Overall, an excellent reader. I would like a little more battery life, but accept that illuminating the page must take more power, and the illumination makes for a greatly improved reading experience over the old kindle.
While it’s now been superseded by the expensive Kindle Oasis, Kindle Voyage is still a hard-hitting e-reader at the upper end of Amazon’s range.
The inbuilt problem with e-reader reviews is that they date very quickly. What was once the best device on the market all too quickly becomes the second best. That’s why we regularly revisit our articles to keep them completely up to date and prevent you from wading through dated reports that give you a bum steer.
In today’s Kindle Voyage review, we’ll take you through what makes this high-end reading device well worth the money. As usual, we’ll honestly point out any of the downsides so you can make an informed decision.
With stiff competition from tablets (including Kindle Fire) eroding the market for dedicated e-readers, Amazon needs to keep uprating their reading devices to stay on top of the game. While it might no longer hold the crown of the best e-reader, Kindle Voyage still punches above its weight.
Straight off the bat, then, a brief breakdown of where this nifty device stands and falls…
What We Like
- Incredibly crisp 300ppi resolution makes reading a genuine pleasure without any eyestrain
- Sleek, angular design looks great and is so thin and light you can read for hours with ease
- PagePress force sensor ensures turning the page doesn’t need a heavy press
- Superb connectivity with a choice of WiFi only or WiFi and 3G for maximum flexibility
- Up to 6 weeks of battery life dependent on reading time and screen brightness
- Refresh rate on E Ink screen is impressive and a notch up on PaperWhite
- Automatic brightness control removes the need to make constant tweaks to your settings
- Optional origami cover allows for hands-free reading with magnetized panels to keep it snug and secure
- Typesetting engine and dedicated Bookerly font replicates the layout of a physical book
What We Don’t Like
- Case is a lovely extra but far too expensive
- PagePress buttons are rather thin and easy to miss although the haptic functionality has a splendid feel
- Font choice and size is rather restrictive which is rather a disappointment
The wafer-thin design of Kindle Voyage is undoubtedly one if its key selling points. Less than 8mm thick – or should that be thin? – you can easily hold your device for hours in one hand without feeling burdened.
It’s extremely light, too. The WiFi model is a skimpy 6.3oz while the WiFi and 3G option is scarcely any heavier at just 6.6oz.
One of the primary reasons people choose an e-reader rather than a tablet is for exactly this kind of streamlined reading experience. Compared to the much bulkier Kindle Basic of previous generations and even Kindle Paperwhite, Voyage redefines slimline.
The good news is that this micro-footprint doesn’t compromise the optimized 6-inch screen size resulting in a double win.
With a durable magnesium finish at the back and proprietary hardened glass, you get a tiny e-reader without it feeling fragile. You will get very little bending or flexing so you’ve got nothing to worry about with the build quality. Kindle Voyage will give you a return on your investment for years to come.
Screen and Display
The main focus of any e-reader is the screen and Kindle Voyage delivers in fine style.
Where Kindle Basic has a serviceable 167ppi resolution, Voyage ramps up the pixilation to a superb 300ppi. The result is a display so crisp and clear that even the lowest resolution setting is more than fit for purpose.
One issue with older generations of Kindle was the way in which dust gathered on the screen. With the Voyage pane designed as one smooth screen, it looks slick and no debris gets trapped letting you read unencumbered. The glass is micro-etched so there’s a neat matte topping. This does not reflect sunlight giving you a purer reading journey. Glare is not completely eliminated but it’s barely noticeable.
With Kindle Voyage, Amazon set out to replicate the look and feel of a physical book and they have come as close as technology currently permits.
There are no radical leaps ahead with the interface on Kindle Voyage. That’s not a serious issue since everything works very smoothly and there’s seldom much percentage in changing a winning formula.
The touchscreen, as with all Kindle variants, is a pleasure to use.
One major innovation is PagePress. This force sensor reacts to very subtle pressure and the haptic response flicks your page over with only the lightest of touches required. E-readers are all about purity of reading and, by doing away with the need to hit down hard on a button, you can turn pages with the same effortlessness as when you’re reading a paperback. It becomes a truly automatic action.
The adaptive front light is a leap forward from Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Basic. Combined with 6 LEDs, you feel like you’re reading on paper. Brightness settings are optimized and automated so you won’t need to keep fiddling with the levels. Again, this keeps the emphasis firmly on reading. If you are reading in the dark, the display will gradually dim to mimic the natural way in which your eyes respond to a darkened room.
Start-up is near instant so you’ll be straight into your favorite book with absolutely no messing around.
Using Kindle Voyage really is the nearest thing to holding a dog-eared paperback and everything about this e-reader’s interface is rock solid.
For anyone not used to e-readers, the battery life will seem nothing short of miraculous. We’re talking weeks without needing to dig out the charger.
It’s difficult to be much more specific because so much depends on hours of usage and the brightness levels you choose. As a rough guide, if you ditch the WiFi and get in thirty minutes of reading on a daily basis, you could be looking at a full 6 weeks before needing to recharge Kindle Voyage.
When that time comes, a full charge takes just 3 hours. Simply hook it up to your computer via USB.
If you have a hectic schedule, travel frequently and often contrive to forget your charging devices, this long battery life truly comes into its own.
Performance and Overall Functionality
As is standard with Kindles, you can select Kindle Voyage as either WiFi only or opt for the model with free 3G.
You’ll pay more for the WiFi and 3G version but enjoy the ability to remain fully connected even if outside of WiFi zones.
While it’s touted as free, this comes at the cost of pretty restricted access. It’s only Kindle Store and Wikipedia you’ll get at your disposal but it seems cheap to complain about that really since it comes at no ongoing cost.
Since WiFi hotspots are more or less everywhere now, it pays to think seriously about whether you will benefit from this limited extra that comes at a significant premium.
Storage is sufficient for thousands of books. For all reasonable purposes, this is more than enough for even the most avid reader. If it doesn’t make the nut, avail yourself of free Cloud storage.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini
A very common question posed by anyone considering a Kindle is whether or not buying an iPad Mini instead is the smart move.
There’s simply no definitive answer since everyone has different wants and needs.
The original Kindle pre-dates the iPad so this didn’t used to be an issue. Now, when you can easily get a tablet for similar money, the limitations of a pure e-reader puts some people off while simultaneously attracting others who want a pure, distraction-free reading experience.
We’ll have a quick look now at how the two devices stack up in the areas that count:
- Books and General Entertainment
- Overall Functionality
- Battery Life
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Reading
The E Ink used on Kindle Voyage means the display only refreshes when you turn the page. Tablets like iPad Mini constantly refresh. E Ink displays are arguably easier on the eye while iPad Mini’s Retina Display is generally preferable if you’ll be reading for extended periods.
General navigation is easier with iPad Mini. Doing anything other than turning pages can seem slightly clunky on Kindle Voyage. If you want to fully explore a book or you are reading for academic purposes, the slick interface of iPad wins out.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Books and General Entertainment
The books apps on Kindle Voyage and iPad Mini both rock.
Kindle Store has a huge range of books, magazines and newspaper articles all properly formatted for use on Voyage or any other Kindle.
That said, Apple once again trumps Amazon. The superb iBooks app with iBooks Store stocks a massive selection of reading material. In addition, you can also install Kindle App so you really are completely spoiled for choice. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also readily access Apple Newsstand. Choose here from magazines formatted for iPad or, if you prefer, you can read them in their original orientation.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Apps
Kindle App Store has over 100,000 apps to tempt you.
Apple smash this out the park with in excess of 1 million apps.
While downloading apps is not the core purpose of an e-reader, if you want this extra breadth of choice, it makes sense to roll with iPad Mini.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Overall Functionality
While both devices pack similar storage and processors, the principal difference lies in the operating system…
Kindle runs on a bastardized version of Android with iPad using iOS.
A combination of iPad’s superior OS and a whole host of creative applications mean that, once again, iPad Mini presents itself as the stronger choice.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Battery Life
There’s no contest here.
While iPad Mini has a pretty handy 10-hour battery life, it still needs charging every day or two.
Kindle Voyage, by contrast, can keep going for weeks without needing any juice.
Charging might not be such a big deal for you so decide how much stock you place on this issue and choose accordingly.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Price
In the interests of accuracy, it’s iPad Mini with Retina Display that comes closest to the reading experience of Kindle Voyage. This does not come cheap at all weighing in at $100 more than Voyage.
If you are ruled by the bottom line, Kindle Voyage is a clear winner here.
Kindle Voyage vs iPad Mini: Verdict
If you are in the market for a single-use device that serves up a first class reading experience, Kindle Voyage lets you take care of business with none of the distractions and temptations a tablet throws your way.
For anyone looking for a more versatile piece of kit and not averse to spending a little more, iPad Mini would be preferable.
We’re not here to push you in either direction, merely to present you with the facts so you can do what’s right for you.
Before we wrap up this Kindle Voyage review, we’ll take a quickfire glance at some other noteworthy features…
What Else Rates a Mention?
- Export or Share Notes Fuss-Free: If you often take notes when reading e-books, you can easily email them to yourself from Kindle Voyage as a handy PDF. This is a nice touch if you are studying or reading at school or college
- One-Handed Reading: Since Kindle Voyage is lighter than a paperback book, you can kick back and read one-handed without straining yourself. If you enjoy reading for lengthy spells, this is an extremely valuable feature
- X-Ray: Amazon describe X-Ray functionality as the ability to “explore the bones of the book.” There’s all sorts of bonus information about historical backdrops, time periods and characters so you can dig deeper when you are especially engrossed in a given book
- Smart Look-Up: There’s nothing worse than reading a challenging book and constantly needing to reach for the dictionary. Drawing from the New Oxford American Dictionary along with Wikipedia and X-Ray, Smart Look-Up means you can access all manner of information from definitions to characters and backdrops without losing your place
- Goodreads: Social media for readers, Goodreads is an awesome online community allowing you to give and get recommendations and share any highlights you feel are worthwhile
- Library Sharing Made Easy: Family Library lets you seamlessly link up Amazon accounts so you can share your books with the same ease as grabbing one from the family bookshelf
- Footnotes Without Losing Your Place: Limited distraction is one of the main advantages of using an e-reader rather than a tablet. In-line footnotes are a tap away and you won’t end up scouring for your page afterward
- Great For Your Kids: Kindle Voyage comes with a whole range of features that makes it a first-rate way to encourage your kids to read. Check out our Kindle Oasis review where we break this down more fully
What Are The Drawbacks of Kindle Voyage?
First and foremost, Kindle Voyage is not particularly cheap when you consider its relatively limited functionality. If you are operating on a limited budget, the obvious solution is to choose Kindle Basic or Kindle Paperwhite instead.
The second price-related niggle is the prohibitive cost of the origami case. It’s a pretty handy little add-on but at over $50, it doesn’t offer value for money.
As with all Kindles, you’re rather restricted when it comes to fonts so consider road-testing Voyage before you buy so you can make a wise decision on whether the font and size of type work for you.
Some users have reported issues with Kindle Voyage freezing and playing up after updates.
Overall, these drawbacks are certainly not deal-breakers and, if you can weather the price tag, there’s a great deal more in the plus column. We only mention these negatives so you can consider your purchase from all angles and not end up resentful or disappointed.
Buying Kindle Voyage delivers the next best thing to the joy of reading a physical book.
If your prime focus is on reading stripped of any of the temptations a tablet can toss in the way, Kindle Voyage is a hard-hitting e-reader that will give you years and years of pleasure. When you think of it in that way, the price tag doesn’t seem so bad.
Check out Kindle Voyage today if you want a hard-hitting e-reader with a crystal clear screen and superb functionality.