The Kindle Voyage is the first Amazon reader with a glass screen. The glass is textured, making it feel like real paper.
One of the Kindle’s new features is “Word Wise,” which defines words without disrupting your reading. You can adjust the intensity of that, too.
The e-ink display is a touchscreen, but you can also flip through pages using the touch-sensitive strips on the side bezel.
You can rest your thumbs on the touch-sensitive “PagePress” strips without turning pages, and you can adjust the strips’ sensitivity.
The new Kindle Fire HDX is the first tablet built around the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, which should make it a stellar gaming tablet.
It should be great for bookworms, too. Dynamic Light Control is an adaptive system that makes the screen look like a printed page when you’re reading books.
A lot of features carry over from the last version of the HDX, including better (and louder) stereo speakers than you'll find on many tablets.
Along with the new higher-end Kindles, Amazon launched lower-priced Kindle HD tablets in 6- and 7-inch sizes. Those will also sell as bumper-equipped Kids Editions.
The Fire Keyboard is a super-slim $60 accessory that works with any Bluetooth-input device. There’s a new $55 Origami cover to help you tote it around.
A lot of people would say that when it comes to reading, there’s nothing better than a printed page. It seems Amazon would agree.
Two of the company’s new mobile devices feature screen technology geared at making them look and feel more like paper, although they pull off those paper-simulating tricks in vastly different ways. The latest Kindle e-reader has a new screen that mimics paper’s texture and lack of glare, while the new Kindle Fire HDX tablet has sensor-driven backlight adjustments that will try to make reading easier on the eyes.
Kindle Voyage: More Paper-Like Than the Paperwhite
The company’s new flagship e-reader is the six-inch Kindle Voyage, which is available for pre-order today at $200 and will ship in October. It’s the first Amazon e-reader to feature a glass-screen display. It’s also the first Kindle with a screen that’s flush with the rest of its surface, making it feel much more like a tiny tablet than Amazon’s previous recessed-screen e-readers.
Don’t worry about tablet-like distractions such as colors, Kindle purists. The Voyage’s screen is still a monochrome e-ink display, it’s just a much sharper and brighter one. According to Amazon, the new reader has a pixel density of 300ppi and gets 39 percent brighter than the previous Paperwhite, which had a slightly recessed plastic screen with a 212ppi density.
That new display also has tactile qualities that approach actual paper, thanks to an etched surface that feels smooth but a little bit grainy. That slight bit of grit also helps the Kindle pull off its magical glare-busting qualities. It has wider viewing angles and reduces glare better than any screen I’ve laid eyes on.
The screen is a touchscreen display, but you can also use the Kindle Voyage’s new pressure-sensitive touchstrips. Those sit on the e-reader’s bezel to the left and right of the screen. Pressing those capacitive zones to turn the page gives you a little jolt of haptic feedback. Despite the extra juice needed to power the feedback, Amazon says the Voyage has a similar long-lasting battery as previous Kindles: You can expect to charge it once every six to eight weeks via USB.
It’s not as thin as a sheet of paper, but it’s the slimmest Kindle so far at less than 3/10 of a inch thick (7.6mm) and 6.3 ounces. There are software enhancements under the hood as well, including a “Word Wise” feature that shows word definitions and explanations over text, deeper integration with the Amazon-owned Goodreads service, and chapter-by-chapter book synopses in X-Ray that may eliminate the need for Cliffs Notes entirely.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: An A/V Beast With an Adaptive Reading Display
The new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablet is a device far more tuned to other multimedia endeavors. It’s the first tablet on the market powered by the 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 system on a chip, and its Wi-Fi capabilities get a bump up to the faster 802.11ac spec.
While it has the same resolution display as the previous version (2,560 x 1,600, 339ppi), Amazon says the upgraded processor and graphics engine translate to much better performance. It’ll also be the first mobile device to simulate Dolby Atmos “multidimensional” audio, although film content will need to be mixed with Atmos in mind in order for that feature to work as advertised.
Despite the additional distractions compared to the Kindle Voyage, the new HDX is also designed with reading in mind. According to Amazon, the sensor-driven adaptive backlight display when reading e-books on the HDX was “inspired by a piece of paper” to make the background appear more like the soft-white pages of a book in certain lighting conditions. During a demo in New York, the HDX’s “Dynamic Light Control” mode was demoed alongside an iPad Air and a printed page from a book. The warmer color temperature of the HDX’s background changed gradually when nearby lamps were blocked or partially obscured. Along with the higher pixel density of the HDX’s display, it did seem a bit easier on the eyes, but a 10-second demo can’t simulate an hours-long reading session.
The new HDX tablet also gets an upgrade to a new, KitKat-based version of Amazon’s Fire OS, which will also roll out to older versions of the HDX via an over-the-air firmware update. Firefly, the all-scanning eye first introduced in Amazon’s Fire Phone, is the big addition to the tablet’s arsenal with the new OS. Firefly itself also gets a new feature: The ability to translate text into another language once you point the HDX’s 8-megapixel rear camera at it.
Like the new e-reader, it’s available for pre-order today at $380 and slated to ship in October.