PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
The Kindle Voyage is now two years old, but even without a price drop it's still among the best e-readers you can buy. (Amazon has since launched the Kindle Oasis, which is also brilliant but even pricier still.)
Over the past few years, eReader prices have dropped hugely and you can now buy the 7th-generation Kindle which has a touchscreen for £59. Some rivals cost even less, even if you want a backlit model. Now Amazon has launched a high-end eReader for serious bookworms.
Back in 2012, Amazon released its first lit-screen Kindle, the Paperwhite. It cost the same as the model it replaced, the Kindle Touch at £109. Given that technology generally drops in price, launching an eReader for £169 is a very bold move indeed.
It looks especially expensive next to Amazon's own range of Fire tablets, which includes several models cheaper than the Voyage, so what's the fuss about?
The Voyage is special because it has the highest resolution display of any Kindle eReader. Cramming 1440x1080 pixels into the same-as-ever 6in size means a pixel density of 300ppi. Those, of course, are all just numbers. It's what they mean in reality that makes the difference.
Text is laser-sharp with none of the jaggedness of the screen you'll get for £59. It's noticeably sharper than the Kindle Paperwhite's 1024x768-pixel display.
And make no mistake: the tablet-like, edge-to-edge glass is a game-changer for eReaders. No longer the thick, raised bezels of previous Kindles. Now, the Voyage feels like you're holding a supremely lightweight - albeit monochrome - tablet.
As Amazon says, the glass is micro-etched which hugely cuts down on glare. It's a little more reflective than a traditional E-Ink screen, but not by much.
The backlight is simply brilliant. It's even and has enough adjustment so you can get the perfect level whether you're indoors or outdoors. It even has an ambient light sensor so can set the backlight automatically - a bugbear on the Paperwhite.
There's another cunning feature, too: Night Light. This slowly reduces brightness when it gets dark, working in tandem with the auto brightness feature. Brightness changes so subtly you don't notice it and that's exactly what you want when you're engrossed in the latest novel.
Another of the Voyage's unique features is its touch-sensitive buttons either side of the screen. These replace the old page-turn buttons which have been missing from Kindles for a couple of years now.
They make it possible to go to the next (or previous) page when you're holding the Voyage in one hand. You press the long line to go forwards and the dot to go back. You can set the sensitivity of the buttons as well as the level of haptic feedback, which lets you know you've pressed one.
Happily, you can set the feedback to a very small amount so it's barely felt - yet another way to keep your attention focused on what you're reading.
The side bezels are quite thin and it's possible to accidentally press on the screen itself with your thumb and make the page turn. You can turn off PagePress, but not tapping or swiping on the screen to turn pages.
PERFORMANCE AND HARDWARE
Put side by side with a first-generation Kindle Paperwhite, it's easy to see that screen quality is a big step up, and not simply in terms of resolution and clarity. The backlight is much whiter and brighter at the same setting.
The processor also makes a big difference with super-fast page turns and almost tablet-like responsiveness when navigating menus and typing search terms (or your Wi-Fi password) on the virtual keyboard.
We tested the Wi-Fi model, but if you fork out £229, you'll get free-for-life 3G as well, so wherever there's connectivity you can spend more money in the Kindle bookstore.
Measuring 162x115x7.6mm the Voyage is a touch smaller than other 6in Kindles, and also marginally lighter at 188g. There's 4GB of memory to store thousands of books.
We've not yet had time to run out the Voyage's battery but Amazon claims up to six weeks if you read for 30 mins per day, turn Wi-Fi off and set the backlight to level 10 (which is barely noticeable in daylight, but enough to read in pitch black).
- 6in E-Ink eReader
- 1440x1080 pixel touchscreen, 300ppi
- 4GB RAM
- 802.11n Wi-Fi (optional 3G)
- microUSB for charging
- 162 mm x 115 mm x 7.6 mm