Amazon launches high-end Voyage ebook reader, plus refreshed Kindle

Read our full Amazon Kindle Voyage review.

Amazon on Wednesday night announced two new e-readers: a brand new high-end device called the Kindle Voyage, and an updated Kindle.

The former, which, incidentally, popped up on Amazon’s German and Japanese stores earlier in the day, is being touted by the e-commerce giant as its “most advanced e-reader ever.”

Seeing that this is Amazon’s thinnest (7.6mm) ebook reader to date, and features an all-new Paperwhite display with the highest resolution, highest contrast, and highest brightness of any Kindle that’s gone before, the “most advanced” label looks like a bit more than the usual marketing hyperbole that accompanies such launches.

However, while we’re dishing out the superlatives (well, Amazon started it), we should also point out that, with a starting price of $200, it’s also the company’s most expensive e-reader in its current line-up.

The 6.4-ounce, 300 ppi device comes with 4GB of storage, meaning you can load up around 4,000 books, which should be plenty to keep you busy during your next vacation. Or your next 1,000 vacations, for that matter.

The Voyage features a brand new 6-inch Paperwhite display with specially strengthened glass designed to prevent scratches. To eliminate glare, the display’s cover glass has been micro-etched to diffuse light, while the etching pattern serves to match the feel of paper, Amazon said.

The device comes with a new adaptive front light that automatically alters the brightness of the display in accordance with the surrounding light.

The light also dims gradually over time as you start reading in a dark environment. Matching the way the eye adjusts to changes in light, this means the screen won’t seem too bright a little while after you start reading in the dark.

There’s a new way to turn pages, too. Called PagePress, the system comprises a custom-designed force sensor located under part of the bezel. So to move through your book, you lightly press the bezel where your thumb’s resting, whereupon you’ll feel a slight vibration to acknowledge that you’ve flipped the page. If the vibrations prove annoying or useless, you can easily turn that part of the feature off.

Finally, the Kindle Voyage has battery life of around six weeks (if you read for 30 minutes a day) and comes with free 3G, meaning you can download content from pretty much anywhere instead of having to seek out a Wi-Fi hotspot every time.

New Kindle

So what’s Amazon done in a bid to maintain consumer interest in its basic Kindle ebookreader? Added a touchscreen, that’s what. It’s also doubled the storage to 4GB and added a 20 percent faster processor.

The new Kindle also comes with a 6-inch 167ppi display, a battery that lasts for around four weeks on a single charge (based on 30 minutes of reading a day), and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Starting at $80, it’s $10 pricier than the model it replaces, but for consumers looking to buy their first e-reader, the newer, more advanced model could prove tempting.

Both devices are available for pre-order now and start shipping in October.

[Source: Amazon]

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