Setting Sail with Kindle Voyage

My Kindle, My Kindle, My Kindle and Me!

Anyone remember the My Buddy commercials?

kv6This was me for the last 24 hours as I have been essentially inseparable from my new Kindle Voyage.

So, how do I like it? As if you couldn’t guess from my intro, here’s my detailed review for any of my wonderful readers who are considering this latest generation Kindle:

Appearance

As usual, Amazon does a wonderful job with packaging. The voyage came in a beautiful black-matte box with a blue lining that is as stylish and compact as the device itself. When you dig into the package, you just know you’re unwrapping something special.

kv7Then there’s the device. It is seriously so pretty.

The overall look is sleeker and more compact than the Paperwhite.

Attention to detail is evident in the sculpted back and the way the screen is flush with the edges instead of being recessed with a bevel that can accumulate dust.  When backlighting is off, light reflects off the entire face of the Voyage evenly, as you can see in this image.

Fonts are crisper than with the Paperwhite. The display is brighter when lit.

kv8Something new on the Voage: The adaptive lighting receptor, which adjusts the back-lighting of the display according to the ambient lighting. You can see in this image, the receptor is covered with a shiny finish that gives a nice, modern contrast to the matte finish of the rest of the device.

As for the display, the tool-bar-style menu at the top is the same, so Paperwhite users should be able to transition easily to the Voyage. There are a few additional options within the menus, but you’ll be able to keep your homepage looking the same as with the Paperwhite with a little tinkering (see Organization below).

kv1Functionality

The Voyage works a lot like the Paperwhite. The major difference in the controls is that you can now turn pages by pressing along the side in addition to the touch-screen page turn when you’re in a book and the swipe-style page turn when you’re navigating menus. You can even use the side-press page turn from either side to go forward or backwards in a book.

I’ve put my Voyage in a hot pink Origami case, and I love it. This is just one of the many cases you can get that’s tailor-made for the new Voyage.

Not only can I easily prop up my Voyage for hands-free reading, but the case is lighter and slimmer than the leather case I used for my Paperwhite, as you can see from the images.

kv2It was much easier to install my Voyage in the Origami case than it was to install the Paperwhite in the leather case. With the Paperwhite, I had to wrestle the device into the leather protective case, and I worried I’d never be able to get it out again without damaging the device or the case. With the Origami case, the Voyage snaps in magnetically and is held there securely.

kv4I do have a couple minor nitpicks about the Origami case. First, the standby/power button is on the back of the device. If the Origami case is in the open position, the button isn’t easy to reach to awaken the Voyage if it has fallen asleep.

Second, the Origami case is flimsier than the leather case for the Paperwhite. As you can see from this image, the case can get a little crooked. If protection of the device is more important to you than comfort when reading, you might consider a sturdier case.

Another thing I really like about the functionality of the Voyage is how easy it is to post reviews to Goodreads. While the response time of typing on the Voyage doesn’t seem much better than the Paperwhite, the accuracy seems better. I make fewer errors when trying to type out a note or review quickly.

Regarding response time, I often end up tapping a selection twice because I’m not sure it “took.” For example, when “checking” a book to put it in a category, I’ll tap a second time because it takes so long for the check to appear. Then the check appears then disappears a moment later. I have to tap a third time and wait patiently (not my thing), and lo and behold, the check appears about a second later. This is frustrating, but it’s no different from the Paperwhite.

Organization

It took some doing to figure out how to replicate the “view” I was used to on my Paperwhite home screen. I’m not sure if the collections work differently than they used to or if it was just a matter of me figuring out the right combination of views.

On the Voyage, there are two ways to organize the content of your home screen, and they can be used in any combination, making the options for viewing quite flexible. You can organize by type of item (options are: all items, books, collections, periodicals, and documents). You can also organize by filtering (options are: recent, title, author, collection).

kv9On my Paperwhite, I liked to have my home page organized as follows:

  • List vew (not cover view). This way, I can see more items per page, and less ads bombard me on the first page
  • At the top of my home page are my collections. I use collections to group my books so I don’t have to scroll through 60 pages of titles. You can see some of my categories in this image.
    • Below my list of collections I like to keep a list of all the books I’ve ever added to my kindle and not put in some category and not removed from my device. I use this list as my “action item” list. I needed to DO something with these books. For example, they might be books I’ve read and still need to review on You Gotta Read Reviews. They might be books I’m too eager to read to siphon off to the TBR category. They might be books I’ve read but haven’t yet added to a Goodreads shelf.

Figuring out how to replicate this system on the Voyage took some time. The help section in the user guide didn’t help me at all. It was more a matter of trying different things, panicking that I’d messed up my lists and categories, and trying again. I finally got it! Here’s how:

By choosing the list view, Viewing by book (type of item) and then filtering by category. These options show up on the home screen in either the list view or cover view beneath the toolbar, on the same line as the cloud | device option.

Conclusion

I’m still getting to know my Voyage. I can’t comment on battery life yet, for example. But I’m very pleased with my purchase and would recommend this device to anyone. Organizing content can be a little complicated, but for the most part, it operates just like Paperwhite users will expect.

Remember when budgeting that the price of the Voyage is just the starting point. Add at least $100 for an extended warranty (you want this) and a protective case.

Are you thinking about getting a Voyage, either for yourself or for someone on your Christmas list? What questions do you have? I’m happy to answer!

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About Jessi Gage

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries...you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). A career student (aka indecisive and inquisitive bookworm), Jessi brings her love of research to her worlds and characters. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good always trumps evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
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6 Responses to Setting Sail with Kindle Voyage

  1. Pansy Petal says:

    Thank you for the review. I just knew I wanted this on my Christmas list.

  2. Mae Clair says:

    Great review, Jessi. Currently I have a Kindle Fire and a mini iPad. I use both for reading, but mostly the Fire. I was thinking about getting a Paperwhite for reading outdoors (neither the Fire or Mini are good for outdoor reading), but I might have to check out the Voyage too. IMO, Amazon is a class act when it comes to their Kindle products!

    • Jessi Gage says:

      I would recommend the Voyage over the Paperwhite. The display is so much more precise. Words are as crisp as on a printed page. After getting used to my new Voyage, the display of my old Paperwhite looks blury to me.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sara Thorn says:

    I’m thinking of getting one–for myself. 😀 I’m still using a Kindle Keyboard because buttons to turn the page is a must-have for me. It may seem like a little thing, but I don’t like to move my thumbs and tap the screen all the time like you have to on the paperwhite (my husband has one). So, my question is–how well do these non-mechanical-buttons work? Can you keep the thumb there all the time, and it works smoothly? It looks like there’s only one button on each side, so I guess they both turn the page forward? (My Kindle Keyboard has two buttons on each side, one to go forward, one to go backward.)

    Oh, and one more thing–is it possible to completely turn off the backlight?

    Thanks for a great review, Jessi!

    • Jessi Gage says:

      Hi Sara. Good questions.

      Regarding the pressure-sensitive buttons, there are two on each side. They are indicated by a thin line for page forward and a dot for page backward. Unfortunately, there is nothing tactile about these. It’s just visual. That said, if the lines & dots were raised, it would negatively affect the more streamlined, bevel-free appearance of the Voyage, which is something I really like about it.

      I have not been using the pressure sensitive buttons very much. I would accidentally turn pages when I didn’t mean to because I changed position or I changed my grip on the Voyage. Also, the Voyage supposedly comes out of the box set to vibrate when you successfully turn a page. This lets you know you pressed hard enough. You can turn off this vibration or turn it up. I never felt the vibration until your comment gave me a reason to play around with the pressure sensitivity.

      I just now tried a high setting for the page-press feature and can tell right away that this is going to work better for me than the medium setting. Furthermore, I tried the high setting for the vibration, which they call the tactile feedback, and to be honest, I wish it could go even higher.

      I had been expecting the kind of vibration you feel when your phone is on silent. Nope. It’s more of a little squeak of vibration that I had been mistaking for the squeak of the case when i press the pressure-buttons. It’s not the case. It’s the vibration!

      Now that I have it turned all the way up on both sensitivity and tactile feedback, I can page-press with confidence. So thanks for the question! This has enhanced my Voyage experience!

      Here’s what I think about the pressure sensitive buttons in relation to the keyboard versions. They take some getting used to. I liked the buttons from the old keyboard version too. With the paperwhite, it was an adjustment to always have to touch the screen. I suspect going from keyboard to Voyage will be a little less of an adjustment because you can do both-touch to turn and also press to turn. My advice would be to turn those features all the way up for the maximum confidence in page-press turning.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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