A Kindle that looks classy? Yep!

The Voyage is Kindle turning on the style. Earlier Kindles were known for being sturdy and functional, and well, smart at best. This one? Ah, it is definitely not flimsy but whoever we have shown it to has remarked on its sleek finish. At 7.6 mm, it is definitely in the slim category – the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1 mm – and at 180 grammes, is just a fraction heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus, which is 172 grammes. And yes, unlike previous Kindles, whose e-ink displays were slightly recessed, the one on the Voyage is flush with the bezel, making it one smooth front. On each side of the display are a single line and a dot. No, they are not for design, but are in fact haptic buttons – pressing the line will move you a page ahead, and pressing the dot will take you a page behind.

And it is not just the front that has changed. The back has too. Now, the display/power button is on the back, towards the left edge (a welcome change from being at the base of the device) but what is more noticeable is the much more edge-y design which literally seems to have taken a leaf out of HTC’s Diamond series, with the back seemingly made of different sized blocks. The block on the top of the back is made of slightly glossy material, which looks nice, but will pick up fingerprints and smudges, alas. It is an utter contrast from the smoother looking backs we have seen on previous Kindles, and honestly, we are not too sure how well it will go down with people. We generally liked the different feel of the device, but a part of us did prefer the smoother back. Maybe it was habit speaking.

And performs like a rock star

Typing was about the smoothest we have had on a Kindle, although it is still going to elicit complaints from those used to an iPad or Android tablet. We had mixed feelings about turning pages using the line and the dot on the sides of the display, though – flicking the screen seemed simpler and more intuitive, and the slight vibration that came though the buttons seemed a bit intrusive. It might just be a matter of habit though. Although the touch experience and navigation was the best we have experienced on a touchscreen Kindle, we must confess that we would love a button that will simply take you to the homescreen – tapping the top of the book one is reading and then picking ‘home’ seems just a little tedious.

Substance and style but at a price!

Which of course leads us to the question that matters: should you be lightening your wallet (or testing the limits of your credit card) for it? Well, it is definitely the sleekest Kindle around and in terms of performance, is easily the best e-book reader we have ever used. The big issue is its price: the Wi-Fi edition costs Rs 16,490 (~$265) with the Wi-Fi and 3G edition costing Rs 4,000 more. When you consider that the Kindle Paperwhite is retailing for Rs 10,999 onwards, that seems like a stiff price, for honestly, we still think the Paperwhite packs a lot of reading punch for bookworms. We are already hearing the “I can get a base model Kindle AND a Paperwhite for a little more the price of a Voyage” remarks from some Kindle fans, and of course, there are those who point out that you can even get the very good Xiaomi Mi Pad for Rs 12,999 and get all the joy of Android as well as the option to read books (using the Kindle app), and a very good camera as well. All of which is correct, but then the simple fact is that if you are looking for a great book-reading experience, and are not constrained by budget, then the Voyage is simply head and shoulders above anything we have seen. No, it does not give you the options a “regular” tablet would, but then a regular tablet is unlike to provide a reading experience that almost matches that on paper and is totally free from intrusions – no pesky notifications popping up. And comparing the Voyage with the Paperwhite is a tad like comparing an iPad with a Windows tablet – the question is not of pure functionality and features, but of a premium experience. And the Voyage delivers the latter. In spades. Yes, bookworms all over the world will wince at its price, but those who do invest in it, will smile while reading it. The Voyage is Kindle turning on the style. Mark our words: heads will turn as you turn the pages on it. If you love reading, we suggest you take a Voyage. Of the Kindle kind. Oh yes, pun SO intended.