The old Kindle 2 cover looked nice, felt well made, and provided reasonable protection from the elements, but it had one big flaw: it had no mechanism to keep the cover securely closed. I often found that if I had my Kindle in my bag and it wasn't packed tight, the cover would open on its own through normal jostling of my bag. Sometimes it would even open the wrong way, and that would bend the hooks which attach the cover to the Kindle. Those bent hooks could cause the Kindle itself to crack -- and thankfully, although my hooks bent, my Kindle didn't crack!
The new case adds an elastic band, which keeps the Kindle's cover closed when not in use. It rests in a little groove on the front; when you want to open it, you just pull the band to the side, and it slips behind the body of the Kindle and stays there while you read. When you're done, you slip it back onto the front cover into its groove. Perfect.
Bottom line: unlike its predecessor, this case stays closed when you want it to, so it will provide good protection and not suffer from bent hook syndrome. And it still looks great -- especially in the new burgundy red color. A must-have for a new Kindle, and a good upgrade for those of us with the original case.