Today I’m reviewing the Kindle Voyage from Amazon which was released October 2014. I’m going to be focusing on its special features and comparing it against some of the other established EReaders in the marketplace to help you make the decision if it’s right for you.
The device’s dimensions are 6.38″ X 4.53″ X 0.3″ (162mm X 115mm X 7.6mm) which puts it around the same size as the Kindle Paperwhite. This is quite the contrast of the Kindle Oasis which comes in at a tiny 5.5” X 4.80” X 0.13” (143 mm x 122 mm x 3.4-8.5 mm). Their aim here is to focus on a larger viewing display at the expense of it being as lightweight as the Kindle Oasis.
The device weighs in at 180g which does make it one of the lighter models but not as lightweight as the Oasis (131g). With that said, it doesn’t have the premium price tag attached with such a device. At 180g, it’s still possible to use the device one handed for a considerable amount of time before needing a break. If weight is you’re number one concern then perhaps the Kindle Oasis is the device for you. You can read a full review of that product here
Like most modern Kindle devices, the Kindle Voyage has a display of 300 PPI. For those of you not in the know, PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch which means the more pixels you have, the better! That does beat devices such as the [urlink id=”785″], but this is a slightly cheaper product. The screen is touchscreen which is what you would expect for a standard EReader device these days. The device can be read in the dark due to the backlight which also has the added feature of auto adjusting, depending on its environment. Something I haven’t seen on other devices.
The device only comes in Black unfortunately, but Amazon do provide a number of funky cases to make it look a little more creative. Some of the more interesting ones I found whilst searching can be found here
Amazon has done a great job at creating a wide range of cases, sleeves and skins for the Kindle Voyage. You can find the best of the best on my [urlink id=”1072″] page
The UI is pretty straightforward and guides someone who has no EReader experience through the setup process with ease. I like here that Amazon provides a set of recommendations and special offers on the home screen for those who you who are needing some inspiration for your next read. Like other Kindle devices, the integration with the Amazon Kindle store is seamless and is generally my preference over the Kobo UI.
Formats it can read
The Kindle Voyage supports Amazon Kindle books (AZW format) and also gives you the ability to open MS Word docs and PDF’s which you can email to the device itself. As expected, it doesn’t support book formats which are not purchased from the Amazon store.
A number of features to point out here which make this device stand out. The first being the adaptive brightness to its environment. The device continually monitors its surroundings and changes its display settings to support the best reading experience. This can also be disabled for those of you who want to be in more control.
Amazon have also gone for a more novel approach to page navigation. Instead of having buttons, the device actually has a pressure sensitive case where you can squeeze on the right hand side of the case to move to the next page and squeeze left to go back to the previous one. So far I’ve not seen any other device support this so it will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend for their future devices.
The Kindle Voyage also provides an integrated search feature which allows you to search for a phrase in a book, a doc or on the Kindle store itself. This is something I haven’t seen on other devices so worth considering if this feature is useful to you.
The device has also had a purpose built case which enables hands free reading. This is the Origami cover, which has a stand to allow the device to stand up on its own. This is an additional addon when purchasing the device. I certainly can see benefit in using the hands free from time to time to give your hands a rest.
Similar to other Kindle devices, the Voyage includes reading features to help your little ones get more into books. Tools such as reading achievements and parental locks to restrict purchasing allow your Kindle to shared with the rest of the family.
For those of you who can’t wait to see what’s on the next page, the device supports next page preview functionality (pageFlip), without interrupting your current flow on the page. Handy for when you’re at that critical stage of reading and need to decide if you can go on or start making dinner for the kids.
Another nice feature that the device has relates to organising your books, articles and other types of content. The [urlink id=”782″] supports library filtering, which allows you to limit the number of items displayed in the Library screen. You can filter based on item type (books, documents and periodicals). This is a great feature for those who you who have a large electronic collection but don’t want to feel too overwhelmed when selecting your next read.
For the more social types, the Kindle Voyage includes Facebook and Twitter integration, which allows you to share your feedback on books and articles with friends and family. It’s always great to get a second opinion on the book you’ve just read. This also is complementary to the GoodReads integration which in essence is like an electronic book club where you had share your thoughts with the community and rate books based on your feedback.
In addition to filtering, the device allows you to create collections based on a certain a category that you define. That way you can always ensure you’re never mixing your romantic novels with your Sci-fi comics!
The final feature I want to touch on is that fact that Amazon have also subtly taken on the task of increasing our vocabulary. With the vocabulary builder feature, you create a list of words in order to master their meaning based on what you’re reading. Won’t you be the talk on the town when you can explain the meaning of egregious at your better halfs cocktail party.
This makes it a similar price to the Kindle Oasis which is a tad more expensive that the Kindle Paperwhite. The cost does reflect the lightweight design and also the inclusion of the pressure pad navigation functionality. Something worth considering if it’s worth spending a little extra cash.
What I like
I like the fact you can purchase a case for the device which makes it hands free. There are scenarios which I would find this useful, such as lying flat on the beach and not wanting to hold the device. I’m also a big fan of EReaders that have child friendly features to encourage your young ones to read more and Amazon never fails to disappoint on that front. Finally, is the special offers which can provide some inspiration for when you’ve just finished your latest book and are looking forward to your next adventure.
What I don’t like
As novel as the pressure pads on the side of the case are for turning pages, I’m not a fan. The device already has areas where you can touch the side of screen and swipe functionality to turn pages so am unclear as to why you would need a third way. One thing that customers have picked up on is that the adaptive brightness feature is also quite a large consumer of power. A setting which can be adjusted manually by the user. For me the price is a little steep for those two additional features compared to the Kindle Paperwhite
What Amazon Customers Are Saying?
This product has had a lot of reviews so it’s a great to see a broad range of opinions on the device. No doubt you would expect that the pressure sensitive sides of the case for page turning is a hot topic in the reviews. Some love it, some hate it. So it would be definitely be down to user preference on this one. There also have been some issues with defective screens, but it seems Amazon has been fairly consistent on getting them replaced for customers. People who already had Kindle devices also noted that there were not many additional features based on the devices they already had.
I’m a bit torn on this review to be honest. I can see on the one hand that Amazon are trying more novel ways to enhance the reading experience. On the other, it doesn’t appear to be something that customers are crying out for. If auto adjusting brightness and pressure sensor page turning are must haves then this device is for you. Otherwise it might be worth considering a more all rounder device such as the Kindle Paperwhite.
Own an Amazon Kindle? I’d love to hear your feedback!