Friday, July 3, 2009

Kindle: Amazon's 6" Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) / 263 Kindle 2 Reviews - Why Read Another?, February 26, 2009

By Doug Near Seattle "Kindle enthusiast"

As I type this message there are 263 Kindle 2 reviews on Amazon's web site. Why bother with another? I'm not one inclined to writing reviews but I do examine them carefully before I make a significant purchase, here on and on other seller web sites. So on the chance that I might say something that helps a potential buyer make up their mind, particularly someone who has not owned the first Kindle, this is my small effort to give back to the process.

First of all, I loved Kindle 1 although I noted several shortcomings due primarily to the design of the hardware. I'm glad to learn that every shortcoming(except one) has been fixed beyond my expectations. When I received my Kindle 2 yesterday, I eagerly removed it from the shipping container, plugged it in and began to download my library. As I did I marveled at the new Kindle's fresh, sleek design. It is a beauty!

The main issue I had with Kindle 1 was the navigation button design and placement. My original thought was that I wanted to use my Kindle 1 without a cover but I quickly learned that doing so wasn't practical. I like to read holding the Kindle with one hand and it just didn't work well because I kept bumping the next, previous and back buttons. So I began to use the cover it came with so I could hold the Kindle by the cover, only to learn that this cover did not keep the device securely in place very well. So I bought an m-edge cover, which is bulkier and the front does not fold back easily. I was stuck reading using two hands and I didn't like that at all.

Kindle 2 solves all these problems. I'm not going to bother with a cover at all now. I love the way it feels in my hand without a cover. It is easy to navigate without any risk of accidentally changing the page I'm on. I will probably buy a Belkin sleeve to protect it when I take it out but that's all. Now my reading experience is complete! [Note added 3/5/09: instead of buying a Belkin sleeve, I did made my own protector. See the discussin thread and photos here: [...]

The Kindle 2's redesigned features are fantastic. The display is better and the 5-way button is a major improvement. I do a lot of highlighting and this design fix is huge. Looking up words is much easier and many times faster. One improved feature I haven't notice any comment on is the progress bar at the bottom of each book page. Now it shows the total number of locations and the percent already read. This is so much better than the old way of determining how far I'm into a book. Thank you, design team!

The fact that Kindle 2 has no SD card capability and the battery is not user-serviceable is not an issue with me. Even with a few hundred books in my library, it will be a long time before the 2 gig memory starts to be a limiting factor and when it does (if it does) I'll just archive what I've already read. Amazon's design team has made it simple to pull archived books back to the Kindle 2 without having to go to a computer.

The only item on my wish list that was not addressed in Kindle 2 is the lack of an improved file storage system. It would have been nice to have that but it doesn't take away from my enjoyment. [Note added 3/5/09: Bufo Calvo came up with an inovative method of catagorizing books on Kindle that works great so this item is no longer on my wish list. [...]

Page turns are significantly faster and the page reloads are less intrusive to the reading experience. On/off buttons are repositioned to be easily accessible. The home page is easier to navigate. There are other improvements that many others have already noted so I'm going to stop here without repeating everything that's been said already. But the biggest thing about Kindle (both 1 and 2) is the Amazon store and how simple it is to browse and buy books from. I'm so impressed with the way they have seamlessly brought the store together with the reading device via Whispernet to make the digital reading experience such a wonderful thing to enjoy.

kindle 6" Latest Generation at Amazon