amazon Kindle Voyage

Adam Turner
12 January, 2016
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Amazon Kindle Voyage

Amazon, www.amazon.com

Pros 

Brighter and sharper screen

Cons 

Expensive

$299

Reviews

While iPads are amazing jack-of-all-trades devices, they’re not always the best tool for the job. eBook readers with an eInk screen, like Amazon’s Kindle, have several advantages when it comes to reading novels.

Kindles are cheaper, smaller and lighter than iPads. More importantly, Kindles offer a much longer battery life – weeks instead of hours – and they’re easier on the eyes. If you want to read for hours at a time without draining the battery on your iGadgets or straining your eyes, then a Kindle could make for a wise investment.

The icing on the cake is Amazon’s collection of slick Kindle mobile apps, which let you jump from your eBook reader to your iGadget and pick up reading where you left off. Now you’ve got the best of both worlds – a much more flexible arrangement than buying eBooks from Apple. If you’d rather not be tied to a single eBook store, whether it be Apple’s or Amazon’s store, then you might look to competing eBook readers like the Kobo, which support ePub eBook files from a wide range of eBook stores, including Google Play.

If you’re sold on the Kindle ecosystem, then you’ll find the $299 Voyage is Amazon’s slickest Kindle yet, building on the $179 Kindle Paperwhite’s built-in light, which lets you read in the dark. Unfortunately, Australians can only buy the Wi-Fi-only Voyage; there’s no 3G/4G model for accessing Amazon’s eBook store while you’re on the road (but if you’re keen you might import one from the US).

The new Voyage still features a 6in monochrome display, but the bezel is now flush with the touchscreen to give it more of a tablet feel. It’s 1.5mm thinner and 26g lighter than the Paperwhite – neither of which are really worth getting excited about. What’s more impressive is that the Voyage bumps up both the brightness and the resolution, plus it adds an ambient light sensor so it can automatically adjust the light when you turn off your bedside lamp or walk outside on a sunny day. The screen offers practically no glare, giving it another advantage over an iPad.

With the release of the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon abandoned the physical page-turn buttons in favour of tapping or swiping the screen. This is much less intrusive on the reading experience, but to satisfy old-school Kindle users Amazon has reintroduced buttons with the Kindle Voyage. Rather than physical buttons, they’re pressure-sensitive sensors under the bezel, although they can be a little temperamental. Thankfully, you can ignore them and stick with a simple swipe to turn the page.

The Voyage offers a great reading experience, but for the extra $120 the brighter screen and ambient light sensor are the only real benefits over the Paperwhite. If you’re only reading novels, you’re unlikely to appreciate the Voyage’s jump to 300 pixels per inch resolution, but the trade-off for the sharper screen is that the battery is only good for around three-quarters of the Paperwhite’s reading time.

Also keep in mind that the Voyage’s price tag would almost buy you an iPad mini. If you don’t own an eBook reader or a tablet, then the iPad mini may make a wiser investment than the Kindle Voyage – unless you’re absolutely confident that the device is only for reading novels and you wouldn’t benefit from the extra flexibility of a tablet.

Bottom line.

There’s no question that Kindle’s Voyage offers a great reading experience, but it’s also the most expensive Kindle yet. It’s a great device if your budget will stretch, but weigh it up against the Kindle Paperwhite and iPad mini before you take the plunge.

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