Review: Kindle Voyage

Review: Kindle Voyage January 21, 2015

Once, these many moons ago, I bought myself one of the first Amazon Kindles. Truly, it was a strange and wondrous beast, with a peculiar shape, page turn buttons you couldn’t help pushing if you held it wrong, an odd thumbwheel cursor for selecting a line, extremely slow page turns, and four shades of gray. I’d been interesting in the notion of e-books for quite some time, and the Kindle was the first that seemed to have the bookselling ecosystem down pat.

So I tried it, and it wasn’t bad; I rather liked it. And then Apple released the iPad, and Amazon released the Kindle app, and I passed my first generation Kindle down to one of my kids. (I still have it; I’m making a collection.) And I’ve been using my iPad as an e-reader ever since.

But, you know, the iPad also runs the FaceBook app; and games; and RSS readers; and Twitter; and I’ve discovered that I have trouble staying focussed when I’m reading. I keep popping over to FaceBook like a rat pushing the little red button in hopes of getting a food pellet. Detaching from the constant newsfeed has more and more begun to seem like a good idea. At the same time, I now have quite a collection of e-books; and given the number of print books in this house that we don’t really have room for now I don’t want to switch back to paper. I like e-books; I don’t need to search the house for them.

And then I heard about the Kindle Voyage, Amazon’s successor to the Kindle Paperwhite. Whiter whites. Faster page turns. Buttons on the face plate, so that you don’t have to tap the screen all the time. A front-lit screen, so you can read in any lighting. Excellent battery life. 300 DPI.

Let me say that again: a 300 dots-per-inch display.

I suppose 300 DPI is common in an era of color “retina” displays; but for me it’s still a magic number that goes back to the late 1980’s. In those days, most people had “dot-matrix” printers: functional, yes, but the print was lousy. If you were very lucky, you had an HP Laserjet or an Apple LaserWriter, and then you got 300 DPI print that looked like something from a printed book…and that was very, extremely, amazingly cool.

OK, so I’m old. Still, 300 DPI is a phrase to conjure with.

And as usual, you can get it with just wi-fi or with wi-fi and 3G wireless.

So I got one, and I’ve been using it for a week or so; and I have to say I like it. It’s smaller and lighter than a full-sized iPad, and much easier to carry about, and I do seem to focus somewhat better using it it. The print is easy on the eyes, and the page turns are much faster than on my old Kindle. And the matte screen doesn’t reflect the ceiling lights in the kitchen the way my iPad screen does.

I also got Amazon’s Kindle Voyage, which folds oddly into a stand for the Kindle. I gather some users don’t like the Origami case, but I find it works well for me. When I’m holding the Kindle in my hand the cover folds neatly against the back of the Kindle, and when I want to put it on the table it stands up at a pleasant angle.

On the whole, very nice.

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