During our recent stay in Ocean Park, Maine, I took a review copy of the Kindle Voyage out to the beach on a sunny day to see if the micro-etched glass screen is as readable in sunlight as the plastic Kindle screens of yore. For the test, I put a Paperwhite and the Voyage side by side on a beach chair. You’ll see the result in this video.
If you are happy with your Paperwhite and have a slightly less obsessive love of new gadgets than I do, I can’t think of a reason to upgrade to the Voyage. It’s a sweet eReader, for sure. The improvement in readability because of the higher screen resolution is noticeable but not earth-shattering. The physical buttons are nice, but after a week of using the Voyage I am still tapping the screen to advance to the next page. I like the auto brightness controls on the built-in light. My favorite improvement is the smaller size and weight of the Voyage.
One thing that really bugs me is Amazon’s Origami Leather Case for the Voyage. Instead of opening like a book, it flips back like a reporter’s notebook pad. I’m not crawling into bed to take notes for a story. I’m in Book Reading Mode, like the old days when the physical thing was one of my favorite things in the world. I love the advances that Kindle technology have made possible in reading, but unnecessarily removing one of the touchable reminders of the book’s heritage seems perverse to me. I know the new cover makes a handy stand in portrait or landscape mode. But I don’t use my E Ink Kindles on a desk or table. I use them curled up before sleep or on the beach.
Luckily, I found a cover that opens the old-fashioned way and have it on order to replace the steno-pad cover. It’s available for $7.99 plus shipping from ACcase. I ordered one and will probably return the $59.99 Origami case.
Let me be clear: the Kindle Voyage is an impressive upgrade to the Kindle line, and I love how Amazon continues to invest time and money into dedicated eReaders. They do it for the love of it, in my opinion, and it shows. With the arrival of the Voyage, the Kindle lineup has three great price points and three good choices to consider for the very best in digital book reading.