Amazon Kindle Voyage evaluation: One of the best e-reader can also be the priciest
When Amazon launched an up to date model of its flagship Kindle Paperwhite final yr, it took the straightforward means out — in any case, tweaked internals, improved software program and barely higher lighting don’t an exciting e-reader make. The 2013 Paperwhite wasn’t dangerous by any stretch, only a bit boring. Now, a yr later, Amazon has put collectively a reader that is something however. Say good day to the Kindle Voyage.
On paper, the brand new Voyage feels like a house run. Smaller footprint? Excessive-decision display? One thing akin to bodily web page-flip buttons? Signal me up! It is Amazon’s first really premium Kindle, until you rely the dodo that was the DX, and this time across the firm’s catering to die-exhausting readers. However this is the actual query: Does anybody actually need a $199 e-reader (with advertisements, no much less)? In a phrase, sure.
- Flush, pixel-dense display is the most effective we have seen on any e-reader
- PagePress buttons are principally satisfying
- Skinny and lightweight
- Costly for a standalone e-reader
- Base worth consists of advertisements
With a powerful excessive-decision show and an enormous content material catalog to match, the Kindle Voyage is definitely the perfect e-reader Amazon has ever crafted. Nonetheless, its excessive price ticket means it simply does not make sense for the typical reader.
The final time Amazon’s larger-finish Kindles acquired a redesign was two years in the past, so it is no shock that the Voyage represents probably the most dramatic overhaul since that point Amazon gave up on bodily keyboards. Gone is the Kindle’s longstanding curvy aesthetic: The Voyage borrows significantly from the Kindle Hearth’s design language, with a extra angular again normal out of magnesium and capped with shiny black plastic. The magnesium, because it seems, was a very good name. After every week of tossing the Voyage out and in of my bag (which is type of a gadget minefield, to say the least) there weren’t any scuffs or smudges that a number of seconds of frenzied rubbing could not deal with. Alas, the Voyage’s matte rear (which is the place the facility button now lives) is a magnet in your greasy fingerprints, so studying and consuming chips is inadvisable for those who’re stickler for appearances.
That magnesium chassis makes the Voyage slightly lighter, too, which a few of you’ll discover greater than others. If (like me!) you are the kind of one that grips an e-reader in a single hand, with a pinky serving to to stabilize issues, that weight discount makes a surprisingly vital distinction. Oh, you are a two-hander? You in all probability will not have the ability to inform.
Extra importantly, the 6-inch E Ink show is lastly flush with the remainder of the Voyage’s physique. This won’t sound like the most important enchancment — it isn’t just like the Paperwhite’s recessed display and raised bezels have been notably bothersome — nevertheless it helps the Voyage really feel much less like a bunch of elements cobbled collectively and extra like a single, cohesive piece of package. Truthfully, although, between the shortage of raised bezels and that angled again, the entire thing bears greater than a passing resemblance to final yr’s Kobo Aura (I can simply think about Kobo’s Japanese overlords chortling with glee).
I will be trustworthy: I nonetheless yearn for the times when the deep, satisfying click on of a bodily button punctuated the flip of a web page, however these days are clearly over and Amazon’s PagePress is about as worthy a alternative as we might get. (Don’t be concerned, you possibly can nonetheless faucet on the display to vary pages.) The entire thing is straightforward sufficient: Press the lengthy vertical line on both aspect of the display to show the web page, and the dot sitting above it to flip again one. By default, each vibration and sensitivity are set to medium (which is lots responsive), however you higher consider I cranked each choices to excessive in the hunt for a extra button-like expertise. The top outcome? It is nonetheless not as tactile as a bodily button, nevertheless it’s awfully shut.Show and efficiency
There isn’t any two methods about it: The Voyage’s display is downright phenomenal (I worry my footage do not do it justice). The 6-inch show manages to squeeze in a full 300 pixels per inch, bringing it nearer to precise ink on paper than another E Ink display I’ve seen (Kobo’s Aura HD has a much bigger display, so the pixel density there does not fairly match the Voyage). I critically spent the higher a part of a day simply type of marveling at it, firing up totally different books, twiddling with typefaces/font sizes/margins and usually looking for some arcane mixture that made the onscreen textual content look suboptimal. No cube: This factor is a champ, particularly when you think about how terrible my eyes are.
Conventional e-readers have by no means been ultimate for photographs, however the Voyage (usually) handles them with gusto. Contemplate the standard graphic novel: Thumbing by way of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds wasn’t dangerous in any respect on the Paperwhite, with lovingly crafted pictures and textual content bins coming via clearly. It wasn’t till I put it subsequent to the Voyage that I noticed what I used to be lacking — particulars that have been glossed over on the Paperwhite have been straightforward to identify on the Voyage’s excessive-res show. A menu that appeared smudgy and vague on the Paperwhite got here via with shocking readability on the Voyage; I might inform Katie’s restaurant was serving “smoked cornish hen, buttermilk mashed tubers & whipped pork fats and pickled asparagus,” and that was earlier than I zoomed in. Naturally, digital comedian die-hards ought to spend money on an excellent pill, however the Voyage is not any slouch. Some would argue that making an attempt to cram extra pixels into an E Ink display is overkill. Amazon clearly does not purchase that argument, and for that I am very grateful.
Surprisingly, the display feels slightly totally different too, since Amazon chemically etched the floor to scale back glare. That enhanced glass diffuses mild nicely, however the impact is not as pronounced as I might hoped — the Voyage dispenses with glare solely barely extra successfully than the Paperwhite does. Does not sound nice, I do know, however I’ve by no means had a problem when an excessive amount of daylight threw a wrench into my afternoon studying plans. Talking of lighting, the Voyage has a brand new trick up its sleeve: It now has an ambient mild sensor so it will possibly modify backlighting degree routinely. It really works, albeit just a little sluggishly, taking a couple of seconds to regulate to your environment. You may assume all these lighting tweaks would have some kind of influence on battery life, however the Voyage appears about as environment friendly as the remainder of its kin. Amazon says you’ll squeeze about six weeks out of a single cost… assuming you are solely studying a half hour a day. My week of testing and studying has been method extra rigorous than that, although, and the Voyage continues to be hanging in there with about 30 % left.
Since an e-reader’s show is so intrinsically tied to how properly it performs general, let’s dig a bit deeper into how the Voyage runs right here. Amazon is not eager on speaking about what sort of processor hums away inside that shell, however general it is a lot snappy… particularly in comparison with the older Paperwhite I had available. Turning pages, popping again to the house display and poring by way of the Kindle Retailer on the Voyager have been usually means quicker than on my 2012 Paperwhite, although the occasional full-display refresh evened the race typically. Apparently sufficient, some issues — like turning the display on and off — took almost the identical period of time.
For those who’ve by no means used a touchscreen e-reader, you need to know E Ink’s pure slowness means you will have to rethink the way you work together with units just like the Voyage. You will have to withstand the temptation to sort as quick as you do on a smartphone, for one. It is a robust behavior to shake, however you do not have a selection. As an example you are making an attempt to peck out “Onerous-Boiled Wonderland and the Finish of the World.” The touchscreen is delicate sufficient to register all these faucets (you possibly can see the keyboard lighting up as proof), however transfer too shortly and you will wind up with gibberish in your search field. And as a lot as I take pleasure in these PagePress controls, the remainder of the Voyage lets these little guys down a bit; in case you’re in a rush flipping via pages, you will discover that not each press/vibration corresponds to a web page flip. PagePress apart, these are points that plague nearly all contact-pleasant e-readers. We’re nonetheless a great distance off from the e-studying holy grail — a digital studying expertise that is as fast as thumbing by means of an actual guide — however all issues thought-about, the Voyage is a step in the appropriate path.Software program
Amazon went slightly nuts with the Voyage’s design, however did not tweak the software program almost as a lot. All the previous goodies are current and accounted for. There’s X-Ray that will help you hold tabs on characters and monitor recurring phrases that you simply press and maintain on, to not point out Goodreads integration for you guide membership varieties. Vocabulary Builder, in the meantime, compiles all of the phrases you lookup within the included dictionary. In the event you’ve used a Kindle over the previous two years, you will know precisely what you are getting with the Voyage.
The one actually notable new function is what Amazon calls Web page Movement: Should you swipe from the underside of the display when you’re in the midst of a e-book, you’ll leap from one chapter to the subsequent or shortly skim via the remainder of the textual content. It feels like a minor addition, nevertheless it’s truly fairly nice contemplating the previous approach concerned both popping into the desk of contents or randomly punching in a location quantity and hoping you notice the passage you are in search of. For higher or worse, a few of the largest stuff continues to be within the works. Options like Phrase Clever (which shows tiny definitions proper above tough phrases), the power to skim by way of a ebook’s pictures and Kindle library sharing will hit the Voyage, Paperwhite and the brand new touchscreen primary Kindle later this yr.The competitors
There aren’t a ton of gamers within the excessive-finish e-reader realm, however the Voyage nonetheless has a midway-formidable foe in Kobo’s Aura HD. It has a much bigger 6.eight-inch display that is solely barely much less crisp than the Voyage’s (265 ppi vs. 300) and the identical 4GB of inner storage. Plus, at $one hundred seventy, it is cheaper, in addition. We have been fairly massive followers of the HD when it first got here out over a yr in the past, however truthfully, the factor hasn’t aged properly. Every part sounds good on paper, however it’s downright chunky in comparison with the Voyage’s mild, modern physique. On the brilliant aspect, there’s at the least a microSD slot onboard so you’ll be able to retailer each guide you will ever want for the remainder of your life. For quite a lot of you, although, the Voyage’s largest competitor is its little brother, the Kindle Paperwhite. As modest as its enhancements have been, final yr’s tweaked Paperwhite continues to be probably the greatest e-readers cash should buy, and when you’re high quality with some mildly obnoxious gives, you possibly can seize one for as little as $119. That is not an insignificant worth gulf, and most of the people who simply need to sometimes curl up with some Nabokov will not lose out by hanging onto their money.Wrap-up
After dwelling with the Kindle Voyage for a full week, two plain truths develop into obvious. First, it is one of the best e-reader you should purchase proper now. Second, it is also the costliest, and therein lies the rub. Who precisely does Amazon anticipate can pay $199 for considered one of this stuff? So far as I can inform, the parents in Seattle are gunning for individuals like me: persnickety purists who need as little compromise as potential. We love books (typically to a fault), and we’ll cease at nothing till the road between the screens we stock and the tomes we love is indistinguishable. This is what it boils right down to: Should you’re an e-reader buff (we exist!) or a bibliophile who yearns for paper in a world that is quickly leaving it behind, purchase the Kindle Voyage. It does not take a lot to understand what the Voyage brings to the desk, however it does take a sure sort of nerd to take a look at one and determine it is value the identical sum of money as a wonderfully good Paperwhite for your self and a primary Kindle for mother.
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- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/amazon/kindle/voyage/” title=”Amazon Kindle Voyage evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations • 2 </a>
- Display sort E Ink
- Touchscreen Capacitive [finger]
- Weight 6.four oz
- Introduced 2014-09-17