Amazon Kindle 2 Review and User Thread

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#1
My Kindle 2 has finally arrived after a week of anticipation. Please use this thread for all comments and questions about the Kindle 2 and it's competitor, the Sony PRS-505 e-Reader.

Intro: I love reading the Wall Street Journal and USA Today newspapers but carrying them both in my small book bag is a pain in the rear. I'm hoping to use the Kindle 2 as a news reader/periodical reader as well as a book reader. This review will try to cover all aspects of using a Kindle as I've listed below in the table of contents.


Table of Contents:

Device Specs
First Impressions
Kindle Usability - Books
Kindle Usability - Periodicals
Kindle User Tips
Important Shortcuts




Device Specs:
Kindle: Amazon's 6" Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation)
6" diagonal E Ink® electronic paper display
600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi
16-level gray scale.


First Impressions

Opening the shipping box from Amazon was a breeze by tearing a perforated tab on the side. A second box inside the shipping box (pictured below) neatly housed all of the accessories, manuals, and the Kindle itself.


At .36” thickness and 8” tall by 5.3” in width, I knew the Kindle was going to be small, but seeing it in person still surprised me. And picking the device up out of the box, weighing 10.8 ounces; it felt substantial, yet, not bulky. Weight distribution is proportionately balanced, which was important to me because I like to read at different angles (ie: lying down, sitting up, on my stomach, you name it!). The overall design of the Kindle’s outer casing reminded me of an Apple iPhone or iPod. That’s a good thing in my opinion because I’ve always liked Apple’s sleek designs.


Turning the device on was as easy as sliding the power switch located on the top right next to the headphone jack.


I was greeted with the home menu screen, and at that point, it was a welcomed reminder that the device came pre-loaded with The New Oxford American Dictionary. More on that later. After 5 minutes of fiddling around with settings and options,

here are my initial thoughts…

The Good: The Kindle’s menu is simple and easy to browse.
The OK: The speed of the menu/interface is fair though I wouldn’t mind faster movements and load times.
The Bad: The 5-way controller is small for my averaged size thumb. Pushing the controller in the up direction almost has the feeling as if the knob may press down at any moment to select an item or execute an action. It’s not a deal breaker, but I’d like to see Amazon work on this for Kindle 3.


The battery status indicator at the top right of the display indicated half a charge, so I grabbed the power adapter and plugged everything in.


What I like: The power adapter comes apart and becomes a USB (type A) adapter that can plug into a USB port on your PC. This eliminates the need for a second cord to carry.


Usability of the Kindle


Books

Reading a book on a Kindle 2 is as simple as these three steps: open book, read page, press "next page", repeat. In my opinion, it's the main intention of what the device was designed for. And it does it well. "Cracking" open a book to read for the first time will be place you at the cover page. When you get to the table of contents, you can scroll and select a section you'd like to skip to by pressing the 5-way controller "in".

If you're worried about being able to clearly see text while reading, Amazon has given readers 6 options to choose from for increasing or decreasing font size. I've found that increasing the font size helps in low light conditions.


Options can be accessed by pressing the menu button. A powerful tool that I use often is the search function, which can search for single or multiple words, and return all results in the book. The below search was finished in less than 3 seconds.


While reading a book, how often have you ever come across a word which probably wouldn't even exist in a Mensa member's vocabulary? No problem, use the 5-way controller to choose the baffling word, and it'll quickly pop up a definition from The New Oxford's Dictionary in less than 2 seconds at the bottom of your Kindle screen. If the definition takes up more than two sentences, you'll need to press the return button to retrieve the full definition, and then the back button to return.

Periodicals


For now, I've developed a love / hate relationship with periodicals on Kindle. I love the quick accessibility to full newspaper articles and keeping them in my archive for review at a later time. The "Search This Issue" feature which allows you to do a complete search for a word or words is fantastic!

What I hate about periodicals can be described in three segments.

1. My Wall Street Journal subscription is costing me $14.99/month through Kindle instead of the $9.99 I was paying to read WSJ online in color and interactivity. Which leads me to item two,

2. On top of that, no online access directly to the The Wall Street Journal website is included with a Kindle subscription. :duh:

3. Skipping to different articles is easy, but it's no substitute for having a newspaper in front of you and skimming headlines. I'm not sure how Amazon can improve this for now, but it needs work.


Kindle User Tips:

  • Remember to turn off the wireless connection when you're not using it. This made a world of difference for battery consumption on my device. I'd like to see an auto-wireless-off feature implemented in the next Kindle that can be manually set to power down after inactivity.
  • Sleep Mode vs. Off: Your Kindle will automatically go into sleep mode after 10 minutes, at which it'll load a background picture. Sleep mode will not consume any more battery than powering off your Kindle, unless, as specified by the Kindle Quick-Start Guide,

    If your Kindle had wireless on prior to going to sleep, it will continue to receive your regularly scheduled subscriptions while in sleep.
  • Worried about burn in from leaving your Kindle on the same background for too long? This is a myth. E-ink devices

Important Shortcuts:

Screen-shot - Alt+shift+G will create a .gif picture of your screen and save it to the Documents Folder
Display the Time and Free Memory - Press MENU button
Amazon Kindle Store - alt-home
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#4
As someone said here on the forum, that is very Orwellian of them to do such a thing.

Seriously the irony is intense. Them doing it scares me. I come from a different time.

I though about it the other day would I go back? Probably if I could forget the future.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#5
Jay, Nice job on the review! If I was into reading books, I'd even get me one of these. I wonder if the technology will ever make it possible for the blind to use a Kindle with a touch screen. As they highlight the words on the touch screen with their fingers it could audibilize the written word. I thought about joining an audio book club, to listen to books while I drive.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#6
Very nice!

Amazon just bought Zappos.com and they are down 10% in profits from last year same quarter.

But Im big on Amazon and the Kindle, Ive bought from Zappos as well. Great customer service.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
I thought about joining an audio book club, to listen to books while I drive.
Now that would be a great device. Built into a satellite radio, enough RAM to store a couple of books. Then you could download books to your radio via the satellite link. It doesn't take a lot of bandwidth to compress and download a book. Then over the road drivers could have one device to either listen to sat radio or listen to a book.

Too bad I don't have 10 million to consider starting this.
 

Aries

DTVUSA Member
#10
I was thinking that myself. Seems pretty appropriate, but I prefer books having a physical form.

I just thought, this could also be used for comics, especially Japanese mangas, since they're largely in black and white. That would be pretty awesome for the next version.

Although, I don't really get the high price tag. It seems to be a basic enough system. I mean, it's an e-book reader. For the price of one Kindle, I could buy a whole shelf of books.
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#11
Jay, Nice job on the review! If I was into reading books, I'd even get me one of these. I wonder if the technology will ever make it possible for the blind to use a Kindle with a touch screen. As they highlight the words on the touch screen with their fingers it could audibilize the written word. I thought about joining an audio book club, to listen to books while I drive.
The Kindle has a built-in text-to-audio option, and it actually works. You can opt for a male or female voice, and it'll read a book to you front to back. I should add that to my review. :becky:

Very nice!

Amazon just bought Zappos.com and they are down 10% in profits from last year same quarter.

But Im big on Amazon and the Kindle, Ive bought from Zappos as well. Great customer service.
I haven't kept up with Amazon's earnings at all this year. Hope the Zappos purchase works out for them, sounds like a good idea in theory...

Good review, one of my coworkers always reads their's during lunch time. How well does the text to audio work?
It's not bad. I can tell they've programmed the Kindle "reader" to speak with slight intonation. You can speed up and slow it down too. I'd like to try it while on a treadmill or stair stepper at the gym. :dance:
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#12
Sony Corp. is releasing the Reader Pocket Edition which is $100 cheaper than the Kindle. It's supposed to be out by the end of August. Like the Kindle, it uses an electronic ink display.



Specs:

PRS-300

■Price: $199
■Screen Size: Vizplex 5 inches
■Resolution: 800 x 600 pixels
■Gray Scale: 8-levels gray scale
■Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (battery: DC 3.7 V)
■AC Power: DC 5.2 V
■Battery Life (Approx): 7,500 (BBeB Book)
■6.2″ L x. 4.2″ W x 2″ D, Weight: 7.76 oz.
■Ships with a USB Cable, Sleeve, Quick Start Flyers

4.2" wide is kind of small...
 

Bell

DTVUSA Rookie
#14
Absurdly narcissistic.

You got your new toy. Just shut up and enjoy it. Anyone who drops that kind of money on such a reader is more concerned with style than substance.
 

Bell

DTVUSA Rookie
#16
Instructions for opening a Box

Hardly, and btw, what other readers on the market offer the same capability for a lower price? I'm all ears...
Look, I have a Kindle, which I love. But really, posting about how you opened the box and all, quite moronic stuff.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#17
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