Home / Opinions / Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which Amazon e-reader should you buy?

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which Amazon e-reader should you buy?

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Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage: They're both great, but which one is right for you?

It's fair to say that Amazon dominates the e-reader market. Yes, it does have some competition from Kobo, Nook and a few others, but the online shopping giant is still the one to beat when it comes to digital books.

To prove that point even further, we've pitched easily the two best e-readers on the market against each other – the Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Paperwhite.

The Voyage stands atop Amazon's line-up, while the Paperwhite takes the mid-range spot. There's of course a difference in price, but both devices come with really fantastic displays that impress whether your reading in the day or the night.

If you want to know which Kindle to buy, read on.

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Design

Kindle Voyage: 180g, 7.6mm thick, magnesium back, PagePress buttons

Kindle Paperwhite: 205g, 9.1mm thick, plastic body with soft touch back

The Kindle Voyage is definitely a step forward from the Paperwhite in design terms, though you have to really go hands-on with it to feel, rather than see, the difference.

The plastic back is gone, replaced with a premium-feeling magnesium material that’s sliced up with some sharp lines to give an angular design. This forms a rather unique design, and one we really like. The sides nestle nicely in your hands, while the slim form-factor and minimal weight (a mere 180g) make this thing a pleasure to hold.

Related: Best e-reader to buy

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That’s not to say the Paperwhite is heavy. Unless you’re holding both together, you won’t notice the difference. You can hold either just like a normal book for extended periods of time without feeling any arm ache, and even if you decide to add a case they’re still perfectly holdable with one hand.

We particularly love how the display on the Voyage sits flush with the bezels rather than recessed within them, as with the Paperwhite. The obvious plus side here is you won’t get anything stuck in the corners - a small, but constant irritation we have - but it also makes it look so much sleeker.

Finally, the Voyage also attempted to reintroduce physical buttons into the Kindle line. Something, which was phased out when earlier models switched to touchscreens. Instead of proper buttons, the Voyage uses a combination of haptic feedback and page turn sensors to give you a slight vibration every time you push down on either bezel.

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It’s called PagePress, and at first we found the feeling a bit odd. You’re not quite sure how hard to press down and the feedback is a little jarring, especially if you’ve been used to proper physical buttons or just tapping the display. But, we got used to it very quickly and if sacrificing the buttons and using these as a replacement helped keep the weight down, we’re all for it.

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The Voyage wins out in the design stakes, that’s clear. It’s the sleekest Kindle yet and easily the best-looking e-reader on the market. From the flush display, to the magnesium back, to the ultra-thin design it just screams precision and quality. But, there’s something about the durable nature of the Paperwhite that still has us interested. You can chuck it in your bag and it’ll survive, give it to the kids and the damages seems to be kept to a minimum. For a device like this, that’s meant to be more durable than delicate, that’s a big bonus.

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Screen

Kindle Voyage: 6-inch, 300ppi, micro-etched glass, adaptive front light

Kindle Paperwhite: 6-inch, 300ppi, plastic Paperwhite Carta e-paper display

The biggest upgrade to the latest Paperwhite is the display, which now matches the 300 ppi (pixels per inch) resolution that was introduced with the Voyage. This means text is far crisper and clearer, which is always going to be better for the reading experience. It’s not exactly the same as the Voyage though, which is something we’ve realised after spending a lot of time with both devices.

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(Voyage display)

The text is, to our eyes anyway, certainly more vivid on the Voyage. It’s darker and has more of a ‘pop’ to it, we prefer it to the slightly duller text on the Paperwhite.

It’s also worth reiterating that the Voyage’s display is the first in the Kindle line to be constructed from a toughened glass rather than plastic. This means that it’s more resistant of scuffs, thus allowing the aforementioned sleeker design, and it’s also smoother to the touch. That's despite the fact that the Voyage's display has been micro-etched to avoid reflections.

The Voyage’s display also benefits from an adaptive front light that adjusts the brightness more subtly than the Paperwhite when moving to a darker environment. When you’re reading in bed the light will slowly darker as your eyes adjust, just like you’d normally see on a smartphone.

Related: iPad Air 2 review

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(Voyage: left / Paperwhite: right)

Actually, the backlight in general is far better on the Voyage. The light is far more even - so you won’t get a brighter bottom half, something we’ve always found the Paperwhite - and it seems to have a wider spectrum of levels. Jack both devices up to max brightness and the Voyage far outshines the Paperwhite.

Both displays are very crisp though and this year’s Paperwhite is a massive step forward from the last iteration. The Voyage does have some extra features and better contrast, but it doesn’t outclass the Paperwhite. The latter also has access to Amazon’s brand-new Bookerly font, which improves character spacing with hyphenation, justification and ligatures. It does look really nice, but we take a guess that this will come to the Voyage via software update soon enough.

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Storage and Connectivity

Kindle Voyage: 4GB on device storage, free cloud storage, 3G and Wi-Fi options

Kindle Paperwhite: 2GB on device storage, free cloud storage, 3G and Wi-Fi options

Amazon has added loads more internal storage for the Kindle Voyage. You now get 4GB, which might not sound like a lot if you’re coming from the world of smartphones and tablets, but it’s loads in the world of e-books - the figure usually given is 1,000 ebooks per 1GB of storage.

It’s also, more pertinently, around double the capacity of the Kindle Paperwhite.

Other than that, both e-readers have similar options. Both have access to Amazon’s free cloud storage, and both come in 3G and Wi-Fi-only options.

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Content, Stores and Pricing

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that both tablets have identical access to Amazon’s vast ebook store. We’re talking three million ebooks, newspapers, and magazines.

Amazon’s offering is pretty much the most comprehensive in the business, especially now that it’s settled its ugly differences with some of the publishers who dared to hold out for a better deal. If you’re a Prime subscriber you’ll have access to the Lending Library, while the Kindle Unlimited service has positioned itself as a ’Netflix for books’ with all-you-can-eat reading.

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Where the two devices really differ is in pricing. We’ve established that the Kindle Voyage is a much more advanced e-reader in many ways, but then you have to pay £60 more for than for the Paperwhite equivalents.

Buy Now: Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon.com from $139.99

Best Deals for Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

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To illustrate that, the £169 price of the Wi-Fi Voyage would get you a 3G Paperwhite. That might be worth considering if you’re on a budget and are likely to find yourself away from a Wi-Fi hotspot for much of the time.

We thought the price difference was a big factor last year, but it’s even greater this time around as the Paperwhite now packs a gorgeous display that rivals the Voyage.

Buy Now: Kindle Voyage at Amazon.com from $199.99

Best Deals for Amazon Kindle Voyage

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Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Battery life

Kindle Voyage: 6 weeks

Kindle Paperwhite: 6 weeks

Both e-readers last a good spell longer than your average tablet on a single charge, as is the way with ebook readers. But, the Kindle’s switch to a sharper, brighter display has clearly taken a toll on its stamina.

Amazon quotes six weeks of life from a single charge for both Kindle Voyage and Paperwhite, that means the newly-announced Paperwhite has lost two weeks of juice from the previous model. We’d take that any day for the improved display and we have to say that six weeks of battery life is more than enough. Especially when they both only take a couple of hours to full recharge.

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We haven’t had the new Paperwhite in our hands for six weeks yet, so we can’t really tell you how it’ll cope accurately. But we’ve been using it pretty solidly for the past five days and the battery indicator has barely nudged all, so that’s a good sign. If it’s anything like the Voyage, we’d say you’ll get a month of everyday use before even the idea of searching out the charger will enter your mind. Use it less frequently and yes, six weeks is very accurate.

Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite: Verdict

The Kindle Voyage is a better e-reader than the Kindle Paperwhite in almost every way. It’s got a slightly better screen with improved backlighting; a nicer, more compact, more tactile design; and double the internal storage. For these reasons it is the clear winner of this contest.

But, we’d still recommend the Paperwhite as the one that most people should buy. The Voyage seems like a luxury and if you want to splash out that extra £60, and have the ability to, then you’ll be getting the best e-reader on the market. Thing is, the Paperwhite is still a fantastic device and you don’t lose out on any ‘massive’ features by choosing it over the Voyage. Both have the same access to Amazon’s store, both have great displays and both can last well over a month without needing a recharge.

If you’re an e-reader die-hard, the Voyage is the way to go. For everyone else, we’d say the Paperwhite is the perfect pick.

Jeffrey Nicholas Gennick

June 29, 2015, 8:04 pm

I feel like I need to defend my Voyage purchase. xD

Two things I want to add, I've noticed many people don't give the light sensor and page buttons enough credit. I'll start with the light sensor, for the most part it's a gimmick. But I read a lot at night and during the day. During the day I like having a high brightness setting, but on my old Paperwhite, I would forget to lower the brightness when I was done. So when I pulled out my Kindle in bed, the bright light would sear my eyes out. With the Voyage, it automatically sets the light to low. No pain, that's worth the price of admission right there in my opinion.

And the buttons, they mean more to me on the left side. I'm left handed see, so with only a touch screen, turning the page is difficult with only one hand. I always have to use two, one to hold the Kindle, and the other to tap/swipe to go to the next page. With the buttons on the left, I don't have to do that. And that's nice.

Though I will readily admit it is rather steeply priced. But it's a luxury item, what is the point of getting a cheap luxury item? Then you miss out on a lot of the "luxury" part of the thing you just bought. In my opinion, if one is buying something because it's nice, then price should be a secondary concern.

garylapointe

July 6, 2015, 12:54 am

The PaperWhite is 4GB now too...

Thank you for the nice comparison between the two. Most reviews haven't had much in specifics between the two different 300DPI displays!

Hilary Norman

July 12, 2015, 4:11 pm

Is the lighting still 'from above' on both the new Paperwhite and the Voyage?

Martin Cohen

August 26, 2015, 6:34 pm

I have the 5th generation Paperwhite. One thing I really dislike is that Amazon insists on justifying text, even when totally inappropriate. I would love to have a "ragged right" option. Is this available on the newer readers?

Charles Staal

December 15, 2015, 2:43 am

I wish they had the voyage with the texture of the screen being coarse like the paperwhite. Then it would be the perfect e-reader.

n2s7

December 31, 2015, 9:25 am

Absolutely, that probably spoils half the fun on kindle. But there's a workaround. Download the calibre software for your pc (if you don't have it already). Then there are tons of add-ons for calibre one of which is for drm removal. It removes drm from kindle books that you've purchased so that they can be edited to your liking. You can edit those via the "edit book" feature of calibre. You can align text, adjust paragraph spacing, etc. Though there's no "ragged right" option for calibre you can hyphenate azw3 and epub books using the "hyphenate this" add-on. (I personally prefer hyphenation to ragged right.) This may sound a bit too much to do for every new book but it really isn't. Just a few seconds and you're done. Google about the add-ons to find info about installing them. Cheers.

Trish Holland

January 4, 2016, 4:37 pm

I agree !

az_uk

February 16, 2016, 3:34 pm

Interesting - but why do open by saying that the Paperwhite and Voyage are the two best e-readers on the market?

The Kobo Glo HD for example has a similar resolution to these devices (300ppi). Whilst Amazon's ecosystem is probably the best around, the Kobo has a number of features that are missing from the Kindles - for example it is easier to customise the Kobo's display to suit your tastes rather than just use standard fonts or 3 default margin settings as on the Kindle devices.

For many users a Kindle will make sense, but for others a Kobo will be the one to go for.

Peter Kershaw

March 10, 2016, 9:56 pm

Good review. The screen on my 2nd generation kindle (with the keyboard) is starting to fail, so I'm thinking of replacing it. I read a lot standing on the London Tube so am using the kindle one-handed. I reckon it's going to be difficult turning pages with the Paperwhite, so it looks like the Voyage may not be a luxury.

CommentatusMaximus

March 16, 2016, 2:16 am

I went from the Keyboard to the Voyage. Really nice upgrade. It's so small now! Screen is very crisp and the backlight very even. I like the re-addition of the (haptic) buttons.

CookiePussSonOfFudgie

April 1, 2016, 5:09 am

One thing the Voyage should have for it's greatly increased price is speakers for audio books. That's a feature that really shouldn't be excluded. Even if it's a single cheap speaker it would be sufficient for audio books.

Right now the difference between the newest Paperwhite and Voyage are too small for such a large price differential IMO. But I'm with you, while I don't use the light adjustment feature I love the haptic buttons and couldn't go without them!

CookiePussSonOfFudgie

April 1, 2016, 5:16 am

Being that the difference between the two models now come down to haptic buttons and an auto light adjustment (which I never use) the price differential shouldn't be so great. Literally the only reason I opted for the Voyage was I needed page turn buttons! (or fake virtual haptic feedback things since Amazon doesn't seem to like normal buttons!) Know what would really make the next version of the Voyage worth it? A speaker for audio books! Even a single tiny speaker would suffice to be able to listen audio books. Normal buttons would be cool too, and probably cheaper than manufacturing touch sensitive haptic feedback page turner mechanisms that send vibrations through your fingertips!

Captain Packrat

April 3, 2016, 2:38 am

I'd like to point out that not only is the Voyage more expensive, but the official Amazon covers for the Voyage cost more as well. The basic leather cover for the Paperwhite sells for about $40, while the similar cover for the Voyage is $60.

The Voyage cover opens up over the top of the Kindle like a notepad, instead of sideways like the Paperwhite. The Voyage cover attaches to the Kindle with magnets making it easy to detach, while the Paperwhite cover is held in place by molded plastic and can be very tricky to remove. The Voyage cover can also fold into a stand for hands-free reading, though you can't easily use the PagePress buttons this way.

Bonnie Bao

October 13, 2016, 8:04 am

Nice review, thank you.

Michal Ocilka

October 15, 2016, 10:50 am

Thanks for a great review. It was a decidning factor for me. I am going for paperwhite then

TrailOfTears

November 27, 2016, 7:56 pm

Use the kindle app on your smart phone for audio books. Use the paperwhite for reading.

- Solved

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