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Techies Like Amazon's Kindle Voyage, But Is It Worth $200?

Amazon's Kindle Voyage is available for pre-order. The device starts at $199, but the tech press isn't convinced it will sell at that price.

Techies Like Amazon's Kindle Voyage, But Is It Worth $200?
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This is Amazon's Kindle Voyage, a high-end e-reader the company calls its "most advanced."

In fact, promotional text for the Voyage is chock-full of superlative, "est" words. Amazon says the Voyage is its thinnest, brightest, highest resolution and highest contrast device. 

The e-reader sports a 300 ppi display and an ambient light sensor that adjusts the built-in light for reading in all kinds of lighting conditions. The Voyage has a magnesium back and an etched glass front, which reduces glare and apparently feels a bit like paper, according to the company. The 7.6-mm-thin device starts at $199 for the Wi-Fi only version option with built-in advertisements and goes up from there.

And that price has some tech-writers reeling. A writer for Engadget says, sure, Amazon's Voyage deserves all those "est" words, but he "can't vouch for the vibrancy of the high-end e-reader market," and Amazon will need to convince consumers "any e-reader, even one as lovely as the Voyage, is worth $200."

And VentureBeat is rather blunt with its assessment, adding, "If you want an ad-free 3G Voyage, you’ll have to fork over $289 — far too much for an e-reader."

Despite the price, there were a few features that seemed to stand out for reviewers: Amazon's "PagePress" feature, its ambient light sensor, and a few software additions.

"PagePress" is Amazon's solution for turning pages on an electronic device. It mixes tiny feedback-vibrations with touch-sensitive bezels in the display. As this demo from Ars Technica shows, users simply tap and swipe to change the page.

Software features that stuck out for reviewers include Word Wise, an option for displaying definitions above words while you read, and X-RAy, which sort of summarizes the book and displays "notable passages to remind yourself of what's happened."

And a writer for The Verge was impressed with Voyage's light adjustments. "If it detects you're reading in the dark — say, in bed — it will slowly lower the brightness. The idea is that your eyes naturally adjust to darkness over time."

Kindle Voyage is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The device is set to be released on October 21. 

This video includes images from Amazon.