I mistakenly left my e-reader, a Kindle Voyage behind, in a hotel room last weekend. Faced with with the fear of having lost my most favored device, I pondered its replacement.
I've posted about my Kindle Voyage before. Reading via an e-reader is one of my favorite things that has come along, technology-wise. I still enjoy the old-timey adventure of opening a paper book, but it is mostly reserved for cookbooks and learning card tricks. Reading fiction is for the ereader. I have tried tablets, and they, like my iPhone, are OK in a pinch, but the dedicated reading device of an Amazon Kindle with an e-ink screen is very, very hard to beat for a book-like experience without the bullshit of a book.
Paper books were a great idea a long time ago. Now they are bullshit in most instances. I too fall prey to the nostagia and melancholy of books. My home is over-full of them. I'd say an entire third of it is bookshelf and collected books. Paper books kill trees, lose your place, and are easily destructible or loseable! e-books are none of these things, and you can choose your font and text size. Anything that reduces clutter is also good.
Anyhow, I left my Kindle Voyage, a device I got in November of 2014, on the bedside table in a small hotel room way up on a mountain someplace. I then realized I'd left my Kindle on the bedside table just as I had gotten to lunch about 50mi after checkout. I was pretty sure I'd never see that Voyage again. I called the hotel to see if they had it. They said they'd call me back. A lifetime passed.
I knew I'd likely be better off with a Kindle Paperwhite. Cheaper, but sporting the same screen resolution and identical software to the Voyage, the Paperwhite lacks only the glass and haptic touch non-buttons. Once in a case it is hard to tell the difference between these two devices. Even then, I knew I wouldn't be happy with the Paperwhite. The glass screen makes all the difference in the world for me. The glass is so easy to clean and feels so much better to touch.
Those haptic non-buttons have become like second nature for me. Other people really hate'em. You may easily use them one handed, for all the one handed reading you do. Useful on a bus or train where your non-reading hand must steady you. One-handed swiping on a tablet hurts my thumb socket.
I looked at the Kindle Oasis but it is too ugly. The dual battery situation seems like a solution looking for a problem. I get plenty of life out of my Kindle Voyage, and I appreciate how a 3+ year old battery still works just fine. I get 3-4 days of reading out of the device before I have to charge it up in most cases. I read several hours a day, every day. I often fall to sleep with the Voyage in my hand. AND NOW I'D LOST IT.
The device is a pleasure to hold. It feels like a paperback. The Voyage e-reader has a goofy shape designed for Amazon "origami" covers, but I've found a different case I like. It masks the angular design. Over the last 3 years that leather-esque case has served its purpose! The Voyage feels like 'a book' when I am reading it, not a tablet that I am reading. The suede has broken in nicely, and the leather has some worn spots. I like to open the covers fully and pinch my index finger between them as I read. It is comforting and the Voyage still looks good as new. I will admit the case is far more about enhancing my reading experience than protecting the device, but it has done that very, very well.
For the amount of reading I do on an e-reader, I think the extra $50-100 on the Voyage is a great investment. If you do not read e-books very often, you can get by with a phone or tablet, but I find a dedicated reading device mandatory.
I never considered stepping outside the Amazon eco-system for a new e-reader. I know many people have great success with them. If Amazon becomes too draconian I can find some other reader that'll let me struggle with the Internet Archive's janky formats. Until then I'm a huge fan of how Kindle works for me.
Luckily, the hotel called back! Surprisingly, no one wanted to steal something that looks like a book! I had to wait a few days for the Voyage to reach me via USPS, but I rode out the flight home by reading on my phone.
After 3 years the Kindle Voyage is still the winner, for me.
Image via Boing Boing