November 10, 2014 1 Comment
In the next episode of Bad Voltage, I review the new Kindle Voyage. I typically post the review text after an episode comes out, but this time I’m going to post it ahead of time. Why? Well, during the show myself and the rest of the Bad Voltage team discuss the review and after reading this I hope you’re interested enough to listen in when the show comes out this Thursday. In the mean time, you can listen to the latest episode (where we discuss systemd, ChromeOS and more) here: Everything is Orange
While not necessarily a voracious reader, I am someone who enjoys reading regularly. For a long time, I strongly preferred print books to reading on a screen. The Kindle changed that. While some may not mind reading entire books on a tablet or screen, for me the e-ink display makes all the difference. For reference, the Kindle Voyage is my third Kindle replacing the Kindle Keyboard 3G (2011), which in turn replaced the original OG Kindle (2008). So, how does it compare?
First, let me get a couple boring specs out of the way. This is the thinnest Kindle ever made. At just 7.6mm it’s actually thinner than a Samsung Galaxy S5. Its 16-level gray scale 300 ppi display sits flush with the bezel and delivers twice as many pixels as the previous generation Paperwhite, which my esteemed college Jono reviewed in episode 18. It has an adaptive front light which automatically adjusts to your environment, comes with 4GB of storage and a single charge lasts for over a month of average usage.
With that out of the way, let’s get to actually using the device. First, let me say that the Amazon frustration free packaging is absolutely top shelf. Every time I get an electronic device in Gordian Knot packaging, I wonder why some companies treat their customers with such disdain. I’m going to guess you aren’t going to purchase a device based solely on its packaging, however. The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the Kindle Voyage is that it’s very well constructed. The magnesium alloy unibody is light, durable and has an attractive design. It also feels significantly better in your hands than the more recent Kindle iterations. You can tell Amazon has put real engineering work into making this feel not only like a solid product, but having it be reminiscent of holding an actual book. The touch UI is a vast improvement over the last model I was using and is surprisingly intuitive, with specific regions on the device dedicated to specific functionality. For example you can turn pages by simply tapping the right or left side of the capacitive touchscreen. For those of you who prefer a more tactile approach, you can use the ‘PagePress’ system, which consist of two pressure-sensitive sensors positioned on either side of the screen bezel and result in some haptic feedback being added to your page turns. The footnote and dictionary functionally are both vastly improved and wikipedia integration has been added. A previous annoyance, there is finally no ghosting or lag when turning pages. Most importantly, the screen really is best in class; it’s a joy to read on and graphics are much improved.
So, what’s the Bad Voltage verdict? At $199 the Kindle Voyage may be a little pricey for those people who are not regular readers or have the most recent Paperwhite. That said, in my opinion it’s the best e-reader on the planet. If you’re a regular reader, it’s a Voyage that’s well worth the trip.
As mentioned here, Bad Voltage is a new project I’m proud to be a part of. From the Bad Voltage site: Every two weeks Bad Voltage delivers an amusing take on technology, Open Source, politics, music, and anything else we think is interesting, as well as interviews and reviews. Do note that Bad Voltage is in no way related to LinuxQuestions.org, and unlike LQ it will be decidedly NSFW. That said, head over to the Bad Voltage website, take a listen and let us know what you think.