In-book options: Kindle Voyage and the least expensive Fire tablet

In-book options: Kindle Voyage and the least expensive Fire tablet

One of my most popular posts has been

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

However that one was written back in July of 2014, so I thought I’d take a look at two of the current generation.

In this case, I’m using the top of the line Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader)

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $199.99

and the least expensive Fire tablet

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99

It might seem odd that I’m taking the most expensive in one category and the least expensive in the other, but in terms of the options, they’ve really homogenized the experience across a given model line.

I’m using the same edition of the same book on both: it’s a version of Alice in Wonderland which I’ve been using for demos since the first Kindle was released…it’s not available any more, though.

Okay, let’s compare!

The Aa button

On the Voyage:

  • 8 font sizes
  • 7 fonts
  • 3 line spacing options
  • 3 margin options

On the Fire:

  • 12 font sizes
  • 8 fonts (Helvatica Light is the additional one)
  • 3 line spacing options
  • 3 margin options
  • 4 color options
  • Brightness slider

The Fire wins on this one. The color in particular matters to me…I often read with white font on a black background, although I also like the Sepia scheme.

Sharing options

The Voyage
  • Goodreads
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
The Fire
  • Goodreads
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • E-mail
  • Bluetooth

This one also goes to the Fire.


The Voyage

  • Tap the screen, tap the menu, tap Notes
  • Yours | Popular | Public
  • Note are shown. You can delete or share (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter)

The Fire

  • Tap the screen, tap the notebook (one step fewer)
  • I only seen mine here initially
  • Delete, favorite

There may be more to this somewhere else on the Fire, but despite it being easier to get to on the Fire, the Voyage gave me more options, so this one goes to the Voyage.


The Voyage

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • Vocabulary
  • Settings (device settings)
  • Notes
  • Landscape Mode
  • About This Book
  • About the Author
  • Sync to Furthest Page Read
  • Reading Progress
  • Word Wise

The Fire

  • Popular Highlights
  • About This Book
  • Auto-Download Companion Audiobooks
  • Text-to-Speech
  • Whispersync for  Books
  • Notifications
  • Word Wise
  • Magazine Page Curl

This is a bit mixed, but I like what I see on the Voyage better…I’m going to call it a wash, though, because different things are in different places on the devices.


The Voyage

  • Beginning
  • Page or Location
  • Cover
  • Chapters
  • End

The Fire

  • This one has a combined menu. Go to does page or location. Also here…
  • About This Book
  • Search
  • Sync
  • Switch to Audiobook (the Voyage doesn’t have audio
  • Go to Beginning
  • Before You Go
  • Cover
  • Chapters
  • I can also go directly from here to my library

Got to give this to the Voyage…more interesting options.

Long-pressing the word “perhaps”

The Voyage

  • Dictionary definition
  • Wikipedia
  • Translation (16 languages)
  • Highlight
  • Note
  • Share
  • Search (This Book, All Text, Kindle Store)
  • Report Content Error

The Fire

  • Wikipedia
  • Translation (16 languages)
  • Dictionary
  • Color
  • Note
  • Copy
  • Share
  • Search in Book
  • Search the Web

Hm…I like having “Report Content Error” on the Voyage, but being able to copy and paste on the Fire is a real advantage. No winner.

Other unique options

The Voyage

  • Page flip, which lets you look ahead in the book without changing your place

The Fire

  • Word Runner (speed reading one word at a time)
  • Syncing with an audiobook/immersion reading

These are too different to call. I personally don’t really use any of them. 🙂

The Fire can also use enhanced books to play video, and show images/charts in color.


While it may seem from this that the Fire Tablet has more options, and it does, the Voyage is still a more comfortable read for me.

That has to do with the screen technology.

The Fire tablet is backlit: the light is behind what you are reading, shining into your eyes.

The Voyage has the light in front of the screen, pointing at the screen. You read it the same way you read a paperbook, with the light reflecting off the object.

Another advantage of the Voyage is the battery life…weeks rather than hours.

For me, it’s pretty simple.

If you just want to read text, the Voyage is better.

If you are looking at images, want sound (text-to-speech or audiobooks), and want other features (apps, music, video, web), and want to save money, you go with the Fire.

I do most of my reading on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX tablet, but I also read every day on a Voyage and sometimes on a Paperwhite.

I hope that’s helpful. If you have other questions, or want to share your thoughts with me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.



17 Responses to “In-book options: Kindle Voyage and the least expensive Fire tablet”

  1. Phink Says:

    As I’ve said before I love immersion reading. I was doing that before there was a word for it with CD’d and DTB’s. I bought what is probably my last Kindle Fire when the 6″ came out. I think that was maybe late 2014 but can’t remember for sure. I did it for one reason; a smaller screen for immersion reading. Now that Amazon has put that feature on android apps I doubt I’ll ever buy another Fire tablet. I use my Note 8 tablet most times that I want to immersion read. Or my Voyager with the Echo reading the audio book. Of course the words don’t highlight and the page does not turn on it’s own but that’s a small thing for me.

    When I am just reading I love my Voyager (being a Trekkie what I call the Voyage). I think it’s worth the extra money but for most it’s probably not worth the extra over a paperwhite. However, I have said for a long time that I can’t imagine why Amazon does not give us more font options on their EBR’s. This is one reason I think a KOBO e-reader is probably better than anything Amazon has. I can’t say for certain as I’ve never even seen one in real life. Quite often when it’s late and I’m tired one font size is too small and the next too large. In this case I always go with too large.

    One more thing. I also prefer the white font on black background on the Fire. I do read on the Fire sometimes just so I don’t think it’s going to waste and this is my choice when I do….unless…..I’m using the new ‘Blue Shade’ I think it’s called. According to Amazon this will help you sleep better than regular mode. I think that’s the claim or something along those lines. When I first engaged Blue Shade I thought it was the goofiest thing I’d ever seen yet on a Fire or Kindle device. However, I then switched to black font on white background and it was much better. I read on that sometimes late at night just in case Amazon is right but I really have no idea if they are. Oh wait! Perhaps the Blue Shade is not on the $49 Fire. Perhaps Immersion reading is not either. I don’t own one so I don’t know.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I haven’t tried out Blue Shade…the only current gen Fire tablet I have is the roughly $50 model, which doesn’t have it. Amazon says:

      “The Blue Shade feature on your Fire tablet lets you adjust the color and brightness of your screen. Blue Shade blocks blue light, which may make it easier to fall asleep after nighttime reading. Help for Fire HD 6 (4th Generation), Fire HD 7 (4th Generation), Fire HDX 8.9 (4th Generation), Fire (5th Generation), Fire HD 8 (5th Generation), and Fire HD 10 (5th Generation). ”

      I personally don’t use immersion reading…I’d be more likely to be listening to something different than what I am reading (the TV, music). I can see the appeal, though.

  2. Andreina Garban Says:

    Thank you for this one. I still have an old Kindle Keyboard. And I thought if it was worth to buy a new one (eventually I will) but I am so happy to have a “dedicated device” for reading. I have also a tablet, but the reading experience is not the same. The screen on my Kindle is more easy to the eyes and in spite of being an old device, it still does the job and it has all I need so far. Perhaps I miss having Goodreads on it, but it is not a big deal. And the battery is still running for weeks! So that’s also a plus for me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Andreina!

      I’m glad it was helpful for you! I also love having a dedicated reading device (I actually have both a Voyage and a Paperwhite which I use)…and like many people, I have and use both a tablet and an EBR (E-Book Reader).

    • Allie Says:

      Andreina: I’m envious… I miss my Kindle Keyboard. For a while, It had been stopping but revivable but finally it just…stopped. 😦 I kept it. LOL I’m a goof – I have it near my bed, I can’t bear to get rid of the thing. (And THIS is why I have trouble keeping things neat!)
      I also have a relative who has recently bought one of the newest “plain” kindles to replace her keyboard… neither of us was happy with the transition. May your kindle keyboard last forever! Or, at least, a really long time. 😉 It sounds like you have a better model than mine, because it ate up power. (Although, I thought the kindle keyboard only came in one model? Bufo, are you there? do you know, offhand?? You’re the most likely person to know the answer to that one without looking it up!)

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Allie!

        There were different “flavors” of the Kindle Keyboard/Kindle 3. With a quick glance at my own page on “Which Kindle do you have?”, I see these three..

        B006 = Kindle 3 wi-fi and 3G
        B008 = Kindle 3 wi-fi only
        B00A = Kindle 3 wi-fi and 3G for European customers

        None of the three, though, should have eaten up power! With the wireless off, and without adding a lot of new items (indexing new items takes power), I would expect any of them to typically last a week with reading an hour or two when new.

        If your relative is within 30 days, they could return that one. Since it sounds like it is working as advertised, you’d be expected to pay the return postage (probably a few dollars).

        I would suggest trying the Paperwhite…my K3 was great, but except for the lack of text-to-speech, I like the Paperwhite better overall.

      • Allie D. Says:

        Oh, I see I was not being clear. We each had very old Kindle Keyboards. Now we both have Paperwhites. Hmm maybe I can be more explicit here.
        Ok we’ve got two people LOL 🙂
        We HAD 2 kindle keyboards for a number of years, and adored them! And, while we were as careful as possible for heavy readers, we used those 2 kindle keyboards until they died..
        We now own 2 kindle paperwhites. And 2 DEAD kindle keyboards.

        Slightly more detail: We generally spend somewhat more than an hour or two a day reading on our respective kindles – I for one have almost entirely given up mass market paperbacks and I’m in the process of giving up trade paperbacks.
        Even given a high volume of use, the kindle keyboards held a charge perfectly well when new. It was, oh, a good several years of heavy use before they started to more quickly lose their charges.
        But again, this happened at the very sad ending of a pair of loved, well-used Kindle Keyboards. We held on to them as long as we possibly could, and they lived out good long lives, especially for a couple of heavy readers!

        Currently, I’ve got a 2nd-gen paperwhite (which, I think, falls into the category of 6th generation of kindle), and I’ve given the newest, 3rd-gen Paperwhite as a gift. We both miss the keyboards, but they were SO old they simply slowed down and started acting up, just a little bit. My keyboard died despite frantic attempts at resuscitation and I finally replaced it with a paperwhite. – which yes holds a charge like mad and I adore it for that : )
        The two paperwhites I’ve worked with are great in many ways; we just got attached to our keyboards after using them for so many years.

        I share one complaint with one of your frequent contributors, Lady Galaxy – though it can and does vary, very often I find that one font size is too small, and the next font size is too large! I am always fussing with font – and remember I’m doing this multiple hours a day – it is a PITA but I still love this kindle, and rely on it, and am never without the thing (just as I never used to be without several books. And for a while, those suspicious early days of the kindle (lol) I had at least two books as backup…though I don’t think I ever needed them. But JUST IN CASE 🙂 LOL You never know what might happen and the idea of being without reading material… oh my. Too horrible to contemplate! (seriously). Now I just carry one book to carry with me.. You know, just in case something happens to my kindle or it somehow finally manages to run out its charge! I suppose I could carry my Kindle reader and my tablet… but I cannot dismiss the (illogical) feeling of having the comfort of true paper nearby.
        Anyway, now my housemate has a 3rd generation paperwhite. (As soon as it arrived, I went through and did everything I could figure out to make it as much like the older gens as possible 🙂

        The only thing I truly dislike about the 3rd gen Paperwhite is the fact that I’ve been unable to set up the titles in a (what I consider to be) normal “list” version. Instead, all I can get on the home screen is small-ish book covers. Not easy to navigate. In fact, I hate it. (And it’s extremely unusual for me to hate anything at all, let alone hate anything book related!)
        This “cover view” instead of a “list view”….. I can’t even imagine a sensible reason for this change..but I searched and searched..
        Am I missing something? I’m not the best person ever when it comes to electronics, but I’m young enough to be decent in general and I’m also a pretty good “fiddler” 😉
        Sooo… is there is an alternative, or is that that for 3rd generation paperwhites? I simply cannot fathom “cover view” as a reader-friendly interface. When I first configured ‘Paperwhite-The-Third’, that was the one thing I was simply unable to manage in a satisfactory way. I believe I’ve gone through every option, but as you’ve noted before, some changes are “hidden” pretty well. Do you know of a solution, Bufo? Or anyone reading this? Is there a way to set things up in a list view for a paperwhite 3rd gen? Or must I accept Cover View and move on?
        As always, sorry for going on so long, and I thank you, Bufo, and anyone else reading this, if you’ve gotten all the way to the end… How does it go – “I would’ve made it shorter but I ran out of time”! 🙂

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Allie!

        Yes, that’s clearer. 🙂 I thought someone had gone from a Kindle Keyboard to the current lowest price Kindle.

        On your “list” view question, try this:

        Home – Menu – Settings – Device Options – Personalize Your Kindle – Advanced Options – Home Screen View (turn off “Display recommended content from store and enable reading lists.”

        Let me know if that gives you what you want…

      • Allie D. Says:

        Returning would never cross my mind. No reason to do so. As a reader, I am very happy with both Paperwhites.

      • Phink Says:

        The Keyboard is phenomenal. I have said many times if they would make a keyboard with front lighting (like the paperwhite) and just a tad bit bigger battery it’d be the best kindle they have ever made. I still have a keyboard. I love the way it fits in my hand. It is the most natural to hold out of any of them in my opinion. Of course part of the reason is the sleeve I keep mine in. This sleeve feels incredible, gives it a lot of grip and can miraculously still be purchased new with Prime shipping. I rarely used my keyboard because of lack of natural light in my chair. Below you will see a link if interested plus you can buy a used Keyboard on Amazon if you w

        My battery also seems to go down quite fast. I do leave my 3G on however. I’d say I can get probably 3 days out of it which is 6, maybe, 8 hours out of a charge. I guess under Amazon’s measuring guidelines (30 minutes a day) that works out to 12-16 days LOL.

      • Allie D. Says:

        Thank you, Bufo! You know I turn everything into a novel 🙂 I will give your suggestion a try and let you know what happens.

      • Allie Says:

        Bufo: I very much appreciate the suggestion! I hadn’t recalled, but that one was already set.
        Some other time I might contact amazon CS,but I think that’s that on this particular device.. Thanks anyway!

  3. Allie D. Says:

    Ack I keep thinking up “one more thing” – I got to the point with my keyboard, while Amazon Customer Service was still happy to swap me with refurbished Kindle Keyboards, but they finally told me, “This is the LAST time we can do this for you!” LOL I was told: They are outdated, we’ve had some sent back and refurbished, but there will be no more Kindle Keyboards. Otherwise we can send you a newer generation.
    So now I have a Paperwhite. And for sentimental reasons, my now-defunct Keyboard sits next to my bed, the screen indelibly frozen with that standard silhouette of the boy reading.

  4. Morgan Says:

    Bufo- This may be a tangent, or even it’s own post, but my library is switching from Overdrive to 3m. 3m is only compatible with the Fire. It is not compatible with any of the Kindles. So i will be forced into not using my e-reader. What are ur thoughts on this? Why would 3m not work with the Kindle?

    I’m so dissatisfied. I prefer the non-backlit experience, same as u.

    I can forward you the email from my library, if needed.

    Thank you.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Morgan!

      I can understand why that would be frustrating!

      Do you mind telling me which library it is?

      I believe 3M just uses an app:

      Your Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) can’t install apps like that.

      Two thoughts:

      Does your library have another way to get e-books, maybe through downloading and transferring?

      Could you sign up with another library? There are some where you don’t need to be a resident, I believe.

      I want to look into it more before I write about it in a post, but I really appreciate the heads up!

  5. Morgan Says:

    It is Siouxland Library, in Sioux Falls SD. I would understand if you thought we would have a small, rural library but that isn’t the case. Plus our Director is awesome! It is a more robust library, in terms of services and ebook selection, than when I lived in Atlanta, GA. I did a little research myself and it seems to be a better business decision due to difficulties with Amazon. You would want to verify that though, I just skimmed through Google articles. Here is the library website:

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Morgan!

      I’ll research this, but it might be a few days. Overdrive isn’t through Amazon, so I’ll have to look at that idea…

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