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Customer Review

9,619 of 9,864 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle 2 : First Impressions from a Kindle 1 owner, February 25, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless) (Electronics)
On the one hand I love my Kindle 1... I use it everyday, I subscribe to my favorite newspaper, I mark up my books with annotations, highlights and bookmarks.

On the other hand my Kindle 1 annoys me... unintended page changes, the awkward way I sometimes have to hold it to keep from hitting buttons, the sometimes slow page refresh, and the screen freezes that now has me traveling with a paper clip lest I need to do a reset while commuting on the train.

I've had the Kindle 2 in my hands for almost a day and have carried it on one commute. What follows is my "first impressions" review of the Kindle 2 from the perspective of an owner of the original K1. What's different, what's better and what's worse?

5 big things I immediately noticed as different:

First, when taking the K2 out of the box I immediately noted that the back cover is not easily removable (if at all) and won't slip off in my hands - as was frequent with the K1. The keyboard is also much much smaller and less obtrusive.

The second thing I noticed is power management. No longer do I have to press and hold two buttons to put the device to sleep. The switches for On/Off and Wireless On/Off are gone. There's a single small switch at the top of the K2 that handles Sleep.

The third thing I noticed - where's the silver strip? In fact, the entire navigation structure has been completely revised - I'm still getting used to it but it's a huge step forward. The silver strip has been replaced by a 4-way rocker that can also be pressed for "OK" commands, creating bookmarks, and doing highlighting.

The fourth thing I noticed - while page changing doesn't seem to me to be particularly faster - almost every other interaction on the screen is vastly accelerated... scrolling the cursor, looking up words, highlighting text, and typing text.

The fifth thing I noticed - a new power cable. This unit uses USB cables that are not compatible with K1. It's a bit of a bummer since I was hoping my wife and I could share power cables (she's taking over my K1).

What's better:

Navigation is a huge improvement. Moving the cursor to a word and having the definition of the word immediately pop up on the bottom of the screen is terrific. Using the rocker to move between articles in a newspaper makes scanning the paper much faster and enjoyable. Calling up the Menu strip is much faster and interactive. Clearly, Amazon was hard at work to make navigation quicker and easier. The hard work is apparent.

Buttons: The K1 was a constant struggle with inadvertent page changes. The design was flawed from the beginning. The single best improvement in the K2 took a few minutes of concentrated reading to realize... the button hinges are on the outside - at the edge - of the K2. You need to press on the interior of the button to get it to click. This change alone has saved me from several inadvertent page changes. Combine that with the smaller button sizes and one major source of frustration has been instantly eliminated!

Size: The K2 is thinner than the iPhone. It feels denser and maybe a tad heavier - although I did buy the premium cover which snaps into the K2 and adds to the weight (btw, I love the premium cover and think it's worth the investment).

Network Speed: The K2 can use G3 cellphone connections and when it's activated it makes a considerable difference in interactivity to the Kindle Store and when downloading Archived content.

Power Management: The little power button at the top of the Kindle is really a power slide. That is, slide it to toggle Sleep mode on and off. Slide and hold to do a full power down. And the K1's wireless on-off switch has been replaced by a menu choice in software. Works for me. Also, compared to the K1 waking from sleep is super-fast.

What's worse...

There isn't much I liked better in the K1 than the K2. One thing: calling up clippings and notes. In the K2 these items only list the first sentence or two of my highlights. In the K1 it displays the entire highlight - which makes reading through them much easier and more like reading Cliff Notes. The new interface in K2 is annoying and makes the feature much less useful. I'll be writing to Amazon to see if we can get that changed.

Closing thoughts...

The K2 is a big refinement over the K1. It feels as easy to read as the K1 but doesn't seem any crisper to my eyes (I usually read at point sizes 3 & 4). In this regard, as a book, the K1 and K2 are comparable. I wouldn't run up my credit card to buy the K2 from a belief that it's fundamentally easier to read. However, in my short time with the K2 it's a more enjoyable device to use. The change in the hinging and size of the buttons is major plus and would make it hard to go back to the K1. Amazon broke a few paradigms that K1 users are accustomed to and I found myself going to the K2 User Guide to figure out some content management issues that have been changed in this release.

Why 4 stars and not 5? The Kindle will never get 5 stars from me until Amazon implements the notion of a lending library where I can lend another Kindle user a book; which would have the book would disappear from my Kindle and appear on theirs. After x number of days the book would automatically be returned to me and taken off the other person's Kindle. Amazon says they want the device to disappear and content to stand out. I say: Until I can lend a friend a book the Kindle will never quite live up to that standard and will be, in my book, stuck at 4 stars.
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Showing 1-10 of 248 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 25, 2009 6:55:49 PM PST
Although the joy stick is definitely an improvement over the scroll wheel, I'm gonna miss that silver/mirror bar thingy. I thought that was the coolest thing ever when I first saw it...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2009 8:20:09 PM PST
P. Inhofer says:
The silver bar definitely elicited some neat-o's when I'd demo the K1 to people. Me too, when I first saw it I thought it was beyond nifty. I don't think I miss it since the screen refreshes fast enough for an actual cursor to be placed in the text which opens up more possibilities.

The joy stick I'm holding judgment back until I've used it more. It's being asked to do many things and I'm not sure if it's efficient or overloaded.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 11:25:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2009 11:27:10 PM PST
E says:
The "lending library" feature is even more important than most people realize. Without the SD Card slot, or the ability to received lent books, Public Libraries will be squeezed out of the digital book market, as Amazon not only has the majority of the market for book sales, but Kindle also has the market for the digital book reader. In other words, if we allow Amazon to corner the market and to eliminate the ability to lend books, the Public Library system as we know it will be decimated as time goes on.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 4:40:03 AM PST
T. Mathison says:
Maybe the lending Library does not have to be unlimited. May start with a "Fave Five" and be allowed to lend books between five of your family and friends.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 7:10:34 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2009 3:38:39 PM PST
F. McDonal says:
This is my concern as well. I depend on the public library, always have. I can't afford to buy all the books I read, which also makes me pause, a lot, about putting out some big bucks to get a Kindle. The great thing about the iPod, for example, is that you can check out audiobooks from a library and burn them onto your iPod, for free. On the other hand, I love to read and the iPod doesn't allow that. I am reaching the stage, the age, where large print books are easier for me and I see a Kindle in my future because of the number of books that are not available in large print.

So Amazon, the ball is in your court, to find a way to allow us to share books with family and friends, and even to find a way to work with public libraries.

I would love to get my magazines and newspapers via Kindle. They are media that are struggling and are incredibly valuable to our democracy. When they start folding for lack of paying readership, then we're in trouble too. We need their oversight not just of our government but what goes on around the world and in our country. Using the Kindle is a good way to get payment to them without having to use paper.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 4:31:04 AM PST
Amen to the comment on lending a book to a friend. I feel very strongly about this. I have Kindle 1 now. As a result, I am reading all the time. But when I have read a good book, I surely want to lend it to a friend. Amazon, you've got to do this.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 6:04:11 PM PST
The part of the review that mentions wanting to be able to lend a friend a book through Kindle is a fantastic idea and I completely agree that Amazon does not deserve five stars until that is possible.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 8:17:12 AM PST
Molly says:
It´s true about the needing some sort of book sharing ability! I personally love the idea of a Kindle, but I have no plan of purchasing one until my friends and the public library all have the ability to SHARE what they are reading with me. Also, it would b enice if other companies were able to sell Kindle ified books (like how ipod can now have things that aren´t from itunes).

Still a super cool thing though, and I will be getting one as soon as the library /sharing function is added!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2009 9:56:10 AM PST
I'm with F. Qualls. I'm willing to shell out $400 for a Kindle, but not to pay $10 for every book I read. Of course Amazon wants me to buy books from them rather than check them out from the library, but instead of gaining more book sales they're losing my Kindle money. Guess they don't need it, but soon enough I bet they will.

Even if there was an option to rent kindle books from the library for a smaller fee, I'd be happy. Would anyone else here be willing to pay, say $1 for a temporary copy?
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