Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Amazon unveiled its “Voyage” e-reader. Amazon invented the first-ever e-reader with the Kindle, so the Voyage represents the newest incarnation in the constantly-growing family of Amazon e-book reader gadgets.
Here’s a quick overview and consumer review of the Voyage:
Lightweight But Tough
The Voyage offers crisp text on a 6-inch 300ppi screen made of glass. The device weighs in at less than six and a half ounces, so it is extremely lightweight. But it is also housed in black rubberized magnesium instead of plastic, for long-lasting durability.
Realistic Look and Feel
Microscopic texturing gives the glass surface the feel of really high-quality paper. The lighting is smooth and even; downloading is fast, and the screen is inlaid flush with the body of the device. The e-ink looks almost exactly like real ink, and there is no glare – even in bright sunlight. For those who like the Paperwhite, for example, the Voyager is a noticeable upgrade because the Voyager has a far superior look and feel.
The entire page glows, evenly and satisfyingly. But the Voyage’s backlight can be dialed up considerably brighter and has an optional self-adjusting feature to match the lighting of the device to your reading environment. If you walk from a bright place into a dark one, the illumination gradually, which gives your eyes time to naturally adjust.
Page Turn Options
There are pressure-sensitive buttons that enable easy, flawless page-turning. The clickable page-turning buttons that were on earlier Kindles but absent on the Paperwhite are back for the Voyage. You can turn the pages with the touch screen, or without it. So if you’re eating a sandwich or using the device to read a recipe as you cook you don’t have to worry about smudging the screen.
Big Capacity and Full Wi-Fi
You can hold 1,000s of books on the Voyage thanks to 4 gigs of storage capacity. The Voyage is fully wireless, too, so you never need a computer to download content. You also get free cloud storage for whatever content you buy from Amazon. Multiple formats are supported, and the battery life is strong.
Premium Perks for a Premium Price
Consumers have called it “the lightest, sleekest, most beautiful Kindle yet.” Other have questioned whether it’s worth an extra hundred bucks to get the new, more elegant bells and whistles. So is the Voyage going to sail up the sales charts as the best e-reader to give or receive this holiday season?
The short answer is that the Voyage costs about twice as much as the 6-inch Kindle Fire and the Barnes and Noble GlowLight. Cost-conscious shoppers will likely buy less expensive models since they can essentially afford two for the price of one. A more affordable model is also the ideal gift for a teen or someone is only a casual reader. Consider, for example, that you can buy some lower-end Kindle models for $80.
An Upscale E-Reader
But for serious e-book readers who want a more elegant visual and tactile experience – combined with a device that is light as a feather – the Voyage is liable to steal the show this season. Think of it as a premium product for demanding readers who want the latest e-reader technology in a highly portable unit.
Those readers will view it as an investment and justify the extra $100 it costs because of the value the Voyage delivers in terms of some unique bells and whistles. By the way, if you are buying a great e-reader like the Voyage, don’t spoil the elegance of the experience by accepting advertisements that will clog up your screensaver. For an extra $20 or so you can totally opt out of receiving those ads, and that is money well spent.
The Bottom Line
If you read e-books constantly, then price may be much less important to you than factors such as clarity, ease of use, illumination, resolution, e-ink quality and so forth. Say, for example, that you plan to keep your new e-reader device and use it for 2-4 hours a day for two years. At a cost of $200 that averages out to around $8 a month, or a couple of dollars a week. We’re talking pennies per day, so for that kind of consumer who will get the most out the Voyage it may actually seem like a bargain.