TIME technology

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves

LinkedIn
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

A feature is what your product does; a benefit is what the customer can do with your product

There is the famous story about Steve Jobs when he invented the iPod and everyone in the news and the rest of the tech industry scratched their head a little. MP3 players had been around for quite a while, what was so different about the iPod?

Of course, people argued many things were different, but one of the key aspects was how Jobs marketed and presented it:

“1,000 songs in your pocket”

When everyone else was saying “1GB storage on your MP3 player”, telling people about the product, Apple went ahead and made you a better person, that has 1000 songs in your pocket.

Our friends over at User Onboarding wrote an incredible post and graphic, showcasing how this framework looks on a higher level.

In particular, the image itself proved to be popular—understandably. It’s a great way to describe clever marketing that focuses on benefits rather than features.

I’ve heard people talk about using benefits instead of features in marketing, but I’ve always struggled to understand the difference. For this post, I explored this in a bit more detail and dug up some examples of companies who do this well.

Features vs. benefits – how to grasp the difference

Here’s how our friends at User Onboarding explained features vs. benefits:

People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves. When you’re trying to win customers, are you listing the attributes of the flower or describing how awesome it is to throw fireballs?

It also included this Tweet from Jason Fried on the topic:

When I read about this some more, I found some great blog posts that broke it down even further. One from the ideacrossing blog describes features as “what your product or service has or does” and benefits as “what the features mean and why they are important.” In fact, oftentimes products contain features, that are absolutely unused, which can be a big source of waste.

So, it seems like features are the “what” of your product or service, while benefits are the “why” behind it.

I also found a really neat, old marketing quote that’s often attributed to Theodore Levitt (he attributes it to Leo McGinneva in this paper), on why people buy quarter-inch drill bits:

They don’t want quarter-inch bits. They want quarter-inch holes.

So, the customer wants to make a quarter-inch hole for some reason. They buy a quarter-inch bit for their drill in order to achieve this. Marketing the drill bit based on its features (it fits into your drill) wouldn’t be as successful in this case as marketing it based on the benefits (you can create a quarter-inch hole).

So after all of this reading, I finally distilled the difference into a sentence that I think makes it easy to distinguish between features and benefits:

A feature is what your product does; a benefit is what the customer can do with your product.

But hey, enough the theory, let’s dig up some amazing examples from some of the best companies out there:

Some great examples of companies making you a better version of yourself

To get a better idea of how this works in practice, I thought it would be useful to take a look at some well-known companies who use benefits in their marketing strategies. Here are a few that I found:

Evernote: Remember Everything

Evernote can’t remember everything for you. In fact, it can’t remember anything—it’s software. What it does is offer features to let you save and organize things. Remembering everything is what you can do with Evernote—the benefit!

Twitter: Start a conversation, explore your interests, and be in the know.

Twitter has used a few different benefits in their tag line on the homepage but they’re still focused on benefits. Each of these three things is something you can do with Twitter. Not a feature of the product. Of course, for saving time on Twitter with scheduling your Tweets and seeing analytics, I hope you’ll still find Buffer useful.

Nest Thermostat: Saving energy is a beautiful thing.

I love this one, because it’s so clever. In just six words, the Nest Thermostat tagline tells you what the biggest benefit is (you’ll save energy), and something about what makes the product unique (it’s well-designed; it’s “a beautiful thing”).

LinkedIn: Be great at what you do.

LinkedIn has gone even further by referencing the customer in their tagline. Saying “Be great at what you do” makes it clear that the idea is you’ll be great at what you do if you use LinkedIn. It’s very customer-focused, rather than pushing features of the product or company mottos front-and-center.

Github: Build software better, together.

Another super simple, but clear tagline. Github has a really obvious benefit to sell to customers, and features don’t even play a part in the tagline.

I’m sure there are lots more companies doing this well. Do you have a great example?

Oh and if you liked this post, you might also like 5 ways to get through writer’s block or content marketing fatigue and 6 Powerful Communication Tips From Some of the World’s Best Interviewers, which are right in the same direction of coming up with a better way to communicate with your customers.

This article originally appeared on Buffer.

TIME Gadgets

6 Crazy Tech Gifts You Can Only Buy If You’re a Billionaire

From emerald USB drives to shark boats

So you’re a billionaire with money to burn this holiday shopping season. What should you get for your financially-strapped friends? One of these crazy, ridiculous, awesome gifts, of course.

  • The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway

    The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway
    The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway Neiman Marcus

    $300,000. A 30′ x 12′ race track from hand-crafted raceway maker Slot Mods, with “iconic structures, facades, period slot cars, spectators, pit crews, streetlights, foliage, and more.” Includes mini-cameras and mini-screens.

     

  • The Celebrity Robotic Avatar

    The Celebrity Robotic Avatar
    The Celebrity Robotic Avatar Hammacher Schlemmer

    $345,000. The only robotic avatar that has appeared in movies, TVs and special events, and the only robot admitted to the Screen Actors Guild. The adult-sized robot is controlled via wireless remote, and can move and talk. It’s meant to “add celebrity star power to any event,” according to retailer Hammacher Schlemmer.

     

  • Virgin Galactic Ticket

    Virgin Galactic's private SpaceShipTwo spacecraft flies over the San Francisco Bay in San Francisco on April 6, 2011.
    Virgin Galactic's private SpaceShipTwo spacecraft flies over the San Francisco Bay in San Francisco on April 6, 2011. Bloomberg/Getty Images

    $200,000. Fly into space aboard Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic — or, rather, get on the waitlist, if you haven’t booked a ticket yet. The deposit is $20,000.

     

  • The Dandy Travel Trunk

    T.T. Trunks

    $44,000. This ultra-luxury suitcase is “created especially for the male hedonist,” according to suitcase maker T.T. Trunks. It contains three watch systems, a cigar case, poker set, bottle storage and speakers.

     

  • The Personal Submarine

    The Personal Submarine Hammacher Schlemmer

    $2,000,000. A two-person submarine for you and that friend who knows how to operate a submarine. The 6,000 lb. personal submarine can go down to 2,000 ft. underwater and has a transparent viewing dome.

     

  • The Seabreacher X

    Seabreacher
    The Seabreacher X Seabreacher

    $80,000. These boats move look like sharks and move like sharks — the submersible watercraft can shoot out of the water at up to 90 degrees. Each is custom-built, so the prices vary.

TIME Gadgets

Top 10 Tech Product Designs of 2014

2014 brought in a slew of sleek tech products, these were the ones that stood out

TIME Smartphones

Here’s How to Fix Your Cracked iPhone Screen

Broken iPhone
Simone Becchetti—Getty Images

Advice from someone who has broken every model

With apologies to Sir Jony Ive, I have managed to break every version of Apple’s iPhone, in one way or another. From getting water in the original iPhone’s dock to dropping and shattering an iPhone 6 within one day of its release, I’ve done it all. Heck, my iPad even took a face-plant on the sidewalk once, resulting in shards of glass everywhere.

But to date*, I’ve paid $0 to get each device repaired. Now that’s pretty much because Apple’s Genius Bar staffers did me a solid, each and every time I got a case of the dropsies (a string of favors that I imagine will end with this story.)

Still, if you’ve got a broken iPhone screen — depending on the model — there is more than one way to get it fixed.

Original iPhone

Seriously? Just upgrade it. If you’re still lugging around a seven-year-old handset, you probably also have a seven-year-old cellular plan. Carriers will give you an iPhone 5C for free, and your plan will still be cheaper. And no, your original iPhone isn’t worth money — unless it’s sealed in the box, comes with another, opened box original iPhone, and a souvenir gift bag—all in mint condition.

iPhone 3G (and 3GS)

See above. But in case you were wondering, my iPhone 3G screen held up just fine — including when I put it in the washing machine.

iPhone 4 (and 4S)

Sadly, see above, again. But the real problem here isn’t that you can’t get these screens replaced, because you actually can. It’s just that these older phones are officially obsolete, unable to load the newest versions of iOS. And, in addition, it’s currently less expensive to buy an iPhone 5S ($99) than it is to fix a broken screen on these older models ($149 each, except for iPhone 4S, which costs $199). These repair prices were quoted by Apple, and tend to be higher than third party repair services or do-it-yourself options. But still, it’s less expensive to simply upgrade to a new handset.

Still, if you like the challenge of doing it yourself, this guide by iFixit can help you field strip your iPhone like it was a wide-mouthed bass. But before you rip into it, grab a display replacement kit, which has all the tools and hardware you need and typically costs less than $20.

Alternatively, if, like me, you broke iPhone 4’s rear glass cover, you can easily swap it out, and get some pretty cool colored or brushed aluminum replacements in the process.

iPhone 5 (and 5S)

Apple’s out-of-warranty cost for replacing these handsets’ screens is $129, which again, begs the “why not upgrade” question. But in this instance, the answer to that might be because your iPhone 5 is still too new to toss — and I’d argue that even if you can upgrade, this phone is still plenty powerful and worth holding onto (at least as a backup).

Replacing the iPhone 5 on your own is also a little more involved than its predecessor, invoking the need for special suction tools, as iFixit demonstrates. For $59, the company provides everything you need to fix your broken iPhone 5 screen, but if you have a busted iPhone 5C or a smashed up iPhone 5S, make sure you get the proper kit — they aren’t all the same. (In fact, the replacements for the colored and Touch ID sensor phones cost $89.)

As the costs of replacement parts soar, it might be worth considering having someone else fix up your iPhone. A local third-party repair shops that I contacted recently quoted just over $100 to replace my shattered iPhone 5 screen. Yup — I’ve broken one of those, too. Well, my wife did, a month after I broke my brand new iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus)

Before I go into display replacement options for Apple’s newest iPhones, two pieces of advice. First, buy a case. The brushed aluminum backing on the new iPhones is smooth and particularly slick. With its wider form factor, the phone is more difficult to grip. I recommend Apple’s leather case, it’s the best protector I’ve ever had — and no, I didn’t have one when I dropped my iPhone 6 in the garage, 23 hours after I bought it.

Secondly, buy the AppleCare Plus warranty. In my 15 years as an Apple user, I have never bought one warranty, but if I could take a mulligan on this device, I would. Many people opt out of AppleCare Plus because the cost of replacing the newest iPhone’s display is an all-time-low $109 ($129 for the iPhone 6 Plus). But the $99, two-year plan is a good investment because it allows for two accidental incidents. (Meanwhile, AppleCare’s default plan lasts just six months and only covers manufacturer’s faults.) You’ll want these protections because even the non-plus-sized iPhone 6 is wider than you think, and you will drop it. I repeat, you will drop the iPhone 6.

Also, it’s entirely possible that iPhone 6’s screen replacement services are currently unavailable, because demand for the new phones are so high that replacement displays are hard to come by. This would mean that Apple could only replace your iPhone 6, a repair option that costs $299 for an iPhone 6, or $329 for iPhone 6 Plus. If you had AppleCare Plus, that would cost $0.

Given how new the iPhone 6 is, its replacement parts are still very expensive, and third-party repair shops are having a difficult time matching the Apple Genius Bar pricing. A call to a local shop just generated a $250 quote for an iPhone 6 screen replacement, and the iPhone 6 Plus’s screen costs $370 for them to fix.

And likewise, it’s still early for do-it-yourselfers to make their own repairs. This walk-through explains how to swap out a new screen for a broken one. They also sell replacement display parts, but starting at $166, you won’t save any money fixing your iPhone 6 on your own. Just do as I’ve done every time: bring it back to Apple, be very nice to the lovely people there, flash a smile, tell a funny story about how you destroyed the super-computer in your pocket, and know that it will all work out in the end.

*With my recently broken iPhone 5, this is likely to change soon.

TIME Tablets

This Is the Best Tablet You Can Buy Right Now

Apple Unveils New iPad Models
An attendee inspects new iPad Air 2 during an Apple special event on October 16, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

It's Apple's iPad Air 2. Here's why.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com

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The new iPad Air 2 is the best overall tablet for most people. Apple’s new iPads are always better than last year’s, and the things that have made all the iPads strong tablets — like unbeatable app choices — are still present in this generation of the tablet. But with the latest update, the iPad Air 2 is thinner, lighter, and faster than the previous version, plus it gained fingerprint identification features, making it an even better user experience. And right now, the iPad (and iOS ecosystem) still offer the best overall customer experience when compared against Android.

Who Should Buy This?

If you bought the 2013 Air and are a heavy user and content-creator, the faster processor and expanded RAM of the iPad Air 2 will help with performance. If you bought the Air and use it for email, web browsing, and lighter tasks, you can hold off. If you have the original iPad Mini, then the Air 2 will be barely larger, but much faster with better Wi-Fi and Apple’s fingerprint authentication feature, TouchID.


Why we like this above all else

The 2014 update has hardware that makes it faster, thinner, and more versatile than last year’s model or the new iPad mini 3. The iPad Air now has fingerprint authentication, and is thin and light enough to hold one-handed as you would a paperback. It has the best selection of tablet-dedicated apps thanks to iOS. If you’re not particularly into Android or tinkering with your setup, there isn’t a better choice.

Why the iPad Air 2 over the updated iPad mini 3? The iPad Air 2 has a higher-quality camera that can do panoramas and burst mode, and it has the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard which allows for faster file transfers and improved range. The iPad mini 3 did not receive the faster processor that was added to the iPad Air 2. For $100 more, you get a lot more features, faster overall performance, and a larger, nicer screen with the Air 2.

But what about other, non-Apple tablets? For service and support, it’s difficult to beat Apple today. Their Apple Stores and Genius Bars are equipped to handle almost all tablet repairs on the same day. Our own experiences with the Genius Bar have seen my iPhone screen and a MacBook Air battery replaced within 30 minutes. Other companies might have as long a warranty, but they cannot do the instant turnaround that Apple can.

Most importantly, though, is Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Though the Android (Google Play) ecosystem is catching up, Apple continues to offer the largest selection of high-quality, dedicated tablet apps. While the selection of tablet-designed apps is constantly growing, that ecosystem and extremely clean user experience is still behind what iOS offers to its users.

Flaws (but not dealbreakers)

The iPad Air 2 is more expensive than its closest competition. The closest non-iPad competition is probably the $400 16GB Nexus 9. The iPad Air 2 starts at $500 for the Wi-Fi 16GB version, but 16GB is barely enough for most people and makes installing updates harder down the road, so you should probably get the the 64GB version at $600. Siri is still not as good as some Android voice control systems, and Google Now (which gives you an overview of your day and things you care about) is great if you use Android. But these are just nits to pick.

In Closing

The iPad Air 2 is the best tablet because choosing it means you’re not compromising on anything. The hardware is fast, thin, and light, it has a great, upgraded camera with useful video capabilities, TouchID, and the best tablet software ecosystem on the market today.

This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com

TIME Gadgets

Oculus Just Bought 2 Amazing Companies to Complete Its Virtual Reality Vision

An attendee wears an Oculus Rift HD virtual reality head-mounted display at the 2014 International CES, January 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Including a company that makes hand-tracking tech

Virtual reality headset company Oculus VR announced Dec. 11 two acquisitions that should help the company move towards a commercial launch: Nimble VR, which makes hand-tracking technology, and 13th Lab, a 3D modeling firm.

In practical terms, Nimble VR could help add something to virtual reality (VR) that’s been missing from most experiences so far: Your hands, which are surprisingly difficult to render realistically in VR. 13th Lab, meanwhile, could help Oculus build virtual reality experiences based on real-world environments, “like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Colosseum,” as Oculus’ blog post puts it.

Oculus’ two new acquisitions come as the company comes ever closer to a commercial launch of its Rift headset. While Oculus hasn’t officially announced a release date, many in the virtual reality community believe its first consumer device will hit shelves sometime in 2015.

Oculus has sold two headsets so far, the DK1 and DK2, though both are aimed at developers and early adopters rather than a mass consumer audience. The company has for several months been offering demos of its newest virtual reality headset, the Crescent Bay prototype, which offers a vastly improved experience over its previous offerings.

 

TIME headphones

These Are the 4 Best Headphones for the Holidays

ATH-M50x
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Audio-Technica

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best under $200

Few gifts are safer than a pair of headphones. Unless you’re shopping for DJs or recording artists, chances are your recipient is still limping along with two-year-old Apple earbuds. Just about any pair will provide some improvement.

And then there’s you. Once you’ve given up on your new fitness tracker, why not trade it in for a decent pair of headphones? You may not lose any weight, but your ears will thank you.

With this in mind, we set out to pick a handful of headphones with a good mix of price and quality. We compiled expert reviews from across the industry, gathered specifications for each pair, and tracked customer reviews. We ended up with four final pairs, each best for a particular kind of shopper. Yes, you can break headphones into a dozen more categories, but in our experience, most consumers just want one of these four types.

The Dirt Cheap Pick

Koss KSC75 ($15)

Officially, we advise against picking something dirt cheap (aka under $30), but if you must—and based on our user behavior, many people must—the Koss KSC75 are a pretty reasonable pair. With decent lows and crisp highs, the KSC75 headphones sound like they should cost $100, not $15.

Before you buy, keep in mind that these are clip-on style headphones, so while they’re good for running or biking, they’re not as sleek looking or as comfortable as a pair of (worse-sounding) Beats. The KSC75 also use an open-air operating principle, which is a fancy way of saying that music will sound more natural (like you’re at a concert) but that a bit of sound will leak—making them less ideal for a study session at the library.

The Sporty Pick

Sony XBA-S65 ($90)

Already a solid pair of headphones, the Sony XBA-S65’s design helped cement its spot. Light but secure, simple-looking but sweatproof, these in-ear headphones the perfect choice for a runner, cyclist or gym rat.

Sound-wise, the XBA-S65 are solid across the board, with good detail and a clear, pleasant mid-range. They do show some restraint with the bass, but we like how this keeps the listening experience balanced. If you need a pounding, aggressive low-end to drive your workout, you may want to look elsewhere. For everyone else, grab this pair and head to the gym.

The ‘Affordable Luxury’ Pick

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($169)

The most popular model at our office, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x sound like $300 but clock in at nearly the half the price. The headphones have a balanced, accurate sound overall, with a classy kick in the bass that’s sharp but not overpowering.

The pair is also notable for its design, with detachable cords, cans that can swivel and some of the comfier earcups on the market.

If there’s one thing to criticize, it’s the bulk. Even for an over-ear pair, all the design frills make for a hefty product, particularly for anyone who’s spent time with a light pair, like the Bose Quietcomfort 15s.

The Premium Pick

Sennheiser HD 650 ($396)

It’s not the newest pair on the market, but in this case, it doesn’t matter: the Sennheiser HD 650s are still among the finest headphones you can buy, even eight years since their release. They pull off the rare feat of combining accurate, detailed audio with a warm overall ambience, making them a gratifying listen for both audiophiles and casual listeners alike.

Like our dirt cheap pick, the Sennheiser HD 650s have an open-air operating principle, so some sound will leak to classmates or coworkers. The only other problem, of course, is the price. If you’re simply squeezing in half a podcast in the evenings, you won’t notice what all that extra money is getting you. If, however, you want a transcendent audio experience, the Sennheiser HD 650s are an excellent choice.

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The Most Iconic Firearms in Film
Six Questions to Ask Before Buying a Fitness Tracker
Today’s Trendiest, Fastest Rising Baby Names

TIME Gadgets

Early Apple Computer Bought From Steve Jobs’ Garage Sells for $365,000

Apple 1 Computer Christie's Images LTD.

It had been expected to sell between $400,000 to $600,000

An early Apple computer purchased from Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage was auctioned off Thursday at Christie’s for $365,000.

The 1976 Apple-1 Computer is the only known surviving Apple-1 documented to have been sold from Jobs’ parents’ garage, where the computers were built, Christie’s said in a statement. The “Ricketts Apple-1 Computer,” named after its first owner, Charles Rickett, was estimated to be worth between $400,000 to $600,000.

Another Apple-1 computer was sold for $397,750 last year at Christie’s.

TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Use Pac-Man As Your Android Watch Face

Dozens of custom Android Wear watch faces will soon be available for download on the Google Play store. Google

Users can now download custom watches from the Google Play store

Months ahead of the Apple Watch’s launch, Google is making moves to diversify the smartwatches of its own.

A new software update will allow Android Wear users to download and install custom watch faces from the Google Play store, Google announced Wednesday. Android Wear is Google’s software that powers several smartwatches already on the market, including Motorola’s Moto 360 and LG’s G Watch R.

Designs based on brands as varied as Porsche, Pac-Man and Rebecca Minkoff will now be available to give each user’s watch its own look. The faces will be functionally distinct as well, with some presenting additional data such as weather forecasts, altitude readings and calendar information.

There will be 46 new faces available at launch. That number should increase quickly, however, as Google is also releasing a Watch Face API that will let developers create custom faces and offer them on the Google Play store for free or for a fee. A new Android Wear companion app will let users easily download and switch between faces.

This focus on “increased diversity,” as Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang puts it, echoes a recent “be together, not the same” marketing campaign Google launched for the Android brand as a not-too-subtle dig at Apple’s uniform gadgets. There are currently six different Android Wear devices on the market, with more in the works.

“We want to enable users to have a lot of hardware choices,” Chang says. “That’s what we’re focused on. Letting people wear what they want.”

Chang wouldn’t disclose any sales figures for the Android Wear devices, but a recent report by research firm Canalys estimated that Motorola’s Moto 360 is the best-performing of the bunch, selling around 750,000 units during the third quarter of 2014.

In addition to custom watch faces, the new update brings some functional improvements to Android Wear. Recently used apps will now appear on the watch face, and users will more easily be able to bring back info cards they accidentally dismiss from the screen. There are also some new lighting modes for different situations, including a theater mode that keeps the screen off while you’re at the movies and a sunlight mode that temporarily boosts maximum screen brightness.

Users will also be able to customize the app notifications that appear on the watch if the device is paired with an Android phone running the new Android Lollipop operating system.

The updates will hit Android Wear devices over the coming week.

TIME Gadgets

This Is the Best E-Book Reader You Can Buy

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Amazon

It's the $120 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

the wirecutter logo

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com

The $120 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is our favorite e-book reader because it has a backlight for reading in the dark and Amazon’s amazing book selection, which is unsurpassed by the competition.

How we decided

There are other good e-readers out there, like the Kobo and the Nook GlowLight. They all share similar specs, but comparing hardware misses the bigger picture.

We prefer Amazon because it has the biggest and best selection of e-books and the best prices. Its also a company you can bank on to keep the updates coming while you port your ever-growing library of books to better and better hardware through the ages. If you look at it like that, you’re not really buying an e-book reader. You’re buying a cheap window to see into a vast library that you will keep for the rest of your life.

Our pick

The Paperwhite has not changed drastically in the last two years, but that’s okay, because Amazon has had a good thing going for a while. If you have the 2013 edition, you can easily stick with that model and not feel like you’re missing out on too much. If you have a Kindle older than that, you might want to upgrade.

The current Paperwhite model’s battery can run for up to eight weeks at a time, even with the screen light running. In summer 2014, Amazon doubled the Paperwhite’s internal storage from 2GB to 4GB, making room for more than 1,000 e-books. It has a bright front-lit screen, a black on white e-ink display that’s crisp and makes text very easy to read even outdoors, and a processor that makes page turning smooth.

The Paperwhite supports illustrated children’s e-books and has some baked-in parental controls. Amazon Prime members can access the Lending Library, and any Kindle owner can sign up for Kindle Unlimited, a $10-per-month subscription that provides access to 600,000 e-books and audiobooks.

The Kindle Paperwhite is priced squarely in the middle of all Amazon’s e-readers, starting at $120 for the Wi-Fi only version with ads. The ad-free version is $140, while the 3G-enabled Paperwhite is $189 with ads and $209 without them. (The ads don’t pop up during reading, but for $20 more, I’d opt out.) We prefer the Paperwhite over the basic $80 Amazon Kindle because it can store more books and runs for longer on a single charge.

The Upgrade

The Kindle Voyage is an even better e-reader than the Paperwhite, with a 300 DPI e-Ink screen, a backlight that adjusts brightness automatically, and a touchscreen with a body you can squeeze to turn pages. But at $200, it doesn’t offer enough over the Paperwhite to justify spending an additional $80 for most people. The pixel density of the Voyage is double that of the Paperwhite, but text on the Paperwhite is already easy to read and the difference won’t be noticeable to most people. The adaptive backlight is nice, but the standard backlight on the Paperwhite is fine. The Voyage’s squeeze action to change pages is better, but most people will probably be fine with the controls on the Paperwhite.

It might be worth upgrading to the Voyage if you read a lot of graphic novels or comics, because the higher resolution display of the Voyage does make those easier to read.

In closing

Amazon’s e-book selection and certainty of upgrades makes it the best investment for an e-book collection. If you really love reading books and can afford to spend $200, then the Voyage is a wonderful e-reader. But at $120, the Paperwhite is a very solid e-reader, and a great choice for most people.

This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation, please go to The Wirecutter.com

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