Kindle Voyage: This is What a £169 eReader Looks Like (it's Gorgeous)

By Eric Limer on at

It's been a few years since e-ink Kindles took a big step forward. 2012's Kindle Paperwhite was the last big splash. But now Amazon's got a new, beautiful, premium eReader for you to read words from. This is the Kindle Voyage.

The first thing to note about the Kindle Voyage is the design. Unlike every single Kindle before it, the Voyage has a glass screen, one that's micro-etched to help diffuse light. Amazingly, it works; in our time with the device we saw no more glare than you'd find on a Paperwhite. There's also no vertical lip around the edges of the screen; this is just one flat expanse of glass, like a normal tablet. From the back, it almost looks like a Kindle Fire HDX, complete with the circle-shaped off button.

Kindle Voyage: This Is What a $200 E-Reader Looks Like (It's Gorgeous)

You'll notice the Kindle's front bezels now have a pair of lines and dots, and those aren't just for show. The lines are part of what Amazon's calling PagePress. Hate reaching over the your Kindle's bezel with your thumb to tap the screen and turn the page? No problem. PagePress lets you just squeeze the side to flip, complete with haptic feedback when the page turns. It's a very subtle little pulse, pleasant and not at all distracting. You can also disable it if you want, and even change how much pressure it requires to turn the pages of your books.

Kindle Voyage: This Is What a $200 E-Reader Looks Like (It's Gorgeous)

The dots above them are ambient light sensors for the Voyage's adaptive front light. You can still set the brightness yourself, of course, but the Voyage comes with the option to let the Kindle worry about it for you. If you do, the Voyage will not only adjust the front-light intensity based on how bright your surroundings are, but also slowly step it down over the course of a long, dark reading session, which Amazon claims is designed to match the way your eyes adjust to darkness.

Kindle Voyage: This Is What a $200 E-Reader Looks Like (It's Gorgeous)

And that screen. At a whopping (and maybe overkill) 300 DPI, the Voyage's display trounces not only the Kindle Paperwhite's 212 DPI screen, but also the previously record-holding (and beautiful) 265 DPI screens that live in Kobo's Aura line. It's like looking at paper, full-stop. Considering we're just looking at text-on-white here, you kind of have to ask yourself if it actually needs to be this good.

That said, the Voyage is clearly out to be as premium as possible, so sure why not! It's sleek, it's thinner and lighter than the Paperwhite (by a few millimetres and 42 grams). It's slight, but still feels incredibly solid and durable, even with the glass screen. The time-tested six-inch size is still as perfect for one-handing as ever, especially with the bezel-based page turns. It's a beautiful little gadget and a pleasure to hold, but at 3169 you're paying for every bit of that luxury.

Kindle Voyage: This Is What a $200 E-Reader Looks Like (It's Gorgeous)

Left to right: Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage

For folks who don't want to drop £169 on a Kindle, there are still other options. The Kindle Paperwhite will stick around for £109, pretty much untouched since 2013 but now with twice the storage, which was already more than you knew what to do with.

Kindle Voyage: This Is What a $200 E-Reader Looks Like (It's Gorgeous)

Left to right: Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage

Other eReader makers like Kobo have poked their heads into the premium-price range before but with understandably limited success. Not only does Amazon have a pretty effective stranglehold on the eBook market, but displaying words on an e-ink screen is not especially hard. Once you reach a readable resolution and have built-in lighting, everything else is just gravy.

We'll find out whether or not the Voyage can be slick enough to be appealing to the average reader once we get our hands on a review unit and spend a little more time with it. But for the time being, damn, it sure is beautiful.