Perhaps it will come as no surprise to hear that the latest and most expensive Kindle from Amazon is its best ever. But it really is. The price tag could be sticking point, however. At 900 AED, the top-of-the range Kindle Voyage is the most expensive ebook reader Amazon has developed yet, but with similarly remarkable electronic ink tech available at a remarkably affordable price in the form of the 300 AED Kindle, has Amazon undercut itself?
The screen on the Kindle Voyage was made for those mammoth reading sessions in which night or day, no matter how fatigued, you just can’t put a book down. Its 300 pixels per inch display is very high resolution for a device of this type and therefore very kind on your eyes.
To stop you from squinting in the darkness, the Kindle will automatically adjust to new lighting situations so, as time goes by, will get lighter or darker as your eyes start to adjust to the changed visibility conditions. This is almost imperceptible, in the way of discreet five-star hotel service — you feel comfortable and taken care of, and yet there have been no interruptions to your private time.
As well as the actual device being the thinnest and lightest Kindle ever, the Voyage has some other tricks up its sleeves that we haven’t seen on previous models. Running down each vertical bezel is a line and a dot. Squeeze the line and the page will flick forwards and squeeze the dot and the page flicks back one.
This obviously makes it ideal for lefties and means that most of the time you don’t even need to lift a finger to turn the page (just shift your thumb a bit instead). The Voyage provides noiseless haptic feedback that you can only feel in your thumb. Over time it becomes more sensitive — Voyage newbies tend to squeeze harder out of excitement.
It’s a boon and a novelty and perfect for those lazy days on a sun lounger when you’re lying on one side holding the Kindle up to help shield your eyes from the sun as you read (just don’t try and balance it on your face if you decide to have a nap). But it is also to an extent a luxury. Touching the screen to turn the page is not all that more difficult than squeezing the bezel.
It should be mentioned that there are some great features on-board the Kindle, including expanded X-Ray — which lets you look at the “bare bones” of the book — and a smart lookup tool that integrates X-Ray, dictionary and Wikipedia information about the book in one place. On their way are other features — enhanced search, family libraries and Word Wise to help you understand more complex books. All great, but these features are also all available on the 300 AED Kindle.
The Voyage’s main competition aside from Amazon’s other products is the Nook Glow — a lovely, light ebook reader with similar light-emitting technology to the Paperwhite and a 6-inch screen that costs only 450 AED. Of course this locks you out of Amazon’s ebook ecosystem, but if you’ve yet to invest in a device, that is not necessarily a problem.
Amazon revolutionised the hardware people used for reading for the mass market in a way the human race hadn’t seen for centuries, but innovating such a low-tech activity comes at a price. As it always has done, the luxury of reading lies in the content itself rather than the more disposable vehicle that delivers it.
The Kindle Voyage is a fabulous device that we wouldn’t hesitate to endorse, but ultimately we couldn’t recommend to someone that they should pay to upgrade from a recent older model. Similarly, if you’re debating between the cheaper and more expensive Kindles, you are probably better off going for the 300 AED device and spending the change on stocking up your ebook library. The exceptions to this are if you have no choice but to read in the dark.
- High-resolution screen
- automatically adjusts brightness levels
- squeeze pads for turning pages
- Much more expensive than other Kindle models
- no dedicated high-end software features