Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kindle Voyage

Kirk McElhearn:

Amazon has announced a new Kindle, the Kindle Voyage (odd name…) that is due to ship in November. (, Amazon UK) A bit smaller than the Kindle Paperwhite, this device boasts a higher screen resolution (300 ppi compared to 212 pip for the Paperwhite), and an adaptive light, so the screen light will vary according to your ambient lighting. There are also page-turn buttons in the device’s frame, on either side of the page, which provide haptic feedback.

I’m glad they added the page-turning buttons back.

Update (2014-09-19): Marco Arment:

You know what else is a pressure-based sensor with haptic feedback? A button.

Jason Snell:

Backlit tablets just can’t compete with E-Ink-equipped Kindles when it comes to reading in the bright sun. One of these days, maybe Apple will figure out how to make a glareless iPad with a really bright backlight for outdoor reading, but until that day I’m Kindle all the way.

At night, the inverse applies. My Paperwhite, turned down all the way, is much darker than my iPad’s backlight at the lowest setting. Which means it’s much less likely to disturb my wife while she’s sleeping and I’m reading.

Whether dark or light or in between, I prefer reading on these devices. They never push notifications at me, I’m never tempted to switch over to Twitter or email, and the static black-and-white calm of words on a page evokes the best things about reading a paper book or newspaper.

Update (2014-11-07): Marco Arment:

Rather than approximating buttons, the Voyage’s overly complicated “pressure-based page turn sensors with haptic feedback” are the worst of both worlds: they lack the precision, feedback, and intentionality of buttons, and they take more effort and are smaller than touch targets.

Jason Snell:

The Kindle Voyage is a premium reader at a premium price, targeting people who love their Kindles so much that they won’t hesitate to spend $200 for the best Kindle they can buy. It’s a smart decision, I think, and the Voyage is an excellent product.

That all said, I have to admit that of all the Kindle upgrades I’ve done over the years, this one felt the least significant. The screen is better, but the Paperwhite screen was already quite good. It’s good to have buttons again, but the accidental touches I make on the screen adjacent to the buttons somewhat reduce my enthusiasm for that feature. The typography is unchanged and mediocre.

Update (2014-11-22): Lukas Mathis:

Apart from the screen itself, every single generation of new Kindles was worse than the previous one.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

If done correctly, the haptic feedback could be nice too, given the inherent slow responsiveness of the screen.

I'm disappointed because I wanted a 7 inch to 8 inch screen.

I'm befuddled by Amazon's addiction to 6 inches. Always found it slightly too small.

And given improved miniaturization and weigh reduction, a somewhat enlarged e-ink screen always seemed like a natural to me. It would shift me from my current buying mix of dead-tree and eBook to almost all eBook if I had a somewhat larger eBook-reader screen.

All that said, page-turning buttons are obviously a win. I've chosen to use the classic with physical page-turn buttons over the front-lighting scheme. But now I have the option to have both.

But hell. I'd pay $300 for a 7.5 inch screen...

"I’m glad they added the page-turning buttons back."

Bad news. There is no way to disable touch-screen page-turning, if you are among the many who have problems with unwanted page turning by accidentally touching the screen.

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