My New Toy: the Kindle Voyage

When I realized I’d read more titles on my Kindle than on paper in 2015, I decided it really was time to upgrade from the keyboard Kindle I bought in March of 2011. In the world of electronics, that’s practically an antique (begging pardon of my beloved computer, which is even older). I’d been dithering about the splurge for a number of reasons: my old Kindle worked fine, most of the time; there didn’t seem to be any easy way to transfer the contents of one Kindle to another; and the Voyage is pretty expensive.

And I dithered between the Voyage and the Kindle Paperwhite, which has pretty much the same software and, in the newest generation, the same resolution (300 ppi, as compared to 167 ppi for my old Kindle). When my friend Jo Anne recently upgraded, she chose the Paperwhite, and it is a beautiful ereader.

I read all the reviews and comparisons, and four features of the Voyage called to me: the flat glass surface, the self-adjusting lighting, the multiple page-turning methods, and the “origami” case Amazon sells for it. So I splurged, ordered a Voyage and a leather case, and hoped it would be all I wanted.

It is. I love it. I’ve had the Voyage for about ten days now, and if I thought my first Kindle was magic five years ago, this one has it beat all over.

It has taken some getting used to. It took me a couple of days to learn to “tap” when turning pages or using the menus. You can also turn pages by swiping (one direction forward, the other back) or by pressing the bezel (as for the “haptic feedback” connected with the bezel-pressing method, I can’t feel it through the case; without the case there is a faint “clunk” somewhere in the back of the Kindle. Pointless, in my opinion, but I suppose some people like it). The menus are a bit different from those on my old Kindle, and I made good use of the User Guide. The Internet connection (WiFi or 3G) seems to be on by default—to turn it off (and save the battery) you must go into the menu system and turn on “airplane mode.”

VoyageThe Voyage in its case is much smaller and easier to hold than my old Kindle in its much larger lighted case. The Voyage is made of magnesium and glass, not plastic, and its case is magnetic. The folded easel configuration is exactly what I’d hoped for, allowing comfortable hands free reading. The Voyage turns on when you open the case and off when you close it.

The resolution and contrast make the text extremely sharp, and I read comfortably at a smaller type size (there are six fonts to choose from, the default being Bookerly, developed for the newer Kindles) than I could on my old one. The difference between the paper white Voyage and the grayish/greenish keyboard Kindle (what color is that, anyway?) is stunning. The screen is indeed flat—no annoying bezel edges to catch those tiny bits of hair when I read under the dryer when I have my hair cut.

The software allows several choices for display at the bottom of the screen. The percentage remains in the bottom right corner, but the Reading Progress menu allows you to choose Page Number (if available), Time left in Chapter, Time Left in Book, Location, or nothing at all to display in the bottom left corner. (I never did see much use for Location as a reader, although it is useful for reporting typos and such to friends who actually want that sort of feedback.) And there’s the Page Flip function, and About the Book, and several other goodies that don’t exist on my old Kindle. Probably some I haven’t even found yet.

As for the 350 or so items sitting in my Amazon cloud, I’m just leaving most of them there, at least for the time being. I’ve set up a few collections on my Voyage (the touch screen keypad is so much easier to use than the mechanical keyboard on my old Kindle), downloaded two or three books into each one to get started, and established the Voyage as my default device so new purchases will go to it. I can identify every title I’ve bought on the Kindle app on my computer and then find it in the cloud. Some I’ve read, some I downloaded, early on, because they were free and will never remember to read, and some I’ll just download when I’m ready for them.

And by the way, if you already have a Kindle wall charger (from when they came with the Kindle, as I think they should), you don’t need to put out twenty bucks for a new one. The old one will work just fine.

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