Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: GoBible VOYAGER, A Digital Audio Bible

When I was in Bible college, I would have LOVED to have had this audio Bible!  One of the hardest assignments of any class was to read each book of the Bible 10 or even 20 times before the final exam.

For a slow reader, that was a daunting task.  It would have been wonderful to use my weekend commutes or my daily jogs to get in more reading time. 

NKJV, GoBible, Word of Promise, Voyager, Dramatized   - You might think I live under a rock, but I didn’t know such a thing existed before representatives contacted me to look at their newly updated device, the GoBible. 

And I’ve been totally impressed with it!  It’s worlds better than the audio cassettes my husband purchased years ago.

Let me tell you what the Voyager GoBible has, or can do, and then I’ll tell you what I think.  It has:

  • A complete, pre-loaded New International Version of the Bible narrated by Charles Taylor.
  • Indexing at the verse level, allowing users to begin play, repeat, or bookmark any one of the Bible’s 31,000-plus verses.
  • A story index of 230 Bible stories
  • A topic index to search for scriptural insight on 30 different emotions or circumstances
  • A Bible-in-a-Year Plan
  • A Holiday/Event Index
  • 36 personal bookmarks
  • Carrying case, earphones, universal headset jack
  • 3 gigabytes of storage for music or other downloads
  • “Hear and See” capability with Bible text on screen to support the spoken word
  • Rechargeable “AAA” battery, with USB and standard electrical cords.

What I Like:

I LOVE the convenience!  Being able to listen while working, walking, relaxing, or just about anything, is wonderful.  I find myself in the Word a whole lot more.

I love the indexing.  It’s easy to go directly to the passage you want.

Between the simple directions, and playing around with the buttons, it was easy to use.  (Digital things and I don’t always get along!)

The voice is natural and easy to listen to--not computerized. 

The size is just right for a pocket.  And the “lock button” feature keeps you from accidentally pushing a button.

I like that you can read the text on the screen if you want while you listen, and that it scrolls automatically.

The backlight is nice for reading along or navigating the menu at night.  You can set it to be “always on”, or to turn out automatically after so many seconds.

The battery life seems great!  And I like that it’s rechargeable.

The story index is a wonderful idea!  It makes choosing a listening selection easy for everyone—especially children.

And finally, on that note, I love that my kids enjoy listening to it!

My oldest, 13, will sometimes snag it on his way to bed.  A few nights ago he said, “Mom, THIS is the kind of Bible I want.  I think I would really use it more than that new study Bible we were looking at.”

My youngest (who is six) sat listening the other night during soccer practice and then all the way home.  Periodically, he would (loudly) announce some new thing he had just learned. :) He started at the beginning and was on Genesis 22 by the time we got home! 

Things I Wish Were Different:

I wish it had a belt clip on the back.  I don’t always have pockets in which to put it.  Perhaps their “traveler” models do.

I wish it had a search feature that allowed you to enter your own search query.

The ear buds won’t stay in my ears.  (Probably just my ear shape.)  And there is no built-in speaker.  So you need headphones to listen.   I just borrowed a set from my kids.

I think it would be neat if the reading was dramatized.  When I started to compare it to others on the market, I found that some audio versions are (dramatized, that is).  It would make it even more enjoyable and appealing—especially to the kids!

The price listed on their website seems a bit much to me, at $99.95.  In spite of how useful I think it is, I’m afraid it might make it out of reach for some of the very people it could benefit most.  Like seniors on a fixed income.  So I looked around a little and did find it on CBD (Christian Book Distributers) for $89.99 with free shipping.

My Conclusion: 

We are really enjoying it!  In this age of digital media, adults and children alike will find it a convenient way to access Scripture.  I think it has a special appeal to Moms like me who would welcome the chance to listen while they work.

Side note:

I've shown the GoBible Voyager to lots of friends and they all REALLY like it.  Most, like me, didn’t know there was such a thing.  They like its convenience and portability.  Unfortunately, all of them have had the same surprised reaction to the price.  Maybe that just goes to show how sheltered we moms are!

One friend sited the many free or low cost cell phone Bible apps as the reason she wouldn’t buy one.  So I looked at the applications available on my network. 

My only thoughts on apps are that many of them request/require access to things that I think should be private on my cell phone, like, who I am calling and for how long.  (Why does an app need access to that, anyway??) For this reason, a dedicated listening device seems safer to me.

What’s your take on an audio Bible like the GoBible?  Would you buy one for yourself or as a gift for someone you know?  And because I can’t help asking, what do you think of the growing number of phone apps and their fine print?

I received a GoBible Voyager free of charge to review.  However, when I agree to do a review, I give my honest opinions, whether good or bad, no matter the offer.  Because I know you want the truth!  :) I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

Tracey said...

This sounds like a neat tool! Thanks for the review.