Customer Review

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still needs improvement, March 1, 2009
This review is from: Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless) (Electronics)
My reaction to the Kindle 2 is mixed. Overall I have to rate it as as somewhat disappointing.

The cons:

1. Insufficient contrast. The display while fairly crisp does not reproduce the readability of paper. In many ways I actually find my iPhone easier to read! I find myself using a large size typeface to compensate for the lack of contrast, but this means frequent "next page" button presses which is extremely annoying.

2. The buttons have a cheap feel. The "next page" buttons should activate when pressed at any angle. At the steep price of this device we should get better quality components.

3. The cost of reading blogs is unacceptably high. While some are free others can cost $2 per month. Not only that, the comments are missing from many blogs. As far as I'm concerned this feature is useless.

4. Newspaper subscriptions really fall short of getting the paper copy. I find it difficult to read and scan my favorite newspapers. This is too bad because I was looking forward to this feature.

5. Kindle should read pdf files so the user can download them from his desktop. I'm not about to pay Amazon 10 cents for every pdf file I want to read on the Kindle. While there are work arounds for this problem, I really shouldn't have to use them.

6. The display really isn't large enough unless you use a very small typeface.

7. Amazon gave up the fight to retain control of one of the best Kindle features- text-to-speech conversion. Come on guys show some backbone.

8. While Amazon does offer a large selection of books on Kindle, most of the ones that interest me are not available. This is perhaps the biggest problem for my personal use. I have little interest in best sellers.

The Pros:

1. Easy to use. You can start off right away.

2. The navigation stick works much better than I expected. This is the best control.

3. Crisp display, but contrast problem (see above).

4. I like the sample feature. I can download the sample and get a good feel for the book without buying it.

5. Whisper Net works well in my area.

6. The text-to-speech conversion works surprising well. You can tell it's computer speech, but it's really close to real human voice. You can speed up the speaking rate and after a little adapting it's amazing how well you can follow the material. Good going!

Suggested improvements.

1. Upgrade the quality of the hardware especially the buttons.

2. Voice recognition commands. If one could simply just say "turn" to advance to the next page, this device would function much better as an electronic reader.

3. Increase the display contrast.

4. Increase the size of the display by a redesign of the keyboard.

5. Bundle the all too necessary cover with the device.

Overall I'm moderately disappointed. The Kindle does not live up to the media hype. Perhaps some of the things that bother me will go away with greater useage, but at this point I'm inclined to return it. With my iPhone I can read blogs better than on the Kindle and they are free. Because of the high contrast I actually find the typeface easier to read! And the iPhone goes into my shirt pocket. The Kindle has great potential, but the hardware and human engineering still leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps Kindle 10 will be nearly perfect.
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