New Kindle Reviews (Kindle Voyager and Kindle Basic 2014)

This morning reviews for the new Kindle Voyager has starting popping up in the press. The Kindle Voyager is a new high end eink Kindle.*

The summary of the reviews that I have read so far, is that the Kindle Voyager is the best eink ereader available. It has a beautiful screen, with much higher resolution than anything else on the market. It is the only ereader with a light sensor so it automatically adjusts the frontlight based on the amount of light wherever you are reading. It has a new type of button that does not physically click (no more bothering your spouse when you are reading in bed) but senses the pressure when you push the bezel. And it has a new much higher price. It starts at $199 for the wifi only version with Ads. It is $20 extra to removed the Ads and $70 extra to get the version with free 3G.

I think Amazon and Apple are both having the same problem. People that want an ereader (or tablet) mostly have them. And both ereaders and tablets last a fairly long time. There is not a good reason for anyone to upgrade every year, or even every two years.

And for the most part the upgrades are incremental. A slightly better screen, even if it is the best screen, is only slightly better. Better buttons, even if more convenient are still only slightly better than a touch screen. A light sensor, even though useful, is hardly reason to spend $200. A flat screen (instead of a recessed one) is nice, as is a micro etched screen to make it even less reflective, but again, not a reason to upgrade.

Last week, I saw several reviews of the new Kindle Basic. The new Kindle Basic now has a touch screen and the exact same software as the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyager. The only real difference between the Kindle Basic and the and the more expensive Paperwhite is the lighted screen. In fact many of the reviews noted that the new Kindle Basic ($79) screen is actually clearer than the Kindle Paperwhite 2 ($119) that was released last year.

So at this point there are only three Kindles to choose from:

  • Kindle Basic – $79, touch screen, but no light (6.7 oz)
  • Kindle Paperwhite – $119, touch screen, lighted screen, no buttons (7.3 oz)
  • Kindle Voyager – $199, lighted touch screen, light sensor, sensor touch buttons on the bezel, flush screen to the bezel with micro etching to make it the most anti-reflective screen that Amazon makes. (6.3 oz)

All have very good batteries and more than enough storage for your books.

I really like the light on my paperwhite and use it much more than I thought I would. But the Kindle Basic without a light is a perfectly good kindle. The Paperwhite is a good price for a lighted kindle and although its screen is a year old it is still one of the best ereaders on the market. The Kindle Voyager is the top of the line, and pretty much all reviews agree it is the best ereader you can buy, but also has one of the highest prices of any ereader available.

If only the Voyager had also been waterproof (like the Kobo H20) then it would have had a new feature that would have seemed revolutionary.

That being said, the Voyager is sold out and there is a one month wait on them if you order them right now. The wait time has been steady for a week or so, so my guess is that now that they have started shipping, Amazon will catch up long before Christmas.

*Amazon has quietly started using Kindle for only eink ereaders and now uses just Fire for its tablet line. So if you see Amazon Kindle it means an ereader, if you see Amazon Fire, is means a tablet.

Some of the reviews:

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