Kindle Voyage, yay or nay?
March 13, 2016 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Will be visiting US soon, and want to use this opportunity to solve our one-Kindle-two-readers-in-the-house problem. I am dithering over the Voyage, or just getting another Paperwhite. (Also, free, related BONUS question!)

We have one Paperwhite, and will be getting another Kindle device so husband and I can both read at the same time. I like the Paperwhite pretty well (though I wish I could have a sepia setting, which is not an option for either choice, so --), but feel like I should go ahead and get the latest thing since it will be way cheaper to get in the US than order it later with extra charges for delivery to Greece.

I just wonder if the Voyage is actually better and would love to hear from readers who have tried both.

BONUS: While there, I want to see if my parents might also enjoy a Kindle, so would also appreciate any insight between the two for folks in their 80s.

In both instances, I would be getting wifi only / no ads (right? it sounds like the ads are super annoying).
posted by taz to Technology (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can't speak to the Voyage—my wife has a Paperwhite and I have a nook—but the ads actually aren't that annoying.

I kind of want to get rid of them on general principle, because I don't like that there's another thing just displaying ads in my house all the time, but I really only notice them on the lock screen. (I'm not sure if they're anywhere else.) My nook's lock screen is a slideshow of six or seven cartoony woodcuts of famous authors, so it's not a whole lot better.
posted by Polycarp at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, they fixed the page turns! I had not noticed the release of the Voyage. I bought a new Kindle two years ago, ish, and bought the Keyboard simply because it was the only one left that was button-not-swipe. Swipe/touch is stupid, it hurts/tires my hands and arms because the action is unnatural, smears my lunch on the screen, and makes me sad. The entire advantage of Kindle to me is being lighter and requiring almost no hand movement compared to a book or tablet, plus the glare thing.

I don't neeeed another Kindle, but unf I want a Voyage real bad now.

The ads are so unobtrusive on all my previous Kindles. I suppose it could get worse, you're probably opting in to whatever they might decide to do one day, but they've had this long to go power-mad and haven't yet. But wifi-only is certainly fine, in this day and age when everyone has a mobile hotspot on their phone that the Kindle can connect to for book emergencies.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:46 AM on March 13, 2016

I have a paper white. The ads are only on the lock screen. Mine is in a cover, so as soon as I open it, there's an ad. One swipe and it's gone. Less than a second.

If that annoys you, I'd go with the no ads option.
posted by Master Gunner at 10:47 AM on March 13, 2016

I saw what seemed to be quite a few complaints about the ads in the Voyage reviews, but don't know if they are different from the Paperwhite in content or presentation.

For what it's worth, I enabled ads for a little while on the Paperwhite we have, just to see if they might actually be sort of useful, since Amazon has my history of book purchases. It was "eh" – not particularly targeted, useful or anything while I had them on but mostly not a problem either, and then one morning I turned it on and got something really gross / triggering. I wish I could remember, but I was like, REALLY?! You elected to push this out to people generally? So I don't know ... I turned them back off, and was sort of wondering if they've become better, but noticed it seemed to be repeatedly mentioned among the more dissatisfied reviews.
posted by taz at 10:58 AM on March 13, 2016

I've several different generation Paperwhites, and the main thing I recall hearing from people a few years ago was the Voyage was a lot quicker at page turns/screen refreshes and they had fixed an issue with the light guide. All of this is in the newest generation Paperwhites and the consensus seems to be to save the money and go with a Paperwhite, which I ended up doing. I am pleased with the device (as well as all the other Kindles I've had to be fair!)

Regarding the ads, if you fancy saving a bit more money, you can buy the ad version and a quick Internet chat to customer support will have them removed for you - I had ads gone about 20 minutes after I'd unboxed my Kindle at no cost. Seems that ordering the cheaper version with ads is a no-brainer as you can see if you are bothered by them and have them taken off very easily if you are.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 11:31 AM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Voyage owner here, sans ads. I had the Paperwhite, which was awesome, and upgraded to a Voyage, which was awesomer.

The page-turn buttons are nice, especially if you have mustard all over your fingers when you read at lunchtime. I especially like the fact that the entire faceplate is flat - no recessed screen. Gunk and sesame seeds don't get caught in the corners as with the Paperwhite.

For elderly readers the adjustable font size is great, but with one caveat. While the text size of the book is adjustable, the text size of the kindle home screen and settings screen is not. So if a reader with poor eyesight gets kicked back to the home screen they may have difficulty getting back to the book.

And I highly recommend this case for the Voyage.
posted by schrodycat at 11:33 AM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Voyage has never seemed worth the price difference, but I'm kind of price sensitive. (Though I have owned every Kindle since version 1—with the exception of the Voyage.) You can nearly get two Paperwhites for the price of a Voyage. It's not twice as nice. You're paying double for slightly higher contrast and dedicated buttons to turn pages. (Which I missed when they removed them for the Paperwhite, but not $100 missed.)

If you buy it with ads (ahem "Special Offers") and want to turn them off later, you can do it on their site, no phone call needed. On Amazon's site: Your Account > Manage Your Content and Devices > Your Devices tab. Select your Kindle and there will be an [edit] button next to the label for Special Offers. They'll charge you the price difference. (Or refund it if you decide you really want the ads back.)
posted by Ookseer at 11:50 AM on March 13, 2016

I had a Voyage, briefly, before returning it for a Paperwhite. The Voyage screen light had a subtle yellow tinge at the top of the screen, and a bluish time along the bottom. It was faint, but once I noticed, it was impossible to ignore. Other users seemed to have the same issue, so I decided it was more likely part of the design and not a one-off defect. I've been much happier with the Paperwhite. While it lacks a few of the Voyage niceties, the screen is evenly lit.

The situation may have improved in recent Voyage revisions, so YMMV.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 12:23 PM on March 13, 2016

I have a Paperwhite myself and bought a Voyage for my mom the Christmas after it came out, so I've handled both. I am pretty jealous of it, but it is a pricey upgrade and I probably wouldn't have splurged for the difference myself. It is really nice though.

The Voyage I gave to my mom has no screen light issues I've observed, whereas my Paperwhite has some light bleed at the edge of the bottom frame, which is irritating (and probably a production defect I should have made a warranty claim on before it was too late).
posted by Pryde at 2:28 PM on March 13, 2016

The Voyage (which I have) is very nice, and the ads are unobtrusive. I bought by wife (who reads a bit less) the new Paperwhite, and it's nearly as nice. I like the page turn buttons and the flush screen, but the price difference is larger than strictly necessary.
posted by JMOZ at 6:10 PM on March 13, 2016

I wouldn't spend the money on the Voyage. From all I've heard it's nice, but not that nice. I put extra money into the 3G on my Paperwhite, since I expect seamless switching between Kindle and phone, and wifi isn't as ubiquitous as some here say (and not everyone can make their phones into a hotspot).
posted by lhauser at 8:21 PM on March 13, 2016

I've had a voyage for about eight months and read a few hours a night on it. I've also had every earlier version including the Paper white. The thing with the buttons is they're haptic, so you can't feel them till after you press, and they can be a little finicky. I'd prefer the physical clicky buttons on my old kindle keyboard version. I also read in bed with the kindle on my pillow, so pressing the buttons mushes the kindle down vs. the light little tap on the screen (you can use either on the voyage). Not of the time I end up using the screen tap.
Speaking of page turning, Amazon could make a killing if they sold a little handheld wireless remote that let you turn the page without moving your arm!
posted by PSB at 9:28 PM on March 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have Voyage, haven't used Paperwhites.

It's a teeny bit smaller, and an ounce lighter (small weight differences in a handheld devices are often more noticeable than you'd expect.) The yellow-tinge light thing Transmissions From Vrillon mentions above seems to have been a problem in some of the original run of Voyages, but it's not a complaint I've seen since, so maybe they worked it out (mine was original run and didn't have it.)

I definitely like having the buttons over needing to swipe. I don't know that I'm getting much out of the auto-adjusting contrast. Saying all this is making me wonder about how worth it it was to shell out the extra bucks for the Voyage (but swiping really does drive me nuts.)
posted by Zed at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2016

Voyage owner, previous Paperwhite owner, and just to roil the water, I don't think the Voyage is worth the extra money. If thinking of it strictly as a book reader, the screen is not noticeable better, and the fraction of an inch it takes to tap the screen instead of the frame is silly, especially since the frame is somewhat insensitive.

My humble opinion - Paperwhite and some money left over to buy a couple of books.
posted by DandyRandy at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2016

I have both the Paperwhite and the Voyage. The Voyage is indeed pricey, but if you can afford the extra money it is worth it. The Voyage is the best book reader I've ever owned or used. I find that it makes me read more and that alone was worth the extra cost for me.
posted by rglasmann at 6:57 PM on March 15, 2016

Thank you all for the input! I'm still not quite decided, but this definitely helps. My thoughts at this moment are:

PRO Voyage:

I'm wondering if in some situations where the page turning feels a little awkward to me, if the buttons might help there. Hard to say.

Flush screen would be really nice. The first thing I do every time I pick up the Paperwhite is brush it off and blow on it to get little dust particles out of the bevel.

It does have a slightly higher ppi

If we ordered this, then I could let my Dad try out both to see if he likes one over the other (assuming he likes one at all)


Wow, it's a lot of price difference just for those pretty minor upgrades. If it weren't for the fact that I'm going to be in the US, so feel sort of like "get the newest thing while you can buy it a lot cheaper than ordering from outside the country" I don't think I'd feel any urgency and would stick with another Paperwhite, which is most likely still the more reasonable choice.

Will update with the final decision, once we get there and make the purchase. Thanks again, everyone!

also, PSB, I would totally buy that wireless remote! Yes. :)
posted by taz at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2016

I definitely like having the buttons over needing to swipe. I don't know that I'm getting much out of the auto-adjusting contrast. Saying all this is making me wonder about how worth it it was to shell out the extra bucks for the Voyage (but swiping really does drive me nuts.)
You don’t have to swipe to turn pages on the touch-screen Kindles. You can also just tap the screen near the left side to go backward, or near the right side to go forward.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:52 PM on March 17, 2016

So, I'm here on the other side of my Kindle Voyage, and ready to give my final report on "Kindle Voyage, Yay or Nay?", and it's YAY!

I got the Kindle Voyage, with ads, and with 3G, and I'm 100% happy with it. Here's what I like:

Smaller and lighter; general construction. It's such a minor difference and I totally didn't think this would matter at all, but it just feels really good, and nicely sleek. My older Paperwhite really does feel bulkier in comparison.

Flush etched glass screen. Love. Just simply looks and feels fantastic.

The text! Now this is really a major difference for me. I don't know how much variation there is between the newer Paperwhites (mine is from 2012 or 13) and the Voyage, but the difference is significant between the two I have. The Voyage has the Bookerly font, and it's lovely. The spacing between letters and words is much nicer, and the readability is great. Because I have an older Paperwhite, it has has a lower PPI (212 vs the newer 300), as well, so this is also a noticeable improvement.

The illumination! I would have opted for the Voyage on the strength of this alone, but I haven't seen it mentioned: the Voyage is quite a bit warmer than my Paperwhite, and this has always bothered me about the PW. So much so, in fact, that at night I was choosing to read from my iPad with a sepia background for this reason, despite it being very unwieldy to read in bed. (The illumination is also more even, and though this wasn't a big problem for me with the PW, it's a lot nicer on the Voyage.) *Big* win for me on the warmer lighting – though again, I don't know if the same difference exists between newer Paperwhites and the Voyage.

Also nice: I like the side buttons. I use them sometimes, though it's not a major selling point for me. I like the on-off button on the back rather than the bottom. The adaptive light sensor is pretty nice, too. It usually gets it just about right for me, so there is definitely somewhat less fiddling with the light setting.

All this being said, of course Amazon is bringing out a new Kindle immediately after I received my Voyage. However, since I'd rather have later releases of new versions (after the bugs have been ironed out), I'd probably still have gone with the Voyage rather than a just-released one.

For those contemplating their Kindle choices, I do think the Voyage is just about perfect, but I expect the price will come down now that the newest newer new is on the way. As for my parents + Kindle, they aren't raring at the bit to get one, so unless further explorations show differently, we probably aren't going to acquire one for them.

All your answers were very helpful, and I thank you! I'm marking best-answer for some that particularly helped me pick through the options. I chose to go with the ads, for example, and they haven't bothered me at all, and lhauser's mention of the 3G led me to consider reconsider this. I like the idea of pretty much always being able to grab a new book or download from my cloud library wherever I am. rglasmann's satisfaction with the Voyage was encouraging, and I'm ver, very happy with the upgrade.
posted by taz at 9:26 AM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

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