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Customer Review

10,216 of 10,389 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Me!, February 25, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless) (Electronics)
Update May 2013:

I have used my K2 literally every day since getting it over four years ago. It's showing it's age a bit from all that usage and I'm starting to get nervous that one day it's just going to give out on me all of a sudden. I'm so attached to this model that I have recently purchased a used K2 in good condition, instead of buying a new Kindle as a backup. I love having the keyboard and buttons for quick, no-fuss access to things, and I like that the info such as book title, location number, battery status, and wireless status are always displayed on the screen, which isn't true on the models after this one.

If you're not a touch screen fan (like me) or don't have a lot of money to spend, then getting a good condition used K2 on ebay or elsewhere might be the way to go. Kindles of this age might be having battery problems (mine was only holding a charge for a couple days until I got a new battery), but you can purchase replacement battery kits online and replace it yourself. It's relatively simple.

Original review below:

I'm a new Kindle 2 owner and I did not own a Kindle 1. I was very interested in the original Kindle, but had decided to wait for improvements based on customer feedback after it was released, especially the accidental page turning issue. Since it looked like they made the improvements I was waiting for (one of the others was a bit more free space on the case to hold it) I took the plunge and got the new one.

I thought I'd start with listing my reasons for getting the Kindle, since I think that can sometimes help others who are sitting on the fence to decide if it's for them or not.

* Storage. I'm out of shelf space and all the boxes of books do little to add to the ambience of my one bedroom apartment. On the rare occasions I want to read something again trying to find the book in all the boxes is an exercise in frustration.

* eInk technology. I love books and using an electronic gadget isn't the same experience. The new technology has eliminated that concern.

* Convenience. The Whispernet is great for when you need the next book in a series right away or want to stock up on a few before leaving on a trip. Being able to have several books stored in the Kindle to take along instead of having to pack an extra bag just for my books for a week's vacation is a huge benefit.

* Aging. I'm 47 and middle age is starting to catch up with me! Being able to select larger print to avoid having to use my reading glasses (just started needing them this last year) and having a device that's easier on my hands for holding to read is a boon.

* Less waiting for publication. I don't like reading hardbacks because of their size and weight. But it's agonizing to wait for the latest book in a series to finally come out in mass market format. Now I won't have to wait!

* Environment. The majority of books I buy and read I'll only read once. I feel guilty about the trees needed to make the paper and all the other energy used to produce and ship/distribute the books required to satisfy my reading appetite.

* Saving Money. While the cost of the Kindle up front is steep, in the long run it will pay for itself and save me money since I read on average 8 books a month. With the free classics available it's also going to encourage me to expand my reading material, for no additional cost.

My Kindle was one of the ones that shipped without being pre-registered to my account. After I plugged it in to my USB hub on my computer to charge the battery (the charging cord design is very clever!) I read through the introductory portion of the user guide which told me how to register the Kindle. I followed the instructions and a couple minutes later I was all set!

I thought it would be fitting to christen my Kindle with the Stephen King novella UR, so went to the Amazon site on my computer and clicked on the button to buy it. As soon as I'd clicked the button to confirm my order it appeared on my Kindle almost immediately! I read it while the Kindle finished charging.

First impressions:

When people say the Kindle is sleek they ain't kidding. Everything is very nicely laid out and it just feels and looks cool!

After reading through the introductory guide that loads up automatically at the start and following along it took me almost no time to learn which buttons are where and what each of them do. The intro guide is plenty to get started and I haven't felt a need to work my way through the more detailed guide.

The 5-way controller is teensy! I was a bit taken aback at first by this. Though after a bit of practice it's surprisingly easy to use. For people who have dexterity issues it could be a potential stumbling block. If that's you I'd recommend seeing if you can find someone with a Kindle 2 to try it out for yourself first to see how it works for you.

Being able to change the font sizes is awesome! It's done on the fly with just a couple button clicks.

When starting to read for real for the first time I was VERY aware that I was reading on an electronic gadget and was a bit disappointed that it didn't immediately "disappear" as per the advertising. However, it really didn't take too long for that feeling to lessen. I imagine once the Kindle is no longer my exciting new toy and is just what I use to read books that I'll have completely lost the gadget awareness thing.

It took very little time to get used to having to push a button to turn pages and the screen flash as they turn only really startled me the first few times. I can see how it might bother some people, but it was a non-issue for me almost right away. The page turns are very fast.

The Kindle design allows for holding it in several different comfortable positions with either hand. Normally when reading books I only like holding them in my left hand and during a long reading session it often starts to get uncomfortable, or even painful. I found myself easily switching my Kindle off between hands and into different positions in each hand without even really noticing I was doing it.

I ordered the Amazon case and am quite pleased with it. It's fairly sturdy, looks and feels well-made, and the design is perfect for how I'll likely be using the Kindle most of the time.

Unlike a lot of people in these reviews I think having the case as a separate purchase right from the start was a good move by Amazon. If a case was included, as with the Kindle 1, that would have been reflected in a higher price. But I'd imagine that probably 50% or more buyers end up buying a different case they like better, which means you end up paying for two cases. The way it's been done with Kindle 2 means you can pick which case you want right from the start and only pay once.

Overall I'm thrilled to finally be part of the Kindle community and expect to be spending many, many, many pleasant hours absorbed in books on my new best friend. Kindle me, baby!

Update 3/23/09:

I feel a bit guilty adding more to an already long review, but felt that since I've now had the Kindle for almost a full month it would be appropriate. I'm completely in love with my Kindle!

Like pretty much everyone else I feel that the Kindle 2 is in dire need of a user customizable folder system for organizing books. That's the biggest negative for me so far.

The dictionary function is absolutely fantastic and now that I'm accustomed to having it I found it's frustrating to be reading a paper book and not be able to use it!

I didn't think I'd be using the highlight and note features much or at all but actually have been and they're an extremely nice extra. People in book discussion groups would find these to be a huge benefit.

The search function is also surprisingly useful for a wide variety of uses.

I've definitely lost the gadget awareness thing. This is just how I read most books now.

One of the unexpected great things is not having to deal with my bookmark falling out and having to find my place again. Or being able to just set the reader down for a couple minutes without bookmarking or losing my place because I bumped the book and it closed. It's little things like this that really elevate the reading experience.

Update 6/22/10:

Yes I'm back to add even more! I can honestly say the Kindle is one of the best purchases I have ever made. I haven't read a paper book in over a year.

The reason for this update is because I now have the 2.5 software upgrade and wanted to comment on it.

As I mentioned previously, the Kindle was in dire need of a way to organize books and documents. We now have it in the form of Collections, which is a tagging system. I think it could have been implemented a bit better, but I don't know what sorts of constraints the designers are under. Even with its limitations it's still a HUGE improvement to the Kindle and corrected the one glaring flaw it had.

The Collections are all managed on the Kindle, no computer or software needed. It's very easy to create (or delete or rename) collections and to move books between them. You can name them whatever you like, have as few or many as you like (or none at all if you don't want them). Books can be put into more than one Collection. You can't make nested or sub-collections. Your collection info is backed up on the Amazon server just like the rest of your book info, such as last page read.

Other features added (all of them are optional):

Password. This is most useful for those who want to keep confidential documents on the Kindle. The password has to be entered to return from sleep mode or to access the Kindle from a computer. That's a bit of a hassle for reading at home, but provides excellent protection when traveling or for other uses.

Social networks. You can now send passages you have highlighted in a book you're reading to your Facebook account or Twitter. (I don't use either of those services, but some who use the feature say it's pretty neat.)

Larger fonts. Two new font sizes were added (for a total of 8). They are Humongous and Gargantuan (my terms). For anyone who has failing eyesight and is in need of text that large I'd recommend getting a DX for the larger screen. On the largest font size on my small Kindle there are only 5-8 words on the entire screen. Yeah, it's that big!

Sharper font display. My Kindle has always had a pretty good display and I never had the problems that some units did with greyish text or lack of contrast. I can discern a small difference though and it's definitely an improvement, most noticeable on the middle font sizes.

PDF Zoom & Scan. To make reading PDFs with teensy print or images easier you can now zoom in and pan around PDF pages. I don't use PDFs so can't report first hand. Others say that while the feature is helpful and a big improvement, it can still be frustrating to try and use PDFs on the Kindle natively.

International browser access. Kindle owners in many other countries report that they now have access to unlimited internet browser use. International users up til now have had no internet access, or only wikipedia access. Amazon never announced this as an added feature, but many of the country information pages have changed, so it must be an intended benefit. Great news for our international Kindle friends!
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Showing 1-10 of 255 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 26, 2009 8:08:48 AM PST
Anna S. says:
Bravo! Thanks so much for a candid and concise review of Kindle 2. After trolling through fewer stars reviews yours is truly refreshing.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 2:20:18 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 23, 2009 1:50:53 AM PDT]

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 3:22:08 PM PST
Lena Frankel says:
Thank you for your input. I just received mine today. I had the K1 and returned it for k2. I bought the leather case for it k1 and now the k2 is way to big for it. I noticed that you mentioned you bought "Premium cover" and it's was worth it. Can you please tell me where I can buy it ,and look over it? Does it hold the book in place when in use?
My e-mail is ( respond back w/ some info.
Thank you so much

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 11:36:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2009 11:37:43 AM PDT
Cthulhu says:
Good, good, good review. I hope you were able to make your Kindle disappear by now, without actually losing it :) I'm approaching the point where I order one myself or maybe I will buy a Sony - still not decided - but you made a good case for Amazon's.

Question: would you take your Kindle to the beach?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2009 10:36:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2009 10:37:07 PM PDT
I think I'd be a bit worried about sand at the beach. One thing I've noticed is that it's easy for crumbs or little specs of stuff to kinda slide into the little gap between the screen and the case. But a lot of people have said they use zip-loc freezer type bags for reading in the tub. There are also clear water tight bags for boating and such that can fit the Kindle. So if you used something like that then I think a day at the beach would be fine.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 9:22:50 PM PDT
C. N. Lopez says:
I second what Anna said...."Bravo" your Review was VERY helpful and I appreciate your taking the time to write it....Yes I was on the fence but you pushed me over..I'm buying one today!! Thanks much!

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 12:01:32 PM PDT
Caroline S. says:
Thank you for a comprehensive & helpful review! I really appreciate it b/c I don't have a K1 either so the K1-K2 comparison reviews aren't much help.

Posted on Jul 26, 2009 10:19:41 PM PDT
i got a question for you. im a marine and im going to afghanistan in march. would the kindle get comepletely destroyed. cause i need my books. i just need to make sure it can stand up to multiple environments.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2009 2:08:57 AM PDT
Hi Aaron,

Sorry I didn't see this for a while so hope you get a chance to read this or get info from someone else in the meantime. On the Kindle Community forum there are several Kindle owners who are posted overseas and they say having the Kindle is fantastic. With limits on how much gear you can transport the Kindle solves having to deal with the weight and bulk of books. It's not robust, so you definitely need to take special care of it. You'd want to invest in a really good case to help protect from dust. But from what they say it's very much worth the investment.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2009 7:40:59 PM PDT
awesome. thanks for all the great advice. now i need to just save for it.
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