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Customer Review

24,714 of 26,143 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE of the SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2!, March 14, 2009
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This review is from: Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless) (Electronics)
I was DELIGHTED to upgrade my Kindle 1 to K2...until I got down to using it every day.

Having invested HEAVILY in Amazon Kindle content, I looked forward to the new and improved version! I really wanted to love this device just as much, if not more, than my original purchase! It was to be my "backup insurance" and "protect my investment" in Amazon content for the device. I expected and looked forward to everything Amazon said this device would be.

Out of the box, and on the surface, big cosmetic changes for the better. Once I began using it, however, my experience became more and more frustrating.

1. I have a tremendous volume of Kindle content (public domain and Amazon). I discovered that I could not directly transfer from my computer backup for Kindle 1 to the new K2 (why my backup is on the computer is addressed later in this review). All my content had to be reformatted by Amazon and re-downloaded from their site specifically for and to the Kindle 2 (I am NOT in a Whispernet area). Major pain. Major time-investment. Major inconvenience. Major turn-off. Have you guys ever heard of "bulk-download" capability, or choose many files at once for copy to a new device??? Guess not.

2. All of my previous issues of magazines and newspapers were lost (ie, I could not re-download them specifically for the K2) because Amazon does not back up subscriptions on their server for more than 6 days. SINCE I PAID FOR THE CONTENT, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT CONTENT ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD. Sorry, but I won't consider buying any more newspapaers or magazine subscriptions to the Kindle 1 or 2. Several (Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest) are less expensive online (with print edition also included) and have ALL content (not MIA content pictures, charts, quotes, etc).

3. Several books I purchased read "Kindle 2" in the title, but were Kindle 1 books with a new title page. OOPS!

4. Although Amazon says it keeps you content on their server, I found many instances where I could not download my books to my computer because the item THAT I PAID FOR was not available for download to my new Kindle2. Amazon said the book had been "pulled." Excuse me, but I paid for it, pulled or not, it should always be avaiable to me since I paid for it. When I asked for a refund for the pulled item now unavailable to me, SINCE I COULD NOT GET THE ITEM REDOWNLOADED, I was told that a refund was not possible. LESSON LEARNED: I now back up ALL my Kindle content on my computer. Since Amazon says "Don't worry, your content is safe with us." I respectfully disagree. Also, some authors issued new versions of their books for K2. However, then the original version for K1 "disappeared" from the server so I could not even download it to K2, nor K1. Same filename, so if I had been in a Whispernet area, the original would have been completely overwritten without my realizing it! Imagine, I bought a K2 Users Guide in May 2008, before it come off the engineers drafting table, instead of in February 2009!

5. The "Jump-ahead" and "Jump-back" feature (so convenient in Kindle 1, expecially in those instances where a Table of Contents does not exist and/or does not work--too often, I am afraid, in Kindle content) is not a feature in the K2 due to publisher formatting issues for the Kindle 2. Except for the User Guide that comes pre-installed on the device, it works fine in that document! After you have paged tru a 500-page book one-page-at-a-time to get from Chapter 2 to Chapter 15, see how excited you are about a low battery and all the time it took to get there!

6. The "Table of Contents" in many books is non-functional, frustrating in a 500 page book that you cannot "jump ahead" to Chapter 15 from Chapter 2. I reapeat this because of the level of angst it created in me for a device that was supposed to be "new and improved." See the above issue as well!!

7. The Text-to-Speech feature just got put in limbo by the Authors Guild, so Amazon had to agree to let the publishers decide if this feature would be "enabled," or not, for a particular book. Leads me to think they may be forced to forgo this "experimental" feature in the future...hmmm!!!

8. No way to choose left or right justification in the print of a book (like in K1). You get what you get. I, for one, find fully-justified text distracting. I prefer left-justified text. Publishers control this with their formatting. Please take note that it is not a negotiable issue in the K2.

9. Content storage: NO SD CARD, NO SD CARD, NO SD CARD!!! With all my content (re-downloaded) on the Kindle 2, I had used 3/4 of the "expansive," yet limited (in my case) storage available on K2. Couple that with the trouble I had downloading my content from (again, no Whispernet available), and I was more than a little angry.

10. NO USER REPLACEABLE BATTERY--Unless you buy the extended warranty for $65. After 1 year you pay $80 plus shipping to send the device to Amazon and have the Kindle REPLACED, not the battery changed out (per Amazon Kindle Customer Service). I guess you then get the added "priviledge" of re-downloading all your amazon Kindle content manually!!

11. The 2-year extended warranty really isn't for 2 years after the original 1 year warranty ends (like most places offering extended warranties in addition to the factory warranty). This one REPLACES the Amazon 1 year warranty, so you get 2 years, period.

12. NO FOLDERS OR OTHER WAY TO SORT CONTENT ACCORDING TO GENRE. I use SD cards for this on Kindle 1. No way on Kindle 2. So, if you have a large volume of content, too bad, so sad, you have to wade thru it all (if you, like me, have learned not to trust Amazon with your purchased content).

13. Display screen: the white is really GREY, and to avoid considerable eye-strain I had to refresh pages (using ALT-G) every other page. Also, in the sunlight (outside), the screen washes out, making it impossible to read. If you are over 40, have cataracts, or otherwise don't have the vision of a 20-year old, have fun squinting (even with large fonts)!

14. Home Screen: For whatever reason, Amazon decided to make the Font on the Home Screen (much) harder to read (much less bold) than on the K1. Also, if you select a book, the full title does not appear (as it does with K1). On Kindle 2, if the book has a long title, you must push the 5-way selector to the right to get the rest of the title.

15. PRICE! NO INCLUDED COVER! NO DISCOUNT FOR EARLY ADOPTERS. See for details. They allow a trade-in and $100 discount to buy their newest reader if you have the previous version. Too bad they don't have Amazon's content!

LASTLY--Amazon--I SENT MY KINDLE 2 BACK AND WILL WAIT FOR KINDLE 3. Meanwhile, I am buying a used Kindle 1 to protect my content investment with your company. Sorry, I think you laid an expensive egg that couldn't hatch and refuses to fly. My ugly duckling (K1) will wait for K3 (what I hope will be a swann).
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Showing 1-10 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2009, 6:18:32 AM PDT
W. Heim says:
Thank you THankyou: i am glad i read this review i will hold on to my hard earned money and not buy the kindle 2. Guess i better start buying spare batteries and cables for the K1. Again thank you

Posted on Mar 15, 2009, 12:02:50 PM PDT
I am pleasantly surprised to see such a high ratio of positive ratings for your negative review of the kindle 2. I share most of your criticism of the kindle, but as an Apple user I haven't much of a choice if I want an ereader. If ereading catches on in a big way we will undoubtedly see competition in devices that will result in superior products.

Posted on Mar 15, 2009, 10:24:00 PM PDT
Though I rated the Kindle 2 with 5 stars in my own review, I do think your 1-star review is full of well thought-out, reasonable arguments. It is unlike most other 1-star reviews in this respect. I definitely agree with one thing: the uncertain status of paid-for material is a definite downside/risk associated with this new medium, should you need to access it in the future, perhaps on another device.

I would point out, with regard to point 15, that Sony is essentially buying your old device for $100 with their trade-in deal. In the current market, and probably for quite a while to come, I believe it would be pretty easy to sell a Kindle 1 for $100 or more when upgrading to a Kindle 2.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009, 9:43:36 AM PDT
Souleem says:
Thank you Gadget Queen for your very well-written review. I was all set to purchase the Kindle 2, even after reading the prior negative reviews, but your review made it clear that the Kindle 2 would be a frustrating disappointment. For the price of the Kindle 2, the inconveniences that you listed are unacceptable and a total turn-off for me.

Thank you again for your review.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009, 3:41:25 PM PDT
Dakota Gal says:
Thank you Gadget Queen for your review. I, too, was set to buy a Kindle 2. I don't have a Kindle 1 so can't compare the two readers, but I thought the K2 would be nice. I have a library of about 2000 books -- not E-books, but the old paper and ink type. They are here - bought and paid for. But I thought the Kindle might be nice, easier on my arthritic hands to hold, and might be way to move into the future. But to pay that outrageous price -- IT IS EXPENSIVE -- and then have to pay for the books again. Then no way to back them up -- and to have to mail the Kindle in for them to replace the battery. Sorry -- I'll stick to the old fashioned paper and ink.

Before I would want a unit, I would require the ability to back it up on a Disk, a replaceable battery, and many of the features you mentioned to be repaired.

One additional comment -- I think that authors should be ashamed of themselves if they resist the text to speech feature. I spent years working with people who are visually impaired. I also am a volunteer reader with the talking book program. The text to speech feature, coupled with a method to use speech to access the table of contents would allow this device to revolutionize print accessibility for people who are visully impaired or blind.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009, 9:24:20 PM PDT
Great review!
Let me add that I am a K1 owner and I don't think any of the new feature would justify shelling out another $360, especially not with all those problems transfering the content I paid for!
To those who have no Kindle, get a used K1 for cheap you will not be dissapointed or feel like you're missing out on the K2.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009, 7:20:08 AM PDT
I was dazzled by Amazon's description of Kindle 2 - I was even considering buying one. Thanks for the review, the problems you describe sound very real (not just your perception) and I won't buy the new "improved" kindle at all.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009, 6:01:17 AM PDT
Veto Twain says:
You rock. I was ready to purchase and will now wait. Many thanks for the time to feedback.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009, 1:25:40 PM PDT
Gene Ballard says:
Most one-star reviews are questionable but I found yours to be very informative. I'll wait to see if Amazon addresses these issues in Kindle3 or get a used Kindle1.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009, 6:28:54 PM PDT
Acteon says:
Thanks for the detailed review. I looked at the presentation video and was ready to buy K2 right away (I don't have K1), but after reading your caveats, I have given up that idea. Alone the thought of having to flip through hundreds of pages instead of being able to jump is enough to keep me from it. A feature I really love is the text to speech, but if there are problems with it... The problems with downloading seem also rather forbidding. I just hope Kindle 3 comes out in the not too distant future and that it takes your criticism into account!
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