Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kindle 2.0 Unboxing

My Kindle 2.0 shipped on the 23rd of february via US Postal Service. It arrived well packaged and in great shape on the 26th of February. Thin is in! At just 1/3" thick, Kindle 2 is uniformly thin and much more portable than Kindle 1. It slips easily into a briefcase and won't wedge your stack. Is your brief case full of documents, weighing enough to strain your arm when carrying? Imagine every single page now living in your Kindle, and only needing the Kindle with you on a business trip. Sixteen is four times better than four. While the 4 gray shades of the 1st Kindle could show you crude photos and passable artwork if it was limited to linework, the 16 shades of gray supported on the Kindle 2 make photos reasonable, and permit artwork at least some range.
Details: The Kindle comes with a USB cable and an AC USB charger. A very nice touch as it allows charging from a wall socket or via USB from your PC.
New to Kindle 2 is a 5-way toggle. It simplifies getting around in menus and on the screen. Push it up or down or left or right, then push down to select whatever the cursor is on. Page buttons have been simplified and re-engineered to eliminate accidental page turns when picking up or holding the Kindle. The Volume control will be used more on this Kindle as it can now read your book to you via built in text-to-speech. You get a male or female voice to choose from. Along the top edge you'll find a headphone jack and the power slider. The bottom edge houses the proprietary USB jack. The Kindle is not as big as it appears in most online photos. I can slip this one in the chest pocket of my coat. It is 5.25" x 8", and only a hair over 1/3" thick. It weighs 10.2 ounces or 289 grams. For comparison my iPod Touch weighs 4.2 ounces or 120 grams. With the $30 Amazon Kindle leather case it is 9/10th of an ounce heavier than Kindle 1.0 is with the case it came with. Not a tremendous amount, but noticable. I'm guessing there is a larger battery inside. What, me read? I'm not an avid book reader, but do read several blogs, news articles, and magazines. I'm hoping the ones I prefer are available for automatic delivery to my Kindle. I also write some, and may see how well I do at self publishing to the Kindle store.

Where thou goest memory slot? Kindle 1.0 has an SD card slot (limited to 2gb) which although hidden beneath the removeable battery cover gave you the option of changing out the content you kept on your Kindle. Kindle 2.0 has more internal memory (2gb), and as such can natively hold more books, but now there is no potential for increased or variable content without re-syncing Kindle with your PC.

Instant books! Whispernet is the name Amazon has given to the Kindle's ability to download content directly without needing to be hooked up to a PC.

Experimental? The Kindle has more potential than obvious from a first look. With ubiquitous internet connectivity it is natural to think it should come with a web browser. Amazon was gracious to put one there, although since the screen only supports 16 shades of grey at 800x600 pixels your web experience can at best be called "experimental". Only a fraction of the web will render perfectly on the Kindle, but it's there to use when nothing else is available. Audio playback capability is also included, and so MP3 playing is supported. The text-to-speech feature is also considered experimental. I'll chock it up to mean Amazon is still working on these features and we can expect them to improve over time. If I remember right, there should be a game and possible calculator hidden in the software. Hopefully there will be a few more suprises as well.

Should you get a Kindle? $359 and shipping is expensive. I noticed Amazon has some 1st generation Kindles for sale at a much lower price ($220) now. Kindle 2 is a significant improvement over Kindle 1. If you're an avid reader or technology addict (like me) then getting a Kindle 2 is a no-brainer.

I had to buy one. Be careful, or you'll have to buy one too.



  1. Just have to say that I found your blog today, and I'm really enjoying it! Great reviews and coverage, and can't wait to see your reviews on the Samsung P3 and Sony's X-1000 player (I'm really looking for a new MP3 player, and those along with the Cowon S9 look promising).

  2. Thanks, Jeff. With no P3 or X1000 to play with, the Cowon S9 is indeed shaping up to be my favorite player. It's bluetooth isn't as evolved as the P3's will be, but considerable work is being done by end-users to improve it's UI beyond how Cowon left it. Price is coming down, and the S9 has the best video playback performance of anything I own.