I bought a Kindle Voyage while waiting for my plane home at Heathrow last month. This is the third Kindle I’ve owned; the first two were both third- or fourth- generation devices, one with only Wifi and no touchscreen, and the second with 3G and a touchscreen. Both had displays that were a dull grey, whereas one of the enhancements of the more recent Kindles is that the screen really is white, resembling proper paper and not soggy, three day old newsprint.

Each Kindle has had pluses and minuses. I have oily fingers and so touchscreens aren’t really my friend as they get to look scummy very quickly. The first Kindle I had was replete with page turning buttons on either side of the screen, so it remained free of smudges, whereas the second required me to touch the screen every time i needed to turn a page. The new Voyage has reinstated the physical page turning buttons, but the force required to activate them is a bit stronger than feels comfortable or necessary. Maybe in the long run my thumbs will get stronger.

The advantage of my second Kindle was the 3G connection; anywhere in the world I could buy and download books without paying for WiFi. This was a real boon when I was travelling more frequently; right now I’m never far from home and thus from the ability to buy books. And since the 3G feature is quite a bit more expensive, for the new Kindle I omitted it.

The great things about the new Kindle are the screen, which is the right colour at last, the page turning buttons, and the built in light. For my last Kindle I bought an attachable reading light, but that didn’t survive contact with La Serpiente. The light is probably a bit too bright on the Voyage as it’s hard to read in a darkened room without alerting your child if she’s next to you, but it was great on the London-Singapore flight not to have to use the overhead lights on the plane.

Downsides: text can only be black on white, whereas my wife’s iPad can display white text om a black background (preferable for reading near the kid) and there are still many menu options that require me to smudge the screen with my fingers. However, another enhancement is that the screen is now flush with the surface of the Kindle instead of being recessed, making it easier to clean and less prone to accumulating dust, dead skin cells, etc.

Battery life is adequate. I’ve yet to be inconvenienced by running out of juice. My only other complaint I have is the difficulty locating a nice case for it (something with a hand strap to reduce the risk that I’ll drop it).

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